craft

Make paper decorations

The year 3 students at our school recently made some Christmas decorations – and I think they are lovely!

paper Christmas decorations hanging in a window overlooking greenery

I spotted them on a bench outside the classroom and couldn’t resist grabbing some photos before ours arrived home a few days later.

collection of children's hanging Christmas decorations

How to make hanging Christmas decorations

You will need:

  • one A4 sheet of thin cardboard per decoration (obviously you can use a bigger sheet of cardboard to make lots of these!)
  • scissors
  • staples (and stapler!)
  • decorations – glitter glue, stickers, textas, glitter
  • shiny string (or plain string or thin ribbon) for hanging

cardboard, ruler, pencil, stapler and scissor to make a Christmas decoration

You then need to cut the cardboard into strips. For each hanging decoration, you will need to cut 7 strips about 5 cm wide based on:

  • 2 x full length
  • 2 x 2/3 length
  • 3 x 1/3 length

{This makes it a good maths activity, too, and will stretch the kids brains as well as building their fine motor skills while having fun and being creative!}

red and green cardboard strips

Strips cut for the alternative, wider decoration (see below)

Arrange the strips from biggest to smallest to biggest. That is, make a pile of

  • 1 full length
  • 1 2/3 length
  • 3 1/3 length
  • 1 2/3 length
  • 1 full length

Make the pile neat, with all strips meeting at one end of the pile. Staple the ends together.

stapled strips of reed and green cardboard

Bend the strips towards each other so all the loose ends line up together, and staple again.

Put a hole in one end and thread string/ribbon through (or just staple on the string or ribbon if you prefer) so the decoration can hang.

Now make it beautiful with textas, stickers and glitter glue.

Alternatively, staple a few decorations together to make a longer decoration, and just add string/ribbon at one end. Or attach some string to two decorations so there is a little room for them to sway independently. connected hanging decorations hanging in a window

They can hang on a tree, in a window or from a ceiling. Somewhere that catches an occasional breeze gives a pretty effect.

child-made hanging decorations hanging in a window

Many of the children at school chose to use black card so the glitter and stickers stood out more, but I also like the colourful cardboard ones. What will you make – colourful or black?

An alternative is to have 2 1/3 lengths and one 1/6 length to have a decoration that is much wider than it is tall – this is what happened when I followed my kids’ instructions initially!

red and green card decoration

It’s Friday and day 16…

2016 Lego Christmas Advent Calendars

Ok, it is actually Saturday morning but I am sharing the Lego advent calendars fro Fridday as we lost power last night and I couldn’t access the internet to post this.

Again, my daughter was questioning the Christmas aspect of the Friends calendar so I am trying to explain that not everything in an advent calendar has to actually be about Christmas. But given her enjoyment of making things, she was very happy to put together a craft table and glue bottle.

Lego Friends craft table

My son found a plane in the Lego City calendar. I wondered if it would turn out to be a shuttle and part of a rocket (as happened last year) but we’ll have to wait until tonight to find out!

Lego City advent calendar plane

If you have enjoyed reading about day 16, you can go back to day one or even read the 2015 day 15 Lego advent calendar review.

Poinsettia Christmas wreath

When I got the BHG Christmas magazine, one of the things I decided to try was the wreath made out of Poinsettias – the aim being to make it with my five year old as a fun Christmas activity.

So, I have made it and the five and seven year olds both helped a little, and I think it looks ok. Once I got it figured out, it wasn’t too hard to make but it did take some thinking as the instructions were lacking in some areas.

Making the wreath

Ok, to make this wreath, you need a few things. In the magazine, the instructions are actually divided into two as you can just make the poinsettia flowers to hang or you can use those flowers to make the wreath.

Putting the two lists together, you will need:Requireemtns to make a poinsettia Christmas wreath

  • red felt (about 12 cm by 90 cm in total – it can be in different dimensions)
  • a 23cm flat bottomed polystyrene wreath (it took me time to find a large one and mine is actually 29cm thus the extra felt and bells I used)
  • Christmas ribbon
  • string (I used Christmas coloured rope instead)
  • 21 small bells (I used 27)
  • a hot glue gun and glue

Making the flowers

This is the trickiest part of making the wreath and certainly is not child friendly because of the hot glue.

First step is to cut out eight tear-shaped petals and one circle for each of the seven (or nine in my case!) flowers. The pattern in the magazine needed to be made larger so I free handed it.

My hint is to cut out a few of the paper templates so you don’t have to pin the templates quite so often! I certainly folded the material in half so I could cut two at once – there are at least 56 petals to cut out!

The magazine told me to glue each petal like a cone. With some experimenting, I can tell you that you need to keep the pointed end of the petal outwards and fold the curved end over.

fingers folding red felt to make a petal

Then add some glue and fold over the other curved side.

fingers holding red felt petal

It is fiddly and I had my fingers in hot glue a number of times so please don’t give this to young children to do!

The next part if much easier – glue eight curled petals onto a circle of felt. You can lay them out perfectly around the circle by doing them in pairs on either side of the circle, but I found it much easier to add them side by side when the kids helped me as they had trouble getting the points centred otherwise.

Little hands gluing petals onto a felt circle

Add three dobs of hot glue in the entre of the flowers and stick a bell on each one. This my five and seven year olds did manage and enjoying.

small hand adding bells to a felt flower

By now, you can clearly see the flowers and my daughter called them amazing! The big advantage of the hot glue gun is how quickly the glue is set – no wasted time waiting for things to dry.

Putting the wreath together

The next part is easy – lay all the flowers on your wreath, adjusting the spacing until they all fit nicely and cover most of the wreath.

Foam wreath partially covered by red felt flowers

One by one, hot glue a flower onto the wreath until all are in place. Then, glue a bow of the ribbon into the gap between the last two flowers. You can tie a bow then just glue it on (or glue on the ribbon then tie a bow), but I glued it into place and to form a bow so I know it won’t come undone.

Ribbon glued onto wreath to form a bow

Turn the wreath over and hot glue a length of string onto the wreath to form a hanging loop.

View of the back of the wreath where handing loop is attached

Attaching the loop is simple

All that’s left to do now is hang it! Or wrap it to give as a gift I suppose.

Felt poinsettia wreath handing on a blue wall

The finished product is quite good I think

 

Scented sachets

kids filling fabric bags with scented leaves

It took concentration but the kids loved filling the bags for their Grandparents’ Christmas gifts.

As I’ve mentioned before, I usually get my kids to make presents for their grandparents each Christmas. It can be difficult finding things to make as I want it to be something the grandparents can keep and enjoy rather than just a scrap of paper with a scribble on it, and ideally it will be something at least a little bit useful!

So one year they made scented sachets as gifts.

Steps to scented sachets…

  1. I pulled out various bits of material I already had and let each child choose fabric to use.
  2. For the chosen fabrics, I cut a rectangle of about 18cm x 5cm# and used a sewing machine to create them into bags* – some with a lace trim
  3. we then walked around the garden together, collecting stuffing for the bags – we used home grown lavender, gum leaves, native mint leaves and miscellaneous leaves. Yes, you’d probably get better long term results from dried plant matter but I wanted the kids to be involved in the whole process and didn’t mind if these sachets didn’t last more than a few months.
  4. the children then had a lovely time filling their bags with the scented plant material
  5. I hand stitched the opening of the bags
  6. The kids lovingly wrapped their gifts and put them under the Christmas tree.

For older children, you could get them more involved in making the bags, too.

 

# Some I cut in 10cm x 9 cm pieces if that fitted my material better

* To make the bags, simply fold the fabric in half with the right sides touching and sew along most of the open edges, leaving a small opening to add the filling. To trim with lace, simply pin the lace between the two pieces of fabric (so the pretty part is hidden from view as you pin and sew) and sew as per the plain bags.

Stepping stones

stepping stones- i remember when i was a little girl i made unique stepping stones for my grand parents. Dad poured the cemet in to a frame him and mum made and my older sis and i put pebbles and stuff on top. I still some times see it at my grandmums house on her wonky path!

Making paper lanterns

Three child-made paper lanterns lit by candles Paper lanterns can be a beautiful decoration, indoors or out, but they’re also very easy to make.

Making lanterns with kids

For preschoolers, you will need to help with the cutting but otherwise kids can pretty much do this themselves.

  1. decorate a piece of A4 paper children decorating a red paper lantern
  2. fold the paper in half length wise
  3. cut 1cm strips across the paper – start cutting at the fold and stop about 2cm before the edge of the page  Cutting paper to create a paper lantern
  4. open the page out
  5. spread glue along one short edge  Adding glue to hold a paper lantern
  6. roll the paper to overlap the short edges, sticking them together
  7. cut a strip of paper and glue it on as a handle  Four paper lanterns made by children
  8. use your lanterns as you will – you can hang them or stand them on a table or window sill

handy lantern tips

  1. you can use other sized paper, just be sure it is rectangular, not square. A4 is a good size for little fingers to work with
  2. decorating the paper with crayons, stickers and textas is more effective than pencils!
  3. colour paper is a good basis
  4. remember they are made out of paper – you can put a tea light candle inside but the fire risk is high. Don’t leave them unattended or near kids, and be sure the paper is firm enough to stand first (cheaper printer paper isn’t!) A good compromise is to use a candle inside a glass jar or a battery operated tea light candle.

 

Simple Christmas decorations made by kids

A while ago I worked as child carer in my own home. Leading up to Christmas, I wanted to do some Christmas activities with the kids, as you do!

I was also on a budget but I found this activity worked really well – it cost nothing as I had stuff lying around, the kids were amused for hours and got creative (and developed fine motor skills of course), and by their nature, parents had somewhere to display their work (there are only so many paintings that fit on a fridge!)

Cardboard Christmas Tree decorations

As I was working with two year olds, I did a lot of the preparation work and divide the instructions for an adult and kids. If you have older kids, they may be able to do some of the earlier steps as well.

instructions for the adult

Cut out Christmas shapes from cardboard (cereal boxes work but washing powder boxes are thicker cardboard so are better). Stars, stockings and bells are easy, but get as creative as you want!

Punch a hole near one edge (poke the hole with scissors if you don’t have a hole punch).

instructions for the kids

Decorate the shapes! Glue on bits of coloured paper, tinsel and cotton wool balls, add stickers, glitter and paints.

Let it dry.

Thread gift ribbon (or string) through the hole and tie into a loop.

Hang the loop on the Christmas tree (or a door handle).

Stand back and admire your beautiful work 🙂

Love Santa says – send us photos of your creations, too!

What’s the craft?

Any chance you could give us a hint of what craft activity Santa will send out this year? I want to make sure I have all the stuff on hand becuase my daughter want to make it as soon as she finished reading her letter!

Love the craft

I’m really looking forward to the Love Santa letters arriving soon – the craft activities included for the last 2 years have been fantastic and a great way to keep my kids occupied while the big count down goes on FOREVER!

SO very Santa to give something for kids’ happiness as well as answering their letters. Thank you!

Christmas needlework

There is nothing more loving and special as a gift than something hand made specifically for the recipient. Of course, if they are skilled crafters, the gift is truly valuable, lol!

If you are anything like me, there is no way you could sit down in December and start making some lovely gifts for people – who has that much time in December?

So this year I figure I might get started early by starting some craft projects now when I am relaxed (holidays are wonderful things!) I found a few needlework projects relating to Christmas but then I figured it didn’t have to have a Christmas theme to be a Christmas present, lol, so I’m going to ‘catch a falling star’ instead.

And I’m also looking for inspiration for a scrapbooking page that I may create as a hanging picture for my parents and in laws. Figure its a unique gift for people who just buy anything they want or need during the year!

Thank you :)

My kids received their letters last week and they were just gorgeous! They were so excited to know that Santa really had noticed their good behavior during the year – and very hopeful about the potential gifts me mentioned, too!

The little surprise added in was lovely, but the craft idea on the back was fantastic. Not only have we made many versions, they are wrapped under the the tree for grandparents, aunts & uncles. It was a beautiful way to spend time with my kids and for them to learn the real value of Christmas gifts – it isn’t the price tag but the time and love that goes into them.

So thank you Santa’s Elf – and I for one am glad Santa asked for your help (not that his own letters wouldn’t be just as good!)

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