Easy Craft Ideas – Home Made Christmas Decorations

December 19, 2008 on 3:42 pm | In Christmas | | No Comments

One of the first things that family members and friends see as they arrive for that special holiday get together is the outside of the home. While most people decorate with outdoor Christmas lights and other items they sometimes forget about the Christmas time plants that can be used to create a perfect look. Window boxes, sometimes referred to as planters can be purchased from most discount retailers or local hardware stores. There are also several online stores that sell them or will custom make these planters to fit a specific window or area of need. Since home windows come in various shapes and sizes, it is important to pick out the correct planter. Otherwise the fit may not look good, therefore taking away from the other Christmas decorations.
The window should be measured for the exact width before a planter box is ordered or purchased. It is also important to ensure that the hardware of the planter will work with the specific window that it is intended for. After picking out the style of the box and making sure that it will work with a window it is then time to decide on the specifics of the color, design and any theme that it may have. Many of the planter boxes come in a neutral color, without decorations or a theme. This may be the most cost effective route if the homeowner plans to use the planter box throughout the year and not only at Christmas time.

The type of plants that can be placed in the planter box varies from the geographical location and also personal preference. Of course because it is Christmas time many people like to stay with reds and greens for that Christmas spirit. Greenery that is hearty with cold weather is always a good choice and the colorful plants such as Christmas berries can be added to give that festive color. Some people like to use other items such as pine Cones and decorations to dress up plants and the box itself. Because these boxes are made of wood they can be painted, stenciled or customized to be an appropriate theme and suit the likes of the homeowner.
Artificial plants can also be used in the planter box if the weather does not permit for live plants. If choosing artificial greenery or other plant types it is important to purchase floral foam, wire and tape to ensure that the plant stays in the appropriate position!

For more Home Made Christmas Decorations, why not have a look at this site? loads of other ideas of things for you to make for Christmas

Easy Craft Ideas – Christmas Is Coming

December 16, 2008 on 10:55 am | In Christmas | | No Comments

With Christmas only a few days away,  I would guess that most folks have bought their presents, decorated their homes and have the Christmas trees up.

If you are still looking for ideas of things that either you or the kids can make for Christmas, why not check out some of the ebooks that are HERE?  Some great ideas for activities, parties, gift boxes and more.

After Christmas is over, particularly with the current economic state of the world, there has never been a better time to recycle.

Most folks will have amassed a lot of wrapping paper and Christmas cards.  Don’t just throw them away or burn them.  Re-use.

Cards can be re-cycled by cutting the pictures off the front and sticking them on homemade cards for next year.

A lot of wrapping paper can either be re-cycled for next year, or can be cut up for creating a collage.  Kids love creating things and re-using items which would normally be thrown away will help them to consider the environment.   Currently, we do live in a throw away society, but with resources being depleted and cash being short for many folks, re-cycling is going to be even more important.

Have a great Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.

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 – Making A Foam Glasses Case

August 2, 2008 on 5:53 am | In Kids Crafts | | No Comments

Are you a camp director, teacher, or homeschool mom looking for an easy craft idea idea for your kids? Or maybe you are a recreation director at a senior center or nursing home and could use a new project. Either way, this arts and crafts idea will be interesting and fun for all. This glass case can be used, given as a gift, or converted into a necklace purse.

To make the glasses case, you will need the following simple materials: a square of craft foam, plastic or large blunt needles, lanyard lace or thick yarn. Cut two rectangles from the foam, each 3-1/2 inches (9 cm.) by 6 inches (15 cm.). With a hole punch, make holes on three sides of each rectangle, leaving one short side unpunched. Make the holes 1/2 inch apart and allow at least 1/4 inch between the hole and the edge of the craft foam. The holes need to line up so that the two pieces can be laced together. If you are preparing the craft for small children, you should make the holes yourself. Otherwise, the crafters can do this step if you have enough pairs of hole punches.

At this point the crafters can cut decorative shapes from other colors of craft foam, or you can buy sets of ready-cut foam shapes. If you are doing the craft at a special event, like vacation Bible school, choose shapes that echo the theme of the event. For instance, if the Bible school or camp has a cowboy theme, find shapes that fit well, such as boots, cowboy hats, and stars. Let the kids choose the shapes they like and glue on as desired. You might also like to provide beads or sequins to glue on as well, especially if the crafters are a little older.

The next step in this arts and crafts idea is to thread the plastic needle with the yarn or lanyard lace. Yarn might be a little easier to handle, but lanyard lace is shiny and attractive. In a pinch, some teachers of small children use a bobby pin as a needle. It is certainly a safe alternative. Simply loop the yarn through the opening and use the open end of the bobby pin as if it were the point of the needle. The children can now begin to lace the front and back of the glasses case together.

To turn this arts and crafts idea into a necklace purse, simply attach a piece of lanyard lace to each corner making a long handle. Kids will enjoy using this case as a place to store secret notes and small objects. If they’d rather, they can give the glasses case to a parent, grandparent, or friend who wears glasses. Either way, this easy craft idea will be interesting for all.

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.

Easy Craft Ideas – Clay Pot Crafts

July 29, 2008 on 1:30 pm | In Clay Pot Crafts | | No Comments

Make a Bell for the Porch.

As an easy craft idea, using clay pots to make other items is something that anyone can do.

Clay pot crafts are a cute way to make home decorations. In clay pot crafts, clay flower pots can be crafted into a variety of decorative things that appeal to gardeners. Usually, the crafter begins with new pots. The pots are often decorated with paint as well as being tied together with rope or cord to create things.

Pots for clay pot crafts can be purchased in many different sizes, from tiny ones not more than 2 inches in diameter, to huge ones over a foot across. For a beginning project, start with smaller pots. The beginner should also choose clay pot crafts that don’t use too many pots in too elaborate a design.

An example of a good craft for someone new at clay pot crafts is to make a bell from two clay pots. Buy one pot that is about five or six inches in diameter, and another that is very small. You will use the small one as the clapper for the bell. You will also need some decorative cord, two large wooden beads, and paint in desired colors. You may also wish to purchase some glue-on jewels to decorate the bell. The bell makes a nice decoration for a front porch.

Cut the cord two feet (60 cm.) long. Fold the end over 3 inches (8 cm.) and tie in an overhand knot, making a loop. This loop is for hanging the bell from a hook or a nail. Now turn the larger clay pot upside-down. Pass the loose end of the cord down through the hole in the pot. Lay the pot on its side and slide one of the large wooden beads up the cord until it is about 10 inches (25 cm.) from the loose end. Now tie the cord around the bead so that the bead cannot slip from its position on the cord. If you have done this correctly, you can lift the pot by the loop. In clay pot crafts, the beads must be large enough to stop the cord from going through the hole in the bottom of the pot.

On the loose end of the cord, you are going to attach the small pot in the same way. Slide the small pot up the cord to make it easier to tie the other large wooden bead on the end of the cord. Now when you lift the entire arrangement by the loop, the smaller pot should hang freely inside the larger pot, making a pleasant sound when it claps against the larger pot.

Decorate the outside of the larger pot with paint as desired. You may like to paint it in black and white patches for a Holstein cow theme. You may also like to decorate the top of the bell with silk or dried flowers and greenery and a ribbon bow.

For a variation on this craft, make three of the bells and hang them from a horizontal piece of driftwood or other interesting piece of natural wood. When making hanging clay pot crafts, always make sure the beads are large enough and are tied tightly in place, because the clay pots will break if they fall to the ground.

Other clay pot crafts include making a large doll or scarecrow of nested pots strung together and painted. The doll can sit on a chair or a step of the front porch. Paint his face to look like a scarecrow, a jack-o-lantern, a gnome, or a child. Clay pot crafts are especially suited to being displayed outside.

Easy Craft Ideas – Dried Flowers to Brighten Your Winter

February 25, 2008 on 3:41 pm | In Dried Flowers | | No Comments

One of my favorite easy craft ideas is dried flowers. In the depths of winter when the sun is barely visible, the weather is cold and the rain keeps raining we all need something to cheer us up. What better way than a beautiful arrangement of dried flowers? They bring the summer sunshine into your home and help to dispel the winter blues.

Dried Flowers 2

 

OK, so this is not just an easy craft idea, it does require some ground in which to grow them and a some simple gardening skills. It isn’t difficult to grow dried flowers, if it was I wouldn’t be doing it. The two varieties we grow are Helichrysum (Strawflower) and statice (Sea Lavender). Helichrysum are flamboyant and vivid and statice tend to be a bit more restrained with subtle colours.

dried1.jpg

How do you grow them?

I start the seeds off around March in seed trays in a good quality compost in our greenhouse, but any light warm environment will do. Don’t put them in direct sunlight though as they will not do as well. When the seedling are about 10mm to 15mm high, with two leaves on them, prick them out and plant in individual containers. Rather than buy pots, you can use old yoghurt pots with a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage. Make sure you have thoroughly washed the pots. Keep the compost damp, but don’t over water them. Prepare a bed in the garden and make sure the soil is free of weeds and you have a fine tilth. The seedlings can be planted out when all chances of frost have gone at about 15cm to 20cm apart. They can be planted directly in their flowering positions later in the year, but I have found the method I now use more reliable. This is a very basic how to grow guide. There will be more information on the seed packets on exact times to plant etc.

The seeds can be bought from most good garden centres and a lot of the chain stores or supermarkets that have a gardening section.

How do you dry them?

When they are in full flower, they can be cut with either a pair of strong scissors or secateurs. Remove most of the lower leaves and tie them in bunches and hang them upside down in a warm dry place. After about a week, they will be ready to use in your arrangements.

Arrangement suggestions?

I think they look great in old fashioned vases, or old baskets. It is really up to you. You can often pick up baskets which have a well used look from junk stores at very reasonable prices.

What else can be dried?

Here is a list of just a few. Dried grasses also look nice when mixed with the brighter flowers.

Safflower
Money Plant
Ping Pong Flower
Bells of Ireland
Love-in-a-Mist
Winged Everlasting
Globe Amaranth
Globe Thistle
Baby’s Breath
Pierrot
Sensation Giants
Chinese Lantern
Tinkerbells
Green Thumb
Now is the time to think about going out to buy your seeds to get ready to plant out when the weather improves.

Easy Craft Ideas – Paper (Papier) Mache

August 27, 2007 on 6:58 am | In Paper Mache | | No Comments

Paper mache is a great easy craft idea, particularly for kids. You can make anything from small models to life size sculptures. I’m sure you have all been to a carnival where they have models of animals, dragons, caricatures of well know people on the floats. Many of these are made from paper mache. I can remember, when I was a kid really enjoying sticking bits of paper together and making something from old bits of newspaper. You can even make things like hand puppet heads such as Punch and Judy.

A simple paper mache model of a head can be made by using a balloon, a bowl, or other suitable object as a former for the main shape. Once you have built up three or four layers of paper, you can then start adding the details such as ears,nose, mouth and eyes etc. For larger models you can use chicken wire as a former. You make the former into the general shape you want and again build up layers of paper mache until you have several layers. Also with larger models, you can make the various parts individually and then join them together using more paper mache.

One of the great thing about paper mache is the low cost of making things. You can make the basic mixture using a flour and water paste and use old newspapers torn into strips. If you prefer it, you could use wallpaper paste instead of flour and water, but this would obviously increase the cost.

A word of warning: Making paper mache is messy. Make sure that you or your kids are wearing suitable protective clothes and you cover any work surfaces with plastic cloths. It is probably preferable that an adult makes the paste, or at least does the heating of the paste.

So what do you need to get started?

For the paste there are several recipes. Here are just two:

Recipe 1

1 cup of water
1/4 a cup of flour
5 cups of lightly boiling water

Mix the flour and the two cups of cold water together until you have an even mixture without any lumps. Gently pour this mixture into the boiling water and stir to avoid lumps. Continue to boil gently and stir for three minutes. Take the mixture of the heat and allow to cool down before using. Use the mixture within a few of days as it will not keep for too long. Store in a cool place such as a fridge.

Recipe 2

5 cups of flour
5 cups of cold water

Mix the water and flour together in a bowl until you achieve a creamy consistency. Use the mixture within a few of days as it will not keep for too long. Store in a cool place such as a fridge.

Making your first model:

Tear long newspaper strips 25 to 50mm wide.
If you are using a balloon as your former, blow it up first!!
If you are using a different object as your former, remember you will need to remove it when you have finished your model. To make it easier to remove, cover it with a plastic bag before starting. Not required if you are using a balloon as you can just pop it when you have finished.
Dip a strip of paper into the paste and wipe off any excess paste with your fingers.
Place the strips on your form, in a criss cross fashion to create overlapping layers.
Once you have completed one layer, allow it to dry for 24 hours.
Repeat this until you have at least three layers.
Once you have sufficient layers and the model is completely dry, you can the remove the former. If it is a balloon you can just pop is. If you have used a different former, you will need to cut the model in order to remove it. You can then glue the model back together using more paste and strips of newspaper.
Now you can decorate your model using water based poster paints.

For more intricate models you will probably want to investigate making a paper mache pulp mix. Have a look at these great books on paper mache.

There are some great examples of paper mache art here .

Easy Craft Ideas – Rag Rugs

August 21, 2007 on 11:40 am | In Rag Rugs | | No Comments

The history of rag rugs goes back a long way. They have a variety of names such as hookies, clippies, peggy or proggy mats. The making of rag rugs was initially not because people wanted to pursue a craft, but more out of necessity. It enabled families who had very little to make floor or bed coverings from old clothes and other pieces of material. When they were first made has been lost in the mists of time, but it is quite possible that it dates back to the time of the Viking settlers in the UK. Some people think it may have even dated back to early Egypt. In the mill towns of northern England, they used to use old serge material.

When the new settlers arrived in countries like America, Australia and New Zealand they had very little with them. My wife and I traveled to New Zealand a few years ago and in one of their historic villages we saw rag rugs that were well over a hundred years old and were still in good condition, despite being used by the original makers on an everyday basis. Unfortunately, because they were treated as utilitarian and not heirlooms, not that many have survived.

The oldest surviving rag rug in the UK is said to be one made of uniforms worn at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, but two earlier hooked bed rugs survive in the USA, one dated 1763 and the other 1773. Some examples of early rag rugs can be seen at the Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham and the American Museum in Bath, and also in The Museum of Welsh Life, Cardiff and The Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury.

My wife has been making rag rugs for some time some of which we have in our house and some have been made them for relatives. They are ideally suited to country style properties, because of the old feel they have to them.

There are may different types of tool available to make them such a “proddy”, a standard rug hook, or a latch hook. My wife prefers uses a latch hook, but it all a matter of personal preference. These tools can be obtained from specialist suppliers, or can usually be found on Ebay at very reasonable prices.

Proddy

A Proddy

Hook

A Hook

Latch Hook

A Latch Hook

Materials can be recycled material for the rag such as old shirts, duvet covers, curtains, dresses or whatever you have available or can scrounge. Cotton is preferable, but a cotton/polyester mix is also fine. You could of course go out and buy material, but the whole point is to keep the costs down. The backing can be made from old sacks such as coffee sacks. If you go to a shop that sells freshly ground coffee and ask them if they have any sacks, they will probably give them to you. If they don’t have any, ask them if when they do get some to put them on one side for you. Again, you could go out and but new hessian, or rug backing material that is used for wool rugs, but it isn’t cheap.

As far as design goes, this is only limited by your own imagination. You can either make you rug with completely random colours (that will go together), or you can draw a design on the backing and work to that. Some examples of the rugs in our home are shown below.

Rug 1

Rug 1

Rug 2

Rug 2

Rug 3

Rug 3

Rug 4

Rug 4

Rug 4 Rear View

A Rear View of Rug 4

Rug 4 Rear View Showing How Rag is Looped Through

Section Detail of the Rear of Rug 4

How do you make them? This is really beyond the scope of this blog, but basically with our rugs, the material is cut into strips about 25mm wide by 80mm long and then is hooked through the backing material. With cotton or cotton/polyester it is best to cut the material on the bias. That is, don’t cut it where it would normally tear, but on an angle. This will stop the material from fraying too much once the rug is in use. I have read that with wool you cut it straight, but we have never tried it.

If this has whetted you appetite for making your own rugs, then I would advise you purchase book on the subject. There are a great number of titles available from here.

Easy Craft Ideas – Craft is for all ages

August 20, 2007 on 12:09 pm | In Uncategorized | | No Comments

No matter how young or old you are, what your gender is, there is a craft for you. There is such a wide range of easy craft ideas which you can choose from. Obviously a lot will depend on how much you want to spend, but there are a lot of crafts which will cost you very little.

The following quote is from Sandra Hedditch:

“Craft is good for elderly people as it keeps the mind active and passes time, it is great for mentally disabled people as it helps with learning, socializing and coordination.

Craft is also a fantastic teacher to children it helps with math, English, coordination, they learn how to use tools such as scissors, paint brushes, pencils and of course glue. Making collages also teaches about different textures and painting teaches colors and what primary colors make when mixed together, plus they find out how nice it is to share with others.”

To read the full article, go to the website:

http://www.ezinearticles.com/?More-To-Craft-Than-Meets-The-Eye&id=667782

Many crafts from the past are now making a comeback and a lot of these were traditionally made by people who didn’t have a great deal of spare money to spend. Before recycling became fashionable people were recycling old clothes, bottles, pieces of metal and more. A great example of this is rag rugs. The only items you need to buy is a rug hook. The other materials you need are old clothes cut into strips and the rug backing which could be an old coffee sack or something similar. Other than that, all it will cost you is your time.

The next post will give some examples of rag rugs. If you really can’t wait, then click here and browse the great selection of books available on rag rugging.

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