Each year I try to find time to make some Christmas ornaments together with my kids. It’s kind of tradition. Once we made ornaments out of citrus fruits, but mostly, we make ornaments out of dough. But I really didn’t like the salt dough most people recommend. The shapes would not be clean and the colors weren’t what I wanted. So, I tried a white dough, which only needed three ingredients and they really turned out amazing! Exactly like I wanted them to. Here is how we made them…
For the white Christmas ornaments you will need:
– white dough
– ribbon (I used a red one with white dots)
– snowflake cookie cutter (or whatever shape you like more)
– plastic straw for making the holes
– baking paper
– sealer (optional, I used a spray sealer)
To make the white dough you will need these easy to find ingredients:
– half cup cornstarch
– one cup baking soda
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/3 cup glitter (or more if you want) – optional
– damp paper of fabric towel
How to make the white ornament dough:
To make the dough, just take a pot and mix the cornstarch with the baking soda and the glitter. Add the water and stir the mixture until you will have a smooth but still runny cream. Take the pot and put it on your stove on low to medium heat and stir all of the time. As you stir and time passes, the mixture will start to get thicker.
As soon as it resembles a dough consistancy (more like mashed potatoes) take the pot from the heat and cover it with a damp fabric or paper towel.
Wait 10 to 20 minutes (or more) until it has cooled down. When it has cooled you can take the dough and knead it until it becomes a smooth, soft dough. Now you can roll it out (I lined some baking paper on my working surface) and cut out your snowflakes (or whichever shape you chose).
Don’t roll it out too thin or your diy christmas ornaments will break easily, but don’t make them too thick either, since they will take longer to dry and they could also break easier because of that. 1/4′ thick should be good.
Make holes using the straw. Transfer the snowflake ornaments to a pan which lined with some baking paper.
Now it’s time for drying. You can either let them over night air dry (as I did) or maybe you could try drying them in the oven on low temperature for a couple of hours (didn’t try this, so I don’t know for sure!). As they dry, you will need to carefully turn them over from time to time.
Once they are dried you can use fine sanding paper to smooth out the edges and you and your kids can paint them, stamp them or leave them white as they are like I did and you can add a sealer to make them more resistant.
You can find lots of videos or step by step photo tutorials on how to make this white clay online if you want to do more research.
My kids painted them and added their own ribbons and used theirs as gift tags for their Christmas presents, as well as for decorating their cookie treat bags we would left out for Santa!
Add the ribbon you like and there you have your very own Christmas ornaments!
As I love red and white Christmas decorations, I bought some red and white christmas balls for our tree and these white snowflake ornaments with the red ribbon are just perfect. The white snowflakes with the red ribbon make a great contrast and they look great on the tree!! I think this year, after making these wonderful foam glitter photo ornaments, I will make some of the other ideas I found on Pinterest as well, using the same recipe. I would really love to make some of these angel ornaments with my kids! Aren’t they cute?
We continue making some Christmas crafts. One of my favorites each year is to make ornaments. We have made ornaments out of citrus fruits and out of clay in the past, so this year I wanted to do some photo ornaments. They needed to be easy and cheap, since we wanted to make a lot. I want them to be gifts for grandparents and friends, as well as for children from our kindergarten.
I searched online and tried a few things. The idea I finally chose was to make some easy foam glitter photo ornaments!
So here is what you need to make them:
Foam glitter sheets. I chose white ones, but you can pick any color you think will go with your tree! I think silver, gold, red or green glitter foam sheets would be great choices, too!
Your frame template (you can find a lot of frame templates online and just choose what you like most. A bubble ornament shape, rectangles, ovals, stars, hearts or one like I used – you can find it here – are all great ideas). You can make one by yourself, too, by drawing it on cardstock or by even using different sized cookie cutters as a guide.
Silicon glue gun
Scissors (or craft knife), pencil and ruler
Your favorite photos, printed dimensions 6×4,5 cm (height x width)
To make them:
First adjust your template so it will be the size of your choosing (and capable of framing your photos). I made mine so they would suit my 6×4,5 cm photos. Next, print out your templates on cardstock. You can print two templates – one to make your frame and the other to leave without cutting out the inner shape.
Now it’s time for the glitter foam (I love that stuff!).
Using your template, pencil, scissors and ruler, cut out two pieces, one frame and one back side for each photo. To cut the inside piece, I used the knife to make a “x” first, so it was easier to use the scissors afterwards.
Using your hot glue gun, glue your ribbon to the non-glitter side of your back side piece. Next, glue your photo onto the same non-glitter back side piece. Finally, put some hot glue on the back of your frame piece and glue it onto the back side piece, so you will end up with a frame that both front and back is glittery.
Let it dry, cut off any excesses, remove any silicon residue and your beautiful Christmas ornament is ready to be given away or hung on your tree and bring joy!
I really loved how they turned out and they look so great on our tree! The kids loved them, too, as they got to choose their photos and hang them on the tree and they are really easy to make! I used black and white photos as well as colored ones and they all look gorgeous. You could also add some decorations to the frames and make them even more fun!
Try making them for loved ones or just to add to your family Christmas craft traditions! They will make a wonderful keepsake for many many years!!!
Every year as December begins, we prepare advent calendars for our kids. Sometimes we take the easy road and get some of those chocolate count down calendars as well, what can I say!
It has become kind of a family tradition to make a book advent calendar. It’s easy and kind of inexpensive, since we use a lot of loved and treasured books as well as a few new ones. I also include some Christmas activity books and even a Christmas Recipe booklet for kids – we will be making a lot of cookies I can tell you! You just wrap the books up and number them and open one book each day! It’s super fun and the kids really love it!! And so do I to be honest!!
The other advent calendar we made this year was my husband’s idea and he did all the work! He used cardboard and toilet paper tubes to make it! In each tube he placed a couple of treats, chocolates mostly, and a small piece of paper. On the paper he added a variety of “coupons” and activity suggestions that we can do on that day. The first was to decorate the actual calendar! We have coupons to watch a movie, make some DIY ornaments, bake Christmas cookies, sleep all together in the big bed, make some Christmas crafts and so on. The kids are really excited and can’t wait to open all of the surprises!
These calendars are really easy to make and all you need is some inspiration and to put love into them! Here are some other ideas to make DIY Advent Calendars, there is still time!!!
While I am not the most artistic person, I try to keep my kids creative and so I am always searching for some easy art projects, especially on rainy days. One project I liked specifically, was painting a canvas using paint and painters tape. It is really easy, and the results are great! You can choose whatever colors you think will complement your home or use metallic colors for vibrant art work. The possibilities are endless.
You will need:
Various paint colors
You can begin either by painting your canvas with a base color and leave it to dry or leaving the canvas plain white. Tape pieces of painters tape in any way you want, covering the canvas edge to edge. You can keep it symmetrical, geometrical or just chaotic.
Next, choose your colors and paint each distinctive part in the color you want. The paint will help you keep the edges clean, but try not to get into other parts of the canvas. Let it dry completely and carefully remove the painter’s tape. And voila! There you have it: a great, easy, handmade piece of art!
My kids loved the outcome and they wanted me to make some simple shapes with painter’s tape, so I made the first letter of their name, a star and a heart…
I think they turned out quite nice! And they look great on their wall, too! And if you are more talented than me in arts, here are a few projects from Pinterest that really look professional!
So, my son is one of the biggest Star Wars fans I know. He has a huge collection, and so it was a given that he would have a Star Wars Birthday Party. For two years in a row! I am going to write about those two parties, what we prepared to keep our guests (and us!) entertaint and I have to admit, we had a blast both times!
When I think about making pinatas, I always think that I can’t make one that is cute or with a character I like… for example, I could in no way allow kids to hit Yoda or another Yedi, pinata or not! So, when the time came to decide on the pinatas, we had these two ideas: the first one was a very easy Death Star Pinata and the second one a slightly more complicated but still easy Darth Vader Pinata.
Easy Death Star Pinata How-to
All you will need for this pinata is a white round paper lamp shade (I bought mine from IKEA), a piece of cardboard, grey spray paint, black marker, some fishing line or other kind of string and of course candy!!!
Assemble the lamp shade per instructions. Cover the bottom hole with a small piece of cardboard (secure with some tape). Go outside and spray paint the whole thing grey (if you find a grey lamp shade, by all means, buy that if you want, and just skip spray painting it!). With the black marker, add a few features (rectangles to the lampshade so it’s resembles to the Death Star. Fill the Death Star carefully with candy. Since it is made out of paper, take care not to overfill it or else it will bend or even rip. Add the string to the wire on top of the Death Star for hanging. All you need now is a stick and children to hit the pinata and get all the bounty!!!
Darth Vader Pinata How-to
To make this Pinata we really simply followed the image – steps from mini.reyve.fr adapting it slightly since I didn’t want a string pulled pinata. You will need a cardboard box (I use a cereal box or use some thicker cardboard), painters or other tape, craft glue and black crepe paper and a Darth Vader Mask Template. Print the Darth Vader Mask Template in a size that will suit you and your box and use it to cut the back and front of the box so they resemble the shape of the mask (you will end up with two mask-shaped cardboard pieces). Don’t worry too much about details, they will most likely get lost when you’ll add the fringes. Use the box’s sides or cut out a few 4″ wide strips (the longer the better) to use them to connect the two mask-shaped pieces to each other. To do that, you will need to use the adhesive tape like shown in the pictures from the blog, that is kind of the most tricky part, especially at the beginning. Don’t forget to fill your pinata with goodies before sealing it completely. Also, remember to use some string or rope to make a loop for hanging your pinata on top. When you have finished with the cardboard pinata, it is time to decorate it. Cut out 2” wide strips of the crepe paper and cut fringes into them. Try to make them as long as they need to be to cover the pinata from end to end in each row, so the result will be nicer looking. Now, with patience, glue all the strips onto the cardboard. Repeat on the back and the sides. This is the most time-consuming step for making the pinata, but it is a rather fun process. Lastly, cut out the Darth Vader mask highlights from your template and glue them to the front of your pinata. We painted Darth Vader’s eyes red, for a fierce result! Didn’t it turn out great?
To make the invitation, I used the Star Wars Crawl Creator and finding the story to tell was so totally fun! For the rest of our first party I prepared green Yoda plates for the cake (just green plates where I attached some green Yoda ears I cut out with a stapler), a softball target shoot game (took an old big carton, painted the whole thing black, glued some rocket stickers and then we just cut out different sized circles, glued some Star Wars Villains on the circles for targets), a “Pin the lightsaber on the Yedi” game and we gave out foam swords for everybody after the “Jedi Training”.
At the end we did even have Darth Vader invade our party to steal the birthday cake, but fortunately all of our Yedi friends fought him off and so we could eat the cake after all!!! It was really fun and all of our guests and the birthday boy had a blast! The second party’s highlight was our Darth Vader Pinata of course, which did need to take a lot of hits before it released it’s bounty, being a true Darth Vader Pinata…
Using this same technique you can make virtually any Pinata you can think of… I for one am looking forward to making the next – girly this time – Birthday Pinata 🙂
Finally, the beach treasures we gathered have all found their destination. Sea shells became a wonderful heart, our cute heart stones were put on display, and lastly, the sea glass pieces we gathered did find what they where supposed to become… it was rather hard to find out, I have to admit! But now I understand something I often heard or read about, when somebody would find something and just pick it up saying: “I’ll figure out later what I want to do with that!”.
Well, that’s exactly what happened with the sea glass pieces. They were odd shaped and in different sizes, nothing I would do with them would look close to something good. Especially the two biggest pieces were giving me a headache. I washed them, put them in vinegar to loose some of the salt and shined them with a little baby oil as good as I could.
I saw some ideas on Pinterest… they made super-cute seahorses, trees or flowers with them, but to do something like that I would need much more pieces and more uniform ones… and then suddenly I realised that, putting the two big pieces together, they would resemble a big fish tail… but what kind of fish? Maybe a shark? Or a dolphin? My kids went for the dolphin and slowly it really all came together! All of the sea shell parts seemed to belong in a certain dedicated spot. The fins, the beak and the eye, they were all there. I really was impressed.
And I think that the result is really cute and they make a great themed set.
The three frames found their place above my kids’ desk… As I said before, the most important thing with these projects is that we gathered all pieces with my family and that they remind us of a beautiful summer! I for one, love them, and so do the little ones!!!
While summer is coming to its end – slowly here in Greece, thankfully – I am starting to implement some ideas I had before we started going to the beach. I love beach decor in houses and I saw some super cute heart shaped craft ideas on Pinterest that were perfect to make with the kids. I thought that they would make some great summer keepsakes as well.
I am not that much of a swim-in-the-sea person but I just love days at the beach. I spend most of the time – when I am not enjoying the sun and sound of the ocean – walking along the beach and looking for things worth picking up. Such things are mainly sea glass pieces, heart-shaped rocks, sea shells, driftwood and so on. My son comes along when he is not in the sea playing, as he is a collector of all things rare and special! So we managed to gather a few pieces and they are just enough to make the things I wanted. Here is how to make the first of the super easy summer crafts I was going for: Framed Heart Stones.
The most time-consuming part is finding some nice pebbles in shape of a heart, naturally. My sweet boy always comes running to give me his hearts as soon as he finds them (and of course my heart melts every single time he does it). And I make sure to give both of my kids a couple of heart stones when I find some. So we ended up with nine colorful heart stones, perfect for our craft idea.
Craft Materials Needed To Make Framed Heart Stones
A simple box frame (I prefered a white one, cause: beach!!). It was a very cheap one, to be honest!
A glue gun or some other strong craft glue
Heart-shaped stones or pebbles you found on the beach (you can buy some online, but I prefer imperfect self-gathered ones!)
White sturdy cardboard and scissors
Instructions On How To Make Framed Heart Pebbles
Take apart your boxed frame. There should be a filler board inside the frame. Use it as a measure to cut the cardboard to the same size.
Aling your pebbles on the cardboard. You can try to divide it into a grid if it helps you place the pebbles nicely apart.
Heat up the silicon gun. Glue each pebble to its selected place (this should be made by an adult to keep those little fingers from burning!).
Reassemple the frame, without using the glazing in front. I inserted the glazing behing the cardboard to keep the whole thing from moving to much.
And that’s it! You can decorate your frame with some beach decorations, but personally, I like it simple and clean!
I love how it turned out, it’s really so simple but beautiful and so full of love and memories! The next thing I want to make is a sea glass craft and a sea shell craft, both framed to make a set (I bought three identical white frames!!!). So stay tuned for more!!!
Today my son asked me to fetch him some playdough to play. The problem was, I hadn’t any at home and getting to the store was kind of difficult. So, lucky me, I remembered a Pinterest posting about a recipe to make your own play dough and I thought to give it a try. It worked out wonderful! As a bonus, I don’t have to worry so much that my youngest would eat some, as she usually does with the store-bought play dough. It is really easy and fast. I made mine in about 20 minutes. And you probably have all ingredients in your house like I did, too.
So here is how to easily make your own play dough for your kids to have some fun with.
Ingredients for homemade playdough recipe
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 cup water
Aroma (optional, I didn’t use any)
Directions on how to make homemade playdough
In a saucepan, combine the flour, salt and cream of tartar.
Add the water and oil and mix well.
Turn the heat on, and let the mixture get warm over low to medium heat. Stir for about 4-5 minutes, until you have an elastic mixture.
Now let it cool down a little so you can handle the dough and divide it into as many parts as you want. Mix in the food coloring of choice.
Let it cool as much as necessary until your kids can handle the dough. That takes about 5-10 minutes. That’s it! The homemade playdough is ready for use!
That was easy, right? Never run out of play dough again and no worries about chemicals? And save money, too? Well, I for one have found a keeper recipe! Next time I will let my kids be involved in the procedure. They can easily help with the ingredients and later on with mixing the food coloring into the dough. This should double the fun for sure, since they are crazy about helping out in the kitchen every single time.
So the only thing left to do is to go and have some quality time with your children. Cause that is what it’s all about, isn’t it? And you know what? They would make a great gift, too!
There is still time to make this treat as a nice gift for any child. This year, I made some cookie sleighs! You can involve your little ones like I did, by giving them some cookie dough to make the cookies with cookie cutters or let them help with the festive decoration or fill the sleighs with goodies!
You will need:
Your favorite sugar cookie or gingerbread recipe, or use mine
Sleigh cookie cutters or a template. I will give the link to that at the end of the post.
Your favorite icing, or use mine
Decorations such as colorful sprinkles
Food coloring (optional)
Little treats to put into the sleighs
Eggless cookie recipe:
I used my favorite cookie recipe which is egg-less:
– 370 g flour
– 165 g sugar which has been through the food processor or blender
– ¼ teaspoon salt
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 225 g butter, cold
– 30 g cream cheese
In a large bowl, mix the first four ingredients. Now add little by little the butter and knead with your hand. It will be a crumbled mix first. When you have added all the butter, mix in the cream cheese. Now, part the dough into two and wrap in clear wrap foil. Chill the dough for about half an hour. Roll the dough out as thin or thick as you like and cut out your cookies either with cookie cutters or using the template for the sleigh (which you can find here)
Put the cookies on a backing paper lined baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven for about 180 degrees C for about 8-10 minutes, until their light brown. Let them cool completely before decorating the cookies or assembling the sleigh.
This recipe is quite healthy, just as I want my kids’ snacks to be!
For icing I used my recipe, but any icing you would like is fine. Even store-bought is great, as long as it is usable as “glue” for the cookies. My recipe is a little runny, so it was a little troublesome to assemble the sleigh. Maybe using some other recipe is better, but I like mine since it has no raw eggs.
My favorite icing recipe:
– 5-6 tablespoons of meringue powder (I buy meringues and powder it in the blender)
– 250 g confectioners sugar
– About half a cup of water
Use your stand mixer to mix all the ingredients, but add the water little by little to see how much it will take to have a thick icing. Thickness is crucial for using as glue, while thinner icing is used for decorating. If it gets too thin, use more meringue powder or confectioners sugar.
I assembled first and then decorated the cookies. It may not be the best idea if you want to make some more fancy decorations. I am a simple girl, so my décor is simple, too J
Steps to assemble the christmas cookie santa sleighs:
Step 1: Let your pieces cool down completely
Step 2: Put some icing on the bottom of the sides pieces and glue the to the bottom piece. Hold for as long as necessary until they stay in place. Let it dry for at least half an hour.
Step 3: Put some glue on the three sides of the last pieces and slide them to the front and the back of the sleigh. They should be glued with a slight angle, so there will be more space for the candy. Keep them in place for 1-2 minutes and add icing if needed to close any gaps. Let it dry for at least 1 hour.
Step 4: Turn the sleigh upside down and glue on the two candy canes which you will have unwrapped before. Let it dry for half an hour and turn it on the correct side. Let it dry a little longer to be sure. I recommend putting the sleigh on a piece of cardboard for secure transportation.
Step 5: Decorate in any way you want. Let it dry and put in some candy.
Step 6: If you want, wrap it up and ready is your gift!
The template I found at Lila Loa, here. You will find also great step by step instruction to make their beautiful sleighs if you have the talent!
Here another photo with a cute idea:
Have fun making these!!! I wish to each and every one of you a Merry Christmas! Enjoy these happy season to the fullest!
We have been busy the last days, since Christmas is on our doorstep! One of the craft we did was making some Christmas people out of cardboard paper tubes! Those are so versatile, I did never thing about them that way.
You can use whatever tubes you can find, from paper towel rolls to toilet paper rolls everything goes. We also used some googly eyes, but you can paint the eyes on. So, you’ll need, other than the tubes and colored paper, glue and scissors and maybe some items for decoration.
When you’ve decided what you want to make, measure the paper and cut it the length of the tube. Then put some glue on the tube and wrap it with the paper. If you don’t have colored paper, just paint on some plain white paper. Or you can paint directly on the tube or even use it as it is.
The tubes can also be used to create wreaths or ornaments and some even use them as gift tags, napkin holders or treat or gift boxes; when they are beautiful crafted and decorated that is.
This beautiful wreath is easy to make. Who could imagine what you used for them?
If you take just one of those “flowers” and use some glitter, they can become ornaments for your tree!
Here are some instructions on how to make little santas to use as gift tags or ornaments, even to hold some treat or gift themselves. You can see also a little gift package out of a plain tube tied beautifully with a ribbon. Aren’t they just adorable??? And they are so simple to make!!!
And finally!!! My son’s creations with a little help from me cutting the paper pieces.