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Hot Air Balloon Craft

Big balloon, big balloon Bigger than the sun and moon. Flying high In the sky Fly, fly and fly and fly!

I’m pretty sure that all parents know the Peppa Pig song, right? If not, I promise that as soon as you listen to it, it’ll be stuck in your head for an eternity! It was well and truly on rotation after a trip to the Canberra Balloon Festival, which takes place every March.

 

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Up early to watch the balloons from the National Arboretum in Canberra

After an early start on Canberra Day, we decided to get our craft on. The original idea was to do a paper mache hot air balloon, but after failing to find a single balloon in the house, we went for option B instead.

You will need:

  • Paper lanterns -ideally in white, but we just used what we had!
  • Non-toxic acrylics
  • Paint brushes and sponges
  • Chenille sticks
  • Disposable coffee cups
  • White thread
  • Sticky tape or pins

 

Step 1: Set up an invitation to create

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Our lanterns were left over from a Star Wars themed party, but white would probably work better.

With four of us crafting, I set up the large dining room table with an assortment of paints and brushes.

 

Step 2: Get busy with the paint!

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The beauty of this craft is that you can get a range of age groups involved. We had Zoey (2) crafting side by side with her Nana. The key is to make sure you are using non-toxic paints!

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Note that the kids don’t have t-shirts on. Acrylics don’t tend to wash out of clothing so it’s best to either leave them off or wear a smock. 

Harrison went for a blue and red ‘Japanese’ theme (he loves his Japanese lessons at school) whilst I created random splodges with a sponge.

Step 3 – Leave to dry

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Our balloons took most of the day to dry. Afterwards, we punched holes into the tops of disposable coffee cups then attached chenille sticks so that they hung from the lanterns:

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Taking Timmy the Sheep for a ride in the balloon!

Finally – display your craft!

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This is the kind of craft that could potentially take up a lot of room in the house, so we made it part of our new play space instead. Because the lanterns are so light, we were able to use white thread attached with sellotape.

Want more?

Check out the following posts:

Our New Play Space

Why Mess is Best

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Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath!

It’s Craaaaaftmas!

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I probably love the Christmas build-up more than I love the big day itself, so when Little Buttons Diaries asked me to get involved with the Craftmas project, I didn’t hesitate to say yes!

I’ve gotta say, my craft sessions are usually totally random and unplanned, so actually putting thought into the project had me all of a dither! For the first time in a long time, I actually stuck to my original idea so here I present to you a Cute Christmas Pompom Wreath…

You will need: 

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  • A piece of cardboard that will be cut into an ‘o’ shape.
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Glue refills (around 5)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Felt in a variety of Christmas colours
  • Craft knife
  • Variety of pompoms in Christmas colours
  • Christmas ribbon
  • Googly eyes (if you want to make it super cute!)
  • Chenille sticks/ pipe cleaners

Step 1: Cut the cardboard base

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Cut part of a cardboard box into a ‘O’ shape using a sharp craft knife – this part is definitely a ‘grown-up’ job! Don’t stress if the cut isn’t perfect as it’ll all be covered up with the pompoms anyway.

Step 2: Get gluing! 

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This is the most time consuming part so if you have a tween or teen around, this is an ideal one for them to get involved with!

Be mindful of the fact that ‘low temp glue gun’ does not make it any less burny if you accidentally get some on your fingers – which is why it’s best to be super careful if younger children are joining in.

Step 3: Check your work

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Once you’ve filled the entire circle, gently pull off the gluey ‘spider webs.’ Double check that the wreath is covered from all angles and add more pompoms if needed. Approximately 150 green pompoms were used to make this wreath, using a special Christmas pack from Riot Art and Crafts.

Step 4: Time to get your felt on! 

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Play around with a few different iconic Christmas images to see what works best on your wreath. Featured above is our final pieces, but we also considered a reindeer, Santa and a snowman too – keep it simple if the kids are joining in!

Once the felt is cut, try blinging it up with some glittery chenille sticks and pompoms. Glue everything together with the help of that trusty glue gun. You may also want to add googly eyes for that silly/ cute factor…

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Step 5: Placement 

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Test where the felt pieces will go first. We found that the Christmas tree and stocking looked better along the vertical sides, for example. The glue sticks super fast so you don’t want to ruin your amazing craft by attempting to re-stick!

Step 6: Finishing touches

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Glue a Christmassy ribbon to the reverse of the wreath, then stand back and admire your amazing handiwork!

I hope that you all have an amazing Christmas with your family and friends. If you decide to make crafts part of the festivities, do tag me in. I absolutely LOVE it when you share your ideas and if you decide to make your own pompom wreath, send me a photo!

Sian x

For more Christmas ideas, check out the following links:

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Christmas Activities for Toddlers

Gift Guide for Toddlers

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Derek the Dragon

As a general rule, I don’t plan out my crafts. I have really tried to be organised and plan months in advance but I think my years as a primary school teacher entirely put me off a planned approach to being creative! To me, part of the beauty of creativity is being inspired and just going with the flow. Take Derek the Dragon here, he was created because I came across some rather magnificent dragon googly eyes in Riot Art & Craft. 

If you want to make your own, please use this post as a guide rather than a definitive ‘how to.’ You may have different recycled materials at hand which will change the shape.

As you may know by now, we are big fans of recycled crafts and if you’re a parent of young kids, I really encourage you to keep anything that might be useful. Derek here is made from a nappy box, an empty washing powder carton, that random ridged packaging that electrical goods usually come in (in this case a blender!) and two takeaway coffee cups!

Derek was a time consuming build, so I recommend you make him over a weekend or during the school holidays. You’ll definitely need time for paint to dry and glue to set!

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Can you guess which flag Derek is based on?

To make your own dragon:

  1. Assemble all of the boxes/ materials you want to use to see if they work. My original idea didn’t quite fit so I had to use other resources.
  2. Whilst Derek was painted then glued, i’d recommend assembling with masking/ gaffer tape first (our little low-temp glue gun didn’t quite hold up his weight!)
  3. Once you’ve chosen the base colour of your dragon, use foam dabbers for quick coverage.  We actually used 3 different colour reds to give Derek a more mottled look.
  4. Leave to dry and paint again. Depending on the type of box used, you may need to paint the base colour again – if not, go onto the next step!
  5. Choose some complimentary colours to stiple over the top. We selected greens and golds for Derek.
  6. Attach eyes, horns and other loose parts with a glue gun.
  7. Choose details like the box lids to create the dragons frills (a craft knife is a good option here.)
  8. Stare wondrously at the magnificent creation you’ve made!

 

If you’d rather bypass the words, here’s a general photo guide…

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We used the flaps of the nappy box to create frills. A craft knife or decent pair of scissors is a must here!

 

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Derek was made from 3 boxes of various sizes which were stuck together with a glue-gun.

 

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Over on Instagram I did little hint in my stories, but this also shows the colour build of red base and green/gold overlay.

 

If you make your own version of Derek, I would LOVE to see! Either post in the comments below or tag me in on Instagram/ Facebook.

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Betty the Blue-nicorn

When I was recently asked to do an Instagram takeover of the Parent Talk Australia account, I decided to make a special craft to mark the occasion!* Here’s a step-by-step guide for making your own version…

You will need:

  • Carving pumpkin (ours was medium sized)
  • Binder/ sealant
  • Non-toxic acrylic paints
  • Hairdryer
  • Wax crayons (we used crayola)
  • Low temp glue gun
  • Shell or something conical for the horn
  • Posca pens or similar.

The vast majority of our craft supplies come from Riot

How to Make:

Cover your pumpkin in a binder/ sealant. This just helps with coverage and the acrylics seem to go on easier:

pumpkin binder

 

Once dry, cover in acrylic paint. You might need more than one coat, but that will depend on the paint you are using! We added a sparkly touch to Betty with some glitter paint too 🙂

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Leave to dry for at least 24 hours before you start phase 2 – which is basically melting the crayons!

Attach wax crayons to the top of the pumpkin with a low-temp glue gun:

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It helps to glue the crayons into the natural ridges of the pumpkin.

Start to melt the crayons with a hairdryer. We found that a high temperature and medium speed setting worked well.

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Team effort! Even the husband did his fair share with the hairdryer 🙂

Once the crayons have started to melt, gently bend the crayons against the pumpkin to avoid spray:

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We always use a giant paint tray for crafts as it helps to catch any mess – like the spray back of the crayons you can see here!

 

It can take a little while for the crayons to start melting, but once they do you can start to manipulate the direction of the wax:

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Messy! But beginning to take shape!

 

Once you are happy with your creation, you can start on the unicorn details! Or if you like, just keep going and melt the crayons further. I decided on a complete whim that the pumpkin would be turned into a unicorn as the crayons started to look like a pretty cool mane!

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I added details with Posca pens. In my opinion, they are definitely worth the money!

Last but not least, add the unicorn horn! We struggled for a while to find something suitable before finally deciding upon a shell:

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Glue on the shell with a glue-gun.

 

And there you have it, one beautiful blue unicorn!

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If you make your own version, I would LOVE to see! Either comment here or tag me in on Facebook/ Instagram. There’s plenty of Halloween themed posts on the blog if you want ideas for other activities so also check out Cute not Creepy  and One Pumpkin: Two Invitation 

*Betty is a great no-carve option for Halloween but make sure that any children helping are under constant supervision. My eight year old helped with some parts, but do be aware that the wax from the crayons can spray if the hairdryer is held at the wrong angle!

 

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Nature Walk Activity Guide 

Nature walks are one of our absolute favourite things to do as a family: they boost well being, provide an easy way to spend time together as a family and as an added bonus, are completely free!

Continue reading Nature Walk Activity Guide