Friday, 29 January 2016

Easter Tree Surprise!

This cardboard Easter Tree is simple to make, looks sweet, holds sweets, and can be played with too, so, hopefully the kids will like it!

You'll need:
toilet paper tube
cereal box card (approx 16cmx16cm)
egg box
yellow/orange tissue paper
poster paint
PVA/craft glue
fine black felt tip
small scissors (like straight-edged nail scissors)

1. Paint the tube brown (mix a little red and some yellow to make orange, then add dabs of blue until you're happy with the shade).
Paint the cereal box card green; an egg cup yellow for the nest (cut out another cup the same size, but no need to paint it - it's for drawing around later),
and two egg box cones pale blue for the birds (mix white and a small amount of blue - or choose a different colour).

2. Make a hole in the trunk about a third of the way down. Draw it first then use the nail scissors to pierce through the card (keep them closed, press down and twist from side to side). Cut out.

3. With the hole in the middle, facing you - gently squeeze the tube top together and mark the creases either side. They should be opposite each other.

4. Cut down from these marks about 2cm, and widen the gap by snipping out an extra sliver. This will make it easier to slot in your tree top.

5. With a pencil, draw a curved line down from the top of the slot to about 1cm above the middle of the hole. Do the same on the other side.

6. Draw your tree top - make it generous - but keep the bottom part that's going to attach to the trunk, straight (at least as long as the width of the tube).

7. Cut the tree top out and slot the straight section into the trunk. When you're happy it looks even, mark where the slots are on the tree top. Lift it out and snip small slots (about 1cm). Again, widen them and check the trunk and top fit together.

8.  Unslot, cut the spare unpainted egg cup in half and draw round it, where you'd like the nest to be.

9. Use the nail scissors again to pierce a hole in one of the bottom corners. Cut up, along the top and down. DON'T cut along the bottom. Instead, push the flap out the back of your tree top. This makes a perfect little shelf for your nest.
Check the nest fits, then take it out again.

10. Loosely fold the sheets of tissue paper a few times, then snip across, keeping the strips thin, and unfurl your streamers. Scrumple and tear them up a bit.

Cover your yellow egg cup with a generous layer of glue, plus a little round the inside edge, and press the streamers into the glue. Quite messy but a lot of fun! Push extra strands over the lip of the nest and glue or cut away any other bits that are hanging down, though doesn't need to be too neat.

11. While that's drying, make the birds. We made a baby bird and a slightly bigger one, but make them any size you want. We cut the cones so they were 3cm and 2cm high. Snip up about 0.5mm from any corner and cut straight across three sides only, leaving one side for the tail feathers at the back.

12. Use the fine black felt tip to draw wings, eyes and a 'V' on the tail feathers at the back.

13. If you want to colour in the wings, do - we left some of ours unpainted, and on the others, painted the wings and tail feathers blue (you could use coloured felt tips for this).

For the beak, use a fine paint brush to add a small dot of yellow under the eyes.

14. While the beaks are drying, you can decide what to put in the nest! We used mini eggs, though I saw some really mini, mini eggs in B&M that would have been even better.

You can glue the nest to the flap in the tree if you want, but it should sit fine without, and my daughter wanted to be able to play with the nest.

15. Make small slots in the sides of the birds with the nail scissors, so they can sit in the tree. Snip a little extra out to widen the slots.

14. So, possibly by now you're wondering what the surprise is?.....

..... Surprise!

Any excuse for a creme egg!

Fits perfectly in the tube.

Friday, 15 January 2016

More things to make with old cards - 3D heart bunting

So there were still quite a few cards left after making the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and with Valentine's Day around the corner we decided to go with hearts.

I made this collage from cut up cards a few years ago, and though I was pretty happy with how it turned out, it was faffy and took forEVER....

These 3D card hearts are a lot easier!

1. First, fold a piece of plain paper and draw half a heart on the fold. Make your heart any size you like. We wanted to be able to get a couple from one picture, so ours aren't too big (8cm).

Open up and carefully draw round the heart on the back of a card. Cut out and use this heart as a template for the others.

2. For each 3D heart you'll need four cut outs, paired up (we went for matching designs and similar colours).

3. Glue the backs of the paired hearts together - match the dip at the top when you're gluing them.

The hearts will probably pop away from each other, so, put a book or a bread board on top to weigh down and keep them flat while they dry.

4. When they're dry, trim away any obvious sticky out bits around the edges.

5. Cut halfway down a heart from the dip at the top, and halfway up the matching one from the bottom tip. It's important to snip away a extra sliver from these slots to widen them, so the hearts slot together without buckling. If they still buckle and don't sit properly, trim a little more from the slots, but not too much; don't want your heart falling apart...

6. Decide what you want to hang your hearts on - ribbons, string, yarn - we used some leftover silver Christmas ribbon - decide on the length too, and tie it, stretched out, between two chairs.

7. Un-slot a 3D heart and work on the part with the slot at the bottom. Thread a needle and make a hole under the dip at the top.

8. Tie the heart onto the ribbon, when you're happy with the height, tie a double knot, then wrap one end of the thread around the ribbon again and tie another tight double knot to hold it in place.

9. Repeat along the length of the ribbon, keeping them evenly spaced. We arranged ours at different heights, in a sort of higgledy piggledy fashion.

If bunting is more hearts than you can handle, you could always make single hanging heart decorations. A handy little gift idea?

Linking up with Coombe Mill's Trash2Treasure

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Things to make with old Christmas cards - The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Seems a shame to chuck out all those bright, cheery, sparkly Christmas and Birthday cards, which is probably why I have an overflowing box full of them!
So, if you still haven't got around to recycling yours, or you've been hoarding them like me (because you just never know...), then what about a Very Hungry Caterpillar?

Very Hungry Caterpillar made from old Christmas cards

You'll need:
A selection of old cards (Christmas and Birthday)
PVA/craft glue (leave some in a cleaned out jar or yogurt pot over night if you can, so it thickens up)
Paper and felt tip pens (optional)
Sticky tape

1. First, sort through your cards and make a pile of the ones with blue or green tones - even just part of the picture is fine. The body pieces aren't going to be too big.

2. Find one predominantly red card for the head.  Draw an oval shape on the back of the picture (ours is about 10cm/4" by 7cm/3" wide, but makes yours smaller if you want), and draw a decent sized tab on one side. The body will be attached to this.

Use a picture of the Very Hungry Caterpillar to guide you, there are loads online - we actually had a VHC card in our collection which was handy, though still managed to get our caterpillar facing in the opposite direction...

3. Start drawing and cutting out body segments - make them a bit smaller than the head. They're a sort of jellybean shape with a tab on the side. Once you've drawn and cut one out - use it as a template for the others.

We made 14, plus 2 smaller jellybean shapes without tabs for the end.

4. Lay out your caterpillar on some plain paper. If like us you don't have a big enough piece, a sheet of newspaper will do. Use a ruler to draw a line on the newspaper to keep your caterpillar level.

Following the arched shape of the picture, arrange the body segments with the tabs behind, overlapping as you go. until you're happy with the shape.

5. Then, get a pencil and carefully place the palm of your other hand on the front section of the caterpillar so you don't move the card pieces, and draw around the bottom of the segments. Repeat along the length of the Caterpillar.
This makes it easier to see where each piece goes when you start gluing, but if you'd rather skip this stage and just start sticking, then do!

6. Push the segments out of the way before brushing some glue onto the head tab for the first body segment. When this is glued down, brush glue on this tab, plus some on the underside edge of the next segment, where they'll overlap, and so on.

If the pieces start popping up, don't worry - when you've got to the last segment, place something heavy, like a book on top, to weigh it down while the glue dries.

7. It may have stuck to the newspaper, but that's okay, just pull as much as you can away. It should be nice and sturdy, because of all those tabs - but if you want some extra strength then put sticky tape along the back.

8. We cut the eyes out of cards too as we just happened to have lovely sparkly yellow and green, but an easier option would be to draw the eyes on a piece of plain paper using bright yellow and green felt tips, then cut out and stick in place.

9. The antenna and small round mouth are cut from a card too - use sticky tape to attach the antenna to the back of the head.

10. Cut the stands from one of the thicker cards in your stash - use the plain half, and draw and cut out an arch shape. We made four, but the Caterpillar stays up fine with two.

11. Snip halfway down the stand from the top of the arch. Snip an extra sliver out to widen the slot. Then make the same size slot in a lower body segment - again snip out a bit extra so it's easier to push the stands into place. Sit it up on the stands. Push the stands up or down if you need to, to get the caterpillar to to sit level.

One other thing you could do that I haven't, is draw little legs on the stands with a black felt tip pen.

And there you go, a very hungry caterpillar, and a small dent in the old Christmas card collection...