Easy Craft Ideas – Make a Mural With A Group

September 11, 2008 on 10:12 am | In Other Easy Craft Ideas | | 1 Comment

Most easy craft ideas are geared to individuals, whether kids or adults.  Sometimes you’d like to have a craft idea that works for a group of kids working together.  Making a mural together is an idea that works for a group.  By working together, you are creating something to decorate a shared area.  Individual crafts can be displayed, but one unique item is often more effective than a group of items that are almost identical.  In addition, sometimes kids’ crafts, like it or not, just become clutter when they are taken home, and it isn’t long before Mom throws it out.  This craft idea of making a group mural can be displayed for several weeks and will not become clutter in anyone’s home.

The basic materials for a kids’ group mural is freezer paper.  Freezer paper is about 18 inches wide, and it is very tough.  One side is plastic coated.  That is the side that is designed to be placed against the food.  You will have better luck drawing on and gluing things onto the other side.  Class or group murals can feature a number of different design elements.  You can mix up some finger paint and let the children make hand prints (or even foot prints!) on the paper.  You can let them scour old cast-off magazines and color catalogs for pictures they like and let them cut the pictures out and glue them on.  They can add scribbles, designs, signatures, slogans, or pictures using markers, crayons, or gel pens.  They can attach stickers to the mural as well.  This craft idea is very flexible!

For making the mural, choose a topic that relates to the group in some way.  If the group are girl scouts, for instance, and have been learning to camp, the mural can feature pictures of items related to camping.  If you’ve been learning about dinosaurs, you can use them as a theme.  If you want a really messy project that makes a cute mural for fall, mix up finger paint in fall colors.  The children can each make a tree by first laying their forearm in brown paint.  Then they lay their arm on the paper to make the trunk of the tree.  They should spread out their fingers so their arm print has five short branches at the top.  To make the leaves, the children make fingerprints all around the top of the tree using paints in other fall colors.  If you add a few drops of dishwashing detergent to finger paint when mixing it up, it will be easier to clean off the children’s arms.  Do make sure they have old clothes or smocks for this craft idea.

Little preschoolers will like making a mural with an animal theme.  You should probably find and cut out animal magazine pictures to start with, and then let the children choose the ones they like for gluing down.  Glue sticks are neat to use with small children.  They will paste some of the pictures upside down.  Expect it and do not scold them.  It is the process that is important in this craft idea.  The children can also use animal cookie cutters dipped in finger paint to stamp animals on the mural, too.  You may need to tape the paper to the table so it doesn’t slide around while the children work.

An elaborate form of this craft idea that adults often make is a quilt around a theme.  Each person in the group creates a quilt square to represent some aspect of what the group stands for.  These quilt squares can be colored with fabric pens or crafted of patchwork or applique.  Again, this easy craft idea is to build group solidarity and not to highlight one artist’s skills over another.  When the quilt top is completed, it can be a group project to tie it or quilt it.  It can be hung in a special central location or given to an appreciated leader or member.

Easy Craft Ideas – A Potholder From Scrap Fabrics

July 31, 2008 on 7:12 am | In Other Easy Craft Ideas | | 1 Comment

If you need a gift for a special person, or just need some time to unwind, make a creative handicraft. Crafting is therapeutic when you are feeling stressed, and it also can yield a useful or decorative item. Everyone has some measure of creativity, and with modern kits and patterns, an easy craft idea does not have to end in frustration.

If you have a sewing machine, you can learn to make a creative handicraft that will be a useful and welcome gift. Potholders are a great beginning sewing project that can be made from scrap material or unwanted clothing and a bit of double-fold bias tape. Here are the simple instructions for this creative handicraft.

First cut two 8-inch (21 cm.) squares of fabric to be the front and back of the potholder. Choose coordinating fabrics that match your kitchen for these pieces. To make it easier, you can make an 8-inch square pattern from a piece of cardboard to use as a pattern. Cut more 8-inch squares of any old fabric to stack for the filling. You want the stack of fabric squares to be thick enough to protect you from a hot pot, but thin enough to be flexible and able to be sewn through.

Stack all layers so that the outer layers are facing to the outside and the filler layers are inside. You can put a couple of large straight pins through all layers to keep them together. Now sew right across the middle of the stack. Sew across the middle again, perpendicular to the first stitching. You will have divided the square into 4 squares. Sew across the stack again from corner to corner, and again from the other corner to corner. The layers should be joined and sturdy now.

To bind off the raw edges of your creative handicraft, trim with scissors so that all the layers are again even at the edges. Open out one folded edge of the bias tape. The wider bias tape might seem to be easier to use, but the narrow type makes a neater finished product. Starting at one corner, line up the edges of the tape with the edges of the potholder, and start stitching through all layers along the first fold line, which will be about 1/4 inch from the edge. Stitch neatly and slowly, attaching the opened tape all around the edge until you reach the beginning corner. Cut the bias tape off, leaving 3 inches, (7 cm.) to make into a hanging loop.

Fold the bias tape over the raw edge so that the middle fold lines up with the outside of the potholder and the other fold is hiding the raw edge of the bias tape. Now, for best results, hand sew the binding down, forming a loop on your creative handicraft when you get to the end.

This potholder is just one example of a creative handicraft you can create if you have a sewing machine. When it is finished, you will have a useful item made from all recycled materials. Feel free to give this creative handicraft away or keep it for yourself.

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