Sunday, 29 November 2015

Hey, Hey, HAY!

Kind of feel I'm getting into the swing of the kids' craft workshops now. Definitely learn something new every time I do one; like not to be ridiculously over ambitious with the making plans.... an hour disappears so quickly when you're crafting. No fun rushing and trying to cram too much in. With a bit of time and space kids start coming up with their own imaginative ideas, and that's what it's all about really.

Friday's workshop at the Hay Festival Winter Weekend was a lot of messy, sparkly fun. Such a lovely setting too, in Hay castle. The kids made little feathery lovebirds from 'Make Your Own Zoo' and to Christmas them up a bit, I attached a loop of thread so they could be tree decorations, and laid on the glitter and sparkles! The children also made homes for their birds - an egg box lid bank and a tissue paper streamer tree.... with a generous sprinkle of glitter and shiny stars of course.
Some splendiferous, creative making. Just lovely to see.

Afraid the pictures aren't great - it was quite dark inside, but at least I took some this time!

While I was packing up they were getting the room ready for a live band and dancing, and warming up the mulled wine. Wish I could have stayed!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Easy egg box Nativity figures - #makeanativity

Some figures to add to the stable from last time.

We used the middle cones of an egg box, because they've already got a nice robe-look about them...

So, you'll need:
egg box
cereal box card
coloured paper
PVA craft glue
coloured felt tips
cotton wool balls (for sheep)
pipe cleaner (for staff)

1. First, roughly cut out the egg box cones - this makes them easier to work with.  Make a mark just above any joins left from the box and draw round the cone. Cut along the line so you get a nice, neat cone.

2. Paint your cone bodies. We chose blue for Mary, white for Joseph and orange for the shepherds.

3. While they're drying, draw faces on some cereal box card. I'd recommend making a head template to copy for all you figures - this makes things much easier. We used an orangy-pink pencil to colour in the face and did the rest with felt tips. Cut them out (small scissors are best). Don't glue them on the bodies yet.

4. To make the cloak, lie the cone body on a piece of paper, not too close to the edges. Use a pencil to draw down one side and along the bottom edge to the corner.

5. Without lifting the cone off the paper, carefully roll it onto the next side, and draw along this bottom edge too.

6. Roll once more, and draw along and up the side.

7. To make the hood, join the top lines with a semi-circle. Cut out.

It helps for gluing later if you press your cloak round the sides and back of the cone at this stage, and crease it along the edges.

8. For the sleeves, best to make a template again from some cereal box card. Draw one sleeve on the card and make it a little more flared at the end (roughly 3.5cm long).

Fold a piece of paper the same colour as the cloak and put the template on the fold like this. Cut out and open up.

9 Use PVA/craft glue to stick the sleeves around the top of your cone.

Put a good layer of glue over the sides and back and stick on the cloak, one side at a time, making sure the bottom of the cloak is in line with the bottom edge of the cone. Check it's stuck down all the way around - if it keeps popping up, use paper clips to hold it down while it dries.

10. Put glue on the back of the head and stick the bottom half to the top/front part of the cone - some of the head will be above the end of the cone and should be framed by the hood.

When the glue is dry, fold back the sleeves.

11. For the crib, cut out two shallow egg cups from your egg box (about 1cm depth). If you want, make one curve upwards so it's higher at the top end. Glue the bases together and when dry, paint brown.

Draw, colour and cut out a small baby face and a blanket. We used a piece of felt because there was some handy.

Put some homemade tissue paper straw inside (see stable step-by-step) glue the baby's chin to the top of the blanket and place him in his crib.

Make the shepherds the same way as Mary and Joseph. Bend a piece of pipe cleaner into a staff shape and glue it to the bottom of a sleeve (best to use a stronger, all-purpose glue or fabric glue for this as PVA doesn't work so well with pipe cleaners).

For the sheep, draw and colour in a face on some cereal box card and glue onto a ball of cotton wool.

Next time the Three Kings.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mobile Trouble

Not the kind you're probably thinking. The kind you hang from the ceiling. The kind that seem unfeasibly difficult to photograph. Any tips?

I tried this one in different places; different lights; up close; from a distance, and think probably the outside shots are the best. But it was a challenge and I took a ridiculous number of photos.

The close up ones aren't too bad either, but don't look so mobile-like.

More mobile-like, but a bit lost?

It's made from egg box parrots, which are easier to make than they might look.  Step-by-step here.

What's not so easy is tying them onto the blinking sticks and getting the whole thing to balance.... But very satisfying when it does. I found a dab of glue on the knots helps, to stop strings slipping about and un-doing all that hard work.

They'd look lovely hanging from a branch... and a lot less hassle.

Or maybe add a bit of glittery sparkle and hang them on the Christmas tree?

Linking up with My Sunday Photo at OneDad3Girls

Friday, 13 November 2015

Easy cardboard Nativity - #makeanativity

We made this Nativity scene a few years ago, and it worked really well (it's here if you'd like to have a look).

Thing is it's made out of paper, so, didn't really stand the test of time... though we do still have the three Wise Men.

They live on top of my spice jars in the kitchen.

It's been on my mind to make another nativity scene - a cardboard one this time, that should hopefully last a little longer, and I've been eyeing up the cat food box for a while, thinking it would make a pretty good stable? So, over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some ideas here.

If you don't have a cat, or a friend with a cat, then look out for any other packaging that's a similar sort of shape. This teabag box has a nice arched opening too, but your stable really doesn't have to have one - it could be the bottom end of a large cereal box or a dishwasher tablets box. As long as it's high enough for the figures (about 10cm).

I've kept the cardboard flap on our box, and might add something to it later, but it'll work just as well without.

Painting the stable is the easiest option.
Rub the shiny outside of the box with some sandpaper to remove the sheen and to give the paint something to grip to. To make a good 'stable' brown, mix a little red with a lot of yellow to make orange, and then keep adding small amounts of blue, until you're happy with the colour.
Probably need 2 coats.

I went for the slightly harder option and covered our box with brown paper. Does take a bit more time, but think it's worth it.

Start with the two sides of the stable and you basically need to cut out two identical bits of paper that are a bit bigger than the area you're covering.

To do this, place the box on one side on the paper, and line the bottom of the stable with the edge of the paper.

Mark a few dots about a cm out from the other 3 sides. This is so you have extra paper to fold over the edge of the box.

Use a ruler to join the dots. You need two pieces the same size (you could fold the whole sheet of paper in half and then cut them both out at the same time).

Brush PVA craft glue evenly over one side, making sure you get into the corners, then line the piece of paper up with the bottom of the stable, making sure you have a similar sized overlap on the sides and top.  Press along the edges to crease the paper.

Snip a small triangle out of the corners of the brown paper to make it easier to fold - brush a line of glue along the edge of the box and stick the overlap down. Do the same on the other side. This will give you a much neater join when the rest of the stable is covered.

Place the box in the bottom corner of another piece of brown paper, mark the width of the box, and use a ruler to draw a line along the sheet. Cut out, following the inside of the line - you don't want this piece of paper to hang over the edges of your stable.

You might find, (as we did) that one piece of paper is not long enough to cover the front, top and back, so, cut another piece the same width as the stable, and make it a little bigger than the gap you need to cover, so there's an overlap.

Cover the front, top and back of the box with an even coat of glue, then, starting at the front, line up the paper with the bottom edge and carefully stick it down, a little at a time, pressing and smoothing as you go. If you're working with a box like mine you will be covering over the arched opening too, like this.

If you're using the bottom end of a large cereal box, or something like a dish washer tablets box, then you'll only have to cover the top and back. To get a neat finish, leave a cm or so of paper hanging over the front edge, so you can fold and glue it underneath.

If you have an arched opening, cut the hole out, but don't go right up to the edge - leave a paper border of about 1cm around the arch.

Snip into this extra paper, up to the edge and crease it back, before gluing.

Once the glue's dried, (or paint if you've gone that route), then use a ruler and a black felt tip pen to add lines for a wooden plank effect. I found drawing a broken line like this worked well, giving it a more rustic look.

Once you've done one line, move the ruler on, away from the line so you're not covering it, and can see the width of the planks. Don't worry if they're not all the same size - a bit of variety is good.

Randomly draw a few short lines going across some of the planks, to look like joins, and add two dots for nails.

For the straw, loosely fold a yellow and orange sheet of tissue paper together, and snip across to make really thin strips.

Unfurl your homemade streamers, then - the really fun bit - tear and crumple them up, until you're happy with your straw.

Figures next time!