Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Shell hedgehogs and other animals - easy summer crafts for kids

We thought we'd share a few simple craft ideas that are fun to do during the summer holidays, whether you're home or away. There maybe a few Star Wars/Batman projects in the mix too, but even these don't need much planning, or a suitcase of craft supplies!

This one definitely doesn't,  just slip a Sharpie (other permanent markers are available..) into you bag and you're good to go!

I love collecting shells - happy memories of summers spent with my family on a beautiful beach near Tyrella in Northern Ireland. I'd walk slowly along the tideline with my head down and my eyes fixed on the scattered shells washed up by the sea. There was always plenty to choose from, but what I really wanted to find was a cowrie or a pelican's foot, because there weren't so many of them. It was like finding treasure when you did.

I think I've past this love onto my daughter, judging by the buckets and bag full of shells that come home after beach trips. We have made all kinds of shell creations with a trusty tube of UHU glue - the shell lady and little baby in a pram are ones I used to make with my Mum.

These are even easier - really just a case of looking at the shell shapes and seeing what they remind you of. The little hedgehogs are made from dog whelk shells which are common on UK beaches.

Simply squiggle and scribble on the main part of the shell with your pen, as far as the first natural groove near the pointy end.

Once you're happy with the squiggly back, draw a nose on the point, 

put it down on a flat surface, and dot eyes either side of the nose.  

That's it! So quick. We made a hedgehog family in minutes.

Limpets made good lion heads too!

Once we got going, the kids had heir own ideas. This is the best kind of craft session for me, when you see their imagination click in.

These needed a squeeze of glue to stick the heads to the bodies.

We only have a black Sharpie away on holiday with us - you could have a lot of fun with colours if you have them. I drew this peacock on a cockle shell a while back.

Hope we've given you some ideas for your next beach trip!


Thursday, 13 July 2017

Cardboard tube fairy - easy crafts for kids

We’re on a bit of a roll with toilet paper tube crafts… corny pun aside, we have been pretty busy with our hoard of cardboard rolls. 
And like many of the other recent projects, Mary the fairy was inspired by the tubescapes we made a few months back. One idea often leads to another and I really love that. 
She is easy to do, great scissor practice, and can be made from just one tube - that’s wings and head too.

You’ll need:
Toilet paper tube ( or kitchen roll shortened to about 10cm/4in.)
Sticky tape
Coloured felt tip pens
Black felt tip or gel pen
Glitter, sequins, stickers (optional)

1. Flatten the tube with your hand and about halfway up, draw a pencil line straight across using a ruler. Draw another line about a cm or so (1/2in.) up from one end.

2. On the other side of the middle line, cut at an angle from the end of the line to the top of the tube, but not quite as far as the corner. Keep the triangle shaped piece for the wings. 

3. Cut along both pencil lines from the shorter side, leaving the last cm (1/2in.) uncut, and then fold the middle piece of card over firmly, before cutting along the crease to remove it. Keep this card too, for the head. Squeeze your tube open, and you have the base for your fairy. 

4. Make her dress less pointy by trimming the sides. 

5. Take the piece of spare card leftover from forming the fairy’s legs, keep it folded and draw a curve on the folded end, for her hair. 

6. Cut out and open up. If it looks too big for her body, fold again and trim until you’re happy.

7. Use the card you’ve just cut away to draw a semi-circle shape for the face, using a straight edge of the card (on its side it looks like a capital D). Cut this out but don’t glue to the hair until all the pieces have been painted.

8. Take the spare piece of card from the start of the project, and cut along the crease so you have two triangles. These are going to be your fairy's wings.

9. Paint all the card pieces any colours you want. Make a good flesh shade by mixing a little red with white to make light pink, then a tiny touch of yellow and blue.

10. When the paint is dry, glue the face to the hair.

11. Flatten down your tube and draw shoes with a felt pen and draw on the face. 

12. Glue the head to the top of the body, and then use sticky tape to attach it firmly behind. Use the sticky tape to attach the wings to the back of the body too. 

Decorate with glitter, sequins or stickers, if you want your fairy to sparkle! 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Little cardboard tube houses - crafts for kids

cardboard houses

These little houses are really easy to make and you can decorate them absolutely any way you like! You could add them to the city scene we made last time, or make a village or town of your own, with different shops and houses. Have fun creating a scene!

All you'll need is:
Cardboard tubes
Craft glue
Paper clip (optional)
Fine black felt tip or gel pen

1. First of all you need to make the tubes less tubey, as we did with the city scene, so flatten one with your hand and press firmly along the two creases.

2. Open the tube up, and line up the two creases you've just made - the flatten the tube again, making two more creases. Press firmly along these as well.

3. While the tube is still flat, use the ruler and pencil to draw a pencil line across it, 3 to 4cm (1in. to 11/2in.) from one end. This will be the height of the walls.  If you are going to make more than one it would be good to vary the size and to use tubes that are different widths too.

Draw another line across, about 3cm (1in.) up from the first line. This will be one side of the roof and again the size could be altered if you want a taller, pointier roof or a flatter one.

4. Open up the tube and flatten it again, so you can see the pencil lines you've just made and it's easy to extend them. Do this one more time so the lines go right around the tube.

5. Cut down each corner to the first line you made near the bottom, and fold back the flaps firmly.

6. Cut two opposite flaps off, along the fold. Keep one spare piece for the chimneys.

7. Cut another one off too, but not right to the fold this time - leave a very small section of the flap so you can attach the roof here later.

8. Fold the remaining flap back on the second pencil line. Fold it right back so you can measure it against the other side of the roof, and cut any extra card away so both sides are roughly the same size. Then bend the roof fold the other way. Your little house is taking shape!

9. Paint the walls and roof of your house any colour you like, or you could leave it plain. Paint a spare piece of card from earlier the same colour as the walls, if you want your house to have chimneys.

10. When the paint's dry, use a fine black pen to add doors and windows to the side with the small flap. Add roof tiles too if you want, and use felt tips or paint to add any colour detail you fancy. We put flowers along the front of some of our houses and tried a rambling rose too.

For a chimney or chimneys, cut a thin strip from the spare piece of card you painted, and cut in half.

11. When you're happy with your house, brush some glue on the short flap at the front (if your glue isn't very tacky, use a paper clip to hold the card together while it dries. To make tacky glue, leave some PVA  uncovered in an old jar or yogurt pot for a day or two. This should thicken it up. Very handy if you want things to stick quickly and not to slip!)

12. To add chimneys, make small cuts either side of the crease on the roof top - or just one if you only want one chimney pot. Put some glue on the bottom half of your chimney, and slot it into place. When you're happy with the height, stick the gluey part to the underside of the roof front and bend the chimney(s) into position.

Have fun creating your own houses/cottages/shops/schools! You could add a few trees from the city scene project too.

cardboard tube houses

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Make a city scene - crafts for kids

I've been going through A LOT of cardboard tubes recently, and the city tubescapes we did a few weeks back got me thinking about making a bigger city scene that could be added to and played with. The first thing was to make the tubes less, well, tubey.....!

You'll need:
Cardboard tubes (toilet paper and kitchen paper tubes)
Black felt tip or gel pen
For the trees:
Cereal box card
Brown felt tip
Glue stick
Grey paper (or painted paper) for the street

1. Take your toilet paper tube or kitchen paper tube and flatten it on the table with you hand. Press firmly along the two creases.

2. Squeeze the tube open, line up the two creases you've just made, and flatten with your hand - making two more creases. Press firmly along them both again.

3. If you want to make your buildings different heights, this is a good time to cut across your flattened tube. Now, when you squeeze it back into shape, instead of being round, you should have more of a square shape.

4. Paint your buildings any colours you like, or leave some plain, like we did.

If you want to make trees, this would be a good time to paint some cereal box card green. Try two different colours of green. Add more blue to make a darker shade.

5. When the paint's dry, press along the creases again, to get them back into shape, then use the black pen to add windows. Draw small rectangles, colour some in and leave others open. Add any extra details you want - Daisy made a hospital, shop and a bakery. It's absolutely up to you!

6. For the tree base, cut a strip of plain cereal box card. The trees can be any size you want, but if you want them to be a similar size to ours, keep the width of the strip to about 2cm/3/4in or less.  Cut the strip into similar sized pieces, no more than about 3cm/1in. long (these measurements are just a guide, the card pieces don't need to be identical or precise).

7. Now, fold in both ends of a piece of card, so you leave a small section in the middle between the folds. This is going to be the trunk of your tree and shouldn't be too wide. It might take a minute or two to get the hang of the folding, but again it doesn't need to be precise, as long as the card piece sits steady.

8. Make a small snip down both creases (snip a little extra out to make it easier to slot in the treetop later) - then cut a 'V' between the slots for the tree's branches.

9. Keeping in mind the size of your tree base, draw a treetop shape on the painted green card and cut it out. Keep the shape simple if you prefer.

10. Draw the trunk on the tree base with a brown felt tip pen.

11. Rub some glue on the back of the branches only, and slot the treetop in place. Leave it flat to dry (you could weigh it down with a book).
Fold the flaps back and your tree is ready!