Browsing Category "Fall/Winter Projects and Crafts"

Awesome Fall/Winter Projects and Crafts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ‘Tis the season to roll yourself in glitter, slap a paper star to your forehead, and adopt as your official motto the phrase “All Your Crafts Are Belong to Us.” Work has made me insane in the membrane, so this year I’m not thinking too far outside the box and am instead revisiting craft posts from the past, all of which emphasize getting your gluestick groove on in cheap and easy ways. The TP Tube Turkeys and Borax Crystal Snowflakes are not to be missed, but there are some other gems in there too. (The Starlight Peppermint Cups are pretty awesome, IMO.)

Have fun, pin away, and let me know which are your favorites!

Fall and Thanksgiving

TP Tube Turkeys *crowd favorite!*
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Thankfulness Turkey Basket (There’s a surprise on the feathers.)
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Winter and Christmas

Borax Crystal Snowflakes *crowd favorite!*
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DIY Snowglobe Magnets *crowd favorite!*
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Starlight Peppermint Cups
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Ivory Snow Trees
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Spaghetti Trees
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Martha Wrap Trees
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Easy DIY Felt Trees
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DIY Snowglobes

New Years

24 Awesome Advent Calendars (to Make or Buy)
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14 New Year’s Eve Projects and Crafts
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Easy DIY Felt Trees

These are great, aren’t they?

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L to r: Land of Nod, now out of stock, and the Company Store, $29 (hat tip to Caitlin’s holiday decor guide for the link).

Now let me show you how to make them for $3.

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This post was originally published in December 2012.

Here’s my definition of the perfect craft: quick, easy, inexpensive, endlessly customizable, and goooooood-lookin’. When I came across these simple and modern felt trees (Christmas or otherwise) in the LAnd of Nod catalog (in 2012), I knew I had to at least try to make them. To tell the truth, sometimes my “inspired by something I saw in a catalog” DIY crafts are epic failures, but this one? This one was even easier than I thought it would be, which is why it’s genius for busy families, even ones who think they don’t have crafting skills.

Putting the tree together takes almost no time at all, but there is a fair amount of prep, which makes this a good project to start while kicking back with a cup of tea (or hot toddy) and watching a holiday movie you’ve seen three dozen times. (It doesn’t get better than Love, Actually, yeah?)

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What you’ll need:

–papier mache cone
–sheets of felt
–small circle for tracing (I used the rim of a shot glass)
–pen for tracing
–hot glue gun or craft glue

The inspiration models had soft, rounded bottoms, were sewn and stuffed, and would be way too much work to replicate exactly, which is why we’re making some working-mom adjustments, starting with the tree form. I found three sizes of papier mache cones at the craft store, and they were just the thing. They’re inexpensive ($2 to $6), easy to work with, and they stack away when the holidays are over. If you can’t find paper cones, I bet styrofoam would work too.

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The cones are 7″, 10.63″, and 13.75″ tall. Here’s my almost-four-year-old holding the medium-sized ones, for scale:

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I loved the muted colors of the original trees, but I happened to have a giant sheet of bright green felt already, so that’s what I used for my first attempt. I bought some red felt (the cheap kind that comes in 9″x12″ sheets for $.29) to balance out my collection.

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I traced circles onto the felt using a shot glass and a really inky pen (but one that didn’t bleed through the felt to the other side). Each circle measures just under 2″ across; I made them all the same size so I wouldn’t have to do any math. If you have an ink pad, I bet you could even stamp out the circles, which would speed things up even more. (If you’re doing trees in several sizes, it would probably look great to do smaller circles for the smaller trees, and larger for larger, but you certainly don’t have to.)

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(You also don’t have to cut your own circles at all, since Etsy sells them in big batches.

The number of circles you need will depend on the size of your tree and how close together you glue your circles. For the medium-sized tree in these photos, I needed 47 circles; for the smaller red tree I used 27. I traced and cut out the circles not while drinking tea and watching a favorite holiday flick but while bouncing my baby in his carrier. So it goes.

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Now comes the fun part! Glue the circles onto your cone in rows starting at the bottom. Let this bottom row overlap the base of the cone so you can either flare the ends out onto your table or tuck and glue them under for a finished edge. I worked around the cone from left to right in rows (rather than in a continuous spiral, if that makes sense; basically, go all the way around the bottom, then start a new row above that). You can tuck the edge of the last circle in each row under the first circle from that row for a seamless look.

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I used hot glue because it dries almost instantly and makes the process go faster. The only things you need to be careful about with hot glue are (a) not using too much or letting it get too hot that it melts the felt and (b) not gluing your fingers together (ouch). Craft glue (even Elmer’s) is the other option, although you risk the circles sliding around before the glue dries. I’d definitely use craft glue if I were doing this with kids, for obvious reasons.

And there’s not much to it other than that! I glued the circles onto the medium tree in about 15 minutes, which was great because I wanted to make a whole forest of these for my dining room table. (I have small children and naughty cats, so my decorations need to be unbreakable.) If you want to get really fancy, and if you have access to a wide range of felt colors, you could pick shades that would let you do a cool ombre pattern from tip to base. If you have wacky kids who love to make wacky crafts, you could cut out circles in all kinds of crazy colors (do they make neon felt?) and create multicolored trees. I’ve even seen felt stamped with patterns like waves or snakeskin. If you’re into glitz, mist your finished trees with a bit of spray glitter, or glue on something shiny like beads, sequins, or ribbon. Instead of cutting circles, you could cut triangles for a pointy tree. Hey, how about using those zig-zag fabric scissors? Or making these in fall colors for Thanksgiving? So many options. So much fun. Let me know what you come up with!

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If you like this, you might also like my other winter/holiday/Christmas crafts. Click for the list!

Borax Crystal Snowflakes

This project was originally published in November 2013.

When you live somewhere it doesn’t snow, you have to take matters into your own hands.
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These two-ingredient crystal snowflakes will transform your house into a winter wonderland overnight.

What you’ll need:

–Borax laundry detergent booster (I found it in the laundry aisle at Target for $5)
–water
–pipe cleaners
–string
–pencil or chopstick

Step 1. Form your pipe cleaners into snowflake shapes. One long pipe cleaner can be cut into six pieces to make a simple star, or you can get fancier if you want. (Just remember that your snowflakes can’t be taller or wider than the container you’re going to pour your Borax solution into.)

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If you want to make long, straight icicles, that’s even easier. Just make sure you have a container tall enough that will hold the pipe cleaners without them touching the bottom.

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(When I found a pack of pipe cleaners in all those wintry blues and I swear I heard a choir of angels sing.)

Step 2. Use string to tie your snowflakes onto a pencil or chopstick–anything long enough to span the container you’re using.

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Step 3. Mix up a batch of Borax solution: 1/3 cup of Borax to 2 cups of boiling water. Stir the mixture until the Borax is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Step 4. Submerge your pipe cleaner snowflakes in the Borax solution, making sure they don’t touch the sides or bottom of your container, or each other if you’re doing multiple snowflakes in one pot.

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Step 5. Now make like Ron Popiel and “Set it and forget it!” Carry on about your merry way, go to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning check out your awesome crystal snowflakes!

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These are a fun little science project, and kids will love that they’re not too fragile to touch and they’ll never melt away. If you’re doing an activity advent calendar, this is a perfect afterschool project. Older kids might want to experiment with different concentrations of Borax solution, leaving the pipe cleaners in the solution for different amounts of time, putting different materials in the solution and seeing what will crystallize (this is my current obsession), and seeing what happens if they try adding food coloring or glitter to the mix.

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When you’re done, these look brilliant on a Christmas tree or hanging along a window, and they also add an extra little something to gift wrapping.

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These are my favorite things right now. Well…these or the craft coming up for next week. I can’t wait to show you.

If you like this, you might also like my other winter/holiday/Christmas crafts. Click for the list!