Archive for October, 2011

“Thankful for” Leaf Bouquet

Now that Thanksgiving is just around the corner, what better time to examine the things for which we are most thankful? And what better or craftier way to show it than by creating a “Thankful for” leaf bouquet? With a few inexpensive items, you can turn this craft into something the whole family can not only share in, but also create together.

First, start by gathering a few items. You will need either craft foam of various autumn-like colors (yellow, green, red, and brown) or construction paper of the same, dowel, scissors, a hot glue gun and glue sticks, and a thin-point sharpie. To hold the bouquet, use a basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot. Based upon that decision, select the container of your choosing, as well as a floral arrangement foam that fits the container.

Decorate the basket, vase, or terra cotta flower pot as you desire. Consider spray painting or stenciling a design on the basket or flower pot, or adding ribbon to the basket or vase. If necessary, allow sufficient drying time for any paint or hot glue that is used.

Insert the floral arrangement foam. Depending on the size of the project you are attempting or the number of leaves that will be added per family member, you may choose to ensure that the foam is securely in place by adding hot glue to its underside before setting it in the container. If desired, add floral moss, confetti, or another filler to cover the top of the floral foam.

The size of the dowel will depend on the overall size of the leaves and the completed project. However, a 1/8 to 1/4 dowel circumference is a good size to begin with. Cut the wood dowel into sections. If you choose to make some of the “stems” taller than the others, then cut the dowel into various lengths. If you choose to make the stems uniform, then cut the dowel into equal lengths. It’s completely up to you, the crafter.

Use scissors to cut leaves from foam sheets or construction paper. While the use of various colors will certainly provide some appeal, the use of various kinds of leaves may amplify the appeal. Consider fashioning them after such interestingly shaped leaves as maple, oak, hickory or chestnut. The important thing is to select leaves that are more of a whole rather than fragments that collectively make a whole. Doing so will make them better suited for writing upon.

To save time, search your local craft supplies stores for the availability of pre-cut foam leaves.

Distribute the leaves evenly among family members, and using the sharpie, have each write what he/she is most thankful for this holiday season on individual leaves.

When this is done, turn the leaves front-side down, and use hot glue to glue the hardwood dowel sections to the backside of each leaf. Allow the glue time to dry.

Once the glue is dry, place the dowel stems into the floral foam to complete your “thankful for” bouquet.

Several variations exist for this project. Paint the dowel stems, or add ribbons to them just beneath the leaves. Print and laminate a family photograph and attach it to the terra cotta flower pot. Or, instead of leaves, use any other image closely associated with Thanksgiving, such as acorns, cornucopias, or even turkeys.

Creative uses of hardwood dowel, and other inexpensive and versatile craft supplies like it, can result in lots of creativity that can be both appreciated and remembered year after year.

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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Halloween Witch Crafts

Some like to go all out when it comes to Halloween decorations. Whether inflatable villains, cobwebs and spooky music all embellish your property on the creepiest night of the year or your taste in Halloween decor is slightly more subtle, have a blast with your family by making a unique witch craft using your creativity and a dowel.

Start by crafting a witch. This can be simply made and colored on paper, as printed from any free online website, or handmade using construction paper, tissue paper, glitter, confetti and any number of other materials to make the witch of your choosing. Or, use various materials to craft a 3-D witch. The choice is yours and is limited only by your imagination.

Based on the size of the project you want to make, as well as the weight of the witch you craft, determine the most appropriate size, specifically the diameter and length, of the dowel to use. A 12 inch section is a good starting point. Certainly a longer section can be used if needed.

Using raffia purchased from a craft supply store, twigs gathered from your very own yard or dried corn husks available from any number of orchards specializing in fall harvests of apples, pumpkins or gourds, apply to one end of the dowel and tie it securely with twine. To ensure that the raffia, twigs or corn husks are secure, place them at least three inches from the bottom of the dowel. You may also choose to further secure the twine with hot glue.

There are several creative ways to position the witch. Consider the following:

Have the witch straddle the dowel, resembling the standard witch-on-a-broom look.

Place the witch with both legs hanging over one side of the broom.

Replicate the witch falling off of her broom by having her dangle by the fingertips.

Place the wood dowel at a downward angle so the witch appears to come directly toward anyone who sees her.

Any of these looks can be easily accomplished by hot gluing twine or string to either side of the hardwood dowel and then hanging from an eye hook.

Another creative, and quite comical, option is to place only the hands and feet at angles on a piece of felt. Consider fashioning the hands to reflect knotted fingers with green or black fingernails or warts, and the feet to reflect black boots or heels. Using an inexpensive witch’s hat, which, of course, is readily available for purchase during the Halloween season, hot glue the hat to the center of the felt so that it overlaps the hands and feet. A very small and less weighty section of dowel can be glued to the bottom of the felt with the raffia, twigs or corn husks, wrapped in twine, glued around it. Glue or sew the top of the felt to form a seam, insert another section of dowel through the seam, hot glue twine or string to either end of the dowel section and then hang from your front door to give the appearance that the witch has crashed into it.

With a little creativity and some inexpensive supplies, such as a wooden dowel, there are no limits to the “witch-craft” you can make this Halloween!

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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Crafting a Football Banner

Football season is here! Use a dowel and a few other supplies to inexpensively craft a decorative football banner to show support for your favorite college or professional team.

Start with the basic materials for this project, which simply include a tarp (the size of your choosing), a dowel (sized to correspond to the overall dimensions of the tarp), paint(s), including your favorite football team’s colors and any complementary colors you desire to add, paintbrush(es), and any extra decorative materials you may desire to use. These may include puff paint, stencils, buttons, ribbons or rhinestones.

Start by sizing both the tarp and the dowels. Be certain the size of the tarp allows for the desired lettering, picture or logo, as well as any additional weight that may result from accessories that are used. Also, be certain that the dowel is halved appropriately so that the banner stands level on both sides. If the banner is meant to decorate the lawn, you will also need to make careful consideration for the portion of the dowel that will need to be driven into the ground and the amount that will need to be used to hold up the banner itself.

Once these determinations are made for both the tarp and the dowel, carefully make the appropriate cuts. Certainly if you’d like to paint the dowel sections, you can, and now would be a great time to do so, as it would allow the paint sufficient time to dry as you begin to work on subsequent steps.

Based on the size of the wood dowel that is used for the project, sew or glue a pocket on either side of the tarp, turning it backward upon itself to hide the seam. If you choose to use glue instead of sewing, be certain to not glue the pocket upon itself. In other words, you will need to ensure that there is sufficient space for the dowel, as it will need to slide through the pocket easily enough to fit, but tightly enough to prevent slippage. This is nothing that careful calculations beforehand can’t accomplish, but will certainly vary from project to project based on dimensions.

Once the pockets are created (and the glue dried, if glue was used), proceed with decorating your football banner. Certainly, you will want to apply the base color to the tarp first if it is different from the color of the tarp you’re working with. How convenient for you if the base color and the color of the tarp are one and the same!

To complete the banner, it is merely a matter of applying paint or logos and allowing sufficient drying time before other accessories are applied.

Once the banner is made, insert the dowel into either of the side pockets you created. If you so desire, you could even use wooden balls at the tops of each dowel to round off the look. Or, in keeping with the football theme, look at local craft supplies shops or online for football shaped wooden cutouts to apply instead. Paint, decorate or use in its natural form. It’s completely up to you. Then, apply to the tops of the hardwood dowel sections with hot or wood glue.

For the avid sports fan, this same concept can be applied to other seasonal sports, too, including basketball, baseball, hockey and golf.

Finally, pick the perfect spot in your lawn and adorn it with both your creativity and your team spirit!

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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