Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas craft: paper chains

I'm just popping in quickly in between gearing up for the big day (3 sleeps) to remind you of an easy and fun Christmas paper craft you can set up for the kids.

I got the "what craft can we do today mum" question this morning. So with a roll of wrapping paper, some scissors and sticky tape we were set up in a couple of minutes.

Make it fun or turn it into a challenge by asking the kids to see how long they can get it in 10 mins or giving a prize for the longest chain in a set time.

Have a merry and safe one to you and your family from me and mine.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas craft: Reindeer Noses

Your child has decided that they'd like to give their entire class a Christmas present. It's the last week of school. Could they not have thought about this earlier? WHAT are you going to do with limited time and minuscule budget? Reindeer Noses!

Get the kids to help with this one.

All you need is:

  1. couple of bags of Jaffas (choc orange balls)
  2. printer
  3. paper
  4. clear plastic lolly/treat bags
  5. stapler

While you set up some lolly bag toppers in text editing program or a more fancy photo editing program, get the kids to bag up 8 jaffas in each bag. We happened to have self-sealing bags which I found in my craft stash, so the bagging and sealing was done by my 7 year old.

Using your software, create outlines of boxes to suit dimensions of your lolly bags - so measure the width of the bags so that your toppers match when they're attached to the bags (you don't want them being too short or having ugly over-hang).

Double the measurement of the height you'd like the toppers to be as you will have a front and back.  For the reverse of your topper, you will need to remember to flip your text upside down so that after you cut it, you will fold the centre to have a double-sided topper.

NOTE: There are lots of free festive fonts you can download - just search for "free christmas fonts" in google.

Once you're happy with your design, print and cut like a crazy person.

You can also get the kids to fold the toppers in half making sure to create a nice straight crease.

Staple those suckers on and you're set to go for a class delivery of festive cheer - no doubt earning yourself some brownie points with your kids along the way.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Christmas craft: bottle cap tree

Let's face it, Christmas can be an expensive exercise when you take into consideration gifts, decorations, lunches, dinners, travel and any other associated costs, so it pays to think creatively and save money where you can.

One quick and easy project you can do on your own or with kids (yours or someone else's) is a bottle cap Christmas tree for your wall.  Maybe you don't have space in your home for a real Christmas tree or you're just looking for an extra bit of festive cheer - like me.

We collect all sorts of reyclable materials in our house, so we have a bag full of bottle caps from beer bottles always calling to be used in some creative way.

All that's required for this project is bottle caps and blue tack and in a few minutes you'll have yourself an instant Christmas decoration that's cost you virtually nothing!

And don't forget about the pom pom wreath I posted about the other day. Another cheap and easy Christmas project with plenty of cheer.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas craft: how to make a wreath using yarn

Rather than go hunting for a Christmas wreath that I'd be happy with, this year I've decided to make my own. That way I'm guaranteed to I get exactly what I want.

So with a little bit of thought and most materials already on hand, I set out making my handmade Christmas wreath. It's part of my pledge for a handmade Christmas - as much as possible.

Maybe you might like to do something similar and hand-make your Christmas decorations this year?

Here's how I did it...
Gather your supplies:

  1. Yarn - choose as many or as few colours as you like
  2. Large piece of cardboard (an empty cereal box will do)
  3. Tissue paper
  4. Pencil
  5. Scissors
  6. Sticky tape

Lets do this:
Using a large dinner plate or something similarly round and large, trace around your circle straight onto your cardboard.

Using a smaller side plate (or something else that is smaller than the first circle) trace around your circle making sure to centre it within your larger circle pencil outline.

Now cut on both lines and you'll be left with a cardboard doughnut. Wipe the drool off your chin and move onto the next step.

Cut some strips about 3-4cm wide from your tissue paper. Attach the first strip to your doughnut with sticky tape and start wrapping it around the cardboard so that you've covered all of the visible cardboard. As you run out of one strip, attach another with more sticky tape. Keep doing this until your doughnut is completely covered. 

Note: The colour of your tissue paper is completely up to you.  The reason for it is in case there are any gaps in between the yarn, you will see colour rather than cardboard.

Using your first colour of yarn and your fingers, you're going to wrap the yarn between 40-80 times around your fingers. When you can wrap no more, snip off the yarn, then cut another piece of same coloured yarn about 20cm long and feed it in between your fingers and around the middle section of the yarn loops on your fingers. Once you've tied the loose piece of yarn tightly, carefully pull the wrapped yarn off your fingers. See photos for visual instructions.

If your pom poms look a little messy, don't be scared to give them a haircut. And you can save all the lovely colourful yarnfetti for another project!

Now keep making your finger pom poms until you've made enough to cover your cardboard doughnut. Loosely arrange them on top so you can see if you need more.

Let's start attaching the pom poms to the doughnut. You can either glue them on or tie them onto the cardboard. That part is completely up to you. I tied mine on so that I could adjust the pom poms on the front and make them look a little neater. Plus I like the look of the coloured ties on the back.

Lastly, make a plait with some yarn and tie it into a bow. Attach it to the bottom of your wreath using more yarn or glue. Make another plait out of yarn and attach it to the top at the back so you have a method of hanging it.

Now, hang it up, stand back and admire your work.
Congratulations. You just made an awesome Christmas decoration!


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