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!

Friday, 6 March 2015

What is Jumble Tree?

Jumble tree grew out of my other blog - A Patchwork Life.

I started sharing some of the crafts I made with the kids, and slowly but surely realised I loved the challenge of coming up with new ideas. Happily, other people seemed to like them too.

There are so many fantastic sites out there, covering all aspects of kids craft - so, I'm going to stick to what I know and what I enjoy, which is developing and adding to ideas to see where they go!

This is what happened with Roll Up to the Zoo - it started with a lion and a lioness, then there was zebra, followed by a giraffe…and the Zoo just kept on growing.
Now we have all manner of creatures, with enclosures and trees and mini food…and this is what I mean by creating a scene!

I found my (now 7 year old) daughter loved being involved in something we could build on - it made her think, and use her imagination. She came up with a few of the ideas herself, like the turtles and the flamingo. She learnt new skills that she could practice because they were repeated in the different animal projects. Cutting slots is a good example, and snipping round small shapes. I got some pretty outlandish requests too - like a whale, but that's what I love - finding ways to make things happen. (Haven't tried a whale yet, but we did make a shark!)

And everything is made from stuff we all have at home - all that cardboard packaging that usually ends up in the recycling bin. This is another important part of Jumble Tree - making the most of what's already in the house. It's cheap, environmentally friendly and it's all just sitting there, waiting to be transformed into something!

A pile of cardboard tubes, egg boxes and cereal packets is a pile of possibilities, but it's not an exact science - packaging varies, so it's important not to worry if your egg box looks different from the picture - be ready to adapt and work with what you've got. This really is half the fun - putting your own personal spin projects. Whatever you make will be unique, and that's the beauty of this kind of craft.

Most Jumble Tree crafts are for school age children (5+) Remember to supervise all projects - you are the best judge of how much help your child needs, but let them have a go at some of the more challenging bits too - the more they do, the more fun they'll have, and the better they'll get.

When I started blogging about the crafts I do with the kids, I had no idea where it might lead. Fast forward a few years and I'm now writing my first kids craft book, to be published in the summer. Still can't quite believe it!
You just never know, do you.