Category Archives: Crafts

FREE Printable: Chinese New Year – Year of the Pig

This year Chinese New Year falls on Tuesday 5th February. Chinese New Year is a glorious, colourful celebration of the New Year, just when I feel the year is at its darkest and gloomiest. This year is the Chinese Year of the Pig.

In Manchester the Chinese New Year celebrations are legendary, with a parade, Chinese crafts exhibition, a big celebration in Albert Square and a fantastic street food market.

2019 is the Chinese Year of the Pig. The Pig is the twelfth of the 12 year cycle of animals which make up the Chinese zodiac in the Chinese calendar. Legend has it that the Pig was the last to arrive when the Jade Emperor called for the great meeting. This is why the pig is the last animal in the zodiac.

To celebrate Chinese New Year and the Year of the Pig I’ve created this colouring sheet for children, or indeed adults. It’s a simple sheet which you can print out on A4 paper. All you need are some felt tips or colouring pencils and it should keep the kids entertained for a little while. If you want to extend the fun, you could also try making a Chinese drum, or some traditional red envelopes for Chinese New Year.Chinese New Year Year of the Pig PrintableClick here to download your FREE Chinese New Year printable!

It’s pretty cute isn’t it? It’s A4 sized, so just print off however many you need. Give the kids a million coloured pencils or felt tips and let them go wild with them. Adults who enjoy colouring in might also like to get in on the action too.

I’d love to know what you’ll be doing to celebrate Chinese New Year, let me know in the comment box below. Gong hei fat choy!

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FREE Printable: Chinese New Year - Year of the Pig

FREE Printable: 2019 New Year Colouring Sheet

That’s it. Christmas is pretty much done and dusted and the next big date in our diary is New Year. After all the fun and frivolity of Christmas, who really has the time and energy to get out a load of glitter and glue and get crafting with the kids? Not me, that’s for sure. I’ve created a cute little printable for New Year which I’ve made available for you to download and use for free.

New Year is usually a time for parties. We often get together with friends and their families over the New Year period, the kids love to sit and colour for hours. Here’s a sweet printable which they can colour in to welcome in 2019!

Free Printable: 2019 New Year Colouring Sheet

Download your free 2019 colouring sheet here!

It’s pretty cute isn’t it? It’s A4 sized, so just print off however many you need. Give the kids a million coloured pencils or felt tips and let them go wild with them. Adults who enjoy colouring in might also like to get in on the action too.

Our New Year celebrations are usually fairly low key. We might have an early dinner out with friends somewhere and then off home for snacks and family snuggles in front of the TV before the boy goes off to bed. Sometimes I might do some work while it’s quiet.

The fireworks at midnight usually wake my son up, so he will usually get up and watch them out of the window with us for ten minutes before he goes back to bed.

New Years Day usually involves us all going on a long walk somewhere with the dog and a roast dinner at home. We have a small extended family and our friends are usually busy, so we tend to do our own thing. What are your family traditions at New Year?

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Free Printable 2019 New Year Colouring Sheet

Christmas Crafts: How to make Pretty Paper Baubles

It’s the week before Christmas and I’ve got a million things to do. One of them is to plan some things for me and the boy to do on Friday. We have a whole day to ourselves before the madness begins, and he’s already requested crafts and baking. Those I can do. I’ve been wanting to try to make some paper baubles for a few weeks, I finally had the chance this morning.

These paper baubles are so simple to do, but they look pretty smart and I’m sure they cutting and sticking will appeal to my son. Paper bauble making will definitely be on our agenda for Friday.

Christmas Crafts: How to make Pretty Paper Baubles

How to make Pretty Paper Baubles

You will need:

Coloured or patterned paper
A glass
A pencil
Scissors
A glue stick
A length of ribbon

How to make Pretty Paper Baubles:

You’ll need coloured paper, I used plain red paper and a patterned red paper which I thought would work well together. On your coloured paper, draw around the rim of the glass to make a circle. You’ll need at least 8 circles to make your bauble.

Cut your circles out and fold them in half. If you’re using patterned paper, the pattern needs to be in the inside of the fold.

Christmas Crafts: How to make Pretty Paper Baubles

Using the glue stick, glue the folded halves together; if you’re using plain and patterned paper, alternate them. Make sure your circles are well stuck together, you might want to press them under a heavy book for half an hour to make sure they’re firmly glued together. I found it best to make two halves of the bauble before putting the ribbon on.

To fix the ribbon in place, give the inside half of one side of your bauble a really good rub with the glue stick. Lay your ribbon in place and having given the other half of the bauble a good rub with the glue stick, press the two sides together. Your bauble is complete and ready for hanging up on the tree.

It’s as simple as that!

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How to make Pretty Paper Baubles

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

I’ve been playing around with some printing techniques I learned recently and together with my son we’ve made some fun Christmas cards with bubble wrap which are just a bit different to the usual. These Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards are simple to do, but really look the part.

A little while ago I went to a gelatine monotype printing workshop with my friend Sarah at Crafts and Makes in Didsbury. The workshop was run by John Pinder and he taught us some basic printing techniques. I really enjoyed the workshop, but I’ve not yet had the time to make a gelatine plate to print on.

At the workshop we played about printing with different textures. One thing I especially liked was bubble wrap, it makes such a pretty pattern that I knew I could create something similar at home with some poster paint and blank card. The results are pretty good and would be good fun for kids to do in the run up to Christmas. Imagine Uncle David’s face when he opens his Christmas card to see this masterpiece?

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

These Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards are really simple to do, you might need to help/supervise/stop smaller children painting their faces/walls/the cat, but you probably do that anyway when you do crafts.

Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

You will need:

Some blank greetings cards
Bubble wrap
Thick cardboard
Selection of post paints
A paintbrush

How to make your Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards:

Firstly, put newspaper down on the table you’re using, this could get messy. Cut a piece of bubble wrap to the size of the front of your greetings card. Squirt a blob of whatever paint colour you want for your background onto a plate and using the paintbrush apply an even layer of paint all over the bubbly side of the bubble wrap.

Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

Carefully lay the painted side of the bubble wrap onto the card and press it down all over. Peel it back, there will be enough paint on it to print another one or two cards. Ideally, leave the cards to dry before printing the next stage. Mine took about 20 minutes.

While you’re waiting for your cards to dry, take your thick cardboard and draw some simple festive shapes. I did a wonky star and a Christmas Tree. Cut out your cardboard templates. Once your bubble wrap background is dry, liberally cover one side of your Christmas shapes with paint. Press the painted side of your shape on the front of the card, carefully removing it so the edge don’t smudge too much.

To print the next card you’ll need to add more paint to the shape. Leave your cards to dry. If you feel it needs it, you could touch up the shape with some extra paint. Leave them to dry properly, maybe overnight, and then write them and send them to your favourite person.

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Kids Crafts: Bubble Wrap Printed Christmas Cards

Crafts: Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

During Chinese New Year children are traditionally given red envelopes, or red packets containing money as a gift. The red envelopes are a symbol of good luck and the amount of money in your Chinese New Year Red Envelopes should end with an even number; though it’s important that the money should not be given in fours, or the number four should not appear in the amount, such as in 40, 400 and 444.

2019 is the Chinese Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year falls on 5th February and in Manchester there are already plans afoot for a parade and celebrations across Chinatown and beyond. Chinese New Year is a glorious, colourful celebration in what I think is the gloomiest month of the year.

Crafts: Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

To celebrate Chinese New Year, I’ve created this simple template to make your own Chinese Red Envelopes. You can decorate your envelope however you like; perhaps with some Chinese writing, or with gold glitter. I’ve kept it simple by creating a sheet with all the animals of the Chinese Zodiac so you can print them out and stick them to the envelopes.

Click here to download the envelope template.

Click here to download the Chinese Zodiac animals.

Crafts: Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

Make your own Chinese Red Envelopes

You will need:

Bostik Fine & Wide Glu Pen
Chinese Red Envelopes template printed on red paper
Scissors
Chinese Zodiac Animals print out

How to make your Chinese Red Envelopes:

Print your envelope templates out on red paper. Using a pair of scissors cut around the template.

Fold along the lines of the template and using the Bostik Fine & Wide Glu Pen, fold the two side flaps into the centre and glue them together. Fold the bottom flap up and glue that into place. Put your envelope under a book or something which will keep it flat while the glue dries.

Crafts: Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

Once the glue is dry, cut out your Chinese Zodiac animal and glue that into place, slip some money into the envelope, tuck the top flap inside and it’s ready to gift for Chinese New Year.

Remember, you can decorate your Chinese New Year Red Envelopes however you want. My calligraphy isn’t great, but if yours is you could try your hand at writing some Chinese characters on the envelope. Gold glitter would also make this envelope look fabulous.

Here are some more Chinese New Year Crafts you might enjoy –

Crafts: Chinese New Year Red Envelopes

I am a Bostik Craft Blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily. I have not been compensated for this post. 

Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

I’m all about the Christmas wreaths at the moment and wanting to make a Hand Print Christmas Wreath before my son’s hands grow too big, this week we set our minds to making this lovely hand print wreath.

My son has just turned 8 years old and he’s growing so fast. A few days ago we were looking at some clay hand prints he did as a baby and we were marveling at how much he has grown. His hands are shaped like his father’s hands, square, stout and strong. In a year or two his hands will be the same size as mine. It’s going too fast, too fast.

Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

Wanting to preserve his hand print a little, this easy to make Hand Print Christmas Wreath is a lovely thing to do with children. Here’s what we did…

Make a Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

You will need:

A paper plate
A pencil
Scissors
Coloured paper, preferably two colours.
Glue, I used a Bostik Wide & Fine Glu Pen
Some ribbon

Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

How to make your Hand Print Christmas Wreath:

To begin with, take your paper plate and in the centre of the plate  draw around your child’s hand. Then carefully, making sure not to cut across the plate (because you’ll be making a ring out of it) cut out the hand shape, this will be your template.

Now carefully trim around the inner ring of the plate, so you have a nice ring to glue your hand prints too later. Cut a small slit in the top of the ring and thread a piece of ribbon through, knot the ribbon. This is how you will hang your wreath once it’s finished.

Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

Take your hand print template and draw around it on your coloured paper. I think I ended up using 8 pale hand prints and 22 darker hand prints, but the more you have, the better the effect I think.

When you’ve got all your hand shapes cut out, it’s time to sit down with the glue. Put a layer of glue all over the plate ring and then place your first hand print on it. Don’t press it down yet as you’ll have to slip another hand shape under it, and then under that.

Put a small dollop of glue on the palm of each hand shape and work around the ring layering the hands under each other. This will make sense when you’re doing it. If you’re using two colours of paper, make sure they are evenly distributed.

Once you’ve worked your way around the ring and the hand shapes are all overlapping each other pretty evenly, then you can press the shapes down onto the ring. Leave the glue to dry for a few hours. Once it’s dry it’s ready to be hung up. If you wanted you could add some embellishments, like little red pom poms or something.

Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

So there we have it, one very simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath – a great way to remember your children’s little hands. It’s a handmade Christmas decoration which will look great year after year.

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Kids Crafts: Simple Hand Print Christmas Wreath

Five Natural Christmas Decorations for your home

Christmas naturally lends itself to crafts. This year I’ve felt like shunning some of the glitter and plastic and decorating the house with more natural Christmas decorations. Not only to they look pretty good, they help make the house smell a bit more festive. Here’s a rundown of five natural Christmas decorations we’ve made this Christmas.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations for your home

A Pomander

Pomanders have been used from the medieval period as a way of perfuming the air. They are oranges, studded with cloves and tossed in aromatic spices, when dried they give off a deliciously festive smell. They are easy to make and if you’re looking for something especially mindful to make, then I can hand on heart say that making a pomander is pretty perfect for that.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

They’re very easy to do and a popular thing to make with children. They’re best made ahead of time to give them time to dry out. I used this Pomander kit from Steenburgs which costs £3.50 and there are enough cloves and spices for two pomanders. It’s excellent value and works out cheaper than buying everything you need at a supermarket (I did a few sums on the back of an envelope).

To make them you tie a long length of ribbon around the orange like you would tie up a parcel. Using a skewer or another sharp pointy object, pierce little holes into the orange peel and push the cloves into the holes. The closer the cloves are the better. Once your pomander is covered in cloves, toss it in a mixture of cinnamon and orris root powder and leave it is a warm place for around a month to dry out.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

They’re lovely to make and my craft group are getting together next week to drink wine and make Christmas pomanders.

A Dried Orange Garland

Dried citrus slices are a common sight at Christmas time. Whether they’re hanging from a tree, adorning a wreath or part of a garland, they give a natural splash of colour. It’s really easy to dry out orange slices (or other citrus fruit slices).

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

To make your dried orange slices, all you need to do is slice them as thinly as you can, lay them out on a cake cooling rack and pop them in an oven at 120°. Turn them over every 20 minutes or so and bake until they’ve pretty much dried out. This will take 2-3 hours. They will continue to dry out for a few days after you’ve taken them out of the oven, so don’t worry if they’re not completely dry.

You will need:
Dried oranges, sliced thinly
Red embroidery thread
A needle
Star Anise
A glue gun

For this craft I took some red embroidery thread and a large needle. I made a hanging loop at one end and then threaded the needle through one side of the dried pith, round the back and out of the front of the other side of the pith. I continued this with each slice so the thread was behind each orange slice. Once I’d threaded them all on the red thread, I made a hanging loop at the other end.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

Using my glue gun I glued some star anise onto alternate orange slices and hung the garland where lights could shine through them. Once the tree is up they’ll be hung on the tree in front of fairy lights. You can make your garland as long or as short as you wish, mine was five slices long.

A Dried Orange Decoration

These are lovely, and if you’re drying citrus slices for the garland, then it’s worth saving a few to make these pretty little things to hang on your tree.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

You will need: 
Dried orange slices
Ribbon
Star Anise
Glue gun

Take your dried orange slice and carefully make a small slit in the pith with a knife. Thread a piece of ribbon through, make a loop and tie a knot in it.

Using the glue gun, glue a piece of star anise to the centre of the orange slice, leave it to dry for a minute and then it’s ready to be hung up in front of a twinkly tree light and admired.

Tied Cinnamon Sticks

These are a Christmas classic. Three cinnamon sticks tied together with a nice ribbon and hung on the tree. For each one, take three cinnamon sticks and a piece of ribbon, tie the ribbon tightly around the sticks and knot the ribbon, then tie a nice bow. I then took some invisible thread, threaded it through the ribbon and tied the thread so it could be hung from a tree. Simple but effective.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

Cinnamon Stick Tealight Holder

If you love a glue gun, then this craft is for you. Using a nice clean jar which you know is big enough to generously hold a tealight, glue cinnamon sticks around the jar using your glue gun. Leave the glue to dry for a few minutes before using. You may want to finish it off nicely with a festive ribbon tied around it, it’s up to you. It’s simple, looks great and could be the start of a lovely natural centrepiece for the Christmas table.

Five Natural Christmas Decorations for your home

There are three lovely ideas for five natural Christmas decorations you could make. With some cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and a selection of citrus fruits, you could adorn your home with beautiful and natural Christmas decorations this year. What will you make?

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Five Natural Christmas Decorations to make at home

Christmas Crafts: Paper Plate Holly Wreath

I love a good wreath at Christmas. We always buy a nice foliage one from our local Community Farm and have it on the front door. Inside the house we have a few more delicate wreaths on some of the internal doors, it just makes the place look more festive. I really enjoy making wreaths with my son. Once you’ve got your paper plate base sorted, you just let your imagination run wild. This week we’ve made a Paper Plate Holly Wreath and we’re really quite pleased with it.

Christmas Crafts: Paper Plate Holly Wreath

I had the idea for this Paper Plate Holly Wreath, but I knew that I’d probably be the one who would be spending some time cutting out the individual holly leaves and my son (with direction) would be doing much of the sticking. I sat down with a giant mug of tea and Say Yes to the Dress on TV and got cutting. I’ve no idea how many holly leaves I cut out, but it was about two A4 sheets worth.

Now that I’ve seen the finished Paper Plate Holly Wreath, I am really pleased with it. I think it looks really effective and I’ll be pleased to have it hanging in my kitchen this Christmas.

How to make a Paper Plate Holly Wreath

You will need:

A paper plate
Scissors
Green paint
Paint brush
A pencil
Ribbon
3 or 4 different kinds of green card or foam
Bostik Glu Dots
Red embellishments – mini pom poms, beads, paper shapes etc

Christmas Crafts: Paper Plate Holly Wreath

How to make your Paper Plate Holly Wreath:

With a pair of scissors, cut the middle out of your paper plate so it looks like a ring. Near the top of your wreath, cut a small slit where you can thread your ribbon through later.

Paint the wreath all over, front and back with green paint and leave it to dry. If you’re impatient like me, you can use a hairdryer to speed up the process. Your ring might need a second coat of paint on the front if you think it’s a bit patchy looking. This process does take a bit of time, so factor that in if you’re crafting with slightly impatient kids.

While your paint is drying, take the piece of cardboard which you cut out of the paper plate and draw a holly leaf on it. It needs to be about 5cm long, but you can make your leaves as big or small as you want really. Cut out your leaf shape, this is now your template.

I found whatever green card I had in my craft cupboard, which was a nice piece of corrugated card, some shiny card and some glittery card. I also found a piece of glittery foam. Using the pencil I then drew around my holly leaf template all over the back of each piece of card. Try and do this so you get minimal waste when you cut them out.

Once you’ve drawn all your holly leaves, you need to cut them out. This takes a little bit of time, so do factor that in.

Christmas Crafts: Paper Plate Holly Wreath

Once you’ve got a bit pile of leaves, it’s time to stick them onto your wreath. Before you start sticking, thread your piece of ribbon through the slit you cut earlier and tie a knot in the ends securely.

Take a Bostik Glu Dot and stick it to the back of each leaf, towards one end if you can. Then stick your leaves however you like all over your wreath. We chose to stick the corrugated leaves all around the outside of the wreath. I suggested he try to stick them in pairs, like holly leaves often are and I think he did a good job.

With the other types of holly leaf, we arranged them in an attractive way around the inner circle of the wreath. Ben then stuck them in place. All the holly wreath needed now was berries. Using the red embellishments; mini pom poms, paper shapes and stick on gems, we decorated some of the leaves with red “berries”. I find stick on gems a bit tricky, so I always use a glu dot on them to make sure they stick.

Your wreath is now complete. It looks pretty impressive yes?

Christmas Crafts: Paper Plate Holly Wreath

Check out my other craft tutorials here!

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I am a Bostik Craft Blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily. I have not been compensated for this post. 

Crafts: Easy Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies

At home we’ve been doing some reading about Remembrance and one afternoon this week we got the paints out and made some Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies.

This year is an especially poignant Remembrance Day as it marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. We’ve been really impressed with some of the crafts which the local schools have been making. One even made their own weeping window which was very well done. There have been individual poppies, poppy wreaths and all kinds of lovely tributes. Here’s how we made our paper plate poppies.

Crafts: Easy Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies

How to make Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies

You will need:

A small paper plate
Scissors
Red paint
A black button or a black foam circle
Bostik Glu Dots

Crafts: Easy Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies

How to make your paper plate Remembrance Poppies:

Take your paper plate and cut out four triangle pieces to form petals. You might want to shape the edge of the petals with the scissors a bit. I thought some of my edges were a little angular, so taking a minute to shape them really helped.

Paint your plate with red paint and leave to dry.

Once dry, using the glu dots, glue the button or foam circle to the centre of the poppy. Your poppy is now complete.

If you’d like you could sellotape a green stick or a straw to the back of the poppy and put a few of them in a vase. Or make a few of them into a poppy garland or make a poppy field display of them.

They’re a really sweet thing to do with children, they’re incredibly simple to do and a nice craft to do at this time of the year. I think it’s important for everyone including children to understand why we wear a poppy to remember, you can read more about the poppy on the Imperial War Museum website.

Crafts: Easy Paper Plate Remembrance Poppies

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

In the run up to Bonfire Night, we like to do some themed crafts. I had some black card left over from another craft and I thought we’d do some firework paintings. They’re really simple to do and great for pre-schoolers, right up to adults. I joined in the fun too and although my painting wasn’t a patch on his, I still enjoyed it.

I sometimes feel a bit sorry for Bonfire Night. When I was growing up it was a much bigger celebration, these days Halloween gets all the attention. Not so in our house, I do enjoy putting together a Bonfire Night feast, wrapping up to go and watch a local firework display and having sparklers in the garden. It’s cold at this time of year, so having some crafts up your sleeve is never a bad thing.

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

Easy Firework Paintings

You will need:

Black paper or card
Cardboard toilet roll or kitchen roll tubes
Scissors
Paper plates or plates you can wash the paint off later
Coloured poster paint, I used three fireworky colours

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

How to make your Easy Firework Paintings:

Take your poster paint and put a generous amount of paint on each plate.

Using a pair of scissors (maybe get an adult to do this bit) cut a line about 6cm long and half cm intervals up the tube (see picture below). Once you’ve done this all around the tube, splay the cut pieces out.

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

Dip your cut tube into the paint and dab firework shapes onto your card. The painting looks best if you use two or three different colours to give the impression of a sky lit up with fireworks.

Try not to mix the paint colours up too much, though interesting colour mixes can make for quite a pretty firework.

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

Leave your paintings to dry and then stick them on the fridge or wherever you display your artworks! We think our paintings look pretty good. What do you think?

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings

If you enjoyed this, you might like to try my recipe for Bonfire Night Treacle Toffee Pan Pops.

Bonfire Night Craft: Easy Firework Paintings