Thursday, 13 August 2015

Make Your Own Zoo

For updates about Make Your Own Zoo, more kids' craft and plenty of chat, please pop over to A Patchwork Life.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Paper Primrose Posy

There was a steep, grassy bank near our house when I was little. It was a great thinking spot - sitting up high, looking out over the garden, and at this time of year it was covered in primroses - a soft, delicate blanket of yellow. Anytime I see them now it takes me right back. So, these paper primroses are a nod to my wildflower bank, where I got lost in big, happy dreams.

They’re based on the paper daisy folding technique - though a little different because the petals are sort of heart shaped.

You will need:
yellow and green paper or plain paper to paint
sheet of newspaper
small plastic flower pot or yogurt pot
yellow and orange paint
PVA craft glue
Two small bottles or pots, for circle templates. One a little bigger than the other (for leaves).

If you have a small plastic flower pot, then that’s perfect - we didn’t, so I rubbed some sandpaper over a yogurt pot to take the sheen off, and painted it with multi-surface primer the night before. 

Make up some terracotta coloured paint using ready-mixed poster or acrylic paints. 

Mix red and yellow together and add just a little blue - then a good amount of white until you’re happy with the colour. I find adding white helps cover shiny, awkward surfaces like this - it works a treat on the outside of cereal box card too.

To speed things up, you could always cover the writing on the yogurt pot with a piece of colourful wrapping paper cut to size. Cut this strip into smaller sections so it’s easier to glue neatly to the pot. 

While the glue or the paint is drying, draw round the smaller circle template for your primrose and cut it out.

Fold the circle in half, then half again.

Draw a straight line up from the tip to the top, and make a mark halfway along the line.
Draw another line passing through this point from side to side .

Then draw the rounded top part of a petal (like a semi-circle), from the point where the lines cross, curved up to the top and back down to the end of the line on both sides.  Make sure they look alike.

Carefully cut round the petal tips with small scissors and when you’re happy they look even, open up your primrose.

To make the flower centre, put a small dab of orange in the middle, and two short, thick strokes of yellow, touching the orange, at the base of two heart-shaped petals.
Fold the flower in half, gently pressing the sides together.

Put two tiny touches of orange at the end of the original two yellow strokes and fold again. They’ll all be just that little bit different.

To make the leaves, draw round your larger circle template and cut it out.

Fold this in half, then half again.

About a cm up from the tip, draw a line straight across and mark a halfway point.

Draw a curved half leaf shape from this point to the top corner and repeat on the other side, so both look alike.

Cut carefully around the leaf tops and open up.

Put a dab of glue on the back of a flower and stick it onto a leaf. Make about 10 or 12.

Scrunch up the sheet of newspaper and stick it into the flower or yogurt pot, making sure a decent amount of it sits proud in a good mound shape.

Glue on your primroses

overlap them, as that’s the way they like to be - bunched up close together.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Easy Paper Flowers

More flowers! Made from paper this time, and really quick to do. Good cutting practice for kids too and it's fun opening up your folded, snipped piece of paper to see what's there….

You will need:

Coloured paper or plain paper to paint
General purpose scissors

For the other projects:

Small scissors (like nail scissors)
Ball of plasticine or modelling clay
Pipe cleaner
White card
Ribbon, braid, string
PVA craft glue

1.  Find things to draw around in the kitchen, like tins, jars or side plates.

2.  It's best to start with a big circle first, to get some practice. Draw around your shape and cut it out.

3  Fold the circle in half, then in quarters and then eighths.

4.  About 1cm (1/2") up from the tip, draw a line straight across and mark it in the middle.

5.  Draw a petal shape from this mark to a top corner and repeat on the other side, making sure the petals look alike.

6.  Then, cut carefully along the pencil lines, making sure the tip of both petals stays pointy - and open up your flower.

7.  When you've made a few and feel more confident, try some smaller circles, so you can build up  flowers with a few petal layers.

8.  If you'd like to make a daisy to add to a spring flower posy from last time, put one of your cut-outs on a ball of plasticine and push the closed tip of the small scissors through the middle of the paper. Don't make the hole too big.

9.  Push a pipe cleaner up through the hole and bend the top 3cm (1") over at a right-angle - then carefully spiral the bendy wire around itself, to make the centre of you flower. Push the paper back up under the pipe cleaner centre.

Making some flower bunting or a daisy chain is another fun thing to do with your cut-out flowers.

10. Find a longish piece ribbon or something similar, and cut to the length you want for your bunting. We used quite thin sequin braid, with a bit of sparkle, but to be honest thicker is better for stable bunting that doesn't swing about too much. 

11. Chose three different sized circles - for the outer petals, inner petals and the centre. 

12. A bottle lid makes a good centre circle template - we went for yellow middles, but pick whatever colour you like. Cut out flowers from the other bigger circles, and make enough of each to space out along your ribbon (roughly 20cm (8") between our flowers). 

13. Glue the centres in the middle of the inner petals, then brush a good amount of glue all over the middle section of the biggest flower and lay the ribbon over it, a little above the halfway point, to stop it flipping over when it's hanging up.

14. Next, dab a bit more glue on the back of the inner petals and stick them down over the ribbon and position so the petals are between the ones below.

15. Repeat along your ribbon - use a ruler or tape measure to space them evenly - then leave to dry.

16. To make a daisy chain, cut out white flowers with yellow centres and glue them straight onto the ribbon. The small yellow centres can be more fiddly to cut, so, if you want just paint them on instead.

17. Smaller flowers make lovely card decorations too. My daughter made these - some with painted centres and some with buttons, which worked really well. The vase is cut out from an old birthday card.

I've had a little primrose idea….

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Egg carton flower craft for Mother's Day and Easter

Egg boxes or egg cartons are perfect for making flowers. They're quick to do, and any wavy edges or ruffled tissue paper adds to the natural flower look, so it really is a winner!

You'll need:
egg boxes
PVA craft glue
glue stick
pipe cleaners
coloured tissue paper (or coloured paper)
small yogurt drink bottles or yogurt pots
stickers, wrapping paper, ribbons for decoration
small scissors (like nail scissors)

For the roses and daffodils, cut out an egg cup - snip off any joins and don't worry about wavy edges or breaks in the cup, like this one - as I said, it all just adds to the petal effect.

For the bell-shaped snow drops and crocuses, roughly cut out the middle pointy cones from the carton - neaten up the bottom edge, so each piece is about 4cm/1.5inches (bigger or smaller is fine too).

Mark half way down each side, in the middle, then draw from the mark to the corners. Cut out the triangles to form the flower.

Time to get painting - and try to paint your rose cups so they tone in with the tissue paper or coloured paper you're using - remember a few yellow ones for daffodils too. We painted our bell flowers purple, yellow and white, but any bright colours would look great.

Once dry, turn the cups over, and make a small hole in the middle with a pair of small sharp scissors, like nail scissors - keep them closed, press down on the card, and twist slightly from side to side. You may want to do this bit.

Push a 15cm/6" piece of pipe cleaner through the hole from the back, and fold over the tip - no more than 1cm/0.25"- inside the cup, to hold it in place. Green pipe cleaners are great, but we didn't have many green ones, so used a mix of what we found.

To make the centre of the rose, take a piece of tissue paper - 25cm/10" by 8cm/3"- and fold it over a few times, lengthways, so it's about 2cm/0.75" wide, or roughly the height of your egg cup piece.

Then roll the strip up quite tight - kids may need help with this, especially getting it started - but the roll really doesn't have to be terribly neat - a bit ruffled and uneven looks good.

Hold onto the tissue paper roll so it doesn't unravel, put it into a cup with a stem, and then let it unfurl naturally up to the edges. While it's still in the cup, use a brush to dab a little glue onto the stray end of the tissue paper, to stick it down and hold the roll together.

Lift the roll out, brush lots of glue in the bottom of the cup, and stick the centre down firmly. Leave to dry.

(If you're using coloured paper - fold and roll a smaller piece, so it's not too big for the egg cup - 18cm/7" by 5cm/2")

For a daffodil, use a smaller piece of orange or yellow tissue paper - 18cm/7"by 5cm/2"- you don't want it to unravel too much, so, once it's rolled up, brush some glue onto the loose end, to hold it together. Then dab glue in the centre of your yellow egg cup and stick the roll in place.

For the bell shaped flowers, make a little hole at the top of the cone with small scissors.

Push a 15cm/6"piece of pipe cleaner up through the hole and make the stamen by wrapping the end around the middle of a 5cm/2"piece - yellow looks good, but any colour will do - we used a few gold ones to add a bit of sparkle.

The little vases we've used here are small yogurt drink bottles. There's lots of different ways to decorate them - I'm sure you'll come up with more!

If the label comes off easily, like these ones, then stickers are a quick way to jazz them up. If you need to cover any writing, cut a piece of wrapping paper so it covers the middle section, or use some plain paper and draw your own design. A glue stick is best for sticking the paper down.

A ribbon tied around the top finishes it off nicely - I always hold onto any ribbons, and found this lovely, thick pink organza one. If you have something similar, tie it around the top of the bottle so there's a long and short end. Wrap the long end all the way around the bottle a few times, as tight as you can, until it's covered, then wrap back up to the top and tie to the short end.

Put a old piece of plasticine or playdoh in the bottom of the bottle to stop it tipping. Either add your flowers, one at a time - bending the pipe cleaner ends to get the height you want - or arrange the posy first, then bend the ends together and pop into a homemade vase.

You could display your flowers in bigger yogurt pots, like this. Stick the pipe cleaner stems into a ball of plasticine first, and when you're happy with the arrangement, pop it in the pot.

Cut any paper to decorate the outside into sections before gluing - this makes it much easier to stick evenly around the pot.

Another idea we tried was using the rose cups to make a Mother's Day card, - very quick and easy! We cut the vase out of an old Birthday card.

Daisies next time!