It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Halloween Craft: Jack o’lantern suncatchers

Super-easy toddler (and up) craft.

Supplies:
Clear Contac paper (Contac paper – a brand of shelf paper)
Black permanent marker
Orange tissue paper

Method:
1. With the backing still on the Contac paper, draw a pumpkin face on the clear side. (The kids can do this, too, of course. That’s Jazz’s tummy. She didn’t want to draw her own.)
2. Peel off the backing, and tape the Contac, sticky side up, onto your work surface. (So it doesn’t slither all over.)
3. Tear tissue paper into smallish pieces. Older kids can do this themselves. My kids only crunched the paper into completely unusable smoodged-up blobs of paper when they tried this…
4. Completely cover the pumpkin face with tissue, going past the edge of the picture.

5. Cut out the pumpkin face. Cute, fun, and easy!

October 26, 2011 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , , | 3 Comments

Fishy craft

I’m a sucker for those foamy stickers. We have tubs of them littering my craft cupboard. Red, white and green Christmas foamies in stockings, trees, snowflakes; pink, lilac, and yellow ones in Easter bunnies, tulips, and eggs; primary-coloured party-themed foamies — cakes, hats, and sunbursts. Fun!

Most recently I picked up a bucket of Sea Creatures foamy stickers.

Which, of course, obliges me to find a craft for them. Something a wee bit more creative than slamming them onto a piece of construction paper, not, of course, that the kids object in the slightest to this as a craft. They would be thrilled to take home page after page after page of stuck stickers. Most of them piled up in the same three square inches of the page. Woo!

It’s me who craves … something more. I have no idea what, though.

If you’ve ever wondered how I come up with the crafts I do — the majority of which I make up on the fly — come with me on an annotated tour of Mary’s creative process. It starts with gazing…

I consider the tub of brightly coloured fish, whales, dolphins, frogs and turtles. Hmmm… They all swim. They need water. Water! Let’s make water. We can make something waterish and then stick them to it. They can be ‘swimming’ in the waterish.

And we can make something watery with… plastic? That’s nice. Light shines through plastic. I could use paper sheet protectors, I have a couple of boxes of 50 of those. Light shines through the plastic, but it won’t through the foam. That’ll be a nice effect. Sort of silhouette-y.

And for the colour… how about blue tissue paper torn into bits and glued to one side of the plastic? Or maybe shoved somehow into the sleeve? Nah. Too hard to get the tissue distributed evenly inside the sleeve, and they’d probably only crumple the plastic all to heck trying. Gluing is better, and if I water the white glue down a bit, I’d get a lovely shiny translucent effect…

Except the only tissue I have on hand is orange. Boo. Not that, then.

Paint, maybe? Hmmm… the tempera beads up on the plastic. Acrylic paint works like a charm, but it also stains like a bugge rather badly. So, not acrylic. Back to the tempera…

Which means I can’t use the plastic. What can I use? It needs to be transparent, to give that watery feel. Transparent, or translucent. Translucent, translucent… (I am opening doors and drawers in my kitchen as I mull this over)… Waxed paper! Ha!

And, yes! Tempera sticks just fine to wax paper. Paintbrushes apply it too liberally, though. The light won’t shine through, and the kids will just saturate the paper. We’ll produce nothing but sodden blue wax paper shreds. Fingerpainting? No, same problems. How about sponge painting? Ooo. That might work. Because you dab with sponges, see, instead of scrubbing (as toddlers do with paint brushes). Dabbing is less damaging to the paper. Ha! Sponge painting, then!

I have no sponges. I threw the last bunch out when I forgot to wash them and they went moldy. I remember now.

Darn.

Well, then… paper towels! Half a piece, wadded up a little, dipped in a small dollop of paint, and dabbed on the paper.

All toddlers can wad and dab! (Why does that sound vaguely disgusting?)

And it works like a charm! Tape the wax paper to the table so it doesn’t slide. Dab one side of the paper with blue and green tempera. Flip the paper and stick on your sea creatures foamy stickers.

(Total time elapsed in “creative process” getting to this idea? About 4 minutes.)

craft1

And…

craft2

ta-dah!

Pretty cool, huh?

November 20, 2008 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Hallowe’en crafting, yet again

Today’s craft! Hallowe’en sun-catchers.

Materials:

clear Mactac (shelf paper)
orange tissue paper
scissors
black permanent marker

(Click on pictures for larger images.)

Method:

1. While the backing paper is still on the Mactac, draw a pumpkin outline on the plastic with your marker.

2. Let the children tear the tissue paper into bits. (Or you can, if they can’t.)

3. Children pat the bits onto the sticky side of the Mactac, mostly within the boundaries of your line.

4. Cut another square of Mactac slightly larger than your pumpkin. Peel off the backing.

5. When the children have filled in their pumpkin, press it to the peeled square. Cut square to match pumpkin.

6. Let kids draw face. (Or you can, or you can skip the face.)

DONE! Easy, huh? Even the 13-month-old did this one. (His isn’t shown here, not because it turned out badly, but because, needing more one-on-one attention than the older kids, he did his after the 3-year-olds did theirs. But no, I didn’t do it for him. He poked each of his orange bits into place with his very own pudgy little fingers. His does not have a face.)

Note: you might need to bind the edges with clear tape, to keep the sides together.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , | 2 Comments