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DIY holiday crafts

Five family decor projects.
By Candice Blansett-Cummins |

New Year’s Eve Countdown Links
Build up excitement for 2013 with a paper and fabric countdown chain that lets kids track 31 days to the new year.

• 8.5" x 11" card stock (7 pieces yield 31 links)
• Multiple fabric pieces larger than 8.5" x 11" (5 fabric quarters yield 31-plus links, available at Jo-Ann Fabrics for $2.50)
• Craft glue (we like Aleene’s Tacky brand)
• Foam brush
• Scissors (straight-edge or pinked-edge)
• Adhesive Velcro circles (5/8" Velcro Sticky Back available at Jo-Ann, $4 for package of 15 pairs)

1. Cut the fabric to slightly larger than 8.5" x 11". Iron out any wrinkles.
Using a foam brush, spread craft glue on one side of the card stock (get all of the edges!).
Place the card stock glue-side down on the wrong (less-cute) side of the fabric and smooth it down (again, get all of the edges).
After the glue has dried, use a ruler to mark out and cut strips 1.5" x 11". Each piece of card stock yields five strips. Make as many strips as needed to count down to the important day.
Attach adhesive Velcro to the outside end of one strip. Position the opposite end of the same strip to overlap the Velcro and squeeze the two strip ends together to get good adhesion. Repeat for all strips.
Connect the links to one another and decorate a mantel or doorway. Remove one link per day.

Other options
• Use recycled holiday clothes for the fabric.
• Use recycled holiday cards or scrapbook paper instead of fabric.

Twinkle and Turn Hanukkah Mobile
The Festival of Lights gets its own festive decor with this hanging garland of colorul, origami-paper stars of David or dreidels.

• Scrapbook paper
• Wooden embroidery hoop (we used a 6" hoop available at Jo-Ann for $2)
• Glue stick
• Craft glue or hot glue
• Ribbon (we used 1/8" and 5/8" widths)
• Scissors
• Pencil
• Decorative washi tape

1. Draw or use a computer to make Star of David templates (two or more sizes of six-inch or less for a seven-inch hoop).
Trace stars on the back side of scrapbook paper. Prepare an even number of each size star so they can be assembled in pairs.
Cut five pieces of thin ribbon 20 inches long.
Using a glue stick, sandwich the ribbon between a pair of stars. Add two to three sets of stars for each length of ribbon, leaving six to seven inches of ribbon to attach to the hoop.
Separate the two pieces of the embroidery hoop. Using craft glue or hot glue, attach the undecorated end of four ribbon lengths to the plain hoop, spacing them evenly.
Wrap the hoop with decorative tape avoiding the areas where the ribbon is attached to the hoop.
Stretch a length of wider ribbon across the diameter of the hoop, adhering each end to the hoop with hot glue. Tie the fifth length of ribbon to add a central strand.
On each side of the hoop, tie or hot glue an 18-inch piece of the wider ribbon for hanging the mobile. Tie these two pieces together. (Hint: You may have to adjust the location of the knot for the mobile to hang in balance.)
Hang the mobile in a doorway or from the ceiling so that the stars can move freely.

Other options
• Use more or fewer stars. Add other paper shapes, like menorahs, or real toys such as small wooden dreidels.
• Add glitter to some of the stars or use glitter paper.

The Merry-Go-Round Holiday Wreath
Let kids jazz up their bedroom doors with wreaths personalized with tiny toys, ornaments or memorabilia.

• Wooden embroidery hoop (we used a 6" hoop available at Jo-Ann for $2)
• Metallic pipe cleaners (packages of 25 stems available at Jo-Ann for $1.30)
• Ribbon
• Small toys or found objects
• Jingle bells (assorted sizes available for 99 cents–$4 at Jo-Ann)

1. Separate the two pieces of the embroidery hoop. Wrap the plain hoop with pipe cleaners (taking care to tuck in or bend back sharp ends) until the entire hoop is covered. If desired, continue wrapping and bending pipe cleaners to create pieces that resemble pine needles.
Thread jingle bells onto additional pipe cleaners and wrap these around the hoop.
Add small toys to the wreath with more pipe cleaners or by using the “pine needle” ends as supports.
Attach ribbon for hanging by making a large loop of ribbon and pushing the ends through the ribbon loop. Pull the ends to tighten the knot and tie the ends in a bow.

Other options
• Make it a tradition and add a new small toy or ornament each year.
• Mix pipe-cleaner colors and textures.

Santa’s Helper naughty-nice doorhanger
Help Old St. Nick determine who's been good and who deserves a lump of coal with this flippable door sign.

• 2 pieces of contrasting fabric 6” x 9”
• 2 pieces of ribbon 16” long
• 1+ pieces of 9” x 12” felt (EcoFelt $0.37 each at Jo-Ann)
• 1+ piece of 8.5” x 11” cardstock
• Sharp little scissors (e.g. embroidery scissors)
• Craft glue
• Masking tape

1. Use a computer to print letters to spell “naughty” and “nice”. Cut out letters to use as a template. You can also free-hand cut the letters.
2. Use masking tape to affix letter templates to your chosen color of felt. Use tiny scissors to cut out letters.
3. Glue the letters to the fabric, “naughty” for one side and “nice” for the other.
4. Make a sandwich as shown: fabric-cardstock-felt-ribbon-cardstock-fabric. Glue each layer until the sandwich is adhered edge-to-edge. Use pinking shears to trim all four edges.
5. Hang the sign on a child’s door for passive-aggressive parenting all season long.
Other things to try
• Use a (gasp!) sewing machine to stitch the layers together. (Hint: If you choose to sew the sandwich, use pinking shears to trim the top edge before sewing.)
• Make the sign with vertical rather than horizontal orientation to fit a doorknob on a closed door.

Ginger-board House interactive wall hanging
Mix, match, change and rearrange the pieces of this felt gingerbread abode.

• Cardboard 7.5” x 11” (ours is a recycled box)
• 2 pieces of ribbon 16” long
• 1+ pieces of 9” x 12” felt (EcoFelt $0.37 each at Jo-Ann)
• Sharp little scissors (e.g. embroidery scissors)
• Pinking scissors
• Hot-glue

1. Center the cardboard on one sheet of felt. Cut small diagonal slits into each corner of the felt and use hot-glue to tightly cover one side of the cardboard with felt.
2. Cut another piece of felt to make a pocket on the back-side of the cardboard. Use hot-glue to adhere the pocket. (Hint- don’t glue it too flat so that the pocket has some room inside of it.) Use hot-glue to adhere one end of each ribbon to the cardboard for hanging.
3. Cut “gingerbread house” pieces (the main building, roof, door, window, etc.) as well as other decorative elements (“gumdrops”, a pine tree) from various colors of felt.  Make enough pieces for multiple configurations.
4. Assemble the pieces to create a gingerbread house scene. Pull off the pieces and do it again and again. Store these pieces in a ziploc bag in the pocket.
5. To use the board as wall decor, assemble the pieces of felt on the board, apply slight wiggly pressure with your hand to help the little felt pieces stick and hang the board.

Blansett-Cummins is founder of Wishcraft Workshop, where she teaches crafty classes for kids. Visit Wishcraft at 2312 W Roscoe St (773-348-9474).

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