What We’re Making Today: Bugs, Worms and Birds!

“Bird crafts” were requested for this week, so I have FOUR crafts, two of which are birds and the other two related to birds.  First off, I’ve got a little wooden birdhouse that we can paint up.  I’m wondering if I’m tempting fate by using acrylics, but they look so good!  If this birdhouse is actually going on the market (outside, that is) we don’t want watercolors that will wash off.

A friend recommended this lightning bug craft from Apartment Therapy.  Lightning bug or firefly?  Either way, it was really hard to find a video of fireflies that wasn’t about Joss Whedon or Owl City.  I’d like to start incorporating my iPhone into my teaching so I can use videos as examples, or find pictures to use as models.  I haven’t been in California for an entire year, so I don’t know how common fireflies are.   Here’s a wonderful example:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • plastic eggs (ones that open)
  • LED tea light
  • pipe cleaners
  • duct tape
  • markers
  • stuffing
  • thumbtack
  • scissors

The egg is the body, the pipe cleaners legs and antennae.  The hardest part of this craft is the poking of holes, so let the grown-up do that.  The holes should be big enough that the child can push the pipe cleaner through, but not so big that they won’t stick without glue.  Six holes need to be punched in the pointed half of the egg, in two rows of three.  Poke two more holes in the round piece for the antennae:

Next, make the face.  You can do this with paint, stickers, or markers.  I chose Sharpies, since they go on very dark.

Legs!  Cut a pipe cleaner into six equal segments.  Push these into each hole and bend as necessary.  You can adjust these later when all pieces are together.  Cut two more equal parts, a little longer than the legs, and insert into the head.

Now for the light:  you can simply insert the tea light in, or you could put a little big of stuffing on the switch-end of the light to keep in in place.  It keeps it from rattling.

Last step:  make wings from duct tape, which requires no glue!  I made another change to the original tutorial here.  Cut/tear a six inch piece of duct tape and fold in half longways almost equally.  Leave a small tab of sticky side showing that will attach to the egg.  Now that it is folded, you don’t have to cut through a sticky side.  Cut the tape to look like two leaves attached at the base.  Or, get creative!  Stick the wings onto the egg.

To turn it on and off, you will have to open the egg, so make sure you don’t cover the opening with too much of the tape.

The next craft is quilled birds, from Family Fun.  This consists as a series of nested paper rings.  The lengths listed in the tutorial are very helpful, but it’s not necessary to be exact.  I’m going to use this craft as a chance to learn to measure and use a ruler.   You’ll need:

  • colored cardstock
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • toothpick
  • clothespins

I have nothing innovative to add, so go over to Family Fun and check out that tutorial.  Here’s my go at it:

If we have time, I bought some wonderful air-dry clay to make caterpillars.  I’m actually new to the idea of building up sculptures using aluminum foil and I love it!

Tear off small pieces of aluminum foil and roll into balls.  Make a good little pile of them, maybe 8 or more.  Take a little clay (start little, then add) and cover the foil balls.  Roll in your hands until it looks smooth and round enough.

Just put them all together and you’ve got a caterpillar!  I added some wires later for feelers.  After 2-3 days it will dry, so next week we can paint them!  I’m gonna buy a second tub of this stuff for myself.

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What We’re Making Today: Spaghetti Art!

I got this idea from the folks over at Busy Bee Kids Crafts.  The idea is ever so simple: cook spaghetti, mix it with equal parts paint and glue, make a sculpture!  I always test crafts before I go to work, and I’ve been having a blast with this one.

What you need:

  • Glue (I used Modge-Podge)
  • Cooked spaghetti (let it cool, ok?)
  • Wax paper
  • Various colors of paint

Mix equal parts paint and glue.  I just plopped a small pile of spaghetti straight into it and mixed with my hands, because it feels great!  I tried to use poster paints first, since they are washable, but I didn’t get vivid colors.  I used acrylics, and everything popped (also stained my new dress).

Lay the noodles on one by one, and make sure every noodle touches another one, and there aren’t too many stray noodles that gravity won’t be able to hold up.  Let everything dry overnight on a flat and safe surface, and hang it in a window.  The wax paper should peel off easily.

It's a spaghetti sculpture made of spaghetti. So.. it's spaghetti.

Another good thing about this craft is that if the child gets bored or isn’t interested in making the shapes, she can skip the glue and use the noodles as paint brushes.  Here’s my Jackson Pollack rip-off:

Make sure you have plenty of plates to mix the noodles and paint on, and lots of paper towels handy.  This is a craft that absolutely hinges on the ability to get messy, so don’t fight it.

Now THAT is what I call nail art.


Plastic Animal Art

I’ve been researching some uses for my giant animal collection.  Here’s a great list of the things I wish I’d thought of first!

Image from Shift.jp.org

Felieke Van Der Leest is an artist from Holland who incidentally grew up next to a zoo.  Her work doesn’t technically fall into my “wish I’d thought of it first” (WITOIF) category since she is also does miniature knitting and metalwork.  She is a true artist, and you owe it to yourself to check out her other work.

Crazy Couture on Etsy

By now this design is being copied all over, and I’m not sure if this was the original creator or not.  Yeah, I’ve copied it too, but just for meeee!

Image from The Sweetest Occasion

Everyone in my family owns one of these birthday candles now, thanks to The Sweetest Occasion.  She put a fantastic tutorial up, and I had a lot of fun making them.

 

Image from Design Boom

Wine stoppers that look like drunk animals.  Yes.

Image from House to Home

I’m obsessed with the fashion of organization (I have box collection) so I love these animal-topped jars from House to Home.

Now I need to go make something!