Sunday, October 31, 2010

Make Paper Plate Calaveras Masks!

Like many of my friends and fellow crafty folk, I absolutely adore Halloween but I think I lurve Dia de los Muertos even more! This is the first year in a great many that I was unable to visit Olvera Street in Los Angeles for their Day of the Dead festivities. Since all my stuff is tucked away in a zillion and half boxes I won't be able to make an altar this year but luckily for you, I have whipped up a nifty mask making project using a handful of items you may already have on hand.

*paper plates or large round sheets of paper
*popsicle sticks, sticks or pencils
*black construction paper
*glitter and other shiny bits (optional)

scrumdilly-do it!
Grab a plate and a pencil. Estimate the center of the plate and mark it with your pencil. Your children can do this part, it doesn't have to be EXACTLY center. Using the center dot as your guide, draw two lines intersecting at the center. One line should be vertical, while the other is horizontal, like a cross.
Next, draw two more line using all previous drawn lines as your guide. These two lines will mark an X on your plate and divide up the spaces between the first two lines.
This part sounds trickier than it is so stick with me. You are going to make your skellie cheeks. The first thing you will need to do is position the plate in front of you with the X lines looking like an X. Find the center points on other side of each diagonal line on the bottom half of the plate. Mark with your pencil and then draw an arc from point to point, these are your skellie cheeks!From the top point of each skellie cheek, follow the curve of the paper plate to draw the rest of your skull and cut out.Next up are the eyes and nose of your calavera. You can use a black marker or paint or you can have your wee ones cut shapes from black paper. The nose of your mask should be an upside down heart and the eyes should be large orbs. Use the paint or marker to mark the mouth of your calavera along the vertical ridges of the paper plate. Now it is time to decorate. You can have your kiddos decorate as they will but if you want to make your skull more of a calavera (as traditional as turning a paper plate into a calavera can be) and follow traditional ideas of decorating, chat up your kidlet about symmetry. If you follow any of the links up above you will find a couple of pictures of calaveras and calacas. If you look closely you will notice that most are evenly decorated aka symmetrical. Have your wee one do one side of their skull then have them repeat what they did to the other. Talk it out. See if they find it easy or hard to repeat the patterns. Which hand do they draw with? Have them switch hands for fun. The more color the better. Whatever you choose to do, have fun!Once your calavera is all decked out, you can add finishing touches with glitter and/or sequins. Set aside to dry and tape a popsicle stick or two to the back and you have a happy mask! I did not cut eyes in my mask as they are more decorative than useful but that doesn't mean you can't carefully punch out some eye holes for your kidlet.
Check out these nifty masks made by some scrumdilly-do readers. Thank you for playing along!

These are from Luzia Pimpinella and her kiddos, check out her blog post...And these are from Amber and her kiddos...Aren't they all absolutely fantastic?

Last Minute Halloween Fun

Or anytime fun...make clothespin zombies!

*wooden craft clothespins (not the pinchy kind)
*acrylic or tempera paint
*plastic lids or paint trays
*food color or liquid watercolor
*small box or thin lipped bowl or container
*thin cardboard or cardstock

scrumdilly-do it:
Set out your supplies and make zombies!Start with a coat of paint...get yer kiddos to mix their own zombie green. To dry between paint layers we tucked our zombie pins onto the side of a cardboard box. The space between the "legs" fits perfectly over the sides. If you do not have a box use a plastic cup, bowl or container.
When paint is dry, add clothes and other bits. Get creative! We used all sorts of cardboard, tacks, fabric & paper. Don't forget arms! Some of our zombie arms were made from painted cardboard while others were twisted from wire. Twist ties might work for this as well.Add bits of cut up gauze or cheesecloth to make your zombies "authentic". Don't forget a dab of fake blood. We made ours using liquid watercolor and glue. A good set of craft clothespins will have a nice solid bottom so they will stand on their own. We added cardboard feet and squares to counterbalance our arms and other bits. And of course, this is not limited to zombies. We made aliens, vampires, bees and the living dead. Happy Halloween!

DIY calaca for Dia de los Muertos!

Here's a nifty way to double up on festive October fun by repurposing your Halloween skelly into a calaca for Di a de los Muertos!

*paper jointed skeleton
*white paint
*puff paint and/or glitter paint
*salt (optional)
*markers, including a black permanent marker
*container of water
*paper towels, rags or newspaper

scrumdilly do it!
Set out your paper skelly on a tabletop that has been prepped for paint and fun. If you wish to double the use of your skelly, flip it over so that the back side points and and the printed side is facedown. If your skelly is jointed, arrange it into a happy dance party position. Once you paint it, the paint will seal in the joints so your skeleton will be "frozen" "in whichever position s/he was when you started.Hand your child a paintbrush and have them paint the whole shebang with white paint. Set aside to dry and give it another coat if you can still see the original print through the paint. You may wish to leave a little shadow of the print to help you line up eye holes and such but it isn't necessary. If you paint the back of the skeleton it's all up to you so have fun!Once dry, use a black marker to outline some general shapes to the skeleton. Ink in the eyes and define the arms, legs and ribcage. Here are some pics of Day of the Dead skeletons to use as inspiration. After you have filled in the black, break out the puff paint and markers and art your skelly up!If your puff paint is too watery, sprinkle your paint blobs with salt. The salt will hold the paint in place and add a spiffy texture to the overall look. You can of course, get all fancy and use glitter and glue or glitter paints.Set aside to dry and hang in a happy place when ready. Take care after the holidays to pack it up so you can use it again and again!

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Handmade "puff" paint

This is a nifty way to make paint with texture using good things from your own kitchen. If you or your child have problems with gluten, try using a different flour. I haven't tried it yet but I think it would work.
*food color
*squeeze bottles

scrumdilly-do it!
Mix equal parts flour, salt & water into a small squeeze bottle. You can repurpose old paint, mustard or shampoo bottles. I used tiny travel bottles from the craft store, these work best for small detail projects like the Day of the Dead skeleton project I have coming for you tomorrow. It's the fine point applicator that makes it extra nifty. If the bottle opening is too small, use a funnel or a piece of paper rolled into a funnel shape to help fit the mixture in.After adding your basic paint to your squeeze bottle, add a few drops of food color to tint.Place the lid back on and shake it up to mix. For the tiny bottles, I added one tablespoon each of the flour, salt and water. If the mixture feels too lumpy, add more water, too watery, add more salt and/or flour.This paint keeps best when stored in the refrigerator. Should stay fresh for about two weeks. Have fun!

*When done, bottles can be rinsed out in the sink with warm to hot water. Don't throw bottles away, keep them for another nifty project!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Fun with Grow Capsules

aka another day, another garland...I can't help it. I'm a little dotty for garlands and these are really easy to make. Plus they're inexspensive and would be the perfect size to hang up on your wee one's headboard.


*one pack grow capsules
*needle & thread
*container of warm water
*splash friendly work area
*buttons and/or beads optional
*paper punches or halloween stickers
*scrapbook letters, also optional
*glue stick

scrumdilly-do it:Set out bowl of warm water and have your wee ones drop their capsules in the water. Lately I have been seeing these little grow capsules EVERYWHERE. I see them at birthday parties, craft stores, the dollar bin at Target, and even Urban Outfitters. These may be an American thing, I don't know but what they are are small foam shapes stuffed inside a gelatin capsule that dissolves in water leaving you with a happy foam shaped bear, ghost or whatnot.The hotter the water, the quicker the gelatin capsules open but don't make the water too hot so your wee one can poke a finger or two in the mix and swirl them up a bit. Play a guessing game as to what shape they think each color is going to be. To hurry things along, they can even rub their fingers back and forth over the capsule. When sponge shape is free from capsule, remove from bowl making sure to squeezey, squeeze, squeeze out excess water. Set aside until the rest are done.

If you choose not to make a garland, these small shapes make excellent sorting and counting manipulatives. The more the merrier, have a special place to place all your foam shapes and start up a collection. Or, whip out that needle and thread and begin stringing.

Have your wee ones arrange shapes in the order they want them to appear on their garland. This is a great opportunity for pattern and seriation, don't rush them. Once they are ready, thread needle with a length of thread about six to eight feet long, don;t worry, you are going to pull that needle to the middle of the thread so that your two ends will be knotted and your thread will be doubled. Take a button or bead and knot at one end about six inches from the end. This will be the anchor so the foam shapes don't slip off. all of my beads and buttons are in storage so I made do with a simple, lonely knot. You could do that too if you wish then your knot and my knot could be penpals.Pick up first foam shape and pokey, poke, poke with the needle as if you were slicing in half and carefully go through the whole shebang. Your child CAN do this most definitely as long as they rock their fine motor skills. Needles are sharp and they may poke themselves so if you feel anxious about this, try a plastic needle or do the poking part yourself.Continue until all shapes are on the thread. Have your child arrange the spacing between the shapes so that they are not all jumbled at one end.Add finishing touches such as googly eye circles, Halloween stickers or other scrap happy doodads. I added B O O using chipboard letters from the craft store glued onto some paper circles I had leftover from the cupcake toppers and googly garland projects.Tape up to your wee one's headboard, the front door or over the mantel, pull out a Halloween book or two and enjoy!