Paper craft stars

This is a really simple Christmas star paper craft which creates such a beautiful effect. A great way to use sheets of scrap book paper too…. one of many easy Christmas crafts to try along with us.

For this activity you will need:

  • A five pointed star template
  • Sheets of 12×12 craft paper
  • A ruler
  • A scalpel
  • A pencil
  • A needle and thread to hang

First things first create your template. I used a protractor and compass to get mine straight but you can print one off to trace quite easily. My cardboard template has two sizes – one smaller inside and one larger on the outside.

Use your template and pencil to draw your stars on to paper before cutting out carefully with a scalpel. You can fit one of each size easily on to a sheet of paper.

Once you have done this you need to create score lines along a straight line from the tip of a point joining to the opposite dip between points – take care not to cut through your paper.

Once you have done this you need to squeeze to fold the longer points with a pinch and then fold the smaller inner lines in the opposite direction.

The finished folds leave you with a 3D paper star which is perfect to hang. I poke a hole with a needle and use thread to hang these up in the window.

You can use thread to attach a larger and smaller star together to make a mobile or group several smaller ones to create a Garland. You could fold and then cut to make a star with a cut pattern or make a giant star for a centre piece. Once you know the knack these are such a simple activity and so versatile when you can choose your colour scheme too.

I have lots of other Christmas crafts for kids for you to explore on my blog – let us know if you try any of these out!

Hot chocolate station

This is a new Christmas tradition for us. Usually we treat ourselves to a hot chocolate with all the trimmings at the Christmas Market but this year it’s cancelled (like everything else) and so I decided to be a little bit ‘extra’ and create this little space for Arlo.

The sign itself was made using a design bundles SVG. I’ve added adhesive vinyl to the glass pane and then popped a sheet of felt inside the glass. This design can be downloaded and printed too. It really does add a festive pop to the kitchen which is normally too functional but there’s no rules in 2020 anymore.

This hot chocolate station was fairly simple to put together – with the tray and the elf cup from Home Bargains, and the glass jars from Ikea. I added vinyl decals to label them up and then filled everything with treats and “bobs your uncle” as the saying goes.

This entire set up cost me less than £20 to put together and I’ve paid £3.50 for a single mug before – I already had cocoa and sugar and just added a bit of each to these jars which I can top up as we go – I think this will keep us going until Christmas.

  • IKEA Korken jars x3 small £2
  • IKEA Korken jar medium £1.25
  • IKEA Vardagen jar £2.50
  • Home Bargains sofa tray £2.99
  • Home Bargains Elf Mug 99p
  • Decals – home made
  • Poundland – candy canes £1
  • Home Bargains – Jane Asher sprinkles 99p
  • B&M – mini Marshmallows 79p
  • Asda – frame £2.25

For more of home made festive project inspiration check out my recent blog post.

Recycling old candles

Would you believe it if I told you this candle was made from scraps? Probably not but it is…. I love having pillar candles on my fire place and as the wax drips I’ve always just plonked another candle on top as I love the effect.

This week has begun the slow transition from autumn to winter and one of my projects was to scrape all the candle wax away from the fireplace and replace with brand new red festive ones. That’s fine but I was left with a box of gross crumbly wax.

To make new candles you will need:

  • Glass jars
  • Wickes
  • Skewers
  • Two pans
  • Candle fragrances
  • Bits and bobs (check flammability)

You begin by placing your wax in to a small pan, and adding boiling water to a larger pan. Create a Bain marie over heat and then simply leave your wax to melt down.

Whilst you wax is melting down prepare your bits and bobs – decide on your fragrances and then prepare your glass.

Here I added gold leaf, gold glitter, cinnamon sticks and a dried orange slice with matching fragrances to be added. My pre waxed wick was secured to the base of the jar and then the excess wrapped around a skewer to balance on the edges of the jar.

At this stage you can check the wax, remove any old residue from the molten wax and carefully discard this – wick stabilisers tend to be metal and easy to fish out but there can be a bit of old burnt wick and sometimes stickers too. The wax needs to be at about 65° to melt but this depends on the type of wax in the candles and if you’re using a mix of old candles then a guesstimate is fine.

Then it’s simply a case of adding fragrance in to the liquid wax and then carefully pouring your mix in to the glass jar. This is the bit where you need to act quickly as the candle wax sets rapidly when it touches a cold surface.

Candles need to be left to set in a cool place – and you will find a small dip will occur in the centre – so it’s always handy to save a little bit of leftover wax for this to top up.

Christmas Window Art

This blog contains reference to products which were given to us by Chalkola.

Our first Christmas window of 2020 is a woodland winter wonderland. I wanted to choose something a little bit different to work with the craft projects we have recently been working on as well as the colour scheme of the kitchen.

This mural was hand drawn using our new Chalkola pens which are extra chunky and so perfect for drawing huge murals on the windows.

Just like our other pens from http://www.chalkola.com/ these contain super pigemnted ink which can be used on non porus surfaces such as glass and chalkboards to create a mural which can be wiped clean, or you can use them to create permanent art on fabric, wood, paper and card.

The box that we received was a multipack – each pen is 15mm and the pack included eight neon colours which are perfect for sign making. You shake and prime each pen to get the ink flowing by pumping it down on to cardboard and then you’re set to go.

The 15mm nob sounds daunting but you can achieve all sorts of different results by utilising different mark making techniques, holding the nib at an angle and varying the pressure to create different effects.

The overall level of detail and finished appearance is awe inspiring – I literally can’t wait to start the next window and try out all of the colours with a totally different theme. Can you guess what we’ll be going for?

Use the code ARLO10 for a discount on the Chalkola website.

Pine cone star craft project

Our twig christmas tree project was a hit, and I love the hygge interior style – but you know me I love a bit of sparkle. After using gold leaf in previous projects I just had to see how it would turn out on pine cones too – one more easy Christmas craft to add to the ever growing collection

You will need:

  • Five pine cones of a similar size
  • PVA glue
  • Gold leaf
  • UHU glue
  • Twine
  • Cotton buds
  • Soft paint brush

The process for this is super simple. I chose to use all the scraps of gold leaf I had fro previous projects. Applying PVA glue to the ends of each piece and then rolling the cones around in the gold until it all adhered.

I did need to use more gold leaf as I had a lot of cones which I’m going to be using for Christmas decoration pieces. I ended up wrapping sheets around them and loved how messy it all got.

I left these to dry overnight in a warm place and then simply used a soft paint brush to clear away the sheets and reveal the sparkly cones before choosing my best five.

Then it’s simply a case of applying glue and holding each piece together until they stick. On reflection my hot glue gun would have been quicker.

I used twine to wrap around my star and then hang it from the nail which my twig Christmas tree hangs from. I fiddled with the fairy lights to make sure it glowed and then sat back listening to Mariah Carey and enjoying my work.

I have lots of other Christmas crafts for kids for you to explore on my blog – let us know if you try any of these out!

Bigjigs Toys – Arlo’s top ten

I have previously received products free of charge from Bigjigs toys

I have a discount code to share with you all for use on the Bigjigs website – use ARLO10 to save £££ so I thought I would collage a list of our favourites on the website for you to give a little bit of Christmas inspo.

1. City of London train set £49.99

Arlo absolutely adores this set, I find wooden train sets are an essential for all children and this set with its familiar landmarks and the iconic black cab and London bus resonates with Arlo as he remembers his day trips to the Capital City. It has a bridge and a figure of eight track and this works with add on pieces in our collection too.

2. Baby Walker with ABC blocks £59.99

This is an absolute classic for all toddlers. It combines so many activities, from those early first steps, to our colour sorting activities and right through to now with Arlo learning the alphabet. This set of blocks has been reached for so many times and provides hours of play and I also love to create little messages from the blocks too.

3. Animal stacking cubes £28.99

This set is the sturdiest of its kind we have seen, and we have tried three different sets. Each side of the cube has a different theme and you can count, stack high and knock them down. This set really does stand the Arlo test well, he loves that he has to stand on the sofa to complete the tall tower the full set makes.

4. Letter train carriages from £2.49

These are a must have….. not only are they beautiful on display in a nursery but they are also great to help teach little ones their name. The letters disconnect from the carriages and we have used these as a dexterity game and more recently as templates for drawing around.

5. Cutting fruits set £17.99

Finding food toys for the play kitchen is a daunting task as there’s just so many options but you can’t go wrong with a set like this. Arlo loves that he can cut and share the pieces and will serve up “one for Arlo and one for Mummy” of each half. We also play hide and seek around the house with these and he will role play with his animals too. Lots of play value!

6. Jar of lacing beads

These are such a fabulous toy for a rainy day. Arlo will sit and focus on threading beads for a long time. I have just started drawing out patterns on paper for him to copy with the beads. There’s colours and then shapes to identify and so it’s quite a complex challenge for him. We have also used these for colour sorting and in our sensory trays too.

7. My workbench £17.99

I love this little set, it’s got lots of fiddly little bits which keeps Arlo very busy – the nuts and bolts can be used to attach the bits of wood to the side of the tool box. It’s chunky enough for him to grip really well. We’ve been doing a lot of DIY which Arlo likes to mimic and he will fetch this kit to help every time – we also use the hammer in our frozen ice excavation projects, all Arlo’s idea of course!

8. Binoculars £9.99

Arlo will not leave the house without his binoculars when we’re off on a nature walk. These are surprisingly powerful and so I’ve borrowed these a few times to get a closer look at the waterfowl. We take a worksheet out with us and try and find as many different kinds of birds or ducks that we can.

9. Teaching clock

This is something Arlo’s key worker at nursery has suggested. He’s suddenly become very aware of time and routine and loves to look at the clock or watch faces. He recognises the numbers now and so we have begun starting to put them in the right place and talk about “half past” – Arlo has already started to try and delay bed time by ten minutes by moving the hands on this clock which of course isn’t battery powered.

10. Magnetic weather board

This is another one which is great for routine. We have been using ours since last year because the advent calendar had been such a big deal he was disappointed to not have anything in the morning. Now without fail the first thing Arlo does every day is look out of the window, give me his weather report and then adjust it on the board. We love creating themed plays for the seasons and having a little celebration dance for our Fridays too.

I hope this has been a useful top ten for you – let us know if you end up trying some of these out and have new ideas for us to use in our play. Don’t forget to use our code ARLO10 for a discount on the website too.

Making a twig Christmas tree

This is such a simple idea but it’s just stunning. I know it’s not even half way through November but this project is stylish enough to not scream “Santa I know him”

The best thing about this is that you’re going to have to head out to the woods to get what you need….. and here’s a hint…. grab some pinecones whilst you’re there for my next easy Christmas craft for you to try along with us.

You will need:

  • A selection of twigs in various sizes.
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Fairy lights

First things first take your twigs and sort them in to size order – largest to smallest.

Once you have done this take a ball of twine and start at the bottom, or largest branch. You want to place your first strings closer together then the size of your smallest branch.

Wrap the twine around your branch once and tie a double knot. Then loop your twine around the branch once each side of your thread and tie it off again in a double knot.

This video demonstrates the knot….. it’s important to get this right because the overall weight is quite a lot and you want it to be secure.

Repeat this process up one side of your branch and then start on the second side with a second piece of twine. Pull your branches apart so the first string is taught to make them “straight” – but a little bit wonky is fine for this project.

Once you have everything fastened together tie a second piece of twine to the uppermost branch and then hang your construction from a nail in a wall. Make some adjustments here by fiddling with your knots before adding fairy lights to complete the hygge style Christmas look.

Here’s our finished hygge style twig Christmas tree. I love it and adding a star made from more items we found in the woods was just the icing on top! Check out our gold pine cone star project

Log slice Christmas craft

I bought these log slices for crafts ages ago and I’ve had them stashed for what seems like forever.

Using these log slices for Christmas decorations seemed like the most obvious place to start. I found a reindeer log slice idea on design bundles for a previous sponsored blog post and downloaded the SVG file to cut straight away so here’s another easy Christmas craft for you to try along with us.

For this you will need:

  • Untreated log slices with holes
  • Twine
  • Matt black vinyl
  • Acrylic paint
  • Transfer tape.

I used my silhouette Cameo for this project to cut the decals.

First of all I painted white circles on to my log slices freehand.

I used two layers of paint and quite like the rustic appearance of them all, each log slice is unique in its own right.

I cut and weeded my vinyl decals and then applied these to the log slices one at a time very carefully. This was time consuming as the design is so intricate.

Once adhered I used twine to thread through each log slice. I’m not quite sure which method is best to seal log slices. I quite like the appearance of these so I think I’ll leave them as they are for now and see how they hold up.

I added a tiny dot of red paint to Rudolph’s nose and I’m searching for the perfect ribbon to tie bows to these and then they’re all set for Christmas….. I’ve added these to a mini tree all of their own in the kitchen as I just couldn’t wait.

There are lots more of our Christmas craft projects to read about here

Making a paper craft Winter wonderland house

This project was created using a design bundles Resource which was gifted to us for the purposes of a previous blog.

This is my favourite winter themed craft project so far, just because with the addition of lights it really does look magical. I love paper craft and sitting and folding with my hands is something which keeps me occupied for hours.

For the houses you will need:

  • White Card stock
  • Double sided tape

I downloaded the six separate files into Silhouette Studio, and adjusted the size of each template to fit on to a sheet of A4 white card. I made sure to select different settings for cut lines and score lines.

(At this stage you could simply print the template and cut it by hand)

I applied my card stock to the cutting mat and let it do it’s thing. Once the machine finished cutting I carefully removed the card from the mat and began to gently tease out the cuts and then folded along my score lines.

At this stage I knew I loved the white but also had an idea and so put aside some card for Arlo to go wild with.

Once each house was cut and folded I used double sided tape to carefully stick everything together, I find tape is the best option for me when it comes to fiddly projects.

It was time then to get along with creating a play scene for these houses. I knew I wanted to create something special for Arlo so decided to go wild with window scene. As we get closer ti Christmas this will be the backdrop for more awesome craft projects.

The perfect finishing touch for these was little battery powered tea light candles which created a little glow from the inside. I have added some of Arlo’s wooden figures for the morning and now we have a lovely decorative winter wonderland.