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!

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

Halloween toilet roll crafts

If you’re anything like me then you will have a bag full of loo roll tubes and all sorts of cardboard which is a handy rainy day stash. They certainly came in handy for our mammoth Halloween craft session!

You will need:

  • Loo roll tubes
  • Paper plates
  • PVA glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Paint
  • Brushes and spreaders
  • Scissors
  • Plus your Craft supplies – tissue, pom-poms, sequins and pipe cleaners plus anything else you have to hand.
  • These are activities you can keep coming back to and really involve little ones in the process. Arlo loves it when we get to the end of a loo roll and we have a permanent bowl of resources on the table so we can glue and stick whenever the mood arises.

    Our first make was a series of spiders which involved slices of tube being cut and pipe cleaners poked through holes. I cut the holes once the paint was dry.

    We used four pipe cleaners and this was a fab fine motor skill, the concentration required to thread the pipe cleaners kept him busy for a while and then he went to town with the Googly eyes.

    For our bat, cat and owl, life started in a similar way – squishing the tube down at one end as pictured to make ear shapes. I did this before we started with the paint and it helped Arlo imagine the animal and decide on his colours.

    Our cat was completed with a pipe cleaner tail and whiskers plus a pom Pom nose and the obligatory googly eyes.

    For our owl we made his wings using a half paper plate and feathers seemed like the best idea to Arlo…. and he also required some sequins to bring this creature to life.

    Our bat also utilised paper plate wings, I cut little half moons out of the plate to get the shape right.

    Our squashed frog was a later addition to the party – adding in cut paper for legs and squishing the tube in a different way – painting the mouth pink – and Arlo found in hilarious to hide spiders in his mouth and count them in and out all month.

    The monster here was a leftover after another play project – I originally cut some tubes to use as stampers with paint to make spiders and it only seemed right to add to our expanding brood of creatures.

    Frank completed our family – some how Arlo has become obsessed with Frankenstein and even persuaded me to get him his own little mask, and this bought us up to the end of October and so now it’s time to begin saving the loo roll tubes for Christmas craft projects.

    Spooky Skeleton Mobile

    This little collection of funny bones was surprisingly simple to put together and is by far my favourite home made Halloween decoration. I’ve just wrapped it carefully in tissue paper so we can save it and bring it out next year.

    You will need:

    • Gingerbread man cookie cutters
    • Air dry clay
    • Rolling pin
    • Wooden Skewer
    • Baking paper
    • Black paint
    • Silver and red acrylic paint pens
    • String
    • Ribbon

    You could use salt dough but I find air dry clay is better for more precious items as it doesn’t deteriorate.

    So to begin simply roll out your clay and use your cookie cutters to make your shapes. I also got out a selection of other shapes and let Arlo really go to town using the whole packet of clay. We added in some other tools and got really creative. You can wrap clay up in an airtight bag to save for another day.

    Once our pieces were ready we used a wooden skewer to poke holes through them so that we could use them as decorations. This step is really important, as it’s difficult to do this once their dry. Then we laid them on a sheet of baking paper to dry out for a couple of days.

    Once fully dry we used black paint to cover them and then added details with our acrylic marker pens. Silver for the bones and skull and then because we love colour we added in little red hearts too. We threaded the finished skeletons on to a long length of thin twine and then used scraps of ribbons to make little bows for in between.

    This project was one we had to come back to in two sessions and I love this. The clay was whipped out on a cold and dark evening and we sat at the kitchen table together before bath time and then read “funny bones” before bed time. The finished shapes were kept to one side and saved for a rainy day which is when the paints came out to play.

    Paper craft birds

    These lovely little birds were made out of spare scrap book paper – we usually make these as a Christmas craft but as we have a lot of time to spare then we thought we’d try these one rainy day.

    You will need:

    Cardboard

    Scrap booking paper (double sided pattern)

    Craft paper

    Scissors

    Bird template

    Pencil

    First things first begin by creating your bird stencil using cardboard – this is just the body shape – and then draw around this on your scrap book paper and cut out. I prefer using scrap book paper for the body because it’s usually got a beautiful print on both sides.

    Once you have cut out your birds you need to then take small rectangular sheets of paper and convertible fold them like so…. these will be your wings. At this stage you can round off the ends to make prettier shapes if you choose.

    Then use a craft knife or scissors to cut a slit big enough to poke your folded paper through the wings. It’s as simple at that… use your fingers to tease out the folds in to a fan. Once you have repeated this with all of your birds it’s time to hang them up … I chose to use a needle and cotton thread, I find that they spin nicely once hung up and love how this looks. You could use a hole punch and ribbon or anything you have lying around.

    DIY Bird feeder craft

    This was a really simple Sunday afternoon activity, as part of our bird themed activities it only seemed right to make something to hang in our garden for the little robin who visits every day.

    You will need:

    Cardboard

    Peanut butter

    Bird seed

    Hole punch

    Twine

    I chose to use our wooden shapes as stencils to draw around and then cut out – but you could easily use the cardboard from a loo roll or just go for one simple shape.

    Once our shapes were cut out we used a hole punch first….this is important to do at this stage otherwise it gets messy!

    Here’s the really messy fun bit…. smear peanut butter all over the cardboard shapes and then dip the shapes in to a container of bird seed.

    This part was the most fun for Arlo and he enjoyed seeing it all sticky and messy.

    Cut your twine in to short lengths to loop through the holes…. with hindsight it’s probably better and less messy to do this bit before the peanut butter but we didn’t mind getting our fingers dirty.

    Then voila… one our shapes were strung it was time to hang them up in the garden and then sit and wait at the window inside for the birds to arrive.

    This really is super easy to do and fun for all ages. Check out our little video if you want to see how we managed:

    Toilet Roll Airplane Craft

    Our little spitfires were made during our busy VE Day celebrations, using toilet rolls and a bit of scrap cardboard.

    You will need:

    • One loo roll
    • Cardboard
    • Paper fastener
    • Masking tape
    • Scissors or scalpel
    • Paint

    First things first you need to cut your wing, propellor and fail shapes out of some scrap card. I used a template to do this.

    Then score some horizontal lines in to your roll to slot the wings and tail in. I checked everything fit together at this stage, the marked the spot for the tail piece to slot in vertically before making another small cut.

    I used a paper fastener to secure the propellor to the circular piece of card and then used masking tape to attach this circle piece to the loo roll, making sure that everything rotated well.

    I gave Arlo all the pieces and a selection of green and brown colour paints to go wild. He really nailed the camouflage print without me even helping!

    We went off out for a walk leaving everything to dry before coming home to assemble all the bits.

    It’s as simple as that! Here’s a little 15 second video tutorial:

    Re – Useable (not paper) chains

    Paper chains are the perfect decoration for any occasion but they never last long, especially outdoors. So here’s a new way to make them.

    You will need:

    A4 Felt sheets

    Velcro dots

    Scissors

    Marker

    Ruler

    This really is as simple as it sounds. Lay the felt landscape and use the ruler to draw lines about an inch apart and then cut your felt in to strips.

    Affix your adhesive “hook” Velcro dots on to the ends of the strips and then place the “eye” dot on top with sticky side up.

    Loop your strips and then squeeze the felt over the dots in your thumb and forefinger to adhere them.

    Then repeat with all your strips, you can then pull the loops open and closed to make chains as required as many times as you like.

    Our red white and blue felt is perfect for VE Day anniversary celebrations but we will be able to take these down, save them and add in other colours to mark different occasions.

    Salt Dough Solar System

    Go big or go home is how the saying goes…. so when I decided to whip up some salt dough for Arlo we had to make the entire solar system.

    It’s not quite as challenging or daunting as you might imagine – all the pieces are circular shaped! We love salt dough and to make sure our pieces get to have a decent display time the easiest thing to do is poke holes in them to turn them in to mobiles – choose a theme which suits the cutters you already have!

    For the dough you will need:

    2 cups plain flour

    1 cup salt

    1/2 cup of room temp water

    A straw

    Tissue paper or grease proof paper

    Then to decorate :

    Paints

    Glitter

    Plus various bits of string and ribbon to hang.

    So all you do is combine the ingredients in a bowl – this bit is half the fun so you can let the kids join in and get as messy and involved as you like. I made a tik tok video which explains the entire process

    Mum tip: once your dough is ready leave it to rest for at least half an hour in the fridge. I don’t know why this works but it does.

    I chose to microwave our pieces because I’m impatient. If you do this use kitchen roll and switch it out every so often. For a smoother finish if you’re making ornaments etc then you will need to bake low and slow, on grease proof paper – for our planets I didn’t mind the odd lump and bump. Make sure you poke holes before baking!!

    Once they’re thoroughly dry they are ready to paint and decorate. I left ours overnight and set Arlo up with all his materials first thing in the morning. He was convinced that we were baking biscuits so was slightly disappointed he couldn’t eat them, and this led to us also baking the entire solar system.

    We used poster paints, and then PVA glue with glitter, and left everything to dry for quite a while.

    You can’t be too ambitious with salt dough – it can be quite fickle and delicate as it dries heavy – we made our sun – the biggest thing in our solar system from painted paper plates.

    We went out for a walk on our daily exercise and made sure to find a big branch to hang our planets from. I strung the whole thing up using fishing wire which is transparent whilst Arlo napped. My mom pulled out a solar system poster and some fairy lights and we took down all of our Easter crafts from the notice board to start fresh with our new space theme.

    I used some garden twine to create a loop which meant the whole thing could be hung from the underneath of our shelving…. the fairy lights were added after this for Arlo’s big switch on.