Creative Kid: Spring Crayon Craft

Smashing old crayon bits and melting them into multi-colored jumbo crayons is a great way to spend one of those rainy April afternoons with (or without) the kids. That’s how 2 ten-year-old boys and I recently wiled away a gray day.

  1. Gather old crayons. I had a big bag of sad, old crayons from school. We began by sorting out springtime colors–light greens, pinks, yellows, periwinkles.
  2. Peel off the paper from the crayons. This is the most onerous part, but it’s better to consider it meditative. Think Zen.
  3. Smash. We broke the crayons as much as possible with our hands. Then we put the pieces in a brown paper bag, brought it outside, and bashed it with a hammer. Needless to say, the boys really dug this part.
  4. Prepare the muffin pan. I heated the oven to 275 F and sprayed a mini-muffin pan with canola oil. We sprinkled the crayon bits into the muffin pan. At first we were strategic about which colors went into which mold, but then we threw caution to the wind and just dumped in the rest.
  5. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Your house will smell like a delightfully waxy Crayola factory. Let the pan cool fully. (Because the boys were eager to see the results, I placed the muffin pan in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.)
  6. Ta da! Once the muffin pan is completely cool, the crayons will slide out easily.

 

 

 

 

Make: Tissue Paper Collage Creature Feature

 

 

When Danielle Davis of This Picture Book Life blog asked if I’d make a craft inspired by the delightful picture book Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt, I thought, no problem! After all, Norman is my kind of guy. A dune-buggy-driving, jet-pack-flying, tiara-toting, out-of-the-box orangutan dude.

Norman’s multi-hued self is decidedly not orangutan normal, but it is fun-loving, just like the big guy. And tissue paper collage seemed the best way to capture Norman’s coat of many colors. Tissue paper collage is also great because it’s very forgiving in less experienced kid hands–you can smudge, rip, and layer exuberantly, and still the results are delicious.

What you need:

Tissue paper in fun colors

Mod Podge

paint brush

white card stock

stick-on googly eyes

paper fasteners

popsicle sticks

Trim the tissue paper into 1″ squares. (We sorted our tissue squares for easy use: purples, blues, and greens in one bowl, yellows and oranges in another.)

Next trace Norman’s orangutan bulk, his adorable eggplant-shape head, and his 2 longish arms onto card stock. (If that step seems onerous, we traced some basic gorilla shapes for you here.)

Brush a layer of Mod Podge onto a small area of your shape and cover with tissue squares. Make sure to overlap squares to create new hues. Seal the squares by brushing another layer of Mod Podge over the top of them. Continue in small areas until you’ve covered the shape.

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Give your collage time to dry. Once dried, cut along the outlines of each shape. Adhere the face with glue or Mod Podge and attach the arms with paper fasteners (to give them a little gorilla swing).

Now for the best part: accessorize!

Add goggly eyes, brown specs, a teeny tiara and tutu, or even a dual-rocket jet pack (Norman’s preferred not-normal way to get around). Attach a popsicle stick to the back of your creation to make a puppet. Do not forget to make some friends for Norman: a magenta clarinet-playing hippo, a rollerskating giraffe, a top-hatted snake!

 

 

 

Make: Paper Hearts

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Heart Day is almost here. What to make? For me, this holiday is not about red roses but paper and scissors. (And maybe a bit of chocolate, too.) I like trading valentines that remind me of my school days: home-hewn, simple, with lots of pink and red.

Paper hearts fill my criteria for simple: the folds are easy enough for kids’ hands and the results are colorful, with the delicious gloss and saturation of origami paper. I used 3 x 3″ origami paper (which makes 2″ hearts) but larger paper would work well, too.

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DIY: 3D Paper Snowflakes

These paper snowflakes are the miniature version of the kind I’ve seen kids make at elementary school. Instead of 8.5 x 11 office paper cut into a square, I used 3 x 3″ origami paper in many colors. My smaller rendition does require a little extra dexterity and teeny tiny pieces of tape but it is also very easy. Even though the little coils look intricate, they are deceptively simple to make.

Materials:

3″ origami paper

Scotch tape

mini stapler

scissors

 

Step 1:

Fold the 6 squares of paper in half to form a triangle, and then fold again into a smaller triangle.

Step 2:

Make three cuts into the folded bottom side of the triangle, each cut parallel to the diagonal edge. Cut almost to the top, but leave a little space intact.

Step 3:

Unfold back to a square.

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Step 4:

Roll the innermost corners together and tape.

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Step 5:

Flip your square over and roll the second innermost corners together and tape. Repeat (flip and tape) until all of the corners are rolled together. Complete this process with all six pieces of paper.

Step 6:

Join 3 coils together and staple. Repeat with the remaining three. Then staple the two sets of three together in the center. Some instructions suggest that you also staple each coil together, but I found that because these stars are small and compact, I didn’t need to do that step.

String and hang in a window!

Make: DIY Ribbon Belts

Fresh notebooks, long pencils with sharpened tips, uncreased shoes on polished floors–I love the possibility implied by the start of a school year.

And what evokes school in its pressed, preppy essence more than the ribbon belt?

I made these for myself, and was surprised when the white-and-blue belt was nabbed by my teenage son. So, make enough for everyone!

Materials

grosgrain ribbon (your waist measurement plus about 10 inches)

webbing (to match and back your ribbon)

D-rings

thread to match

Step one: Pin the ribbon to the webbing, making sure to fold 6-8″ of ribbon over the back of the belt. (This bit will be visible when the belt is looped through the D-ring.)

ribbon belt by homemadecity.com

Step two: Sew in place.

ribbon belt by homemade city

Step three: At the other end of your belt, add the D-ring and fold over once. (The webbing was too thick for me to fold over twice).

ribbon belt by homemadecity.com

Step three: Sew the D-ring in place. And . . . wear!