Archive for November, 2011

Christmas Paper Towel Dispenser

Although a considerable amount of time is often spent in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner, it’s often the family room, living room or den that is most heavily decorated with holiday embellishments. There are subtle ways to bring Christmas into your kitchen, however. Seasonal dishcloths, holiday-scented candles and poinsettias are just a few ways to add some Christmas cheer. Here is an idea for crafting a very simple Christmas paper towel dispenser.

Start by gathering a small block of wood to use as the dispenser’s base, dowel rod (thick enough to support a roll of paper towels, but small enough to fit inside the inner cardboard roll), sandpaper, paint (holiday colors would be most appropriate, although it can be painted any way you wish) and a paintbrush, a drill and possibly a saw (if you decide to use a wooden base that‘s not a standard shape), wood glue, and an unpainted wooden Christmas design available at craft stores. The wooden Christmas designs can be large enough to use as a stand alone attachment or can be smaller designs, such as gingerbread men or bells, such that several can be used together to achieve a complete motif.

Start by cutting the wooden base to the size and shape you desire. Typically they are rounded to accommodate the round shape of a paper towel roll. However, if large enough to support a roll of paper towels at its fullest, the base could be any shape you desire, including those most closely associated with Christmas, like bells, sleighs, bows or a Christmas tree. If you deviate from the typical rounded bottom, you can use stencils or even freehand to create the design you wish to make.

Carefully use a skill saw to cut out the design. Use the sand paper to smooth the edges. Then use the saw to cut the wood dowel to the appropriate length, which generally is around 11 or 12 inches long.

Determine at which point the wooden base is wide enough to accommodate a full roll of paper towels, as well as the measurement of the dowel at its widest point. Use a pencil to mark the center point of the wooden base, then drill a hole in which to insert the dowel upright.

Next, paint the hardwood dowel, base and the unfinished Christmas design(s), and allow them to dry.

Once all the items are dry, place a small amount of wood glue in the drilled hole of the wooden base and place the dowel into the hole. While this is drying, use the wood glue (or a hot glue gun if you desire) to strategically apply the Christmas designs. Allow all of the pieces to dry.

There are no limits or right or wrong way to complete this project. Use your imagination, be creative and have fun!

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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Candy Cane Christmas Countdown

One of the simplest holiday crafts that can be made and bring about so much fun is a candy cane Christmas countdown. Not only is it a simple craft to make, but it’s also an inexpensive one, too.

Start by gathering the necessary supplies, including a dowel of at least 1/2 an inch, some white craft paint (shimmer paint for added effect, if desired), some red craft paint, a paint brush or craft sponge, a terra cotta plant holder, a foam ball that fits the plant holder, a hot glue gun or craft glue, twine or seasonal-colored ribbon, scissors, construction paper, a black permanent marker and a hand-held hole puncher.

The size of the terra cotta plant holder and the sections of dowel will depend on the number of candy canes you wish to use when counting down to Christmas, and the size of the styrofoam ball will depend on the terra cotta plant holder. Some similar crafts use as many as 25, one for each day of the month of December until Christmas day arrives, while others use only 12, one for the traditional twelve days of Christmas. Decide which is more appealing to you, and base the sizes of the plant holder and the dowels accordingly.

To allow sufficient drying time, first paint the terra cotta plant holder. Use the white or red craft paint or another color if you so choose. Then, set it aside to dry. Once it has dried, embellish the outside of the plant holder with other holiday decor if you’d like. The addition of small bows made of ribbon, jingle bells, a combination of the two, or a holiday wrapping paper collage certainly add creative touches.

Next, cut the dowel into equal sections. Although it likely won’t be necessary with such a small dowel circumference, use a piece of sandpaper to smooth the cut ends if necessary. Then, use the white paint and paint brush, or craft sponge, to paint the dowel sections, and allow them to dry sufficiently.

While you’re waiting for the plant holder and wood dowel sections to dry, section off the construction paper into squares. In the center of each, number sequentially through 12 or 25. For a lasting effect, have the sheet(s) of construction paper laminated. Then, hole punch each in the desired fashion, generally either in the top center of the square or on either side of the top of the square (to create a diagonal hanging effect). Add about three inches of untied holiday ribbon or twine through each hole punch and set aside.

Next, securely place the foam ball into the bottom of the terra cotta plant holder. If you wish, add a little hot glue or craft glue to the bottom of the plant holder for added security. If you’d like, add tissue paper confetti to the top to cover the styrofoam ball.

Use the paint brush and the red craft paint to add the traditional stripe found on candy canes. For added texture or dimension, consider using puff paint instead. Again, allow time for the hardwood dowel sections to dry.

Finally, tie each hole-punched construction paper square around the top of a completed dowel candy cane, and place the candy cane into the styrofoam ball.

Count down the days until Christmas by removing the appropriately numbered candy cane at the end of each 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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Handprint Wreath Banner

In preparation for the upcoming Christmas season, many people choose to make crafts, not only as decorations, but also as gifts. Consider creating a handprint wreath banner with your children. This craft is as simple as it is economical. Use it in your personal holiday decorating, or give it as a gift to relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles, teachers, or other individuals close to your family.

Begin by gathering the materials you will need, which include cloth material, green and red craft paint, a small dowel rod, fabric glue, and any other decorative materials you’d like to incorporate, such as small jingle bells. The cloth material best suited for this craft is a solid pattern of light color, as printed patterns will make the wreath difficult to identify and dark colors will hinder the visibility of the finger paint. Solid, light-colored cloth napkins are great choice.

Allow children, or the entire family, to dip their hands into the green paint until the entire hand is covered. Consider using a paint brush to brush in areas that are not easily covered. Each person should place their paint-covered hand(s) flat onto the material, fingers extending outwardly. Each hand should be placed beside one another in a circular fashion. If you have a rather large family, don’t be afraid to allow the handprints to overlap one another, as this enhances the appearance of a wreath. Allow the paint to dry.

Next, allow each participant to cover their fingertips in red paint and add to the handprint wreath in a hit or miss pattern. This gives the appearance of holly or other seasonal berries. If you’d like, you can also use the red paint to hand paint or stencil a ribbon atop the wreath. (Or if it is more convenient, appealing, and economical, design your own using actual red ribbon, then use the fabric glue to secure it to the wreath after the paint has completely dried.) Again, allow the paint to dry.

If you have other decorations you‘d like to apply, such as small ribbons or bells, use fabric or hot glue to put them in place and allow time for the glue to dry.

Use this drying time to cut, sand (if necessary), and paint or otherwise decorate the wood dowel. Solid white, red or green would represent the season well. Or paint the dowel with white and red stripes, reflective of a candy cane.

From front to back, evenly fold the material onto itself. To ensure that the material is even, use a straight edge and a pencil to lightly mark the material if necessary. Also, be certain to ensure that the pocket that remains is sufficient to accommodate the circumference of the hardwood dowel. Once this is achieved, apply fabric glue along the top seam of the material and fold it evenly along the back. Allow time for the fabric glue to dry. Then, insert the dowel.

Tie or glue Christmas ribbon or twine to the outer edges of the dowel to hang from a door, wall, or other selected area. Or wrap the completed craft and present it to a loved one for the holiday.

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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