Maintain Your Post! DIY Dot Earrings for Every Outfit

Dark blue resin posts

Dark blue resin posts

I wear solid-color stud earrings almost every day, changing to fit my outfits or complement statement earrings. I’ve been enamored of tiny earrings since I was a little girl endlessly spinning the displays at stores like Claire’s, and used to buy my multicolored sets of studs at Forever 21. I decided to spend a little more money and invest in some well-made jewelry from DA Metals in Providence, RI.  They are silver and resin, and do not chip! It was worth my investment. I got 5 pairs to go with all my outfits.

Want to make a pair in every color of the rainbow? For the price of a bottle of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, you can make one hundred pairs of studs. They aren’t as sturdy as those made by DA Metals (seriously, get yourself a pair) but you can get creative and add whatever you want.  All it takes are some very simple and inexpensive materials. Read the rest of this entry »


Shaving Cream Painting for Marbled Paper!

I had so much fun with this in the past few weeks.  I had been dying to try it after reading several how-tos, and I’d say it’s a blast even if you don’t have kids to do it with.

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First off, this project can be done with acrylics or fingerpaints.  If you are not afraid of art being messy (and staining) I would go with acrylics.  The results are much brighter.  Fingerpaints, while totally safe for surfaces, come out very weak and not as “TA-DA!”

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The supplies list is simple, and cheap:

-really foamy shaving cream (I used Barbasol)

-a variety of paint colors (acrylic, fingerpaints)

-cardstock (large pieces for agile hands, or index cards for tiny ones) or paper plates

-a shallow container (I used plastic plates with the kids, uses less cream)

-forks, popsicle sticks for “brushes”

The tutorials I read called for a squeegee for removing the shaving cream, but since that was not in my craft arsenal, I simply used a plastic ruler.


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Spray the shaving cream into the container, enough that you can use a popsicle stick to smooth it out, like icing on a cake.  It doesn’t need to be perfect, and you don’t even have to do that step.  It is fun for the kids to play in, so that can be just one more fun activity for them.

When the cream is ready as your “canvas”, squeeze a few different colored streaks of paint on top.  Do you work with kids who just love squeezing paint bottles?  Then maybe you should do the paint for them.

Rake the popsicle stick or fork around the cream and paint to make swirls and streaks.  Mix paint colors in the cream and see what you get.  Once you see a particularly beautiful swirl, cover it with a piece of paper, card or paper plate and gently press over the whole surface.  Peel it back and let it dry for a few minutes.  Multiple prints can be made from the same canvas, so make sure you show them they can keep painting.

To clear the shaving cream and reveal the print, use a squeegee or ruler over the sink to scrape off the shaving cream.  I found putting the paper on an hard surface (like the bottom of a plate or a cutting board) make it easier, and prevented the paper from tearing.  Let these prints dry for an hour or more.

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The index cards are quickly turned into valentines for the whole class, or you can cut them up into shapes.  Make a collage of balloons, or string shapes together to make a beautiful marbled garland.  It makes a gorgeous background for your desktop or Twitter page!


Make a Scrap-topus

What’s an octopus made of scrap fabric and thread that you’ve got all over your sewing room floor?  A scrap-topus!  This is a little project I did this summer at camp, on the days we designated “scrap days”.  With 100 kids coming and going through the sewing studio, our scrap bins got really fun.  I wish I had a picture to explain how much stuff was exploding out of them.

Now, you are probably saying to yourself– why not just throw it away!  That seemed like a bad lesson for kids, and scrap day had another meaning– it was a day to get creative with the little things, or figure out how to make lots of little things one big thing.  Enter the scrap-topus.  It’s more of an octopus-jellyfish, because the sheer material lets you see all the guts inside.

We had lots (I mean LOTS) of googly eyes on hand, but you can use buttons, paint, embroidery, what have you.  What you’ll need:

  • Sheer fabric (tulle, organza, chiffon, pantyhose)
  • Fabric and thread scraps (the smaller the better)
  • Ribbon, string or rick-rack
  • Googly eyes
  • glue (hot or fabric glue is  best)
  • scissors

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What We’re Making Today: Needle-felted Cloud Mobile

This was a perfect cloudy day craft!  Clouds can be any color, thanks to sunset and sunrise, storms and rain.  With some plain white wool and rolls of colored roving, we mixed colors together until we had lovely clouds of purple, blue and green (sometimes all three).

What you need:

  • plain (natural or white) loose wool
  • colored roving
  • felting needle
  • felting pad
  • thread (I chose blue, but get creative!)
  • 1 0r 2 dowel rods
  • beads (pony beads, glass, crystal, raindrop-like)
  • wire
  • floral tape

The needle-felting is the easiest part for kids– this project also requires lots of knots.  If that is something your child’s hands cannot handle yet, you can tie knots while they spend more time on the cloud’s design.

If you want to make a mobile with two rods that form a cross, make at least four clouds (for a single rod, 2-3 will do).  Start by mixing your cloud colors by grabbing a handful of white wool and bit of colored roving.  Mix until it looks pretty.

Roll the wool between your palms, letting the heat and pressure compound it a little into a ball.  Put the ball on the felting pad and poke at it from all directions, picking it up and turning it over to ensure even compaction.  The point is not to make a tight ball, but to form the cloud with nothing hanging off haphazardly.  You can lightly pull on sections of the cloud to fluff it up if it gets too flat.  This would also be a good time to talk about types of clouds, or look out the window and see what kind are already in the sky.

Once shaped as you like it, attach a thread at the top and one at the bottom of the cloud.  Thread a needle and attach the string by going through a thick part of the cloud, coming back through and tying  a knot.  The top thread will attach to the dowel rod, so leave enough length to tie knots and get creative with where the clouds hang.  On the other string, add a bead and secure it at the end of the thread with a knot.  Multiple “raindrops” can be added.  Note: too much bead weight could harm the structural integrity of the cloud (just like a real cloud!)

To make the cross-shaped base for hanging the clouds, you will need:

  • wire
  • dowel rods
  • floral tape
  • pliers (something that will cut wire)

Cut a piece of wire approximately 12 inches long.  Arrange the dowels in the shape of a cross and wrap the wire around the center of both pieces, alternating directions.  Try to keep the end of the wire from sticking out too much.

    With the remaining inches of wire, make a loop and tuck the end of the wire under the frame.  Twist the loop.
Cover the wire with floral tape, and tape up each dowel to make it more stable.  Tape sufficiently over the wire to hold down the ends of the wire.  Prevent pokes!  You’re done when the frame won’t wiggle.When all the clouds are done and have their strings and beads attached, and the frame is set up (you can paint that, too, if you have time) you can attach the top strings of each cloud to the frame.  I chose to put one cloud at the end of each dowel and one in the middle.  I tied the strings, but also used my scissors to make a small notch on the top of the dowel for the string to sit in.Note:  I would not recommend this as an infant mobile due to the small beads, fragility of the clouds and the wire.  Pretty much the whole thing would be a danger in a baby’s crib if it falls.  Put it somewhere out of reach and let it cast rainbows on the wall.


How-to: Make an Arctic Hare (Rabbit) and Scenery

What We’re Making Today is a series of posts about the Arts and Crafts projects I do with my young clients.  Every week I’ll post pictures and tutorials of lovely stuff to do with kids that use the simplest supplies.  Yesterday, I showed you how to make an adorable penguin out of a toilet paper roll, and the entire scene with penguin, mountains, clouds and a rabbit.  Today, we focus on the rabbit and the mountains.

Technically what we’re making in an Arctic Hare, but explaining the difference between rabbits and hares* may be too much for a four year old.  I had to look it up myself! A good lesson would be to talk about what color most Arctic creatures are, and why they are that way.

Today’s hare can easily be converted to a rabbit by just calling it that, unless your child is an expert in the Lagomorpha order of mammals… moving on.  Easter is just around the corner if you want to go that direction with it.  This craft lends itself well to Easter since the rabbits are made from egg cartons.  You can make a dozen out of one carton, and then use the rabbits to cover eggs in a hunt.  Here’s what you need:

  • Egg carton
  • White cardstock
  • crayons (any color, though Arctic hares wouldn’t do so well with bright green noses)
  • Scissors
  • Black market

Cutting the cups from the egg carton may be a big person’s job.  You will not be able to get a perfect cup, but as long as you have room for a face it will work.  Cut the cups out and set the child to decoration the faces and coloring the fur.  If you want to go full-Arctic, try some white paint.  For smaller children, you can go ahead and use the black marker to outline some facial features they can color in.

Cut out two ear shapes from the cardstock, making sure the base of the ears is less than 1/2 in across.  Bend these in half longways and unbend to give the ear a more cupped appearance.  The inside of the ear can be colored in.

More big person work: use your scissors to stab two slits in the top of the cup, making sure the slits are thick enough for the child to insert the ears.  Voila!

*Hares are larger, have longer feet and ears and are faster than rabbits.  So, hares are super tough, speedy champions and rabbits are cuddlier, tastier snuggle bunnies.

The mountains are very easy– have the child draw a series of triangles or a line with lots of up and down points.  Just make sure the mountain is longer than it is tall, so it won’t fall over.  Cut a slit about an in from both ends.  Cut out two small rectangles (tabs) from the cardstock and cut a slit in each middle.  Not all the way through!  Insert the tab into the slits on the mountain piece until they fit snugly.  Mountain time!

These can also be glaciers!  Try a little glue and glitter, or a light wash of blue watercolor.  You can make a large mountain range out of one piece of cardstock, or a huge glacier!  Did you know that the North and South pole are classified as deserts?  There’s something to talk about!


How-to: Make a Penguin

AAAH! HE’S ENORMOUS!!! Actually, he’s quite small as he’s made from a toilet paper roll.  If you’re like me and hoard cardboard tubes, you could make an army of penguins.  I think that was a Bjork album.

What you’ll need:

  • construction paper in black and yellow
  • white cardstock
  • scissors
  • toilet paper tube
  • black marker
  • glue

Body: Start by cutting the black paper length-wise at the height of the roll.  You’ll use this strip to cover the whole body of the penguin, and can cut off excess length later.  Set aside.

Top of head (optional): Trace the circle of the tube and then sketch a larger circle around it, maybe about half an inch.  Cut this whole thing out, then cut lines from the outer circle towards the inner circle, as seen in the picture below.  Once you’ve got it all done, bend the little tabs in towards the center of the circle. Line the top outside of your roll with glue, and sit this piece on top like a hat.  Hold the tabs over the glue for about 30 seconds until they stick.

At this point, attach the large black body piece with glue.  Hold until dry enough to stand alone.

Face: From the yellow (or orange, do what you like) paper, fold a small piece and cut a triangle along the fold.  You can use the templates if you like.  Cut circles or ovals for eyes, and color in the pupils with marker.  Glue the eyes and beak onto the face.

Feet: Cut three-toed feet from the template, or just go crazy!  I’ve never seen a penguin’s feet in real life, so for all I know they have human feet.  The point is to just have a good time.  Put glue along the flat part of the foot and set the roll down on top of it.  The glue will try as the penguin sits.

Now for the wings!  Cut out from the template above, or improve.  Fold the top flat of the wing down and adhere glue.  Hold it to the side of the penguin until it sticks.  From here, you can bend the wings to give your creature a little character.

Other tutorials use google eyes or foam, and I think those are great ideas.  This tutorial uses the most basic items that people have in their homes and can be put together very quickly.

Previously: What We’re Making Today: Arctic Scenes!


What We’re Making Today: Arctic Scenes!

Four projects in one!  Today we set out to make an arctic scene with landscapes, weather and of course, inhabitants.  This was inspired by a toilet roll penguin craft in Make and Do Crafts, but you can find  how-tos all over the internet.  We made a penguin, arctic hare (rabbit), mountains (or glaciers) and a mobile of clouds, snow and sunlight.  Over the next few posts, I’ll go into detail about each one.  For now, feast your eyes.

Arctic hare and mountains.

Close up of penguin.

Weather mobile.