Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Curly wurly snakes!

Wrap them wherever you like!

These spirally snakes are sssssssimple to make and they're really good for scissor practice too.

You'll need:
2 toilet paper tubes (or a kitchen paper tube cut in half)
Craft glue
Glue stick
Plain paper
Yellow felt-tip or highlighter

1.  Paint stripes up one tube using any colours you like. It looks good if you keep to a set pattern, so if you paint yellow, green then blue do the same around the rest of the tube. Try to keep the stripes a similar size.
On the second tube, paint the same colour pattern around the tube, leaving a space near one end. Make the stripes a little thinner this time. Paint the bit you've left black, or whatever colour you'd like for your snakes tongue! Paint the inside of this end black too.

2. When the paint's dry, carefully cut the tube to make a spiral. Take your time and make small snips with the tips of the scissors. Don't make the angle too steep at the beginning - just a gentle rise. When you've been round once, the important thing is to keep the width of the spiral (your snake's body) the same all the way up. Keep checking to see if it looks right. This can be tricky and needs concentration but it's great scissor practice. If it helps, you could try drawing a spiral on first with a pencil, or, for younger makers, start it off for them, as this is really the trickiest part. Let them have a go at cutting the rest of the spiral. It doesn't matter if it's a bit wiggly!

3. Snip the end off so you have a nice straight bit to stick the head to.

4. Use a pencil to draw a diamond shaped head on your other tube ( make sure it's not too small)

5. Use sticky tape to attach it to the twisty body.

6. Cut out an eye shape from the spare tube. We tried two different shapes. Draw around it twice on some plain paper and colour in with a yellow felt-tip pen or a highlighter. Add a black pen line down the middle. Cut them out and use a glue stick to glue them to the head.

7. Cut a thin strip from the black end of the tube for your snake's tongue. Straighten off both ends and cut a 'V' in one of them.

8. Use sticky tape or glue to stick the tongue to the back of the head. Add two black nostrils and any other detail you like. Now your snake is ready to explore!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easy bunny project from 'Make your own farm animals'

Looking for something crafty to do with the kids over the hols? What about making a farm? All the projects in this book are simple to follow, and they use easy to get hold of cardboard bits and bobs, like egg cartons, cereal packets and tubes - so you should have just about everything you need to get started..

None of the book projects have made an appearance on the blog yet, so, as it's a kind of bunny time of year, thought I'd share this one :)

You'll need:
Egg carton
Red, yellow, blue and white paint
Fine paintbrush
Kids' craft scissors
Craft glue
Black felt-tip or gel pen
Cotton wool ball

1 Roughly cut out a whole middle cone from the egg carton so it's easier to work with.

2. Use a pencil and ruler to measure and mark 2cm (3/4in.) from the top on one side of the cone, and draw a line across here. On the opposite side, measure and mark 3cm (11/4in.) from the top and draw another line.
Join them with sloping lines either side.

3. Cut out your bunny's body. A handy way to do this is to snip up two adjacent cone corners to the pencil line, then fold back the flap and cut it off - now it's easier to cut along the rest of the line.

4. For the ears, draw a petal shape on card from the egg carton lid. As a guide - make it no more than about 4cm (11/2in.) long and not too wide. Cut this out. If you want to make more bunnies, you could keep it to use as a template to draw around.

5. To form the ears, draw a long, slightly curvy 'V' in the middle of your petal shape - don't take it down as far as the pointy end. Snip out the card piece between the ears.

6. Brush glue on the bottom part of the ears and stick them just behind the top of the cone (on the longer cone side).

7. When the glue's dry, pinch hold of the cone where the ears are attached and bend the ears back. Paint the bunny whatever colour you like, remembering to paint both sides of the ears. This brown colour is made by mixing yellow with a little red and a dab of blue - lighten with some white.

8. When it's touch dry, use a fine paint brush to add a white fluffy chest, then mix a touch of red with the white to make pink and paint a stripe inside each ear.

9. For the tail, pull off a small amount of cotton wool, roll it between into a little ball between your finger and thumb and glue to the back of your bunny near the base.Use a black felt-tip or gel pen to draw a face. Do the twitchy nose first, right on the edge of the cone top and add the eyes just above.

TIP: If your egg carton has cones with holes in the top, brush some glue inside them and push a little scrunched up ball of newspaper up, to fill the hole.

There are some good deals on Amazon, and noticed 'Make your own farm animals is only £3.99 on the UK Book People site at the moment. Free postage too if you spend over £25.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Cork crafts with a twist for Easter

cork cat

cork chick

I'm not sure where this idea came from... but hey, why not a chick on an Easter bonnet or a cat on a hat?? Probably has something to do with the amount of time I've spent looking at corks! I wanted to come up with a quick project that involved simple painting and was possibly a bit quirky? The bottom part of the cork below the rounded top just made me think HAT.

You'll need:
Cork (from something fizzy)
Coloured paper
Craft glue
Glue stick
Spice jar to draw around
3 feathers (for the chick)
Small stickers/sequins (optional)
Spare card (for the cat)
Black felt-tip or gel pen

1. First, paint the rounded top part of the cork yellow for the chick, then decide what colour hat you want, and paint the bottom part. You could paint it the same colour as the paper for the hat rim (like we did) or make it completely different.

2. For the rim of the hat, find a circle shape that's bigger than the bottom of the cork (we used a small spice jar), draw around it with a pencil and cut out. Cut a thin strip of paper for a hat band.

3. Put a thin layer of glue on the hat band strip (a glue stick is best for this) and wrap it around the bottom of the cork - don't worry if it doesn't go all the way around (like ours) - the gap can be covered by the rim of the hat. Glue the bottom of the cork to the paper circle - place it a little off centre, and then glue the wider part of the rim to the side of the cork to make a turn up. If you need to, lean a book on the hat turn up while it dries.

4. To decorate, we made little paper flowers, but if you have some pretty small stickers or shiny sequins these would be an easier option and would look so lovely too.

(To make the paper flowers, cut a very small square of paper, fold it in half then half again. It helps if you draw a petal shape on top, starting from the corner that's the middle of the square (centre of your flower). Do a few practice ones - sometimes they can end up looking more like butterflies, which is good too! Cut out a circle for the middle, or use a hole punch to make circles, or paint the centre)

5. Use a black felt tip or gel pen to draw eyes on your chick, near the top, and straight above the hat turn-up.

6. Cut a small orange triangle for the beak (if you don't have orange paper, colour in some plain paper or draw a beak straight onto your chick with an orange felt-tip). Dab the tiniest bit of glue just below the eyes (or use a glue stick), wet your finger to pick up the tiny beak and stick it in place.

7. Glue feathers either side, for the wings.

- and, if you want, add a head plume. Make a hole on top, near the front, just above the eyes, using a small screw (screw it in until the hole is deep enough) - put some glue on the bottom of the feather and push it into the hole.

8. For the Cat, follow the instructions above to Step 4, making sure you also paint a small piece of spare card (or paper) the same colour as your cat's body (for the tail and ears).

9. When the paint's dry, draw and cut out a tail and a small square (that will be the ears) - make sure it's no wider than the top of the cork.

10. Fold the small square in half and on one side of the fold line, draw pointy ears. Carefully cut around them, bending the piece between the ears back so it's easier to snip off.

11. Glue the bottom part of the folded ear piece to the top of the cork, straight above the hat turn-up.

12. Use a black felt-tip or gel pen to add the face detail and then paint a lighter shade on the cat's tummy.

Now's the time to paint on pen on more detail if you like. We added some stripes (don't forget to paint them on the tail too!), but leave your cat plain if you prefer.

13. Glue the tail in place so it wraps around the front.

Let me know if you have any other thoughts about what to put on the hat!!

Friday, 17 March 2017

Millennium Falcon - Star Wars Craft

Millennium Falcon craft

We've made a fair number of Star Wars figures so far - time for a spaceship, don't you think!
This Millennium Falcon is made from paper plates and can be decorated any way you like.

You'll need:
4 to 5 paper plates (ours had 23cm/9in. diameter)
Egg carton
Craft glue
Black and red fine tipped marker pens (like Sharpies)
Craft scissors
Small scissors (straight-edged nail scissors - adult supervision required)
Ball of plasticine (modelling clay)
Tin foil
Metallic silver marker pen
Cereal box card
Paper clips

1. On the back of a paper plate, flatten it down a bit, and use the ruler and marker pen to draw a line across the middle of the plate, and then another across that, to divide the plate roughly into equal quarters. Try to get the lines to cross as close to the centre of the circle as possible, but it really doesn't need to be perfect.

2. Take another plate and cut out two similar-sized long, thin triangle segments, cutting up as far as the centre of the plate. Glue these on the top of your spaceship - in the middle of two, opposite sections. Cut small pieces from the spare plate's bumpy rim, to stick on the triangles, to add a bit of detail.

3. For the front part of your Millennium Falcon, take another paper plate and cut the rim off carefully, so you're left with a flattish circle.

Fold it in half and cut a little off the bottom to make a straight edge. I've drawn a pencil line where the cut needs to be.

4. Then cut a piece off the side at an angle - don't make the angle too sharp (see the picture).
Open up the circle and slip it under the top of your spaceship (between the sections with triangles), until the sides roughly line up with the black lines, and part of it is still sticking out.

 Either side of the fold, draw a pencil line up to the plate and cut this piece out. Glue the front section to the rim.

5. Cut a strip of card from a spare plate ( like the one used to cut the triangles from). Make it roughly as long as half the width of the plate. Glue it in the middle of the front section so it just hangs over the edge of the plate.
Again, add a few small pieces of the rim for some detail.

6. Cover the messy joins in the middle with a circle cut out of any spare card. Use the bottom of a small spice jar or something similar to draw around. Glue in place.

7. For the cockpit that sticks out at the side, we found the easiest way to get the right shape was to draw a rectangle that's 4cm by 15cm (11/2in.x6in.) on some spare paper plate card (make the rectangle shorter if you're using a smaller plate).
NOTE: We've used extra paper plates for all the extra bits to keep our Millennium Falcon looking the same colour, but if you don't want to use so many plates, cereal box card would be absolutely fine too.

8. Mark 3cm (1in.) from the bottom of the rectangle and draw lines sloping in on either side. Use the ruler to draw a line from the top right-hand corner to the lefthand one, just above the end of the cockpit (see pic).

9. Cut along the sloping lines and make sure to leave an extra section of card on the right-hand side, so it's easier to glue the cockpit to your starship.

10. Either simply colour in the bottom of the cockpit with a silver metallic pen if you've got one, or for a more 3D effect, draw around the bottom part only on some spare card, cut out and colour in. Make a cut half way down each piece, and snip out an extra sliver to widen the slot if you need to. Check they fit together but don't attach yet. Glue the whole cockpit piece under the rim of the top part of your spaceship.

11. Time to decorate, and we didn't add too much detail to our Millennium Falcon, but it's absolutely up to you! Have a look at some pictures online, or come up with your own design. Stick on more pieces of the plate rim if you want - drawing in the grooves looks pretty good I think.

12.  If you'd like to make guns to put on top, cut out a strip of card, 8cmx2cm (3in.x3/4in.). Colour one side of it with the black marker pen and also colour in a length of straw, so you can cut two 3cm (1in.) pieces from it.

13. Fold the strip in half, then in half again. Open it up and make a hole with nail scissors in a section above the first fold. Put a ball of plasticine behind the card, keep the nail scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side. When the scissors pierce through, cut out a wide slot that's big enough to fit both straw pieces, side by side. Check they fit then take them out.

14. Brush glue on one end of the strip and glue it to the other end, to make a triangle shape like this one. Use a paper clip to hold it together while drying if you need to.

15 For the sensor dish (again, optional) - take an egg carton and cut the bottom out of an egg cup. Make it as shallow as you can and cover with a piece of tin foil. Cut another strip from some spare card (about 1cmx6cm - 1/2in.x21/2in.), fold it in half, then fold the bottom ends. Glue the middle part together to make an upside down 'T' shape. Glue the dish to this support and glue the bottom tabs of the support to your ship, along with the guns. If you've made one, glue the extra part of the cockpit on too.

16. While that's drying, you could add a bit of card to hold onto, to the bottom part of your Millennium Falcon. Cut out a strip of cereal box card that's a good width to hold onto and is about 20cm (8in.) long. Take another paper plate and make a slot in the middle (using the nail scissors again). Make it wide enough for the cardboard strip, slot this in and glue the top part to the plate. You could put something heavy on top of it, like a book, to hold it in place while the glue dries.

17. Scrunch up small pieces of newspaper and put them in the middle of the plate. This should help stop the ship losing its shape when it's stuck together, but don't over fill it!

18. Brush glue along the edge of the bottom plate, and glue the top part on, keeping the card handle facing the front. Use paper clips to hold together while it dries.