Category Archives: DIY

Rustic Clay Wind Chime

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Rustic Clay Wind Chime

It has been entirely too long between entries.  Life gets like that though I guess. I actually made this wind chime back in May, but have not had a chance to blog about it. Pretty sad when you can’t find a spare half hour in 7 months… but hopefully I will make up for that over the next 3 weeks while my schedule is not so hectic.

I am really happy with the way this project turned out, but it may not be something everyone can make at home, as you will need access to a kiln for the baking of the clay.  I am lucky enough to have that access 🙂  The discs were made from potters clay, available from any good craft shop, about $30 for 10kg (it’s really heavy when wet!). I rolled some clay out to around 5mm thick, then cut the circles out using a metal egg ring.  I then used a variety of leaves and flowers from around the garden, laid them over the clay and rolled over gently with a rolling pin, just enough to create the patterns as you can see.

Clay craft

Clay circles with leaf and flower prints.

Once baked and cooled, it was time for assembly.  Mr 5 and Miss 6 were happy to help decorate the pieces of fishing line with some chunky transparent glass beads I had in my bead stash.

Threading beads

Threading the beads on fishing line before assembly

We then went on a hunt for the perfect stick, attached it to a chair and began assembly.  I wanted the discs to taper down, so this was not something the kids could help with.

Assembly of wind chime

Assembling

Once I was happy with the positioning of each string, I tied them in a few more knots and decorated the top hanging twine.  Cut off any loose ends and it’s done.  As simple as that.

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Each disc touches the next ever so slightly, making a lovely sound in the breeze, without being too noisy.

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Simple Christmas Card Ideas – Part 2

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Simple Christmas Card Ideas – Part 2

Christmas craft that doubles up as a math lesson! Hehe.

This activity really doesn’t require much explanation.  All you need is some paddle pop sticks, sharp scissors or secateurs, some craft glue and card stock. Work out how tall you want your tree.  If you want to make a pattern, decide on that now too. We just went random.  Measure out on the sticks 1cm, then 2cm on the next one, 3cm and so on.  Cut the sticks where you have marked them.  Set them out on the table then add a generous amount of glue to your card, stick them down and you’re done!

We added a little green tree trunk to ours too, but that is optional.  You could also add some other little squares of stick as decorations if you wanted.

Paddle pop Christmas Tree.

Paddle pop Christmas Tree.

Simple Christmas Card Ideas, Part 1.

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Simple Christmas Card Ideas, Part 1.

Here’s a simple card decoration idea that doubles up as a fine motor activity.

For all the card projects this year I am using plain black card stock.  They were $2 for a pack of 12 at a $2 shop.

For this project you will need some coloured paper or thin cardboard, craft glue and any decorations you like (we kept it simple with an angel sequin)

Trace out a tree shape on the back of one of the pieces of paper.

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Fold the other coloured paper in half to double it over then bring all 3 pieces together and cut along the outline so you end up with 3 identical shapes.

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Using a pencil draw some lines across the back of one of the trees.  Then tear carefully along the lines as demonstrated by Ms5

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Cover the other colour tree completely with glue, then stick down every second piece of torn paper.

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Allow to dry and secure to your card stock 🙂

Torn paper christmas tree.

Torn paper christmas tree.

Christmas Craft For Kids – Cup Cake Christmas Trees.

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Christmas Craft For Kids – Cup Cake Christmas Trees.

These are so easy to make and turned out super cute.  Inspiration actually came form some fish scales I saw some students at school making.

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All you need is some cup cake papers, cardboard (we used an old cereal box) glue stick (or paper glue) and scissors.  We just used cup cake papers we had in the cupboard, the striped green is my favourite.

Draw and cut out a tree shape.  For the first few, I drew lines as a guide for the rows so that Ms 5 didn’t just stick the papers all over the place.  This created the layers or ‘tiers’.  By the time she got to do her own at the end, she didn’t need lines anymore as she understood the process.

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Just press down the flat part (the bottom) of the cup cake paper, not the corrugated part. Once the bottom line is covered, move up to the next row and repeat until you get to the top.

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Ms5 decided to finish them off with a yellow paper sticking out the top like a star.  Great idea!

Cupcake Tree

Cupcake Tree

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3 Easy DIY Fancy Dress Costumes.

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3 Easy DIY Fancy Dress Costumes.

It’s that time of year again mums and dads!  The painful time when your kids want to dress up as something that you can’t possibly find at a costume shop.  AKA Book Week!  This year was made extra painful by the fact I only realised at lunch time the day before, that I TOO had to dress up for work!  So I needed something we could whip up in one evening – these are the results. 

I wanted Mr9 to go as Mr Bump, but apparently he is too old for that.  So he wanted to be an MnM, even though that has nothing to do with book week… 

I needed to be able to sit and write in my costume, so a cardboard front was not going to work.  As poorly demonstrated in the photo, the body took its square shape while I held my hands up, which is all I needed for the parade part of the day. So it worked well.  I simply worked out the length I wanted it, doubled it over then brought one corner across to make a right angle triangle. Cut away the excess and the hard part is done! 

Then it was simply a case of drawing on the face and cutting a slit for the head hole. My ‘weights’ are old rope reals that we happened to have in the garage (for storing Christmas lights) and the hat was $2 from a junk shop.  

Little Miss Sunshine and the MnM are just variations of the same.  Trace a circle (work out how big you can go for the size of the costume wearer) We made a compass with ribbon and 2 pens.  Rather than painting, you could just use the correct colour card and maybe back it with some firmer cardboard, but we left this too last minute so had to paint.  The yellow craft paint required a layer of white under it as it was too transparent alone to give you that very ‘bright’ yellow that LMS required.  

We hand drew LMS facial features with pencil then went over them again with black marker.  The hair was cut from felt, but if you didn’t have any felt you could just draw the lines on for her hair (that’s all she has in the books anyway).  The plaits are 3 pieces of felt, hot glued to the back of the card.  

The MnM is much the same, but we used some templates for the facial features from this blog.  Which made life much easier.  I cut away the eye lids however and traced them back on so they were a consistent red.   Then it was just a case of fixing some straps to the back so they could be worn hands free. For this I simply attached some ribbon to the back with ample sticky tape.  Leaving a piece of ribbon hanging out the bottom, which was then stuck over the top in the opposite direction to avoid the ribbon sliding out of the tape.  The ribbons were still firmly secured at the end of the day.  

I think given more time some white gloves for each of these costumes would have finished them off nicely.  Other than that, not a bad outcome for a few hours work the night before. 🙂 

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Egg Carton Daffodils – School Holidays Craft

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School holidays!  Woot! First cab off the rank, these simple little daffodils made from egg cartons.

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All you need is an egg carton, paint, pipe cleaners or skewers, glue.  I used split pins to attach the centres to the petals, but you could just glue them too.  One carton makes 5 flowers.

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Cut the centres first, as shown above.  Then cut out 5 of the cups to make neat little flowers.  Daffodils technically have more than 4 petals, but I just worked with 4  as the egg cups have a squarish shape and it was easier to cut that way.

Paint the middle sections inside and out.  We used orange, but you could use any colour you like.  Then paint the outers a lighter colour.

Once dry, I poked some holes through the centre of each piece and using pliers inserted a gold split pin (my fingers wouldn’t fit in there, so had to use pliers).

For the stems, pipe cleaners would have been easier, but I decided to use some skewers wrapped in green raffia.  It gave them a more natural texture.  I secured the raffia at each end with some sticky tape.

Then it was simply a case of attaching the stems to the flowers.  I used hot glue for this.

 

DIY Hidden Object Game

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DIY Hidden Object Game

I saw one of these in a game shop last Christmas, I thought it was very cool but not “I’m happy to spend $40 on this” cool.  It just looked far too easy to make myself.  Turns out I was right. You could make these in any shape or size, and fill them with just about anything.  We had all these things in the house already, so it was fairly inexpensive.

 

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There is several methods for colouring rice on the net, but I was looking for quick and simple.  The blue and red we made with just food colouring and a dash of water, mixed well then laid flat to dry.  The yellow we used vinegar in place of the water (some recipes asked for rubbing alcohol but we don’t have any of that).  The yellow dried about 3 times faster than the other 2, so that is the way to go.  Instead of placing the trays in the sun, I just put them in the oven at 50C with the door open.  The red took about an hour to fully dry (it took the longest).  I did stir it around occasionally to prevent any sticking and distribute the wetter rice.

Mixing the colour and spreading out to dry.

While that way drying we hunted around the house for appropriate goodies to put inside.  We came up with 20 items.  The amount of items you want to use will depend on your container size.  I think we could have easily used twice as many, but it was still a good ratio.  The items varied in weight and texture.

It would have been easier to mix all the rice colours together prior to filling the container, but the kids enjoyed layering the different colours with a few objects between, then shaking to mix at the end.

The container we used was an old straw holder. You can buy them full of straws at the grocery store for around $4.  It did have a hole in the top, but this actually came in handy as a place to insert a ribbon and attach the key to what is inside.

I took a photo of all 20 items, shrunk it, then printed and covered in clear contact.  Attached to the ribbon on top.  If you were to just use a clear water bottle or similar, you could just tie something to the neck of the bottle.

The key

The key

Once everything was put in and we were happy with the level of rice, I taped it up nice and tight.  And that’s it.  Some of the lighter items are easy to find and often pop up to the top, but theres several things we have not managed to find again, like the smily badge and dinosaur!

The kids really enjoyed this project and were able to be involved every step of the way.  It was a bit messy, but over all a success.