Nov
4

Easy Crafts for a Rainy Day

Posted by: Lyra Pappin

The sun might not be shining but that doesn’t mean your creative spirit can’t be out in full bloom.  Whether you want to engage your children in some artistic exercise or simply relax in your home, these easy crafts are sure to brighten even the gloomiest day.

Create-a-Candle

Candles quite literally brighten up your home.  Making your own candles is a simple and environmentally friendly activity that can add a welcome personalized touch to any home.

To make your own candles, first remember to save the stubs of candles you already use.  After your collection is large enough, melt the pieces together in a double boiler.  You can colour the wax by adding bits of crayons to the mixture.  After the wax has melted together, carefully pour the warm mixture into a glass jar or metal can.  You can use cotton yarn for wicks, or better yet, purchase some wick from a craft store.

There are many options for decorating the candleholder, including acrylic paint, sparkles, fabric paint, beads, or anything else you can think of!  Head to your nearest craft store for further inspiration, or check out ehow.com for further candle making tips.
 

Shoe Box Treasure Chest

Want to do something creative and get organized at the same time?  Decorating a shoebox is the perfect way to get your kids as excited about cleaning up as they’ll ever be. Or, maybe you need the motivation! Either way, all you need to do is grab an old shoebox and your favourite craft materials like construction paper, markers, crayons, glue, glitter, stickers, lace, buttons, jewels – anything! You could even use photos or images from magazines to cover the sides of the box. 

If you are making the “treasure chest” with or for your child, you can put his or her name on the box so that he or she knows it is something special.  You can put anything in the box, including craft materials, treats, dolls, or special school work. 
 

3-D Storytime

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a celebrity to write a children’s book.  You don’t even have to have kids! Writing a short story with some fun pop-out art is not only a great way to get your creative juices flowing, but it could also make an impressive gift for a family friend or relative.

Children’s stories are best kept simple, but if you are having trouble coming up with a plotline, try making an updated version of a classic tale.  This is also a family-friendly endeavour, so feel free to involve your children in the writing of the story, as well as the decorating.

To create pop-out characters, first draw images on construction paper and fold them in half. Leave extra space behind the arms of the characters, so you can fold the paper back and glue it onto the page of the book. Glue one side to the left page, and the other to the right. This will ensure that once the book is opened, it will pull the character forth, bringing him or her “to life”.

A simpler version can also be made using a “jack-in-the-box” type spring. Simply bend a strip of construction paper back and forth to make a spring and glue it onto the back of your cutout characters.

Another way to bring your story to life is to make the images interactive. Ideas include: a bed with a blanket that can be lifted up, a toy chest that can be “opened”, or a door to be closed.  To make a door, for instance, draw the “inside” of the door on the book page first, and then glue the door overtop. Make sure to glue the edge, so that the door can be pulled open and closed.
FamilyFun.com has helpful instructions on how to create great pop-up characters.
 

Personalized Greeting Cards or Stationary

It’s getting rarer and rarer to receive something handmade and truly personal in our e-mail obsessed and technologically super-powered universe.  Taking the time to create something beautiful and customized for a friend or family member is a perfect way to show them how much you care, as well as an enjoyable artistic pursuit that you can enjoy.

Depending on the kind of look you want for your greeting card, there are many options. Using gold or silver pens create a more elegant look, whereas bright colours, stickers, and glitter can be used for a more playful, younger set.  Using watercolours can also make a card soft and pleasing, but be sure to get the correct paper for watercolours, otherwise it may curl up and wrinkle.

An additional trick can be to write some part of the card using a calligraphy pen. And hey, the time you spend learning calligraphy is another task all by itself!
 

Paint-it Pretty Vases and Pots

The best way to recycle glasses, jars, and vases is to turn them into something new and colourful.  These vases and pots can be used for anything from flowers to pencils to makeup brushes.  All you need are a few craft basics and your imagination.  Acrylic or liquid tempra paints, paintbrushes (or cotton swabs), glue, and clear glaze will take your vase or bowl from boring to beautiful. 

A great trick is to mix your paints with some glue, this ensures that the paint will stick to the glass.  Try to keep the paint thick, to avoid it from running. If you make a mistake, or the paint smudges, use a damp paper towel to wipe off the paint before it gets too hard.  Once you are finished, you can seal your artwork with a coat of glaze.  Your creation can function as a nice centerpiece for your home, or as a lovely gift for a friend.

Creating great crafts at home has never been easier and with a simple click of the mouse, you can uncover literally hundreds of new tricks and ideas that will satisfy your artistic whims.  For more great ideas, check out AllFreecCafts.com, MakeStuff.com, and for family-friendly pursuits, FamilyFun.com has plenty of ideas that are suitable for kids of all ages. 

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Nov 7, 2007 | The Knitting Lady

It is a great way to preserve your memories that you will treasure forever with meaningful journaling to accompany the photographs. Kids scrapbooking projects can offer a unique opportunity to include your child in the memory making process. Pick a time every year (birthday, new years, etc) and put together a page covering your child's likes and dislikes. Ideas of topics can include current news, cute or interesting things that your kid does, favourite food, colors, TV show, etc. This will build up into an interesting record of how your child and the times have changed.


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Lyra Pappin
Toronto, ON, Canada


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