Archive for August, 2011

Labor Day Crafts Using Dowel

Labor Day is considered the last hurrah of summer. And we usually celebrate it with backyard barbeques (frequently one of the last before fall’s chill takes over), spending time with our families and friends, and just having some much-needed downtime as the chaos of back-to-school, extracurricular activities and other fall routines begin. Enjoy some of that downtime with easy to make Labor Day crafts while having fun and creating memories with your children in the process.

There are many activities that can be done or adapted to your own creative objectives, but here are a couple of ideas you can use with your children for a great Labor Day.

Use cardboard or poster board to make patriotic flags. Cut the cardboard or poster board into sizes appropriate for easy handling by the children who will be using them. Have them glue scraps of tissue paper, construction paper or fabric to fashion and fill in the stars and stripes.

Once completed, have them hole punch the upper corners of the flag. Use red, white or blue ribbon or twine to loop through the holes, then tie into place. Hang the completed project in a window, on the wall or on the front door.

Another easy to complete craft is to have the children cut a star, again, using cardboard or poster board. Have them to apply materials using glue to give color and texture to the star. Materials may include the same as the above, including tissue paper, construction paper or fabric. Or have them to color the star with washable markers. To give the star some shine, have them apply red, white or blue glitter.

Add an element of creativity, dimension and eye-appeal by helping the children to cut stars of incremental sizes and glue one on top of the other using a combination of patriotic colors to mark the holiday.

Providing assistance in its use if the children are unable to safely do so for themselves, use a hot glue gun to glue the star(s) to a section of wood dowel. Embellish by adding strips of red, white or blue ribbon to the back side of the star. The ribbon can be free-falling from the base of the star or wrapped overlaid around the dowel.

Add to the celebration by having the children craft their own flute and drums using everyday household materials. Use the cardboard from a roll of paper towels to make a flute and the cardboard from an oats container, along with two thin, evenly cut pieces of dowel, for a drum. Attach red, white or blue ribbon with a hot glue gun so the child may wear it around them and keep his/her hands free for drumming.

However, always think safety first! Be sure to measure a length appropriate to fit around the child so that he/she may have fun, but such that there is no danger of strangulation. As an alternative to ribbon that wraps around the child’s neck, perhaps consider ribbon that will wrap around a child’s waist, perhaps in his/her belt loops, instead.

Once these projects are complete, have your little ones perform their very own Labor Day parade. You’re a Grand Old Flag and Yankee Doodle are great childhood classics to consider performing!

Using some hardwood dowel, inexpensive materials, such as ribbon, construction paper and glue, and a little bit of imagination, you have now created a grand master, a flutist and a drummer.

Happy Labor Day!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Fall Wall or Door Hangings

Fall is just around the corner. The thrill of cooler temperatures and beautiful foliage abounds. Bring the beauty of the foliage to your home by inexpensively crafting a colorful fall collage hanging for your wall or, as an alternative to a wreath, your front door.

Start by determining the fall theme you’d like to display, as well as the size of the hanging. These may include pumpkins, turkeys, acorns, deer, leaves, pilgrims and/or Indians and cornucopias, just to name a few.

Based on the desired overall size of the hanging, purchase an appropriately-sized piece of canvas and wooden dowel from a hobby or craft store.

Determine if you want the hanging to extend vertically or horizontally. If so desired, use a lightly-warmed iron to remove any wrinkles, then turn the canvas over, apply no-sew glue to each edge and fold neatly over to make crisp, straight seams on all sides.

Collect pictures from recycled magazines, newspapers or other media that contain sections of basic fall colors. Keep a keen eye out for orange, red, yellow, gold, brown and even deep, rich hues of purple. You may need to search for other sources if typical media are scarce or if you desire a noticeable, eye-catching mixture of textures. Other possible sources of color and texture include tissue paper, wallpaper, scrap material or party napkins.

Cut abstract shapes from these sources containing the colors you’d like displayed on the hanging.

To fashion the collage, many of the items you need may already be on hand. For instance, a pie plate may be used to fashion a pumpkin. Print off traceable fall leaves or other patterns and trace to cardboard, poster board or another sturdy surface to guide you in shaping the collage. For the more artistically inclined, this may be entirely accomplished freehandedly.

Once you have enough colorful clippings for the project you have in mind, fashion the collage. Use hot glue to intertwine the colorful scraps of paper or material into an overall image. Once completed, allow time for the glue to dry.

When the glue has dried, apply a light coat of varnish to make the craft durable, especially if it will hang from a door and be exposed to the elements. Allow the varnish time to dry as well.

Once the varnish is dry, use a wood dowel for hanging the project.

If the project is meant to hang vertically, wrap the top part of the canvas around a dowel that is slightly longer than the crosswise top of the canvas and secure with hot glue. Tie a fair amount of twine to either end for hanging. For vertical hangings, you may choose to apply dowel to the crosswise bottom section or not. It’s merely a matter of preference.

If the project is meant to hang horizontally, then at least two pieces of dowel are required. Encircle evenly cut pieces of hardwood dowel
on either end of the hanging, and hot glue securely. Depending on the width of the horizontal hanging, you might consider using a third dowel with a smaller circumference that extends across the back of the hanging. This provides support by keeping the horizontal hanging straight and preventing billowing. Incrementally hot gluing it in spots should suffice for keeping it in place.

If you desire to use the twine to provide a rustic, woodsy fall element to the hanging, use a lengthy piece so that the twine is exposed upon hanging. If you’d rather the twine not be exposed, however, hot glue a shorter, more taut piece to the dowel on the back of the hanging.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Creating a Simple Children’s Growth Chart

A growth chart is a great way to keep up with the growth of a child. What a great memory tool for parents or grandparents alike! Traditionally, writing on a designated wall was the way to record a child’s growth progress. However, for some, writing on the walls is altogether inappropriate. And if a home is ever sold, this treasured information is most likely lost forever.

There is a more creative way to have and keep such a cherished memory. By creating a simple children’s growth chart, this precious information stays with you at all times.

Start by selecting a lightweight material according to the preferred lengths and widths. Length, of course, is the slightly more important measurement, as you will certainly want enough material to accommodate the growth the children will surely experience.

Consider a good canvas material. Patterns and prints reflective of children’s themes are a good choice, too, but keep in mind that colors should be lighter so that the markings can be read. For extra special memories, consider getting the children involved in this project by selecting a plain, unprinted material. Once the edges of the material are securely in place (next step), allow the children to put their own creative touches on the material by painting, stenciling, using iron-ons, etc.

Next, prepare the material to be used by lightly ironing, if so desired, then folding the lengthwise edges and the bottom edge. This is merely to give the edges a clean, straight look. If you enjoy sewing or have access to a sewing machine, you may choose to sew the stitching into place. However, if you want to stick with the overall simplicity of this project, use a no-sew fabric glue.

Place the material right-side-down, apply the glue to the outer edges of the two lengthwise sides and the crosswise bottom side, fold the material over onto itself, folding the two lengthwise sides first and the crosswise bottom side last, and allow the glue time to dry according to any instructions. Keep in mind that, unless you choose to make specific cuts to the material that circumvent it, the crosswise bottom section will also fold slightly over onto the lengthwise sections.

The crosswise top will also need to be folded over and secured with no-sew fabric glue. However, be certain to allow some crosswise space. Do so by insuring that the fabric glue is applied in such a way that the space is achieved. Again, allow the fabric glue time to dry according to the instructions.

It is in this crosswise top section that a wood dowel will be inserted, so be certain to select a dowel that will support the hanging weight of the material you’ve selected to work with, and to make a crosswise space that will accommodate the circumference of the dowel.

Using a permanent marker, paint or other writing source, label the growth chart in increments of inches, identifying the next progressive foot every twelfth inch and allow time to dry, if applicable. Additionally, if you decide to allow the children to creatively paint, stencil or apply iron-ons or other materials to the material, be certain to allow ample time for these decorations to dry before proceeding with inserting the dowel and hanging the growth chart.

Insert an appropriately-sized dowel into the crosswise top section of the material. Then, use twine to tie to either outer edge of the hardwood dowel. If desired, apply hot glue to help hold the twine in place and prevent slipping from the dowel.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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