Monday, December 22, 2008

Make your own gift bags

My 3 1/2 year old daughter often comes home from day care with lots of paintings--they are great and I love each one--but they are starting to pile up. I had an idea for a way to use them so that we could share them with family and friends. We're making them into gift bags this holiday season!

The bonus is that this is an easy project to do with small children--just make sure they are safe with the scissors and not eating the glue. When I was making these with Hannah, I did the folding and she did the gluing.

Paper to recycle (the larger the paper, the larger the gift bags--so 11x17 inches and up is nice if it is available)
Glue stick
Paper craft rope


Start by creating the top edge of the bag along the long side of the paper. Fold in 1/2 inch and glue closed.

Next turn paper so that the rim is on the left edge and start folding the sides--the first side will be about 4 inches wide, then the face of the bag (about 6 inches wide), then another 4-inch wide side, followed by a 6-inch wide back.

If your paper has a lot of paint on it, it might tear when it is being folded--simply glue a patch to the inside of the bag with a piece of extra paper.

Last fold 1/2 inch overlap flap and cut off the excess paper. Save the excess paper for glueing in the paper rope handles later.

Glue the paper flap around the corner of the first side that you folded. Now you have a rectangular tube.

Bottom of the bag
Create the bottom of the bag, by cutting along the folds of the bag on the bottom about two inches in.

Fold in the flaps, then apply glue to the two long flaps and fold them in and secure the flaps.

Trace around the bottom of the bag on a piece of the extra paper and cut it to size. Apply glue to the underside and place it inside the bag on the bottom.

Make a paper flap to hold down the handles with the excess paper. Cut 2 3 x6 inch strips and fold in the two edges as pictured and glue down the folded edges. Apply glue to the back.

Cut two 6-inch pieces of paper rope and bend to a rounded, handle shape.

Glue to the insides of the bag with the paper flap, pressing firmly around the paper rope so that it stays in place.

Allow to dry, then fill your bag with goodies to give to your friends.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Making things

This is the time of year that I really, really get an urge to make things. The thing is that I have this urge constantly throughout the year--it is just intensified when the snow begins to fall.

This weekend I gave into those urges and had fun with Hannah as well. We played with polymer clay and made ornaments for our very tiny Christmas tree. It is so easy and fun, I thought I'd share the how-to part with you.

Roll out shapes of polymer clay (we used Sculpey) for your ornaments. We used a little rolling pin (one of Hannah's) to make them flat--but they also sell special rolling pins for polymer clay.

I had some metal bails that I stuck into the clay to make pendant--but poking a hole works, too.

I cut out photographs and stuck them on the ornaments and baked them (it worked!) following the directions on the polymer clay package in the oven for 15 minutes at 275 degrees F.
After they had cooled, I painted them with Sculpey Glaze and let them dry. I applied 2 coats to the front and one to the back.

After the ornaments dried, I strung a piece of ribbon through the hole and then added a little wire hook made with my wire working tools and hung the ornaments on our little tree.