Blog Posts

How to Draw a Turtle

Today is #worldturtleday, so we thought we would do a simple how to draw instruction for our Arts Live session over on Facebook.

The video will be linked below.

What is World Turtle Day?

World turtle day is an observance day on the 23rd of May every year to raise awareness of Turtles and the challenges that they face; climate change, plastic pollution and habitat destruction for example. To find out more visit https://www.worldturtleday.org/

What you will need to draw your turtle:

  • Plain paper
  • Pencil
  • Black felt tip
  • Rubber / eraser
  • Something to colour with

How to draw your turtle:

  1. Using the template below, trace your shapes together.
  2. Outline with black pen and rub out pencil lines.
  3. Colour your turtle in!

Origami Pigeons

We love to break a stereotype here at Heathlands, and today we thought we look at the common and much unloved pigeon.

Commonly thought of as a pest and carriers of disease, nothing could be further from the truth. The pigeon is an intelligent animal, with excellent recognition skills, as well as superb navigation abilities.

There are 5 regognised pigeon / dove species in the UK with the “feral” pigeon being a decendant of the now rare Rock Dove. You can find out more here:

https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/birds/guide-to-pigeons-and-doves-of-the-uk/

Today’s craft activity is how to make origami pigeons and doves.

What you will need:

  • Pale blue / grey / cream origami paper
  • A black felt tip pen

Instructions:

Finger Puppet Penguin

Today is world Penguin Day!

World Penguin Day is celebrated on the 25th April each year, as this is roughly the date of this amazing creatures annual, northward migration. The day is a celebratory and educative initiative, that encourages people to learn more about penguins and their environment, how important they are to our ecosystems and the threats they face.

World Penguin Day is the perfect chance to learn more about these fantastic and fascinating creatures. Read up on the different species of penguin around the world and dig out some fun facts to share with your friends and family.

Did you know that there are 18 species of penguin and of these 11 are considered to be globally threatened?

For fun, we thought for World Penguin day we would make a cute finger puppet!

What you will need:

  • Felt in black, white and yellow
  • Black embroidery thread
  • PVA or Copydex
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Googly eyes

How to make your penguin:

Please refer to the photos below.

  1. On the black felt using a white pencil, draw around your index finger with a cm space all round.
  2. Fold the felt over and cut out two shapes at the same time.
  3. On the white felt using any pencil, draw around you index finger again up to you middle knuckle.
  4. Cut one shape out.
  5. Cut a small triangle for a beak out of the yellow felt.
  6. Choose two googly eyes.
  7. Glue white felt, beak and eyes to one of you black felt pieces.
  8. Using black mercies cotton or embroidery thread, sew the two black pieces of felt together around the edges. Leave to bottom open.
  9. You can use blanket stitch or whip stitch.
  10. Your puppet is complete! Happy World Penguin Day!

Tissue Paper Suncatchers

This week we have another suncatcher craft for you! This time we’re using tissue paper and PVA.

What you need:

Black sugar paper and some things to draw around
Colourful tissue paper
Slightly diluted PVA Glue and pritstick
Paint Brush
A poly pocket to work on
Scissors

How to make your suncatcher:

  1. To make your suncatcher frame, use two round objects and draw around them.
  2. Cut your paper frame out.
  3. Place your ring inside your poly pocket.
  4. Cut your tissue paper into little squares.
  5. Paint PVA glue on the pocket over the inner edge of the frame but not the outer edge.
  6. Place your tissue paper piece all over the glue and paints another layer of glue on top.
  7. Allow to dry.
  8. Peal the tissue paper off the pocket and glue it to your frame with pritstick.
  9. Hang your suncatcher in a window and enjoy.

Malteser Rocky Road

This sweet treat is a really simple treat to make and can be adapted in so many ways.

Ingredients:

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200g milk chocolate
  • 50g white chocolate (to decorate)
  • 200g maltesers
  • 75g mini marshmallows
  • 100g biscuits
  • 200g salted butter
  • 150g golden syrup

Method:

  1. Line a square 8 inch cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Add dark & milk chocolate, butter and golden syrup to a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt together.
  3. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes.
  4. Break up biscuits and add all of the remaining ingredients, other than the white chocolate, to the cooled mixture.
  5. Pour out into cake tin and smooth over.
  6. Melt the white chocolate in a microwave in short bursts and drizzle over to decorate.
  7. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours or over night.
  8. Cut into desired size pieces and enjoy.

A Sunflower for Ukraine

We are devastated by the awful events unfolding in the Ukraine. At Heathlands we have always strived to support others who need help, whether this is fundraising for Children in Need, staffing the local Poppy Appeal table or raising awareness through our activities here and online.

To show our solidarity with the Ukraine, this week we are making paper sunflowers, to display in our windows both at Heathlands and at home. Below are the instructions for you to make your own.

What you will need:

  • x1 sheet of A4 yellow card
  • x1 sheet of A4 bright blue card
  • x1 sheet of A4 blue sugar paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • 2-3cm large circular whole punch (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Something circular to draw around, about 10cm in diameter

How to make your Sunflower:

  1. On your yellow card, draw around your circular object and cut disc out.
  2. Draw an elongated petal shape, cut out and use this as a stencil. Draw around in 16 times and cut out.
  3. Fold all of your petals in half.
  4. Using your blue card and paper cut out approximately 8 small discs in each colour. These will be your sunflower seeds.
  5. Cut a long wiggling stem for your sunflower from the blue card.
  6. Cut a heart shaped leaf or two from your blue card or paper. You can use pinking shears to do this to give a realistic leafy look. This is optional.
  7. Glue your petals around the edge of the large yellow disc like the rays of the sun.
  8. Alternating between blue card and paper, glue the “seeds” in the middle in a spiral pattern, working from the outside, in.
  9. Glue your leaves to the stem and glue your stem to the back of the flower head.
  10. Your sunflower is complete!

Spring Origami Flowers

Known as “Kusudama”, these beautiful flowers are simple to make and can be adapted for lots of occations.

You will need:

  • x5 sheets of origami paper per flower
  • x1 pipe cleaner
  • x1 lollipop stick
  • Glue stick

How to make your flower:

  1. Taking a 15x15cm or 10x10cm square of origami paper, with the wrong side up, fold it in half diagonally.
  2. Fold the outer tips inwards and upwards to meat the point at the top.
  3. Fold these flaps back down so that the long centre edge meets the outer shorter edge.
  4. Open this flap out and fold down to create a kite shape.
  5. Fold the top of the kite shape down and back up again as shown in the pictures.
  6. Fold the kite shape inward in half like below.
  7. Glue the left flap to the right flap to create your petal cone.
  8. Repeat 4 more times.
  9. Glue together with pipe cleaner twisted on itself to make a nodding head and glue this to the lollipop stick for its stalk.

Christmas Gnome Decorations

These adorable Christmas tree decorations are not only cute, they’re really easy to make!

You will need:

  • Colourful felt
  • Wool / yarn
  • Wooden beads, red, pink and natural work well
  • Tiny buttons
  • Paper raffia
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Chalk
  • Plastic bodkin

How to make your gnome:

  1. Make a tassel by wrapping the wool around your hand until you are happy with how big it is. Thin yarn may take up to 40 wraps, think around 20.
  2. Cut a semi circle of felt out and use the glue gun to make it into a cone for his hat. Make sure you leave a little hole at the tip.
  3. Tie a loop of paper raffia around the middle of your tassel and pull through the hat, glueing with the glue gun in place.
  4. Glue a bead into the front inner edge of the hat for his nose.
  5. Glue on buttons to his hat to decorate.
  6. And you’re done! Hang him on your tree.

Crackerless Christmas Crackers

Its beginning to look a Christmas here at Heathlands!

We adore this time of year, and we are always trying to think of ways to make Christmas traditions more inclusive for the individuals we work with.

Loud noises are often not appreciated by people with autism and learning disabilities, so we came up with this idea for a crackerless Christmas cracker.

You will need:

  • Wrapping paper
  • Toilet roll cardboard inners
  • Ribbon or paper raffia
  • A4 white paper
  • A4 colourful paper of your choice
  • A4 white card
  • Scissors
  • Sellotape
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • A black felt tip pen
  • A writing pen

How to make your crackerless cracker:

  1. Cut a piece of wrapping paper off the roll enough to wrap around your toilet roll tubes.
  2. This piece should be enough to make 2 crackers if you half it from top to bottom. Our piece was 35 x 19cm.
  3. Cut a 3cm strip off the long side of your colourful paper.
  4. Write BANG!!! at one end on both sides.
  5. Concertina the strip, leaving an inch at the blank end for sticking down.
  6. Stick the strip inside of the tube using the end you didn’t concertina.
  7. Place your tube on one long edge of your wrapping paper, in the middle and sellotape.
  8. The end of the tube that has the BANG!!! concertina to it is your “winning end”.
  9. Tape the winning end of your tube to the wrapping paper.
  10. Tape the concertina end of your BANG!!! to the wrapping paper close to the other end of the tube.
  11. Roll the wrapping paper around the tube and tape shut. Tape the soft end of your paper closed as well.
  12. Cut two 4-5cm strips of card from the short end of your A4 white card.
  13. Curl a piece of card and insert it into the loosing end of your cracker and tape secure.
  14. Pinch the wrapping paper space between your tube and the piece of card and tie shut with a ribbon / raffia bow.
  15. Add a gift / sweets / a hand written joke into your winners end of the cracker.
  16. Close like in steps 13 and 14.
  17. Your crackerless Christmas cracker is done!

Bonfire Night Pinwheels

Bonfire Night is a beloved event here in the UK but Fireworks are not for everyone. Here at Heathlands we have a number of individuals who do not enjoy the loud bangs and whistles that come with Bonfire Night.

With this in mind we thought we would share a fun craft activity to make a Catherine Wheel full of sparkle and no noise.

You will need:

  • Shiny card – we used gold
  • A ruler
  • Scissors
  • Drawing pin
  • Paper stick or paper straw
  • Loose tinsel (the kind you throw on your tree)
  • Sellotape

How to make your pinwheel

  1. Measure your card along the short side.
  2. Using your ruler, mark the same length on each long side. Join the marks up and cut to make your card into a square.
  3. Again, using your ruler, mark the centre of your square by lining up the opposite corners.
  4. From each corner draw a line towards the centre 10cm long.
  5. Cut along each of these lines.
  6. In the centre and on every other point on your card make a small hole with your pin.
  7. Bend each point with a hole into the middle, using your pin to join them all up, and put the pin through the middle and into your straw.
  8. Gather 8 pieces of tinsel and tape together in the middle. Fold this bundle in half and tape to one of the points of your pinwheel. Repeat this for all four points.
  9. Your silent Catherine Wheel is complete!

Firework Printing

This week we are really looking forward to Bonfire Night!

To go alongside our Firework Pinwheels, we have made this printing activity for you to make your very own indoor fireworks display!

You will need:

  • Large black paper
  • Acrylic / poster paints
  • Cardboard tubes
  • Scissors
  • Glitter (optional)
  • A paintbrush
  • Paint tray

How to make your fireworks display:

  1. Using your scissors, cut your cardboard tubes down from one end in narrow strips, between a 1/4 to a 1/3 the way down.
  2. Fan your cut tube out.
  3. Spread your paint evenly on a paint tray. Dip the tube into the paint and press onto your paper.
  4. Sprinkle with glitter.
  5. Repeat until you are happy.
  6. Using your paintbrush, paint “trail” lines for the rockets shooting up into the sky.

Everlasting Jack O’lanterns

We love Halloween at Heathlands! Dressing up, carving pumpkins and caramel apples are all favourites.

The thing about pumpkins though… they don’t last forever. So! We thought we’d share with you how you can make an everlasting pumpkin!

You will need:

  • 1 piece of A4 orange card
  • 1 piece of A4 green card
  • Two split pins / paper fasteners
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A hole punch or something to make holes in your card
  • A pencil
  • A black felt tip pen

How to make your pumpkin:

  1. Along the long sides of your orange card make marks in 3cm intervals and join them up using your ruler.
  2. Cut 8 strips of orange card.
  3. Cut a piece of green card for a stalk. We have put a picture below to show the S shape we used.
  4. Put holes in each end of every strip of card and in one end of the stalk.
  5. Put the stalk onto a paper fastener first and then thread all of the card board strips on at one end. Spilt the pin and flatten it out.
  6. Use the other paper fastener to connect together all the other ends.
  7. Twist / turn the layers out to form your pumpkin.
  8. Use your felt tip to give your pumpkin a face!

Spooktacular Halloween Lantern Jars

We are getting in a spooky mood here at Heathlands with the run up to Halloween. Today we’ve mean making tealight jars, inspired by Helen W’s tissue paper lantern jars that can be found here!

You will need:

  • A glass jar
  • PVA Glue watered down. Around 50:50 is perfect.
  • A paintbrush
  • Tissue paper. White and black for a ghost and orange and black for a pumpkin.
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • Some scrap paper or newsprint to work on.

How to make your Halloween jar:

  1. Decide what style of jar you are making and pick appropriately coloured tissue paper.
  2. Water down your PVA and mix well.
  3. Cut your tissue paper into 2-3cm squares.
  4. Paint a little of your jar at a time and make one even layer of tissue paper all over. Making sure there are no gaps.
  5. Use a hairdryer if you want to speed up the drying process, or leave overnight to set.
  6. Fold a small piece of black tissue paper in half and from the folded edge draw a mouth. Also draw an eye shape. Cut these out, the mouth should be one piece and symmetrical, you should have two eyes that match.
  7. Glue these on and paint another layer of glue all over. Leave to dry.
  8. Put a tealight in your jar and place it in your window!

Fire Breathing Dragons!

It’s been a while since a blog post. So I thought I would share this fun craft with you all, how to make fire breathing dragons!

You will need:

A toilet roll inner
Tissue paper in fiery colours
PVA
Paint, palette & brushes
Pompoms – x2 white and x2 mini ones to match your dragon
Scissors

How to make your dragon:

  1. Begin by painting your toilet roll inner in whatever colour you would like it to be. We chose greens and reds for ours.
  2. You can add texture for its scales by doting a different colour of paint on or, waiting for it to dry and drawing texture on with pens.
  3. Cut your tissue paper into 10-15cm long strips with tapers at one end.
  4. Paint a 2cm strip of PVA inside one end of your dragon tube and start sticking your fiery tissue paper in. Add more glue as you add layers.
  5. Glue your two white pompoms at the other end of the tube for eyes and your mini pompoms above the fire for his nostrils.
  6. Paint dots onto your dragon for pupils.
  7. Allow to dry and blow through the tube to animate your fire!

Origami Zebra and Tiger

Here is another origami instruction from Monday Arts Live, this time a zebra and tiger!

You will need:

2 squares of paper and a surface to work on
Pritt Stick
Paint, palette & brushes if you are decorating your paper with paint, or you can use pencils, felt tips or ink.

How to make your lion:

  1. For your zebra decorate two of your squares of paper with black wiggly stripes and the same on orange paper for your tiger.
  2. Follow the instructions below for how to fold, or follow the link to our Facebook Art Live video for how to decorate your own paper.

Eva Stamps!

This week at Heathlands we have been making stamping blocks! These are really simple to create and are a great way of getting creative and decorative with your crafts.

We’ve made our stamps to be interchangeable, meaning that the number of stamps you can create are only limited by the scale of your imagination.

To make your stamps you will need:

  • Eva foam / funky foam
  • Sticky back velcro / hook and loop tape
  • A block of wood
  • Staple gun
  • Scissors
  • Pencil / pen

To use your stamp you will need:

  • Flat paint tray
  • Poster paints / acrylics
  • Paper / material to stamp on

How to make your:

  1. Stick the hook side of your velcro onto your wooden block.
  2. Staple to secure at each end.
  3. Draw your desired shapes for your stamps onto the eva foam making sure not to make them any larger than the block of wood.
  4. Cut out your shapes and add the loop (soft) velcro tape onto the back. Remember that your stamp shapes will reverse or “mirror” when you are stamping. So draw letters and numbers the wrong way round.
  5. You are ready to print! Pick your favourite paint colours and add an even layer to your stamp and get printing. You may need to gently rock your stamp to get it even.
  6. Remember not over load your stamp or it will slide.
  7. Have fun!

Other idea’s for simple stamps include: leaves, flowers, simple shapes, birthday balloons, snowflakes and Christmas tree’s.

Origami Giraffe

We’ve been working on our origami again here at Heathlands. This week we’ve decorated paper and folded a giraffe. You can follow our instructions below and watch our live video as well.

You will need:

2 squares of paper and a surface to work on
Pritstick
Paint, palette, brushes and a sponge if you are decorating your paper

How to make your giraffe:

  1. Decorate your squares of paper with a yellow fur texture, allow this to dry, then use a rough sponge and brown paint to create splodges for your giraffe.
  2. Follow the instructions below for how to fold, or follow the link to our Facebook Art Live video.

Minion Memo Board!

Here at Heathlands we will soon be opening our brand new and renovated portacabin! It was designated “blue bubble”, however we wanted to make the space as warm and cheery as possible. So, the space will be decorated with both blue and yellow. Thus Minnion Bubble was born.

With that in mind, I thought for this weeks craft we would make something for our new space. A memo board inspired by minions! We’re using lightweight denim and yellow ribbons for our theme, but you can use any colours or patterns you like.

What you will need:

A wooden board or piece of MDF

Fabric

Ribbon

Quilt wading

Decorative upholstery tacks

Picture hanging fixings

Staple gun

Scissors

Screwdriver or cordless drill with phillips head bit

How to make your memo board:

  1. Make sure your board has no sharp edges and sand off anything you think might snag your fabric.
  2. Place your board on top of your wadding, leaving a gap around the edge so that you can wrap the wadding around to the top.
  3. Cut the wadding to size.
  4. Cut your fabric to the same size or every so slightly larger.
  5. Wrap the wading and fabric around the board, and starting from the centres of the sides, working out, staple them down. Periodically check that the fabric is stretching evenly.
  6. Starting from one corner, staple your ribbon from the back, and wrap it diagonally around the front of the board. Cut the ribbon after each wrap. Work along the board, making sure to leave even gaps.
  7. Repeat step six in the opposite direction to create a diamond pattern with your ribbons.
  8. Use your decorative upholstery tacks to pin down the ribbons at each point where they cross.
  9. Attach hanging fixtures to the back, put up on your wall and enjoy!

Beaded Suncatcher

A few weeks back we decided to follow up our #30dayswild nature dreamcatcher craft from The Wildlife Trusts with a suncatcher.

The craft was for one of our Facebook art live shows, so I thought I would write a blog post with instructions on how to make your own.

What you need:

A sturdy stick to hang your beads around
Wire
Glass beads
Twine
Small pliers / wire cutters
Scissors

How to make your suncatcher:

  1. Cut 5 lengths of wire, x1 30cm, x2 25cm and x2 20cm
  2. Place a small bead about 2cm from the end of each wire, turn the wire back on itself and twist together.
  3. Thread each wire with your favourite glass beads, leaving 4cm to wrap around your stick.
  4. Arrange your wires: small, medium, long, medium, small, along your stick, around 3cm apart.
  5. Cut a length of garden twine around one and half to two times the length of your stick and tie it to either end of your stick.
  6. Hang your suncatcher in a window and enjoy.

Nature Dreamcatcher

As part of our #30dayswild activities from The Wildlife Trusts, we decided to follow one of their instructions that you can find here.

Making a your dreamcatcher is simple and fun. It’s also a great opportunity to get outdoors and explore nature. Go for a walk and collect natural materials to make your dreamcatcher with.

What you will need:

Three sturdy sticks
Garden twine
Natural materials to decorate – hag stones (stones with holes in), feathers, shells, leaves, flowers, grasses etc
Scissors

How to make your nature dream catcher:

  1. Arrange your sticks in a triangle and tie together with twine. Leave one with a long tail to hang.
  2. Create a pattern of your choice in the triangle with twine. It can be a simple or as complicated as you like.
  3. Once you’re happy with your twine, start decorating! You could also suspend some of your materials from pieces of twine from the bottom.
  4. Think about adding flowers for colour and herbs for fragrance.
  5. Hang your dreamcatcher and change out the fresh materials when they wilt.

Pom-Pom Bumble Bee

Bees are really important to our whole eco-system so we thought we’d show our love of them by making a fluffy pom-pom version.

You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Yellow and black yarn
  • Small amount of white net fabric (or similar)
  • Black pipe cleaner
  • Wiggly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Circular templates
  • Glue (PVA or a hot glue gun work best)

Step 1.

Use your circular templates (we’re using a roll of tape and a small pot) to draw two ‘donuts’ onto your cardboard. They should be the same size as each other. Cut them out.

Step 2.

Hold your two ‘donuts’ together and we’re going to start wrapping yarn around, as shown in the pictures. We’re going to wrap the ‘donut’ in black and yellow sections so we get a nice stripy bee! Try and wrap as evenly as you can, working around the circle.

Step 3.

When you’ve wrapped so much yarn the centre is full you’re ready for the next step. Very carefully, use your scissors to cut around the edge of the pom-pom, as shown.

Step 4.

Now it becomes clear why we used two cardboard circles; cut a piece of yarn and slide it in-between the cardboard circles. Wrap it around the middle and tie it as tightly as you can.

Step 5.

You can now remove the cardboard rings and give the bee a trim if needed to tidy her up!

Step 6.

From the white fabric cut two wing shapes and glue them onto the back of the bee. Bend the pipe cleaner in half and glue onto the top of the head. You may also want to bend the ends into a curve. Finally, glue the wiggly eyes onto the front of the bee. Wait for the glue to dry and you’re done!

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Felt Rose Brooch

In this post we’re going to show you how to make a beautiful rose brooch, there’s only a little bit of sewing involved and unlike a real rose it won’t wilt!

You will need:

  • Felt
  • Brooch back or safety pin
  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Circular template (we used a roll of sellotape)
  • Coloured pencil

Step 1.

Use your circular template and coloured pencil to draw a circle onto your felt and cut it out.

Step 2.

Cut the circle into a spiral, with a rounded bit in the centre, as shown in the pictures. You can use your coloured pencil to draw the spiral before you cut it.

Step 3.

Starting with the outer edge of the spiral, wrap it tightly around itself in a spiral top form a rose. The rounded bit will cover the base of your spiral (see pictures.)

Step 4.

Using your needle and thread make several stitches through the spiral to hold it all in place.

Step 5.

Sew your brooch back or safety pin onto the base of your rose and it’s ready to wear.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Butterfly Mobile

Have you seen any butterflies flying around yet? In this post we’ll show you how to make your own fluttery butterfly decoration that you can enjoy all year round.

You will need:

  • Coloured card
  • Thread, yarn or thin ribbon
  • Small hoop or wire
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Optional: pens, collage materials

Step 1.

Fold your coloured card in half and then using our templates (or make your own) cut out several different butterflies from the coloured card (keep the card folded as you cut so that when you open it up you have a full butterfly!)

Step 2.

At this point you could decorate your butterflies if you want to; you could draw on designs, stick bits of coloured paper or add gems and so on. Alternatively you can leave them plain!

Step 3.

To make the top of your mobile you’ll need something circular, we’re using the inside of a broken embroidery hoop but if you don’t have anything similar you could bend some wire into a hoop shape. Ours is around 20 cm across.

Step 4.

Now we’re ready to join all the bits together. Using your needle and thread attach a length of thread to each butterfly and tie the other end to the hoop. Hang each butterfly at a different length and try and space them evenly around the hoop. Keep adding butterflies until you are happy with the results.

Step 5.

To hang the mobile cut six lengths of thread each around 30 cm long. Tie them at even spacings around the hoop and then gather the other end of the threads and tie them all in a knot together at the top so you then have a way to hang the mobile.

Paper Roses

We’re back with another tissue paper flower idea for you! In this post we’ll show you how to make simple paper roses, they look really good bunched together or you could use some fancy paper to make a single rose for someone special!

You will need:

  • Tissue paper (or other lightweight paper)
  • Pipe cleaners

Step 1.

Start with rectangles of tissue paper, ours were about 20 x 15 cm

Step 2.

Work with one sheet of paper at a time and fold over the long side, leaving a gap around 2-3 cm at the bottom. You can also gently scrunch the paper up a little for a bit more texture if you like.

Step 3.

Hold the folded edge in your fingertips and roll the paper around in a loose spiral.

Step 4.

Pinch the other end together and twist it to secure the flower.

Step 5.

Wrap one end of a pipe cleaner around the bit you just twisted, leave the rest untwisted for the stem of the rose.

Step 6.

Make some more and then pop them in a jar or vase or tie them up with a ribbon. Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Country Slice Cake

Ingredients:

215g self raising flour

22g butter

200g caster sugar

1tbsp cornflour mixed with 3tbsp of cold water

3 eggs

1tsp vanilla extract

80g sultanas – soaked in hot tea for 10 minutes and drained

Sugar crystals to sprinkle with

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan)
  2. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
  3. Slowly add the whisked eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Stir in the cornflour mix.
  5. Add a handful of flour to the sultanas to coat them – this prevents them from sinking into the mix.
  6. Sift the flour into the bowl and fold together.
  7. Put into a lined cake tin and sprinkle with sugar crystals.
  8. Bake for between 45 minutes and 1 hour.
  9. Test with a wooden skewer, if clean, cake is done.
  10. Enjoy!

Ingredients in Bold are allergens

Bubble Painting

This is a really fun (if slightly messy) activity and is great for creating patterned paper for use in other crafts.

You will need:

  • Washing up liquid
  • Bowls or dishes (one for each colour)
  • Food colouring (or you can use paint; poster paint is great for this but you could try watered down acrylic or watercolours too)
  • Paper
  • A straw

Step 1.

Fill your tray or dish about 2-3 cm deep with water. Add the food colouring (or paint) and a good squirt of washing up liquid. The more colouring you add the stronger the colour of the bubble prints; you do need to use quite a bit. Give it all a good swish around!

Step 2.

Use the straw to create lots of bubbles by holding it under the water and blowing.

Step 3.

Carefully and gently lay the paper on top of the bubbles and lift off again. You should have some beautiful bubble prints!

Step 4.

You can over print with another colour to make an even more interesting surface.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Beautiful Beaded Heart Hanging

If you have any old bead necklaces that you don’t wear anymore then you could upcycle the beads into a pretty wire hanging.

You will need:

  • Beads (ours were from old necklaces)
  • Wire (we used garden wire)
  • Pliers and wire cutters
  • Ribbon

Step 1.

Start by cutting a length of wire; ours was around 60 cm long but you could make it longer (for a bigger heart) or shorter (for a smaller heart.) We stripped the plastic coating off our wire but you don’t have to do this (or you might be using wire without a plastic coating anyway!)

Step 2.

Thread a bead onto your wire and make a loop around it, this will stop the other beads sliding off as you are working.

Step 3.

Thread on more beads! Stop when you have about 5-10 cm free wire at each end.

Step 4.

Twist the two ends of wire together, pushing the beads together so there are no gaps.

Step 5.

Bend the wire into a heart shape, or a different shape if you prefer!

Step 6.

We threaded a few beads onto the two loose ends of wire for extra decoration but you could just twist the ends together and trim. Whatever you do it’s worth using your pliers to tuck the loose ends of wire in so they don’t catch on anything.

Step 7.

Tie a ribbon onto the wire between two beads so you can hang up your heart.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Homemade Fudge

This indulgent treat has only a few ingredients, but you need to be careful making it!

This recipe involves boiling sugar.

Ingredients:

450g Demerara sugar / soft brown sugar

115g butter

150ml milk

396g can of condensed milk

Optional:

100-150g of peanut butter

Method:

  1. Weigh off all ingredients and put in a large saucepan.
  2. Line a 20cm square tin.
  3. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly.
  4. Once boiling, boil for 10-15 minutes, making sure the mixture does not catch or burn.
  5. Take off heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into tins and chill overnight.
  7. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Magazine Papier Mache Bowls

Did you know you can recycle your old newspapers and magazines to make beautiful decorative bowls? This can get a bit messy so it’s worth covering your work area and wearing an apron!

You will need:

  • Newspapers and magazines (you can also use packaging paper for this)
  • A bowl to use as a mould (something you can easily wash) and a bowl to contain your papier mache mixture
  • PVA glue or wallpaper paste
  • Petroleum jelly or washing up liquid
  • Varnish (optional)

Step 1.

Start by preparing your newspaper pieces. You’ll need lots of pieces torn into squares around 4 x 4 cm. You can also tear some longer, thinner strips from the magazines, try and choose nice colourful pieces. These will be used to make the inside and outside of your bowl so choose colours you like!

Step 2.

Next mix up your glue or wallpaper paste solution. If you’re using PVA glue dilute it to 1 part glue to 2 parts water. If you’re using wallpaper paste follow the instructions on the packet.*

*Lots of wallpaper pastes contain fungicide so it’s a good idea to wear gloves.

Step 3.

Now we need to prepare the bowl (mould) and then we’re ready to get making! You can build your bowl on the inside or outside of your mould; whichever side you use cover it with either petroleum jelly or washing up liquid so that your paper mache bowl will be easier to remove when it’s dry.

Step 4.

If you’re working on the inside of your mould then your first layer will be the outside of your bowl so use the nice brightly coloured magazine strips you tore up for your first layer. Dip them into the glue solution and lay them inside the bowl , side by side and slightly overlapping until the bowl is covered.

If you’re working on the outside of the bowl then the first layer will be the inside of your bowl so again choose the coloured magazine strips; dip each strip in the glue solution and lay side by side, slightly overlapping until the bowl is covered.

Step 5.

Now we start to build up the body of bowl. We will work in layers using the newspaper squares. Dip each square in glue and then lay it in the bowl, working methodically around the bowl until it is covered. You’ll need to lay down at least 5 layers to make sure your bowl is nice and strong. I like to work alternate layers of newspaper and packing paper so I can see where I’ve been!

Step 6.

For your final layer use the colourful magazine strips again.

Step 7.

Leave your bowl to dry out thoroughly, this may take several days. Try and leave it in a warm dry place to speed the process up.

Step 8.

When the bowl is totally dry carefully ease it off the mould. You can now trim the edges with scissors to make it even or leave it rough.

You can give your bowl a coat of varnish if you’d like it to be a bit tougher but you don’t have to.

Stand back and admire your hard work! Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Simple Collagraphs

Collagraphs are basically print plates made by creating a collage. In this post we’ll show you how to make a simple collagraph from bits and pieces of paper and how to take rubbings from your collagraph.

You will Need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scraps of different textured papers (e.g. wallpaper samples, tissue paper and so on)
  • Scraps of fabric or lace (if you have them)
  • Paper to make your rubbings on, we’ve got some plain paper and some coloured paper
  • Glue (we’re just using a glue stick for this example)
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Graphite stick (if you have one)

Step 1.

Cut a piece of cardboard to use as your base, ours is around 10 x 15 cm.

Step 2.

Either on your base card or on a scrap piece of paper sketch out your design. Here we’ve made a simple design based on a cup.

Step 3.

Cut and tear pieces of textured paper to create a textural collage of the different sections of your design. You could also try using fabric, lace, string or anything else textured you can stick down!

Step 4.

When you’re happy with your arrangement glue it all down. Make sure you use enough glue to ensure everything is secure and all the edges are well stuck down.

Step 5.

Now we’re ready to make a rubbing! Place a piece of paper over the top of your collagraph and using the flat side of a crayon or graphite stick rub over the surface to pick up the textures. You’ll probably need to use one hand to hold the paper steady while you work so it doesn’t move or you could tape it down as you work. You should see your design coming through, showing all the different textures you’ve collaged.

Step 6.

Experiment with making rubbings on different coloured papers, papers of different thicknesses and try using different coloured crayons to highlight different sections. Each rubbing you make will be a bit different, you could make a whole set of images!

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Penguins!

It’s Penguin Day on 25th April so we thought you might enjoy a penguin themed craft! Here’s how to make a simple slot-together model of a penguin. You could make them in different sizes and colours and create a whole colony of penguins.

You will need:

  • Penguin template
  • Cardboard (we used an old box)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint (or you could use coloured pens or even collage if you prefer)

Step 1.

Print out our penguin template and use it to draw a sideways penguin and a front facing penguin on your cardboard. Don’t forget to mark where the slits will go (these are the dotted lines on the template.)

Step 2.

Carefully cut out your penguins and cut the slots; on the sideways piece this goes from the top to the centre and on the front facing piece it goes from the bottom to the centre.

Step 3.

Paint (or colour or collage) the pieces of your penguin on both sides. Most penguins have white bellies and black backs but you can use any colours you fancy!

Step 4.

When the paint is dry slot the two pieces together and you’ll have a penguin! You may need to make some small adjustments to the slots or the painted areas to make sure everything matches up.

Step 5.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Devilled Eggs

These are a firm favourite in our house, and there is always a plate at a family buffet or picnic. Making devilled eggs is also a fantastic way to use up your pace eggs!

Ingredients:

6 Hard boiled eggs

3 tbsp mayonnaise 

1 tsp curry powder OR 1 tsp English mustard

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

To garnish:

Pinch of sweet paprika

Method:

  1. Make your hard boiled eggs. To do this put the eggs on to boil and when they start boiling set a timer for 7 minutes.
  2. Put immediately into cold water to cool.
  3. Peel your eggs and cut them in half.
  4. Remove the yolks and place in a mixing bowl with all of your other ingredients except your garnish.
  5. Mix together well until smooth.
  6. Spoon or pipe your mixture back into the half eggs.
  7. Sprinkle with paprika and enjoy!

Sock Bunnies

Do you have a collection of odd socks? Here’s a fun way to upcycle those lonely socks into cute little bunnies.

You will need:

  • A sock
  • Ribbon or yarn
  • Needle and thread
  • Buttons
  • Stuffing (we used toy stuffing but you could use small fabric scraps, cotton wool or even rice)
  • Scissors

Step 1.

Start by stuffing your sock, leave the top 5-6 cm or so unstuffed.

Step 2.

Make a cut down the centre of the unstuffed section and round the ends off to look more ear-like. Tie the two ends together to stop the stuffing escaping and create ears.

Step 3.

Tie a ribbon around the stuffed section to make a head and body.

Step 4.

Now we can give our bunny a face! Sew buttons on for the eyes and nose. You could also sew one onto the back of the body for a tail or make a little pom-pom and sew that on!

Step 5.

You’re done! Admire your hard work and if you have a collection of odd socks you could make a whole family of rabbits!

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Paper Feathers

These feathers are very simple to make but look really beautiful. We’ve used plain paper but there’s no reason you couldn’t use patterned paper or decorate the feathers before you start cutting.

You will need:

  • Paper, we used off cuts from other projects
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pointy object like a knitting needle
  • Template

Step 1.

Cut out a feather template (or draw your own) and draw around it on the back of your paper. When you come to do the middle of the feather press REALLY hard with your pencil so it leaves an indentation on your paper!

Step 2.

Use the knitting needle or similar pointed object to go over the middle of the feather, you’re aiming to make an indentation in the paper that will show on the right side.

Step 3.

Cut out the feather. Carefully fold along the indented line (the central part of the feather) to give it a bit of shape.

Step 4.

Now for the fiddly bit! Carefully cut all along each side of the feather being sure not to cut through the central part of the feather. Use the template with the dotted lines as a guide. Take your time doing this, you want the cuts to be quite close together but be careful not to cut off the strands.

Step 5.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on!

Marmite Cheese Twists

Cheese twist or straws are a simple and delightful snack and really easy to make! You can adapt this recipe in many ways… add finely chopped sundried tomatoes, chilli flakes, herbs or even some mustard.

Ingredients:

Plain flour to dust your surface

Premade puff pastry

2tbsp Marmite softened for spreading

75-100g Gruyere or Cheddar cheese

1 egg beaten for glazing

Method:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment and preheat your oven to 180°C.
  2. Soften your marmite on a gentle heat on the stove or in short bursts in the microwave.
  3. Dust your surface with flour and unroll pastry if pre-rolled or roll out a 30-40cm square.
  4. Paint your pastry with the marmite about halfway up and sprinkle with about 3/4’s of your cheese.
  5. Fold over the bare pastry and pat down.
  6. Reroll to a little less than half a centimeter.
  7. Egg wash and sprinkle over remaining cheese.
  8. Cut into strips 1.5-2cm wide.
  9. Gently twist your strips, place on baking sheets and chill for 10 minutes.
  10.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until nice and golden brown and cool.
  11. Enjoy on their own or with your favorite dip!

*** Ingredients in Bold are allergens.

Easter Chick Pop Up Card

Easter is nearly upon us so we thought we’d share a simple but fun pop up card craft with you.

You Will Need:

  • Card (to make the card!)
  • Yellow paper or card
  • Small piece of pink card
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Pencil
  • Pink felt tip pen
  • Ruler
  • Wiggly eyes (optional)

Step 1.

Start of by folding your card in half to make a card!

Step 2.

Using our template (or make your own) cut out a head, body and two wings from the yellow paper.

Step 3.

On the back of the head piece draw out a diamond, as shown in the photograph. Cut the solid line and fold along the dotted lines. It’s easier to do this if you fold the head in half! You should now be able to open out the ‘beak’ along the folded lines.

Step 4.

Cut out a small piece of pink paper, a little bit bigger than the diamond you drew but smaller than the head!

Step 5.

Now we’re ready to start putting everything together. First, fold the body in half longways and then glue the body in the middle of the card, matching up the folds. Next, fold the pink paper in half and stick above the body, once again lining up the folds. On top of the pink paper glue the head, making sure that the pink paper shows when the ‘beak’ opens. Finally stick on the wings and eyes and draw on some pink legs.

Step 6.

When you open and close the card the chick’s beak should also open and close! Decorate the front of the card and you’re done. Send it to someone special or pop it on your window sill as a decoration.

Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Wonderful Weaving!

Weaving is an ancient craft and can be used to create amazing functional and decorative work. However, at its most basic it’s also really easy to get started so in this post we’ll show you how to make a simple loom from cardboard and get you weaving! We’re going to work with fairly short lengths of yarn for this project to give us a fringed edge.

You will need:

  • Cardboard (we’re using a 15 x 15 cm square)
  • Scraps of yarn, ribbon and fabric (you can use up all sorts of odds and ends for this!)
  • String or strong, non stretchy thread
  • Bodkin or large, blunt needle (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pen or pencil

Step 1.

To start with we’re going to make our loom; mark a 1 cm line along two opposite edges of your square and mark along this line at 1 cm intervals. Now cut along the edges to the line you marked at the 1 cm intervals.

Step 2.

The next step is to warp the loom. We’re going to use the string for this bit, the thread you choose for the warp needs to be strong and not stretchy. Start at one edge by tying the string around the first ‘post’ of the top of the loom.

Step 3.

Now we’re going to take the string down to the opposite edge, around the back of the ‘post’ below and back up, around the next ‘post’ and back down. Keep going like this all the way along. When you get to the last ‘post’ tie the string off. You need the string to be quite taut but not so tight that it bends the cardboard.

Step 4.

We’ve made our loom so now we can start weaving. Cut a piece of yarn about 5 cm wider than your loom (so in our case this was 20cm.)

Line 1: Thread the bodkin/needle with the yarn and starting at one side of the loom work over one of the loom threads, under the next one, over the next one, under the next one and so on until you reach the other side. Leave an even amount of yarn loose on either side of the loom.

Step 5.

Line 2: Take another length of yarn (20 cm for us again) and this time weave under then over each thread, so that you’re doing the opposite to the line before (i.e. you go over the unders and under the overs.)

Step 6.

For the next row work the same as line 1 then the following row the same as line 2. Keep repeating these lines until your loom is full. Every few rows push the threads to the bottom of the loom so you get a nice tight weave.

Step 7.

As well as using yarn you can use strips of fabric, ribbon and pretty much anything linear! Experiment with different materials and see which effects you like best.

Step 8.

When your loom is full and you can’t fit anymore strips in then you can carefully lift the loops of the warp thread over the ‘posts’ of the loom. Tie the loose ends to one of the fringed ends to secure them. You can also trim the fringes if you want a neater edge.

Step 9.

Admire your hard work! Have fun and don’t forget to show us how you get on.

Beautiful Blooms

These beautiful flowers are really simple to make and you don’t need much in the way of materials; just some tissue paper and a pipe cleaner.

You will need:

  • Tissue paper
  • Pipe cleaner (or wire)
  • Scissors

Step 1.

Cut your tissue paper into rectangles, the bigger the rectangle the larger your bloom! We used the folds of the tracing paper as a guide for cutting out and our rectangles are roughly A4 size. You need between 3-8 sheets of tissue paper for each flower, more layers gives a fuller bloom.

Step 2.

Lay your rectangles on top of each other and make a concertina (like a paper fan) by making a fold across the bottom, flipping the whole stack over and folding up again by the same amount, flipping back over and folding up and so on. The folds on ours are around 2 cm wide.

Step 3.

When you’ve made your concertina, fold it in half and wrap the pipe cleaner around the middle to hold all the layers together.

Step 4.

Trim the ends of your concertina into rounded shapes, this will make your flower look like it has petals.

Step 5.

Carefully open up the concertina into a circle and gently start lifting and separating each layer of tissue paper, one by one. This bit is fiddly so take your time!

Step 6.