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St. Patrick's Day Project - Recycle Cardboard Rolls into Hats

Posted on March 13, 2015 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I almost forgot that St. Patrick's Day falls on March 17 just one day after the beginning of March Break (in Ottawa). I don't know how parents manage to keep all these holidays and breaks straight - must be difficult at times. Any road, here's an idea that was inspired by some St. Patrick Day hats I spotted for sale at our local dollar store. Why buy, when you can make, no? It's easy because I'm too discombobulated to do anything difficult. Last time I tried, I cut my finger with an Xacto knife!

How to Make a St. Patrick's Party Hat

What you will need

  • Cardboard roll (Toilet paper. gift wrap, or paper towel cardboard rolls - should be 4" tall)
  • Plate (4-1/2" inch diameter)
  • White craft glue
  • Cardboard (recycled from a food package, etc.)
  • Pencil and scissors
  • Green craft paint and brush
  • Bit of ribbon and shamrock (or make a ribbon and shamrock from paper) 
  • Elastic thread (recycled from a party hat)

What you need to do

  1. Take the plate and the cardboard roll and trace circles from both on the cardboard (see photo).
  2. Cut out the circles.
  3. Dribble some glue onto the plate and dip one end of the cardboard roll in the glue. 
  4. Press this end of the roll into the centre the larger circle and let dry.
  5. When dry, dip the other end of the roll in the glue and attach to the top of the toilet roll.
  6. Let dry. 
  7. Insert the elastic thread (I used an embroidery thread needle) on both sides of the hat where it is glued to the circle. Glue the ends to the hat so the elastic doesn't pop off.
  8. Paint the hat and when dry add the ribbon and shamrock.

NOTE: If you don't have green paint, use green construction paper, and glue on before joining the different bits of cardboard.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you!


March Break - Inspiring Recycling Projects

Posted on March 11, 2015 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is next week here in Ottawa and I've put together links to my all-time favourite kids' projects which will appeal to both kids and parents (I hope). All of the sites shown here have tons of projects and enough ideas to keep you and the kids busy all week long and are worthwhile exploring. I haven't noted any age categories although some are easier to make than others. I think kids any age would enjoy these (even me!!). 

Most call for material that you no doubt already have around the house: i.e., newspapers, plain paper (if I run out, I use the plain side of gift wrap), clothespins, popsicle sticks, cardboard, etc.

For the Architect

Source: Paper Houses

Source: The link to this project seems to have been discontinued but it's easy enough to replicate. Waxed milk or juice cartons are difficult to paint over and need several coats. It's best to glue on plain paper over the carton and, when dry, kids can paint and decorate.

For the Airplane Pilot

Source: Come Fly With Me

For the Gardener

Source: Garden Plot

For the Musician

Source: Harmonica

Source: Drum

For the Mad Scientist

Source: Science Fun 

Source: Balloon Fun

For the Rocket Scientist

Source: Zoom, zoom 

NOTE: Both the above sites have projects that both girls and boys can enjoy. 

For the Structural Engineer

Source: Instructions for this bridge can be found at the following link:

For the Sailor

Source: A'sailing We Will Go

Source: Spanish Galleon

Glue Paint Idea

Posted on March 10, 2015 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

The other day my friend Sean came round and showed me how to make a glue paint using just two ingredients that we all have: food colouring and craft glue. It's fun way to experiment to get different colour effects just by adding different amounts of food colouring to glue to create art with a 3D effect. It's also a good way to use up food colouring if you only have a drop or two left as it takes very little colouring to create shiny paint colours.

To make the glue, all you need to do is squirt a little blob of glue on plastic sheet (the plastic is to protect your table or work area from a food colouring stain which is permanent - we used a used plastic bag - cleaned out, of course!) and then add a drop or two of food colouring. Mix together using a tooth pick. Use a separate toothpick for each colour. 

Sean 'painted' the following image on parchment paper but you can use whatever paper you have and please note that it takes a few minutes to dry.

We made our paint in small batches. For more information how to make glue paint and use it, go here.

Recycling - Cardboard City Inspiraton

Posted on March 3, 2015 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

If you're gobsmacked by this little cardboard city as much as I am, I'm not surprised. It's the creation of Evgeny Kudryavtsev (aka Cardboard Dad) an architect and the father of a little girl, Ira, for whom he invent toys made from recycled cardboard and scrap materials. He crafted this mouse-sized cardboard city as part of a commission for German publisher Fordevind. The bright colours and graphic details that he added to his city makes it irresistable to any mouse or child (even a few adults). It just shows you what you can do with something as common as cardboard. 

Take a wander through his blog (it's in Russian) and you’ll be tempted to break out the cardboard and create a city with, and for, your little ones. To view Evgeny's blog and his mouse-sized city landscape, click here

Evgeny has an online shop selling his own designs. His current DIY kits include a cardboard house and a rocket, both customizable. To check out his wares, go here.

March Break - Rockets and Castles

Posted on March 2, 2015 at 7:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Okay, now that you've got your glue and paint ready, it's time to gather up the kids and start creating. Cardboard tubes from your recycling bin are a great material for all kinds of projects. In no time at all, your kids can create rocket ships, castles, even a forest. The following projects are easy and quick to make. Once assembled with a little help from you, let the kids go ahead with the decorating and painting.

Cardboard Tube Rocket Ships

What kid doesn't love the idea of flying high up to the moon and back? Lisa over at her blog Lizon shows you how to make this tall rocket ship. Her blog is in Russian but her excellent photographs are easy to follow. For Lisa's rocket ship, click here.

If you prefer your how-tos in English, check out the rocket ships over at Sweet Paul has a similar version of a rocket ship. For instructions, click here.

Cardboard Tube Castles

We all love the idea of living in our very own castle. The MollyMoo craft blog has a very easy-to-make castle made from a cardboard box and toilet paper rolls. Quick and very simple to make. The how-tos can be found here

Also very easy is this castle from Incy Wincy Art Club team. The castle is easily put together with a variety of toilet and kitchen roll tubes, all held together with craft glue. 

Cardboard Forest

Any little girl or boy will tell you that every castle needs a forest where fairies, unicorns, and other mystical creatures frolic. Here's one from Maija's Finnish blog, Ukkonooa, that is quite charming - bright and cheerful. The instructions are in Finnish but, again, the photographs are very easy to follow. To create this magical forest, click here.

There are thousands of sites that show you how to recycle cardboard tubes; these were among my favourites. I like them because they are quick, easy and so inexpensive to make.

March Break Eco-Friendly Craft Supply Recipes

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

March Break is just a couple of weeks away here and some parents have nowhere to send their kids (not there, silly!) and take time off to spend with them. If you've decided to forego the trip to Disneyland or Cuba, and, if you're in a tizzy and too busy to look up some ideas to keep the kids occupied, I'm here to help.

First up are a few links that give you easy-peasie instructions to make your own (MYI) glue, paint, play doh, even Mod Podge (so easy, you'll fall off your chair in surprise!). All the 'recipes' are environmentally friendly that you can make at home. No need to head for craft or dollar stores: most call for ingredients you've already have in your kitchen cupboard and are easy enough for kids to make under your supervision. So, here we go!

Homemade Craft Glue

This craft glue recipe comes from Moms over at Paging Fun Mums and is very simple to make. When I made mine, I never thought to use vinegar as the preservative. Good idea. For the how-tos, click here.

Mod Podge

Great recipe for decoupage crafts. Mod Podge can get expensive so these two handy MYI recipes come in handy. They're from the wife and husband team over at Painted Furniture Ideas. I tried the simple solution one and found that it worked beautifully. For both recipes, click here.

Homemade Playdoh

Almost everyone I know has a recipe for playdoh. But the two offered by Instructables are by far the best I've tried. There's one recipe for cooked which they say has a better texture and another one for uncooked playdoh. The choice is yours. Cooked or uncooked?

Homemade Finger Paint

I found oodles of recipes for finger paint and choose the following because the recipes included ingredients I already have in the cupboard (and a neighbour kindly took down for me as I'm still pretty much unable to stretch!). Anyway ...

The first finger paint recipe is via Stacey from The vG Huis blog. It includes sugar as an ingredient so don't tell the kids. They may want to eat it! Just tell them that it's a secret ingredient that you can't divulge. Kids love secret ingredients. For the instructions, go here.

Melissa from the Fireflies and Mud Pies blog claims to have a taste-safe recipe for finger paint. It doesn't include sugar but uses Kool-Aid instead of food colouring to colour the paints. I didn't attempt to try tasting but I do admit it came out nicely and really worked well. The recipe is here.

Homemade Water Colours

Your older kids might like to use brushes instead of their fingers to create their masterpieces. Here's an easy recipe for water colours from Amy, a blogger over at All Parenting. If you don't want to (or don't have an extra) ice cube tray, use a muffin tin instead or small jars. For recipe, click here.

I hope you find these links useful as well as both time and cost-saving. There's nothing better than creating and spending time with your kids. They grow up so fast!