Category Archives: Uncategorized

Heart Garland, Valentines Craft Project

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Heart Garland, Valentines Craft Project

Valentines day is not a huge thing here in Australia, like Halloween (we obviously don’t have Thanksgiving or 4th of July celbertons either) but it is one bandwagon I am willing to get on for the craft side of things at least.  Also willing to accept all donations of fine jewellery and flowers, lol.

 

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I originally wanted to make these 3D, but I couldn’t work out what to use as a frame for them that could be removed late (like a balloon), so I just went with flat ones.

The whole things was a bit of an experiment for me too, as I have never played with liquid starch before (took me 6 months to even find it).  The white ones I just used straight starch, and the red ones I used a corn flour and starch mix, roughly 50/50, with a dash of food colouring.  The ones with the corn starch turned out much firmer, but the white ones were still firm enough to work with.  Once completely dry, I traced out heart shapes with a black marker using cookie cutters.  Cut the shapes out with sharp scissors and threaded them up – ready to hang.

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Toddler Craft, Bottle Cap Beetles

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Toddler Craft, Bottle Cap Beetles

Here’s a cute fine motor activity for the little ones using recycled objects from around the home. Made by All Tizzied Up over the school holidays.

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Hover over or click on the images below for more details.

 

 

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DIY Christmas Bell Mobile

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DIY Christmas Bell Mobile

If you like working with fabric like my friends at All Tizzied Up , here’s a simple Christmas craft decoration you can put together with the kids that will last for years to come.

 

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Once you have gathered the fabric you want to use, all you need is some styrofoam bells, ribbon, hot glue and sharp scissors and you’re ready to get crafty.  The smaller kids can get working on the covering the loop while an adult does the hot glue bits.  The rest of the steps are covered in the photos below.

 

3 Easy Mini Christmas Tree Decorations

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3 Easy Mini Christmas Tree Decorations

 

 

 

 

 

My crafty mum friend at All Tizzied Up has been very busy putting together some Christmas Craft projects with the family.  Thought we’d share for inspiration.

 

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They created 3 different trees from styrofoam cone shapes using buttons, ribbon, felt, and every crafters favourite tool – a hot glue gun!

 

 

The felt tree was created by layering leaf shape felt pieces working from the bottom up, then decorating with plastic jewels.

 

This one is simply a case of measuring out same lengths or ribbon, fixing with hot glue, then twisting, gluing again.  Glue 2 of these together to create a flower type shape and attach to the cone.  Again, finishing with some jewels to look like ornaments.

The button one is covered in aluminium foil, before attaching buttons all over with hot glue.

So if you are wondering what to do this weekend before Christmas, maybe get out the craft supplies and get crafty with the kids.  Would make a great addition and talking point for your Christmas table on Wednesday!

 

Make Your Own Sensory Santa Slime.

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Make Your Own Sensory Santa Slime.

Ok, so the school holidays have not quite started here, but this looked like too much fun and I had a fairly light schedule for the day, so we gave it a go.  The best part is, unlike normal play dough, it is not going to go bad when stored between uses.

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The recipe I followed required Elmers Glitter Glue, but after searching everywhere in a 20km radius I was still empty handed.  Apparently Elmers is available in Australia now, but from what I can tell it is only the white stuff, and I really wanted the clear version for this project.  So I just used non toxic craft glue, added my own glitter and was thankfully able to achieve the results I was after.  The recipe came from this delightful blog  

Santa Slime Recipe 

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl
 In a separate bowl combine
  • 3/4 teaspoons of borax
  • 1 & 1/3 cups very warm water
Once the ingredients of both bowls are mixed, combine them and mix, the slime will form almost instantly.

– See more at: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/santa-slime-recipe.html#sthash.MROKZyw1.dpuf

As I mixed up the ingredients I found it very hard to believe it needed all that water – but it really did, and then some!  Not sure if it was because I used so much glitter or because the make up of the glue I used was different than Elmers, but it turned out really firm, almost like play dough, and certainly didn’t ooze like I anticipated.  After I got over the initial disappointment, I figured I could either spend another $11 on glue or try to fix it – had nothing to lose, so I added more water to a section of it in a bowl (which did nothing while cool) and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Yes, it worked, the slime took on more water and began to get runnier.  I continued to do this in sections, increasing the time in the microwave and the amount of water until I had the desired texture.  

The kids have been having heaps of fun with it, even the older 2.  We ended up with about 3 litres of slime after adding all the extra water, so plenty to share between the 4 of them.  If I make it again using the same glue, I will use twice as much water from the start, because adding some extra borax to thicken will be a lot easier than adding extra water was!

Paper Plate Angel Garland – Christmas Craft

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Paper Plate Angel Garland – Christmas Craft

These are very easy to make and can be as fancy or as simple as you like.

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I usually avoid glitter when doing craft.  Sure it’s pretty, but after we use it, that stuff turns up all over the place for the next month.  ‘The herpies of the craft world’ a friend of mine called it, I think she was right.  But today I caved, because an angel needs her sparkle! Honestly, there was no template, just trial and error until I got the shape I was after.  You can see the steps in the photos below.  Double sided plates for the body would have made pretty dresses, but I couldn’t find any of those, so we stuck with white.  Of course you could get the kids to colour them or even use a different colour glitter on the body too. But I was all glittered out after the wings alone!

 

DIY Marble Effect Baubles, Family Christmas Craft

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DIY Marble Effect Baubles, Family Christmas Craft

Everyone was making all sorts of cool glass baubles last Christmas, but by the time I tried to source the actual baubles to do anything with, they were sold our or $6 each – errr, nah.  But I found some in Spotlight in August this year and grabbed them so I didn’t miss out again!

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I got the 2 different sizes available at spotlight, but for this project we just used the smaller ones.   The process really is so simple it barely requires explanation.  The beads are just plastic pony beads, you can find them in either the craft section or the ‘girls’ toy section of most variety stores.  The ones that turned out the best were about 2/3 transparent beads and 1/3 solid colours.  We did one with just transparent beads, but it ended up all kind of mixing together and turning brown, which was disappointing.  If you don’t have a well ventilated kitchen, it would be a good idea to do these outside on the bbq, but the beads surprisingly don’t let off much fumes compared to other melting plastics I have played with.   I had the oven set to just over 220c.  You will need to keep checking on them every 5 – 10 minutes and turning as desired to create the marble effect.  We used a silicone muffin and chocolate tray to position them after each turn and plastic tongs to handle them with.  I ended up adding some extra beads to a few half way through the process, and just used a tea towel to hold them while they were hot.

As they cooled down out of the oven, they did make a popping sound, which I thought was the glass breaking – but it was just the plastic separating from the glass inside a few of them.  There you have it, marbled Christmas baubles.

DIY Heart Shaped Christmas Wreath

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DIY Heart Shaped Christmas Wreath

I actually started today out with the intention of making some bell tree ornaments, but the bells I had were too big.  I then attempted another type of wreath and it was a big fat fail too.  So after a few hours of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to make a different kind of wreath using the same principle as the bauble tree I made last year.
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Run your cursor over or click each image for step by step instructions.

Pine Cone Christmas Tree Decorations

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Pine Cone Christmas Tree Decorations

Yep, it’s that time of year again kids.  I can deny it all I like, but that doesn’t help at all.  I am disgustingly unprepared this year, but don’t really have the time to care, I am sure I will pull it all together in time.  I do however, have time to think about some Christmas projects, YAY!   So this very simple Idea should have probably taken a single afternoon, but things have been so hectic around here lately it took several afternoons over a week.  It didn’t really turn out as well as I had imagined, but they are still pretty cute, and we have plenty of left over cones to make something else out of when inspiration hits me.

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The shaggy wool (I’m sure it has a real name) was $2 a ball.  There was wayyyy more than we needed in each colour.  I just used cheap spray paint, Mr 8 did the first few coats then I went back and got the bits he missed.  I tried sticking on some plastic ‘diamonds’ for extra sparkle, but you can’t really see them. We all had a go at wrapping the wool into the cone, then I gave them a hair cut to tidy them up.  Simple as that!

 

Knitted Pumpkins, Upcycled Jumpers/Sweaters

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Knitted Pumpkins, Upcycled Jumpers/Sweaters

This project was very popular last fall in the US, but I never got around to trying it.  I was looking forward to trying it out coming up to Halloween, but as it is not actually cool at this time of year in Australia, getting the sweaters, or jumpers as we call them, was easier said than done!

Pink tone pumpkins

Pink tone pumpkins

I visited 4 different op shops trying to find anything knitted, but they had already sold out (it is spring here, and a hot spring at that).  On the fourth stop, the lovely lady allowed me to dig through a storage bag to find some.  I was not game to tell her that I was actually planning on cutting them up. *blush*.

The best ones I have seen use ribbed or cable knit sleeves to create the lines on the outside of a pumpkin.  None of the jumpers I could find had that on the sleeve, but they did in the body, so I just folded them over and sewed them into a tube before cutting. Worked like a charm.  Hover over the images for step by step instructions if you’d like to try this for yourself at home.

 

 

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If you enjoyed this project, please like and follow this blog.  Happy crafting!

DIY Wind Chime, Candelabra/Sun Catcher.

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DIY Wind Chime, Candelabra/Sun Catcher.

I dragged the kids to the $2 shop to stock up on some supplies for other projects, and came across these cute little glass bottles.  I had to have them.  And I had to use them right now!  So much for Halloween craft this week! lol.

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I didn’t have a small enough pre made wreath wring to use as the frame, so I just used some gardening wire and platted it loosely along with a piece of twine.  I like the rough look it gave and thought it fit well with the theme.  The little glass balls were another score from the junk shop, they are actually part of a floating candle set, but I had bigger ideas.  I love those old glass buoys as decorations so I figured these could be made into mini ones.  I slightly filled the little jars with some crushed crystal beads I bought off eBay years ago, just to add some colour, then tied them all up.  Originally I was going to position each one, stepping them down as I went, but as they were all different heights and widths, it just didn’t give a worthwhile effect.  So I just tied them randomly, but so they would still hit each other to make a noise in the wind.   The candle holder in the middle was a last minute decision, I just thought it was missing something, and that finished it off perfectly.  To be honest, I wouldn’t leave the candle lit unattended, as those strings are flammable, maybe a battery operated tea-light would be a better idea.


Anyway, I am pretty happy with it.  I think I will do it again, after I collect some larger bottles to hold more candles.  Create something a little different again, and probably use wire to hang them next time.

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The finished product

The finished product

If you would like to see more craft and DIY projects like this one, please follow my blog and Pinterest.

 

 

Halloween Craft For Kids, Finger Print Gift Tags

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Halloween Craft For Kids, Finger Print Gift Tags

I love finger print critters, and had never actually made them with my kids.  So this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  A bit of parent help is needed for the finishing touches, but there is plenty of steps the little kids can help with along the way.  You can click on the pictures for more detailed instructions, but it is all pretty straight forward as you can see.

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All we used was some card, white paint, googly eyes (and some sequins) silver paint pen, ribbon, clear cellophane, and lollies to fill.

Halloween Toddler Craft, DIY Treat Boxes

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Halloween Toddler Craft, DIY Treat Boxes

I know many Australians still have not accepted Halloween, ‘it’s a silly American tradition’, even though it is not American, but anyway, they really should, because it is heaps of harmless fun and the kids love it.  Our new neighbourhood really gets into it, I think I enjoy it more than Christmas!

But of course, it’s not just about the dressing up and lollies, halloween craft is lots of fun too. Maybe it’s because I am new to it, but it seems so much more fun than Easter and Christmas craft.  Today I just did a simple project with the little kids as the older 2 were not home.  I had another idea in my head, but have decided to keep that for later in the school holidays.  I am hoping to get quite a few Halloween themed projects in over the next 2 weeks while the kids are off.

I cut out some Halloween shapes in the potatoes while Ms4 gathered the paint and plastic plates.  The boxes were just from the grocery store, but they are available at many places, $2 shops etc. We had to allow each side to dry before doing the other side, as you need to apply pressure for best results, rather than trying to stamp the assembled boxes.  Once both sides were dry we applied another coat of glitter paint, and some embellishments, again, one side at a time.  The weather was nice today so the whole project only took a couple of hours even while waiting for things to dry.

 

I am pretty happy with the results.  Would have liked some different coloured boxes for variety, and was disappointed we are out of black paint for the bats, but over all, not bad for an afternoons work.

 

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What exactly is going on here?

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What exactly is going on here?

I often buy a pack of lollies for the kids to have 2 each night as a treat after eating all their dinner.  I bought a multi pack with mixed items from Aldi recently.  Mr2 handed me one of these to help him open, I couldn’t help but notice the very odd images on the packets!  What is that lime doing to that lemon?  It certainly doesn’t look G rated!  The raspberry is not much better!

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Teaching Kids To Sew – Make a Hair Scrunchie!

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Teaching Kids To Sew – Make a Hair Scrunchie!

I was just saying to my other half, I find it odd how many people think the ability to use a sewing machine is something rare or difficult. He agreed that it is very simple, no harder than driving a car. 2 minutes later as I was taking up Miss 4s curtains, I managed to catch the middle of the curtain in the seam, creating a huge unpicking job, and of course my quick-un-pick has grown legs and run off, so I had to do it the hard way. Murphy and his law are cruel, and now I see why many people choose not to sew!

That aside, I still think we should all learn the basics of sewing, even if the days of making your own clothes to save money are long gone (fabric is SO expensive!). So when my boys showed interest in sewing after my last little project, I jumped at the opportunity to teach them some basics on the machine. The easiest thing to sew has to be a scrunchie!

The process is very straight forward, so I am sure I don’t need to go into much more detail than what is in the caption on the pictures. Apart from a pretty wonky seam by Mr9 (which you can’t notice once finished), they were a success and Ms4 was happy to model their efforts to the world. We used fabric with lines on it as I figured that would be easier to follow for beginners, but you can use just about anything, make them any size and thickness.

Gotta love a bit of 90s hair fashion! Where’s the crimper!

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DIY Dog Coats.

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DIY Dog Coats.

 

 

 

My puppies are classed as a Giant breed, so buying coats for them is never easy.  XXL in doggy sizes still doesn’t fit around their necks.  I bought Willow a custom made coat from the markets a few years ago, but it was $55, so I decided I needed to learn to make them myself!  It really is quite easy, I can make one start to finish in about an hour now.   The beauty of making them yourself is you don’t have to worry about them being adjustable to suit different sized dogs, which makes it a lot easier too.

Pampered pooches

Pampered pooches

Measure the dog from the centre of its chest to near its bum.  Then measure from the collar at the top to to the top of their tail (along spine).  Then measure over the shoulders, from how ever low you want it to sit on each side.  If you are doing this for the first time you may want to try it out on some paper, then try it on the dog to see if you are happy with the shape.  So, all you really need is some fabric.  I use polar fleece, or husky fleece on the inside, and something a bit more durable on the outside.  I have made some with a fur outer, but the 2 I made today are almost a cordroy fabric.  I picked them up in the remnants bin for $5 each.  I also buy the strap for the waist.  You could make your own from the fabric, but I find the bag strapping stuff more durable, and clips easier to use.  Many dog coats use velcro to fasten, but velcro gets full of dog hair and loses it effectiveness pretty quickly.

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Fold the fabric in half so that each side will be the same.  Notice I have 33″+ for the full length that will wrap around the neck area, I make this extra long at the start and it can just be cut down at the end when you finish it off and try it on the dog for the perfect fit.  Pin together to avoid the fabric slipping then cut out.  i have left at least 1″ for seems, because I am a very sloppy sewer, this allows plenty of room for error!

 

Use this cut out as the stencil for the next layer.  Just trace around – easy peasy. Now, I add an extra square of the warm fabric in the middle of mine, but it’s really not necessary.  So ignore that part if you are trying to follow these instructions to make your own.  Its much easier just working with 2 pieces of fabric for a beginner.  Once you have your two sections cut out, open them up and place together colour side in.  Pin together to avoid movement and sew around the outside.  I make the bottom section of mine a bit curved as you can see in the photos, this hides my dodgy sewing skills better, but if you can sew straight lines, make it straight!  Leave one end of the neck section not sewn, so you can pull the coat in the right way.  If you are making a coat for a little dog, I would actually leave a section in the middle of the side open to turn it through there, as you wont be able to fit your hand in the neck section.  It really doesn’t matter where you leave it, but by doing it at the neck you can hide the messy bit when you fix the neck together to complete the coat.  At this point you can cut off any excess seems.  You don’t need to though if you’re lazy like me.  Just make sure you cut away any excess around the neck part, or you wont be able to achieve nice sharp corners when you turn it in the right way.  Speaking of which, its now time to do that….

 

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Once pulled through, flatten out as best you can.  I like to run another stitch right around the edge, about 1cm in.  It just finishes it off nicer and give it a better more sturdy shape.  You can skip this step though if you like.  Then put it over doggy and get the neck fitting.  Mark with a pen.  Then simply sew it together.  I cross them over and sew a square shape, then an X through the middle.  You could just do a centre seam though if you like.  If your dogs weight fluctuates, you may like to just add velcro here so its adjustable.

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Lastly, add the waist strap.  The strapping was $1.79 a meter, and I cut the clips off an old back pack of the kids (they were only decorative anyway?).  Attach to the middle on each side.  I just used the machine and went back and forth about 10 times.  If you were making a small dog coat and had left the opening to turn it through at the side, you could neatly tuck the strap in there.  You don’t see the inside part when its on, so it doesn’t matter how it looks anyway.  Its best to allow the strap to wrap right around the dog, rather than just under the belly, it secures the coat much better.  And thats really it.  I have probably made this sound so much more complicated than it is, it really is a very straight forward sewing project.

 

DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

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DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

This project was inspired by another bloggers post, which I can’t find again on Pinterest, so will have to edit it back in later when I can find it.  Anyway, I ended up doing something completely different to hers, because I couldn’t get my hands on the right kind of cups.  The original mobile was created with plastic (recycling number 6) disposable drinking cups.  I hunted high and low however, the only ones of them here were solid colours, so I had to settle for these shot glasses.  The shot glasses are a lot thicker though, so the entire method required adjusting.  As you can see in the gallery images, melting these at a low heat basically make little plastic globs that would only be good for playing jacks with.   Eventually I worked out that by turning the heat up enough, I could get them to melt flat.  However, they did emit a nasty smell at this temp, so I took the project out to the BBQ.  

Adding the next colour

Adding the next colour

After melting the first cups, I added another cup, so there was enough plastic to cover the base of each muffin hole.  I was not too worried about thickness, some ended up with 3 cups, I broke a few cups up to splash some other colour around.  The BBQ was set to 220C with the lid down.   After cooling, this is what you get; 

The finished disks

The finished disks

 

They actually set really hard and when clicked together sound like glass rather than plastic.  Makes them perfect for a wind chime.  Just like with my previous sun catcher, I drilled holes in the sides of each piece using a normal drill bit.  None of them broke this time, which was an extra win.  Then we threaded some fishing line through, held each end together and threaded random shiny and transparent beads along the 2 lines. Admittedly I do have a ridiculously huge stash of beads and stones accumulated from over the years, but you can pick up cheap beads at $2 shops that will still make the project inexpensive if you were starting from scratch.  The first line was 11cm, then I continued along making each one 1cm longer, there is 17 in total.  My darling partner tied them on to the pre made metal loop (from spotlight – and much to his disappointment, he is not a crafty person).  Once they were all tied on, I just slid them around until they were spaced evenly.  And done! 

Close up

Close up

 

** Please note, breathing in the fumes from melting plastic is probably not a very good idea.  So if you do try this at home, try to use the BBQ or make sure the room is well ventilated, and preferably don’t be near the oven while its all happening.  It not like burning tyres or anything, but it sure doesn’t smell like something you should be breathing in! 

 

Home Made Chalk with an Easter Twist.

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Home Made Chalk with an Easter Twist.

I have been going to try out this home made chalk method for a while.  When I picked up some new silicone moulds from Aldi last week, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try them both out!

Ingredients and utensils.

Ingredients and utensils.

Ideally disposable plastic cups would be the best thing to mix the plaster in, but I didn’t have any, so we just used some plastic cups we are not very attached to (IE, not Tupperware, lol).  You can buy plaster of paris from any large hardware or craft shop for around $10 for a 3kg (which is heeeaaaaps, 1kg is more than enough for this project). Silicone or rubber ice cube trays, food colouring and something to stir with.  Again, paddle pop sticks would have been better, but these skewers will do the trick.

 

 

Mix the food colouring in the water first, then add the plaster.  Stir rapidly until its fully mixed, then poor into the moulds. The plaster will set in roughly half an hour, some water may rise to the top, you can just dab this away with some paper towel or tip the moulds after this time for it to run away.  Then allow to fully cure in the moulds over night.  We also experimented with some glitter in the chalk, for something a bit different.  It actually worked quite well, although its really hard to capture the results with the camera.

 

Then simply turn out of the moulds and get drawing!

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Decorated Eggs, Easter Egg Dying and Decorating.

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Decorated Eggs, Easter Egg Dying and Decorating.

While we did the Tie Dying, I also started experimenting with a few other methods of colouring eggs using a home made dye using ingredients that almost everyone has already in their kitchen.  These were some of the results;

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These are obviously pretty straight forward.  Dyed in a food colouring/vinegar/warm water mixture.  Then a scrap booking embelishment stuck on.  Would have preferred embellishments without the clear plastic behind them, but the craft shop didn’t have any like that and you can’t really tell from a distance anyway.

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I love how these turned out.  Just use leaves from the garden, lay over the eggs then cover with a stocking or pantyhose.  I actually used some stocking I had on hand and didn’t even need to ruin them in the process.  Dip dye for a few minutes and you’re done.

Crepe paper results

Crepe paper results

 

We actually discovered this dying method accidentally.  After we had finished the Tie Dying from a previous post, we placed the eggs on this pre shredded crepe paper.   Some of the eggs still had a bit of water in them from the boiling process, so when that ran out and wet the paper, the colour transferred onto the eggs!  So I took it a step further, wet a hand full and covered them in it.  The results are pretty cool I think!

The dying solution we used was 3 parts hot tap water to one part vinegar, with as much food colouring as you wanted, we only used about a teaspoon per large cup.

Some of the other patterns we created can be seen below.

Bubble Painting Easter Garland, Toddler Craft Activity

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Bubble Painting Easter Garland, Toddler Craft Activity

Bubble painting is nothing new for toddlers and preschoolers, but we have never done it at home and I thought it would create a cute finish for some paper eggs.

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Most people will have all this stuff lying around the house, so its a cheap activity too.  Dish washing liquid, food colouring, drinking straws, paper (in this case egg shapes) a bowl and a splash of water. I just Google Image searched ‘easter eggs’ and found some egg shapes, copied into Word, adjusted the size and printed.  Could have drawn them myself, but I was being lazy.  The bigger 2 kids helped cut some out and I cut out the rest. The mixture is equal parts water, food colouring and detergent, you can use more water, but the less you use the more vibrant colours are achieved. Then the fun begins!

Yellow bubbles.

Yellow bubbles.

Simply blow the bubbles so they rise well above the sides of the bowl then place the paper flat on top.  You may need to tip your bowl slightly to keep the straw submerged.  Be sure to place the paper as quickly as possible.  The bubbles will actually last quite a while if untouched, but the colour drops to the bottom quickly, so the longer you wait the less colour will transfer to the paper.

Samples of our creations.

Samples of our creations.

Once dried (on a dry day they would only take a few minutes to dry, but due to never ending rain in Sunny Queensland, they took a lot longer) we attempted to punch holes in the top to string them up with, but due to the moisture in the air, the paper just can’t get crisp enough to punch as such, so we stuck small sections of straw to the back with sticky tape.  This actually worked out really well, as it meant they face forwards rather than side ways all the time.  We used some more coloured straws (cut into 3rds) to space the eggs out then alternated sizes along the way.

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And there you have it.  Its hard to take a photo of, but its really pretty.  Currently hanging in the hallway.  If the sun ever comes out again, I will take a photo of it in natural light to bring out the colours better.