Crafts for Kids

Looking for some fun & easy craft projects to do with the kids?  Then have a look at these fun, easy, and educational children’s craft ideas to do at home:

Easy Crafts For Kids

Little People made from pipe cleaners

Little People made from pipe cleaners

There are some really easy crafts for kids. All they need are a few supplies like pipe cleaners, construction paper, toothpicks, macaroni and a few craft supplies.

Here is a list of some kids crafts that they will enjoy. Just let them use their creativity.

Pipe cleaner people Use different colored pipe cleaners and bend and twist them into shapes. They can make people, animals, buildings and whatever they can imagine. This is great when you have more than one child and they can make up a whole zoo or whatever they want to make.

You can either save them and put them on a cork board or set on a shelve or just untwist them so that they can be used again. This child’s craft can keep them busy and entertained.

Macaroni Necklaces This craft goes back many years but the kids never get tired of making them. Just string colored macaroni onto lengths of yarn. If your macaroni is not colored then let the kids paint them.

Paint with spongesYou can buy sponge figures or else make your own. Get some cheap sponges and cut them into any kind of shape you like. You can make triangles, circles, stars, half moons, or even animal shapes. Let the kids dip them into paint and press them onto paper. The long rolls of paper or construction paper are really nice for this craft.

Make your own puppets You can buy sheets of foam and any craft store. Cut out dogs, butterflies, snakes, fish or anything that the kids like. Glue them onto popsicle sticks or tongue depressors and then they can make their own puppet show.

Toothpick art This has been around for a long time and the schools even use to use it. You can use either miniature marshmallows or gumdrops and toothpicks. Insert the toothpicks into the gumdrops or marshmallows. Just keep adding marshmallows to make any shape they want. They can make buildings or bridges and any kind of shapes, like a star, or hexagon and make then as elaborate as they want.

Paper chains We use to do this one when we were kids. Cut strips of construction paper and either glue or staple them into circles. When you have one circle done, put another strip through and glue it. Just keep adding circles until you have it as long as you want it. A red and white chain looks very nice for Christmas, or you can use red and green. The kids loving doing this chain. They can even decorate the strips with paint or sparkles.

Headbands Cut construction paper into strips and make one to fit the child’s head. Then they can glue anything on them like feathers, buttons, ribbons made into bows, or any scraps of material. They could use the sponges from the craft above to decorate their head band.

 

Shirley Atkinson
Crafters Love Crafts
http://www.crafterslovecrafts.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Science Crafts For Kids

Beluga Whales - make your own mini ocean and teach your kids about marine life at the same time.

Beluga Whales – make your own mini ocean and teach your kids about marine life at the same time.

Do you struggle with getting kids interested and actively participating in learning? If so, you should try using science crafts for kids to get engage them. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to help your kids create these projects. There are thousands of science crafts and experiments out there, and most are simple to do. Here are some easy science crafts for kids that will get you started:

Mini Ocean

Fill a clean and de-labeled two litter bottle half way to the top with tap water. Mix in a few drops of blue food coloring. Add tiny plastic fish, sharks, octopus, eels, dolphins, sea shells, etc.Now, finish filling to the rim with mineral oil. You may want to use a funnel. Seal the lid on with a hot glue gun (you need to do this for the child.) Use this to teach small children about marine life. Older kids can learn why oil and water do not mix.

Stick Compass

Teach your kids how to always know their directions. Using a straight tree branch or wooden dowel (needs to be 2-3 ft tall), burrow a small hole in the dirt. Insert the stick in the hole. This creates a shadow. Make a reference point at the end of the shadow. After 20 minutes there will be a different shadow. Again, mark that shadow as a reference point. When you mark a line between the references points, you will have a West to East compass. West is at the first reference point and East is the second reference point.

Sponge Plant Anatomy

Soak a porous sponge in water. Then, roll the sponge in any small flower seed. You may want to push any stragglers in the holes. Hang it in a window that gets a lot of direct sunlight. In a few days the seeds will begin to sprout. Transfer to a pot and teach the child the anatomy of the flowers as they grow.

Slime

Combine a cup of water with a cup of corn starch. Mix until it isn’t lumpy anymore. Separate the mix into different containers and color with food coloring. Don’t just let them use the standard colors. Teach them how to combine the colors to make other colors. For example: blue and yellow make green. For different consistencies-you can boil the water first, or use a 2 part corn starch: one part water ratio.

Solar S’mores

Staple two pieces of dark black poster board together, forming one long piece. Use aluminum foil to cover the poster board. Form a cone shape from the poster board. Staple together, so the form stays, but it is open at each end. Use another sheet of black poster board to line a cardboard box. Place the cone inside of the box, with the widest end pointing upwards. Place a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow between two gram cracker and insert into a sandwich bag. Place the bag into the center of the cone. In twenty minutes you have solar s’mores. Use science crafts for kids like this one as the perfect opportunity to explain solar energy.

Remember, an intrigued child is always willing to learn. The ideas that encompass science crafts for kids are endless.

 

Candis Reade is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Kids’ Craft Ideas – Growing Your Own Balloon Garden

balloonsCrafts will always be a very important teaching tool for anyone teaching little kids. Kids learn best by “doing.” Homeschoolers and especially Unschoolers can use this balloon craft as part of a biology lesson. This is a wonderful kids’ craft idea, that is fun and easy to do and also a great first lesson about plants. This craft use balloons so watch the little ones, while you are doing this craft, to prevent suffocation!

All you need for this kids’ craft idea is a medium or large sized, clear balloon, a little earth and water, some seeds, a small funnel and a piece of string. Radish seeds work well, but you could use almost any seeds that are easy to grow.

Kid’s Craft Ideas Step by Step – How to make your first balloon garden

1. Don’t blow your balloon up yet! Put the mouth of the balloon over the funnel and hold it firmly in place (this is where an extra pair of adult hands comes in useful!) Tip in around a ½ cup of earth – enough to almost fill the deflated balloon.

2. Now gradually add water, via the funnel again, until the earth is wet through. Don’t put too much water in or it will all just turn to mud and start overflowing!

3. Dry your funnel, then add your final ingredients, the seeds, into the balloon, still holding it firmly in its upside down position.

4. Still holding the balloon upside down, so that you don’t get a mouthful of dirt, carefully blow it up.

5. Tightly make a knot in the top of the balloon, then tie your string around it and use the string to hook the balloon garden up near a window or other well-lit place.

Making balloon gardens is a fun thing to do at birthday parties, and will keep the kids occupied and happy for ages – as long as you don’t mind the mess! On a summer’s day, it’s best done in the backyard.

Balloon gardens also make lovely gifts, the children can make them for an adult friend or relative and the recipient will be delighted – especially when they hang the balloon garden up and it grows green and lush.

Grandmothers and grandfathers especially love this kid’s craft idea – either to do with the kids (especially a granddad who is a gardening enthusiast) or just to receive a balloon garden craft as a gift. They will love that the kids will want to keep coming back to visit them and seeing how their balloon garden is growing.

When the balloon garden slowly dies off, it is a good opportunity to explain to your kids about the cycle of life, and to help them make a new balloon garden! Use this opportunity to teach them a variety of facts about nature, not only the cycle of life. Plants need water, fresh air, good soil etc. to grow. You can also work a lesson about seasons into this craft.

Enjoy your “Balloon Craft.”

 

Magriet is a work at home “Gran” with websites on family related matters.

Many of the kids crafts can be used for science lessons and many of the easy science fair projects will actually make fun kids crafts.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

3 Simple Kid Craft Projects – Nature Crafts For Kids

Pressed Flowers

Pressed Flowers

Crafting with kids doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. With a bit of creativity and inspiration, you can make a lot of fun kid craft projects out of pretty much nothing. Many craft supplies you can be found in nature. For example, Instead of buying stamps, you can replicate similar result by using everyday objects in the kitchen or the outdoors. You can create intricate shapes by cutting a potato in half and scooping out some of the center. You can also use rocks and leaves to create patterns and transfer them onto greeting cards, bookmarks, bed sheets and more. To celebrate the end of summer and welcome the fall season, here are three simple kid craft projects using objects found in nature.

Pressed Flower Picture Nature Craft

Gather the flowers. Press them between sheets of hardcover books. When the flowers are ready to be used (after about 2-3 weeks), take a piece of stock paper and gently glue the flower petals onto the paper. You and your kids can create pictures by arranging the flower petals in desired pattern.

Beach Treasure Pendant Nature Craft

Collect some beach glasses or pebbles. Take a beading wire (about 1 foot long). Wind the wire all the way around the beach glass or pebble. Experiment with how you wire to create different results. Create a loop with the wire so you can make a necklace or bracelet by stringing a piece of ribbon or chain.

Leafy Print Nature Craft

Take a leaf and brush the underside with paint. Place the painted leaf over a piece of paper or cloth, paint side down. Cover the whole area with paper tower and press hard against it for a few seconds. Lift the paper tower and gently peel the away. Repeat until you have created a pattern with your leafy print. This method can be used to make greeting cards or to decorate a plain grocery tote.

 

Edda Shea is the author of Kid Craft Project  – a website for people who enjoy crafting with their kids. Edda is a lifelong crafts enthusiast and enjoys making natural crafts for kids.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Pine Tar Soap Recipe

Natural birch coal tar soap

Natural birch coal tar soap

Pine tar is used on horse’s hooves to help with cracks and other injuries or problems, but is very good for soothing eczema, psoriasis, dander and other skin problems on humans. You can buy pine tar at any feed and seed store. It is kept on the isle where salve and other ointments are kept and is in a metal jar. The pine tar can be very thick, but if so open the lid and place the can in the top part of a double boiler. Let heat until the pine tar is thin enough to pour. Keep the water level low enough so that it does not boil into the pine tar.

You can add pine tar to any favorite soap recipe you make. Add as much or as little as you’d like, I’d personally not add more than ½ the jar for a 7 1/2lb soap recipe, but it’s up to you. I wouldn’t add any fragrance as the pine tar has a very strong scent and would overpower most fragrances anyway.

The recipe I have supplied is a very simple recipe that anyone can make using oils and shortening bought from the store. You can substitute the oils for any you’d rather use, just make sure to run through a lye calculator to ensure that the lye content is still correct for the modified recipe.

I measure everything in lbs on my kitchen scale.

Pine Tar Soap Recipe

This recipe will make 7 ½ lbs.

Equipment needed:

  • Rubber gloves (not necessary, but a precaution)
  • Goggles (not necessary, but a precaution)
  • 1 stainless steel soup pot (medium size will do)
  • Wooden spoons
  • Spatula
  • Candy thermometer
  • Kitchen scale
  • Heavy duty plastic pitcher or tempered glass 8-cup measuring cup
  • Mold

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb all vegetable shortening (store)
  • 1 lb coconut oil (store, generally Wal-mart carries)
  • 1 1/2 lb olive oil (store)
  • 2 lb distilled water
  • ¾ lb lye (100% lye) can be bought at Ace hardware
  • 4 oz pine tar (Feed and seed store)

Using the pitcher or tempered measuring cup, fill with the measured amount of distilled water and then carefully pour the lye into the water. Stir with a wooden spoon until the lye is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

Using the soup pot add measured shortening and oils. On low heat melt the shortening and oils together stirring with another wooden spoon until completely melted. Remove from heat.

You will need to check the temperatures of the lye water and oils every few minutes until they have both cooled down to 100-105.

When the lye water and oils have cooled down to around 100-105 degrees (use candy thermometer) slowly stir the lye water into the oils with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until well mixed, about 5 minutes.

Add the pine tar and continue to stir. Remember the pine tar will speed up the tracing from 0-60 in just a couple seconds. Stir well to incorporate the pine tar into the soap mixture. When the soap mixture is at a thick trace quit stirring and pour into your mold, using the spatula to get all the soap out of the pot. Insulate the mold. Let set 24 hours. You can then remove the soap slab from the mold and cut into bars. This recipe can make 30-soap bars depending on the size of your mold. Let cure for no less than 2 weeks before using.

Re-batching Soap to Make Pine Tar Soap

What you will need:

  • Up to 15 regular bars of soap, but no less than 7
  • 1 cup water for 15 bars or ½ cup water for 7 bars of soap
  • Crock-pot (regular to large size)
  • Knife
  • Water
  • Pine tar 4 oz for 15 bars, 2 oz for 7 bars
  • Lined mold
  • Spatula
  • Wooden spoons

If you don’t have a mold then make one using the top from a copier paper box or similar box top. Take the box top and insert into a kitchen size trash bag. Smooth down the middle of the box and over the sides to make a nice neat liner.

Slice the soap bars into thin slices (about 8 slices per bar). Put these into the crock-pot and add the water based on the number of soap bars you are using (above). Cover and turn crock-pot on high for 1 hour. Stir the soap. Continue to stir every 30-minutes until the soap has melted down to the consistency of oatmeal. The soap will never be smooth like the original batch. When the soap has melted down to oatmeal consistency add the pine tar, again based on the amount of bars you have cut up. Stir real well so that the pine tar is completely incorporated into the soap mixture. Pour or spoon into the prepared mold. Let sit at least 24 hours before cutting into bars.

You do not need to let the soap cure for two weeks as the original soap was already cured, you just re-batched it.

 

Visit Grandma and Me Soaps to see the full selection of handmade soap and body products available. http://www.grandmaandmesoaps.com

Loyce Henderson, is a soap maker with 41-years of experience making cold process soap. She and her husband live in Zephyrhills, Florida, where she likes to write articles and short stories in her spare time. She is currently looking forward to obtaining her degree in Web Design.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Stop, Don’t Throw Away That Batch of Soap!

Handmade Soap

Handmade Soap

What to do and how to save a batch of soap that has turned into a nightmare. Easy techniques for re-batching soap, which will make the finished soap just as good, if not better than before. Tips and hints for making great batches of soap.

Every soap maker has experienced a batch of soap that has turned into a nightmare, and if like me, more than once. What I mean by nightmare, is a batch of soap that is mixing beautifully until you add the fragrance oils and then all of a sudden the oils and lye water separate; or the beautiful batch of soap that when cured has pockets of oil or liquid all over the top. How about the goat’s milk and honey soap that looked wonderful until you cut it into bars and found long strands of “honey comb” like cavities throughout?

There are several more that I can mention, but these seem to be the main disasters on the forum’s I have visited.

These problem batches happen to all soap makers at some time or other. You don’t have to throw the batch away and waste those ingredients, time and yes, money. Each batch of soap is $$ to a soap maker, and to waste a batch could mean losing quite a chunk of change. With the economy being what it is, there is no room for waste.

When Oil and Lye Water Separate

So let’s talk about that batch of soap which is mixing just fine; very smooth and beautiful, until you add the fragrance oil. Maybe it was fine with the first few ounces of fragrance oil that you added, and then all of a sudden after one more ounce, the mixture starts to turn oily. You can see the oil start to rise to the top of the mixture and no matter how fast you stir, it continues until the oil and lye water has completely separated. Talk about panic mode, this is a mess to contend with.

The first time this happened to me I had been making Strawberry and Champagne scented soap. The scent was strong and filled my work room with the most wonderful aroma. I had added all but the very last ounce of fragrance oil, when all of a sudden the soap started getting thin and then thinner until the oil had completely separated from the lye water.

While growing up, I made soap with my grandmother in large batches, and I have read numerous books on making soap, but I had never encountered this problem before. What was I going to do? I had 9 lbs of soap mixture in that bowl and I couldn’t afford to pour it out. It couldn’t get any worse no matter what I did, so I decided to try and save the batch.

I took out my stock pot and poured the whole batch into it. I then heated the soap to around 120 degrees, constantly stirring. I then poured the mixture back into my mixing bowl and turned the mixer on “stir”. After about five minutes the mixture started to thicken until it looked like marshmallow cream. I then poured this “marshmallow cream” into my prepared soap mold and spread it evenly with a spatula. I covered the mold with Styrofoam for insulation just as I would any other regular batch of soap and set it aside to cool.

The next day I uncovered the soap and cut it into bars to cure. Now the soap was not smooth like a normal batch would be, it was swirled on the top where I had used the spatula to spread the thick soap. The scent was strong, just like a regular batch of soap. I let it cure two weeks and then used a bar. Although it looked a little rugged, it was every bit as good as my soap that had not encountered any difficulties.

This has happened to me a few more times since when using a new fragrance, but I always manage to save the batch by reheating and mixing. And believe it or not, it has happened with this same fragrance oil too. Now I add very small amounts of Strawberry and Champagne fragrance oil at a time to my batch of soap, making sure to mix well in-between. This has also happened with Bay Rum fragrance oil.

Pockets of Liquid on Top of Soap

The next nightmare are batches of soap that seem to be fine, mixing and tracing nicely and pouring smoothly into the mold, but after being uncovered the next day have formed pockets of liquid on the top of the soap, which could be oil or lye water or the soap may be brittle like chalk, chipping when it is cut into bars.

There are several reasons this could happen. The lye water and oils were not the same temperature when combined or the lye water was poured too quickly into the oils; too much lye for the recipe; too much fragrance oil added, etc.

Whether the batch of soap has an oil problem or is too dry and chalky, I re-batch using my large crock-pot. I cut the soap into pieces and put them into my crock-pot, which is large enough to melt the whole batch of soap at one time. I turn the crock-pot on high until the soap starts to get soft and is easy to stir, and then I turn it down to low. It is important to stir the soap every so often to break up the chunks of soap into smaller pieces, which helps to melt the soap quicker.

For the soap that had the pockets of liquid, I add just enough water to assist with melting the soap. Maybe a half cup of water. It really depends on the size of the batch of soap you are re-batching. You have to use your best judgment. The melted soap should be thick, but will scoop or pour into a mold relatively easy. If the mixture is too watery and thin then it will not harden, if it is too thick then the soap will not melt properly or pour into the mold and you will still have a problem.

Dry, Chalky Soap

When the soap is dry and chalky, I add 1 ounce of oil and one cup of water a little at a time to the cut up soap as it is melting in the crock-pot. Stirring every so often to break up the chunks of soap, which helps the melting process and allows me to judge if the mixture needs a little more water or not. When the soap is completely melted as above, I pour it into a prepared mold and cover as I would with a new batch of soap.

Note: The soap will never be completely smooth when melted; there will be little pieces of soap that have not melted. This is fine as it adds a marble look to the finished bars of soap.

You will want to let the soap sit in the mold for a couple days before turning out and cutting because you have added more liquid and want the soap to be firm. After those couple days have passed then cut the soap into bars and let cure for about a week.

Note: This is really hot pressed soap because it has been cooked in a crock-pot instead of cold press where the mixture was cooled down slowly and completed the gel process overnight.

“Honey Comb” Cavities Throughout the Soap

The last problem that I have encountered is the goat’s milk and honey soap that has what appears to be “honey comb” cavities throughout the soap. The soap could be a little oilier or dry, it has happened both ways.

This has only happened to me twice in all the years I have made goat’s milk and honey soap.

I use the same crock-pot method as above. If the soap is a little oilier, I add a cup of liquid, which is half milk and half water. This again is stirred into the soap a little at a time as it is melting. If the soap was dryer, I add 1 ounce of oil to the cup of water and milk to provide the moisture that was missing. Because of the milk, I only turn the temperature to high until the crock-pot is heated then turn to low. I stir every few minutes to help the soap melt evenly and can chop the soap into smaller pieces. After the soap is melted, I pour the mixture into my prepared mold and leave uncovered until firmly set. Again this could be a couple days instead of overnight. Even though the soap has been cured while melting in the crock-pot, I let the cut bars sit for a week or more to let the moisture evaporate.

With any of the methods above, you can add a little more fragrance oils to the melted soap if you wish.

Some helpful hints:

  • Always add your lye water pouring a slow constant stream into the oils; take your time to stir well so that the lye water and oils can mix completely.
  • Always add your premeasured fragrance or essence oils a little at a time starting at the beginning of the mixing process. This allows the fragrance oils to incorporate completely with the soap and you will also get a true feel of what the cured soap will smell like.
  • Remove your mixers or stop mixing when the soap starts to trace and pour into your mold. The more you stir after your soap starts to trace the better the chances that the soap will thicken quickly and be harder to pour into your mold.
  • Make sure you have everything that you will need to make a batch of soap handy and that your molds are prepared and ready to use. Wasting time finding a spatula, ingredients or lining the molds while your soap is mixing can create problems when the soap has started to trace.
  • With new fragrances, make a small batch first to test how the fragrance oil will react with your recipe and how the finished soap bar will hold the fragrance.
  • Remember some essence oils such as sweet orange tend to create oilier batches of soap and can lose their scent or the scent can turn “rancid” if not used within a few months. Not all do this, but be aware that it can happen.
  • Some colorants or clays may take the soap longer to trace, don’t be concerned just let it mix until it starts to trace. Also some colorants may cause a thicker “ash” to form on top of the soap. This can be scraped off or washed off if needed.

I hope this article was helpful and will provide an alternative to the trash can when a batch of soap goes south.

 

Loyce Henderson

Grandma and Me Soaps

Handmade Soaps…See and Feel the Difference

http://www.grandmaandmesoaps.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

How to Make a Stenciled Sandcastle Plate – Free Template

Ceramic Plate StencilAs many of you know by now my ongoing project is to re-decorate my guest bathroom. I think this is the third re-do since we bought the house 13 years ago. Not bad really, but each time I’ve redone it I change the color scheme and theme completely. The last theme was I suppose rain forest and featured shades of green, I can’t recall what the previous decor was only that it was black and red. This time we’re going with the beach theme, don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! But again a new color scheme, thank goodness we went with neutral tones when repainted the house interior last year!

This time I’m determined to make most of the decor, a great way to put that Cricut Explore Air electronic cutting machine my husband gave me last year to work. So far I’ve made a Beach sign, stenciled glass vase, upcycled an old florist vase, and made a shell and ting ting arrangement. I needed more stuff!
Sandcastle Plate

I found a couple of designer ceramic plates at TJMaxx the other month, they were marked down from $22.99 to $2.50. A bargain and I just had to have them. Now it was time to use one of them, it would work perfectly for my theme. So I made this Stenciled Sandcastle Plate. It would sit perfectly on top of the shelf unit over the toilet! (I stenciled that too!)
This cute plate ended up costing me just the price of the plate, $2.50! I cut out the stencil on my Cricut and used Folk Art Enamel paint left over from a different project. I just love craft paint, each bottle is so inexpensive and goes a long way!

I love the way the plate turned out and I’m so excited to share it with you!

You can download the free stencil template by clicking below!

Sandcastle Stencil Template

Sandcastle Stencil Template

If you have a cutting machine:

  • Download the jpg template and save it on your desktop.
  • Upload the template to your cutting machine app, like Cricut Design Space if you’re using the Cricut Explore.
  • Re-size the template in your app if you need to.
  • Cut the stencil on your machine.

If you don’t have a cutting machine:

  • Download the jpg template and save it on your desktop.
  • If you need to re-size it upload the template to a photo editing app like Photoshop or to Picmonkey.com a free online photo editor.
  • Print template.
  • Cut out images and letters with a craft knife.

Ceramic PlateSupplies:

  • Ceramic or glass plate
  • Enamel Craft Paint – be sure you use enamel paint so it will stick to the plate
  • Stencil
  • Stencil Brush
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper Towels – fold several sheets together to make them thicker

How To:

  • Wipe the plate surface with rubbing alcohol and let dry.
  • Position stencil in the center of the plate.
  • Fill in the letters and images with paint :
  1. Dip brush in paint
  2. Holding the brush perpendicular (straight up) to the paper towel dab it on the towel in a circular motion until most of the paint is off the brush. You want a “dry” brush, not one dripping with paint.
  3. Holding the paint perpendicular to the plate and working from the edge of the stencil towards the middle, fill in the letters and images in a circular motion. When you start you will have paint half on the stencil and half on the plate. Continue these steps until you’ve filled in all the images and letters.
  4. Gently lift the stencil off the plate as soon as you’ve stenciled in the last letter. Don’t let the paint dry with the stencil on. Lift the stencil straight up to avoid smudging.
  5. Let the paint dry over night before curing it. There are 2 ways to cure – the first is to let the paint cure for 21 days – basically you can’t get it wet. Or follow the next steps
  6. Place plate in to a cold oven.
  7. Set oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  8. When the oven has reached the correct temperature set your timer for 30 minutes.
  9. When timer rings turn off the oven and let plate cool inside.

Once your plate is cooled it’s good to go. The stenciled paint is dishwasher safe, but you can not put food directly on the painted surface.

Courtesy of ArticlesBase

The Art of Glassblowing

Enjoy this article on glassblowing while viewing some of the amazing blown glass art of the world’s foremost glass artist, Dale Chihuly.

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

When you think about glassblowing can you imagine who would have been brave enough to attempt it the first time. When you are doing this technique you are inflating molten glass into a bubble or some other shape by blowing into a blowpipe or blow tube of some type. After certain types of glass is heated to 2400 F(-1315C) it is allowed to cool to between 1600 and 1900F (-870 to -1040C) before they start working with it. Even at the cooler temperatures that is extremely hot so who would have even attempted to handle molten glass in the first place let alone think about blowing into it to form different shapes. The individuals that do this are called a glassmiths, glassblowers or gaffers and the technique of glassblowing started in the middle of last century BC. Historians say that a glass workshop was discovered that contained fragments of glass tubes, rods and tiny blown bottles that dated back to 37-4 BC. It’s amazing how they can determine the age of certain artifacts that are discovered.

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Since its inception we have ended up with two major types of blowing techniques Free-blowing and Mold-blowing. The first technique is Free-blowing. This is a method that was the first and is still widely used today as a glass forming technique. The basics of this form is to blow short puffs of air into a glob of glass which is adhered to one end of a blowpipe similar to the way that thick honey would adhere to a straw.. By doing the short puffs you end up with more of an elastic skin which makes it easier to shape. By gently blowing, turning and swaying the pipe you can made a great variety of different shapes. One of the best pipes to use for this is the clay blowpipe of about 30-60 cm because it is easy to handle, manipulate and can be re-used several times.

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Mold-blowing the newer of the techniques involves a lot of the same basics for free-blowing except that you are your blowing your molten glass glob into a wooden or metal carved shape. This will allow your glass to assume the shape of whatever design your mold has. There are also two main types of molds, the single-piece mold and the multi-piece mold. If you are going to do tableware you would be more apt to use the single-piece mold where if you would want to get into more texture or design variances in your blowing you might want to use the multi-pieced mold.

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art

Getting into the art of glassblowing can be fairly expensive. It’s not because of the clay pipes that you need as much as the three types of furnaces that are required. The first being what is referred to as “the furnace,” which will initially heat your glass to the proper initial temperature. The second one called the “glory hole” and is mainly used for reheating a piece that you are working on and the final one is called the “annealer.” This is a furnace that is used to gradually cool your glass project to prevent it from cracking. Historically all three types were contained in one unit and some cultures still use this method. A few other major items that involved in this art are a marver, which is made from polished steel because it can handle the heat of rolling a warm piece of glass on it, Paddles, used for pushing against the hot glass, tweezers and different types of shears.

Dale Chihuly Blown Glass Art 5If you are ever fortunate to see a master of this craft at work, take the time to watch. It’s really amazing what they can do with a glob of melted glass.

 

Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photos: 1: Doug MacDonald, 2: Phil Landowski, 3: Doug MacDonald, 4: Courtney Francis, 5: Doug MacDonald

Differences Between Crocheting and Knitting

Knitting and crocheting both have similar definitions in the dictionary which is a method in which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Although they have similar definitions in the dictionary and can both produce beautiful results there are differences.

Crochet

Crochet Heart

Crochet Heart

Crochet derives from a French word meaning hook and consists of pulling loops of yarn through other loops. It’s hard to pinpoint the beginning of crocheting because there were not any surviving examples prior to the 1800’s but there were knitted products that they had discovered. To crochet you are basically working with one active loop and using a single crochet hook you pull your yarn or thread through that loop. There is an art called Tunisian crochet where you work with more than a single loop but generally you only use a single loop. The size of your crochet hook will determine the denseness of your item the bigger the hook, the looser the crocheting. Some of the early crochet hooks were as simple as bent needles where they had added a cork handle but there were some more expensive ones that were crafted out of silver, brass or ivory and set in a variety of handles. Today crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes and materials such as aluminum, plastic, steel and even bamboo. If you are fortunate enough to know a talented wood turner you can even have one made for you and then you can decorate the handle by added beads or decorative stones to it.

Knitting

Knitting

Knitting

Knitting is derived from the word knot, which is believed to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, but it is similar to the Old English cnyttan which means to knot. Knitting consists of using two knitting needles where you pull a new loop through an existing loop. Your existing loop is held on one of your knitting needles until another loop is passed through them and it switches over to your second needle. When you get into knitting circular projects such a seamless sleeves, you may use up to 4 needles or a set of circular needles. There are basically 3 types of needles, or sometimes they are called knitting pins. The most common type consists of two slender sticks anywhere from 10-16 inches long that are tapered to a point on one end and typically a knob on the other end to help prevent your stitches from slipping off. Dropping a stitch in knitting can mean unraveling your work back to your dropped stitch and starting again. If you do drop one hopefully you notice it right away to safe yourself some frustration. Another type of needle is straight sticks that have tapered points on both ends. These will allow you to knit from either direction. One of the variances on this type is the cable needle, which usually isn’t straight, but dimpled in the middle to temporarily hold stitches while others are being knitted. The third needle is a circular needle which is long, flexible and pointed on both ends. Typically there is about 5 inch rigid tips on each end, with the flexible cable in the middle.

No matter if you are crocheting or knitting you can find some great patterns for anything from hats to rugs so make sure you give this a try. Either craft is a perfect hobby for a relaxing night at home.

 

Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Tips on Felting Wool Yarn

Handmade Felt Balls

Handmade Felt Balls

If there is one thing that I have been able to do when it comes to doing laundry through the years is shrink clothes so that’s why felting is fun because you shrink items on purpose. Natural wool fibers become felt when they are exposed to heat, moisture and pressure. Can you imagine what would happen to our domestic sheep if we didn’t shear them? Eventually their wool would felt over time so lucky for them that we shear them on a regular basis. Felting has been around for many years; in fact archaeological digs have produced garments, tent and even shoes in Europe that have survived showing the durability of felted fabrics.

Here are a few tips if you are going to try felting for the first time.

  1. When you are initially knitting your project make sure that you use knitting needles that are at least two sizes bigger than what the pattern calls for because felting it will definitely shrink the original size. The best way to make sure your end up with the correct size is to do a small sample and see how much it will shrink first so you don’t end up spending a lot of time on a project where the size doesn’t work out.
  2. After you have your item knitted be sure to finish all the ends securely including any seams that you might have before you start the felting process. You could end up with a mess if you don’t take the time to finish your project correctly.
  3. If you have one available a zippered pillow case will work great for putting your items in to be washed. If you don’t have a zippered one just securely tie the opening closed before you put it in the machine.
  4. Adding a pair of jeans to the load to help with the agitation or even an old towel will aid in helping the felting process. You can do it without adding anything but you may have to do it more than once to achieve the look and size that you are aiming for.
  5. You will only need to add a small amount of wool wash for detergent so usually a teaspoon full will be adequate.
  6. Just run a short cycle with your machine of hot water and a cold water rinse and if your machine doesn’t let you stop and drain the water before the spin cycle be sure and use the gentle spin cycle
  7. Gently roll the item in a towel to remove as much moisture as possible and then lay it out in the shape you desire on a dry towel to let it dry. Once you reach this step and you find that your item is not felted enough you can just run it through again but be careful because once it is too small you will not be able to unfelt it. Rewetting the item and stretching it will increase the size some but maybe not enough for what you need.
  8. If you use wool that has been bleached for a light dye it will sometimes affect the way that the wool reacts to felting. Always make a small sample swatch and try felting that first so you will know how the fabric will react.

Hopefully these tips will help make your felting process more enjoyable. Felting is a fun way to take an item that may look huge and out of shape and come out a completely different fabric after running it through the wash. To save some frustration start you may want to start out with some simple squares and make a set of coasters first.

 

Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photo: Olga Zielinska

How to Paper Mache

Paper Mache Watermelon

Paper Mache Watermelon

Paper Mache comes from the french word Papier-mache which means chewed paper. I realize that thinking of paper mache as being chewed paper doesn’t sound very appealing but it’s pretty amazing what you can do with it and you really don’t have to chew the paper. It’s true definition is a composite material which consists of paper pieces (could be pulp) bound with an adhesive like glue, wallpaper paste or starch. Sometimes the paper pieces are reinforced with textiles for extra durability. I will give you tips on how to do it and it’s something you can do with your kids for fun.

One of the great things about paper mache is how versatile a craft it is, there really isn’t a right or wrong way to do it and you probably have everything you need at home right now. Here is a recipe to make the paste if you don’t have any liquid starch available to use.

Paper Mache Recipe

This is a no-cook recipe and the only materials that you need are water and flour. Simply mix 1 part flour to 2 parts water together and stir until it’s the consistency of glue making sure you don’t have any lumps in the mixture. Depending on where you live and the humidity in the area you may have to add a little bit more water or flour to get the right texture. Add a few tablespoons of salt if you are in a high humidity area to help prevent mold and even add a little cinnamon to make it smell great. If you store the mixture in a sealed container in the refrigerator it will last for a few days.

The only other materials that you need to paper mache is a structure to put your paper mache on and old newspapers. The structure that you start with can consist of any thing from pieces of cardboard that you can add different shapes to it with duck tape or a simple balloon.

  • Start by tearing old newspapers into strips and I would recommend that the strips start at least 1-2″ in width for your first layer, then adding narrow pieces if your project requires it.
  • Dip one piece of your torn newspaper into the paste mixture and gently run it through your fingers to remove excess paste. (Kids really love this step because it can be messy so be sure you have your floor or table covered.)
  • Now place your soaked strip of newspaper on to your form that you want to paper mache and smooth it down with your fingers. Just keep repeating this process until your structure is completely covered. Be sure that you overlap your pieces and you don’t have to worry about putting them in a neat row, run them in all different directions for stability.
  • Once you have the first layer completed you have to allow this to dry completely (approximately 24 hours) before you add a second layer. I would recommend adding at least 3 layers to your paper mache project and be sure to let each layer dry completely before adding another one.

Once you have all the layers on that you need to create your project all that is left is to decorate it. You can paint it, add crepe paper or finish it anyway that you would like. Paper Mache is a great way to make pinatas for kids parties and getting them involved by helping you decorate it. As with so many types of crafts the only thing that will limit you is your imagination. Be creative and have fun.

 

“Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photo: Maria Herrera

Patchwork Quilts – My Passion

Patchwork QuiltPatchwork Quilts are formed the same as any quilt with three layers; the top sheet, a layer of batting and a layer of backing material and then they are hand or machine stitched together to form a quilt. The unique and beautiful thing about patchwork quilts is the top layer. Various small shapes and colors of fabric are all pieced together to make one large piece. This form of quilting has been around for many, many years and I remember reading where a quilted funeral tent canopy was found in the tomb of an early Egyptian Queen who lived about 980 BC. During the early Middle Ages two heavy outer fabrics, quilted with soft padding between them were worn as body armor by soldiers. It not only provided warmth, but also aided in protecting them. For warmth, in the 14th century people would use lamb’s wool, feathers, moss or even grass to fill the patchwork quilts. We don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to run down to a quilt or fabric shop and choose from a great assortment of material and batting.

QuiltAlthough ancient history is extremely fascinating the part I’m more interested in is the 18th and 19th centuries when the art of quilt making was brought to America by the Pilgrims. When they first arrived in America they dealt with poor land conditions, harsh weather and very little money. When material items would start to wear out, they were repaired or reused to make beautiful patchwork quilts. More than just quilts were made; they would make tents, mattresses, clothing, flooring and even coverings for protecting their crops. Living then was never easy, so they started quilting bees as a way to enjoy a social gathering while they were working on their patchwork quilts. Young girls were taught to quilt at an early age and as soon as they learned how, they start compiling a dowry and as soon as she was engaged, she would start on her Bridal Quilt.

Memory QuiltI’m so glad that a quilting history built on necessity and thrift has stood the test of time and is still enjoyed and treasured today. I have a couple patchwork quilts that my mother made for me and I treasure them dearly. She would use material from our old dresses and Dad’s shirts and lovingly hand feather stitch every piece together. Maybe that’s why I enjoy creating them. My sister does beautiful machine embroidered squares of everything from birds, all kinds of wildlife, flowers and etc and I then incorporate them into our own patchwork quilts. It’s a great way that we stay in touch and enjoy a craft together. It’s kind of interesting to think that Patchwork Quilts were originally started to make use of left-over scraps of fabric so nothing was wasted and today we take full bolts of fabric and cut them into small squares or pieces of fabric only to stitch them back together to make one.

 

Lanette Herrmann is co-founder of Something and More Hand Crafted Gifts, http://www.somethingandmore.com, and has enjoyed woodcrafting and other types of crafts for many years. She started out learning how to braid rugs with her grandmother. She got her love of hand stitching and weaving rugs from her mother. She also enjoys quilting, using the scroll saw and many other woodworking tools. When she isn’t working at her full time job, Lynn’s favorite pastime is spending time with her family.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

Photos: 1: Bethany Carlson, 2: Brano Hudak, 3: Jonathan M

Craft Show Preparation

Lemon Verbena Soap from White Fox Bath & Body

Lemon Verbena Soap from White Fox Bath & Body

You might feel that it is up to the organizer to promote the show and guarantee a large attendance. Yes, they can let local newspapers or media know, and they can get their name out on websites with craft show listings. If you are lucky, they are an established show that has a reputation of bringing in the buying public year after year. However, there are things you can do for craft show preparation. If you are willing to make crafts and sell them without being paid for your time, aren’t you also willing to get the word out, so that you can increase the odds of someone coming to buy your creative treasures?

Use Handouts to Boost Attendance

Organizers may give you flyers with the basic information about your upcoming show. If not, create some of your own and try to get the biggest exposure for each copy. Instead of handing one to a single friend, pass it around at the next Meetup gathering you attend, so all can see and record it on their calendars. Ask them to spread the word or tell their friends. Sometimes you can get the Meetup organizer to allow you to post it on their Meetup site, for even more exposure. Remember you aren’t selling anything; you are just promoting an event. Instead of handing a flyer to a single co-worker, how about posting it on your employer’s bulletin board at work for all to see? If you or your family members belong to a school, church, business, recreation center, organization, social club, etc. have everyone pitch in and get the word out. Think of it as a more direct use of social media and ask your children, if appropriate, to help get the word out. All of this can get you excited about your craft show preparation, as if you are doing your best to make it a success.

Alert Customers and/or Followers About the Show

If you keep track of local customers, that is, those who have already purchased items from you, don’t forget to invite them to the event. Give them a reason to come with the enticement of a discount coupon or send them a photo of some of the new items you have added to your list of creative talents. That way they will know there are new things to see. Sometimes you have followers instead of customers on your website. Keep local followers, especially those from Colorado, informed of upcoming shows and send out reminders as the day of the event approaches. It’s time for that social media and/or website to earn its keep! Email nearby Etsy followers and post the craft shows you will be attending on Etsy as part of each craft show preparation.

Preview Your Display

Now that everyone you know is aware of your upcoming show, how do you go about your craft show preparation? Set up your booth in your house to see what it looks like from the customer’s point of view. Last year I hung my little stuffed animals from three tiers of rope between 2 posts as usual and noticed that I didn’t really see the animals because of all the stuff in the background. I took a pillowcase and placed it between the posts, so there was a solid white, non-distracting background and my customers could focus on my animals. Many craft show setups have you back to back with another crafter. If they have high shelves or shiny lights it could keep potential customers from focusing on you and your art. If you can afford it and have the space, creating a backdrop can keep your customers focused on your art.

Have Flyers and Business Cards On Hand

When I go to a show as a buyer, and it has over a hundred booths, I’m a little fried by the end and don’t want to go back for whatever I missed. That is why a business card stating what you do or a postcard with a photo of your craft is so important. It may not guarantee a sale, but it could get you mentioned in a blog. Likewise, an explanation of your craft and how or why you do it can be a way to engage with your customers without any hard selling. Curiosity might just get him or her talking and buying.

Display Prices

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a crafter’s artwork and turned away because the price was nowhere to be seen. If I like something, I want to know what it costs. I don’t want to think that the crafter gives me one price and then sells the same thing for a different price to someone else. Tags are cheap and labels are easy to print out. Price tags look more professional, as if you’ve spent time on your display. Be careful, however, that they don’t outshine your art. I was once at a show and looked at a jewelry display of naturally colored stones in white, beiges and grays. The only thing I saw was the name of the business on bright blue signs throughout the display. The tags had prices, but they literally outshone the jewelry.

Make your Show Prosperous

There are many ways to make your craft show experience a prosperous one. Even if organizers do their best, you can’t always be assured it will be well attended. There might be other shows or a Broncos game that same weekend. Don’t waste your time stewing. Use it to network with other crafters to find out about better shows and better experiences. Let them critique your display. Take photos of your display, so you can take a good critical look at it later or post it in a blog. Note displays that you like and try to figure out why it appeals to you. Is it the product, the color, the use of space and overall organization, the signage?

Practice Good Crafter Etiquette

It might seem obvious, but part of craft show preparation is to practice good crafter etiquette. Yes, it is tacky to eat in front of customers. They are less likely to engage with you, if they think they are interrupting your meal. There is always a lull during a show. That is when you can grab something to eat or sneak a bite. Likewise, there are crafters, who do their craft throughout the show. I go to a show to sell my work and, since I’m not selling teaching guides or classes, I like to take a more active role in engaging with my customers. Do whatever brings in the most sales for you, but don’t be afraid to try both ways. Mingle, converse, network, but never at the expense of another crafter, who just might be selling like crazy. Just listen and learn.

 

Copyright 2015 by Linda K Murdock. Linda Murdock owns her own business, has written 4 books and blogs about Colorado and its crafty people. To find more tips on craft show preparation, read her full article at http://lindakmurdock.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

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