Easy Family Craft: Story Stones

Since we’re all stuck at home, I thought I’d share a fun, easy craft project that you can do with the kids. My friend asked me to come up with a family-friendly craft idea for a Facebook group, so I thought I’d share it here too. This cool thing about this project is that it allows for multiple activities. The projects consists of 3 steps: going for a hike to find your stones, creating pictures on your stones, and then telling a story using the pictures you have created. Here are the steps.

Head outside for a nature walk. Find between 10-12 stones. They can be different shapes and sizes, but flat ones tend to work the best for this project. When you get home, you will want to clean them so there is no dirt or debris on the surface. Give them a rinse with some warm soapy water and let dry.

Next, create a variety of images on the stones. You can use any of the following mediums on the stones:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Paint pens
  • Sharpie Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Cut out pictures of objects from magazines and glue on the stones

Acrylic paint and paint pens are the best options, as they are thicker and have the best coverage. Create a bunch of different images; think animals, plants, people, hobbies, or anything that interests you!

Once dry, take turns telling a story using the pictures on your stones. Tell a funny story, a scary story, or create a theme for your stories. You can use just your own, or throw everyone’s in a pot and draw them randomly to tell your story! Go to Pinterest and search “story stones” for many links and variations on this project.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I’m taking advantage of down time to get creative and come up with some new projects. Thank for stopping by and happy crafting! πŸ™‚

DIY Grapevine Wreath With Pinecone Flowers

Happy first day of Spring! In light of all the craziness in the world I thought I’d post a cheerful Spring-inspired project that is easy and fun! I found the grapevines and the pinecones on my property. If you can’t find them in nature, they can easily be obtained at any craft store or even Wally world!

Here are the grapevine “before.” I had the green floral wire on hand.

Using small pieces of the wire, go through and tie off your vines where they are coming apart, to create long bundles to work with.

You could use a wreath form if you’d like, which can be found virtually anywhere, including the dollar store. To get started, I just winged it and made a random circle with my longest vine.

Keep layering the vines and tying them down when needed. There’s no exact pattern, just tie the vines together where they are loose.

Looking nice and round!

Once you’re done with the wreath, start with the pinecones. You’ll be using the bottom part of the cone as the face of the “flowers.” Cut each pinecone in half, about 2/3 down towards bottom of the cone. You’ll have to use some big garden shears or heavy-duty pruning scissors.

Next hot-glue them onto the wreath, staggering them.

Add as many pinecone flowers as you’d like. You could go all the way around or do a couple small bunches; whatever looks good to you! Also, if you’re heavy handed with the glue gun like me, be sure to do it over a piece of cardboard or newspaper to protect from drips.

You can stop here and have an all-natural wreath, or you can continue on and paint the pinecones to add some color. It’s up to you and what kind of look you’re going for!

I chose bright, Springy colors. I painted them with my DecoArt multi-surface acrylic paint. I did 2 coats on each cone.

Choose your colors for the center of the flowers. I used yellow center for the blue, purple, green and pink flowers, and a brown/black for the center of the yellow flowers.

Once dry I will spray with a coat of clear sealer to help preserve them.

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. I have found it very therapeutic to use all this down time at home to get creative and work on all those craft projects I’ve been putting off. Happy crafting!

Dollar Store Gnome

I’ve been seeing a lot of gnomes on various dollar store craft pages and thought I would give one a try! They are so cute and can be customized for any holiday or occasion. I got all the supplies at the Dollar Tree except for the nose and the tin heart, both of which I had on hand. There are certainly a ton of items at the DT you could use you accent the hat, but the wooden balls for the nose may need to be bought at a craft store. Here’s the how-to!

First, I wanted to share my little hack for keeping your working surface clean. I use Dollar Tree wrapping paper when working on my dining room table. The edges curl and hold the paper in place on the table. When you’re done, toss it!

A lot of tutorials have you using the DT foam cones for the gnome’s hat. All my DT’s have been out of the foam cones lately, so I improvised and went with plastic funnels that are roughly the same shape. You can find these in the car/tool section.

Grab yourself a mop and cut off the strings. Don’t worry about the length because you can always trim his beard later. Start gluing them on the funnel or foam cone. If you’re using foam, beware that the hot glue gun may melt the foam, and you might have to use a cold glue of some kind.

Once they are all secured in place, unravel the mop strings to give your beard more volume. It’s a bit tedious but I think the end result is worth it. Twist the strings in the opposite direction that they are curled and they will unravel pretty easily.

After I was done un-twisting the strings, I could still see the black cone underneath and wanted to hide it more. I did a second layer of strings underneath the original beard. In hindsight I realized I could have just painted the bottom of the funnel white to camouflage it. Something to experiment with if you use these dark funnels.

Comb out the beard with your fingers and trim it if necessary. I started out with this flat round nose but you’ll see in the next few pics I switched to a round ball nose. I like the round ball much better.

Slip your sock over the tip of the cone and adjust it so the end hangs over a bit. I stuffed the hat with some cotton balls to puff it out and give it some volume. Tuck up the opening of the sock to create the kind of hat rim you’d like, and secure in place with a few dabs of hot glue.

I tied the end of the hat with a little piece of red twine and hot glued the tin heart on his hat as an accent.Β For hat accents you could use faux flowers or berries, little seasonal ornaments (a heart, a shamrock, etc.), a little bow, or whatever you feel like. I’m sure he’d look cute just plain too!

He kinda has a Valentine’s day vibe, don’t ya think? I love him but am going to give them another try a different tutorial, with rice-filled socks for the base. I will be sure to post them too. Have a great day my crafty friends! πŸ™‚

Halloween Nutcracker

HALLOWEEN IS LIFE!!! So incase you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with Halloween and all things spooky! I saw these unfinished nutcrackers on clearance and immediately knew I could create some kind of cool Halloween man! I was debating between a skeleton and pumpkin and decided on pumpkin.

I got him for a couple bucks at Michael’s since they’re trying to move the Christmas stuff! I didn’t use the paint that came with him. I used my stash of acrylic paints that I had on hand.

I peeled off the hair and beard that he came with. I felt like a pumpkin man didn’t really need the traditional nutcracker hair. lol…

I just started painting him whatever colors I was feeling. I love the teal with the orange. It just pops!

For the polka dots, I used the end of an old paint brush. It’s a great tool to easily create perfect little dots!

As you can see he has a “distressed” look. I did this by just dry brushing over the whole thing with black and brown paint. I just kind of winged it and dry brushed him all over. I used a light purple dry brush on his boots.

So…I kinda forgot one of the main features of the nutcracker is the hinged mouth. Initially I just painted a mouth right on the face, but quickly realized it looked kinda weird with the little bottom mouth part just sitting there empty….

So I painted over the original mouth and used the nutcracker part to create a mouth that “opens”! I think it looks so much better.

I’m planning on sealing him with this spray once it stops snowing!

I have a few more and might try a skeleton man next. What do you think of the mouth? Should I have stuck with the first one and just added a traditional nutcracker beard to the bottom portion of the mouth? TIA for your thoughts and happy crafting! πŸ™‚

Candy Santa Sleigh Favors

I am sure you’ve seen variations of these candy Santa sleighs over the years, but incase you haven’t, I thought I’d share this easy favor you can make for upcoming holiday festivities!

First, pick out your candy. You need a flat candy bar for the sleigh, candy canes for the runners, some version of a “Santa” and some kind of goodies to stuff in his bag.

I happened to have these little mesh baggies that I have saved over the years. I thought they would make perfect little Santa bags. You can get them at any craft store.

I chose this particular candy bar because of the cardboard exterior, which I thought would hold up good to dabs of hot glue. Even though theres potential for the hot glue to melt the chocolate here and there, it is preferred since it dries instantly. To use a regular tacky glue would be messy and time-consuming.

I used two dots of hot glue on each candy cane and some tape for extra security.

Next, fill the sacks with some kind of candy goodie. Use a dab of hot glue to stick them to the sleigh. Once dried, use a bit more glue to prop up your Santa. A dab on the bottom of his feet and the back of his legs was plenty to hold him in place.

Then, embellish as much as you’d like. I added some small bows and tags.

Aren’t they so cute?! ❀ I’ve seen other ones where you stack mini candy bars on the back to create a mountain of “gifts” on the sleigh…so there are options if you don’t wanna use the little baggies.

Happy Holidays to all my fellow crafters! Hope you are enjoying the season! πŸ™‚

“Melted Snowman” Painted Stones

I live on Lake Ontario and have a stash of beach stones in my craft area for a few years now. They were smooth and round and I knew I wanted to paint them someday. After getting them out and stacking them I suddenly saw a glimpse of a little melted snowman! Stones, paint and super glue are really all you need. This is a super easy craft project and would make a great paper weight or a cute little shelf-sitter.

You can make the bodies and heads as big or small as you’d like based on your preference. The only recommendation I would have is make sure your stones are smooth and kinda flat.

I used some regular acrylic paint. Apply two coats so they are nice and bright white.

Stack them how you’d like and glue them in place. I used super glue and it worked really well.

Use a paint pen or fine tipped brush to paint eyes, mouths, buttons, arms, and a nose. Paint pens worked great for this project.

I used a small stencil brush to make subtle pink cheeks. I always like pink cheeks on my snowmen, but you don’t have to. Make the face however you’d like. πŸ™‚

I tore some thin strips of homespun fabric for the scarves. You could also paint them on!

A small circle of fabric on the bottom will keep them from scratching whatever surface they’ll be sitting on.

You might notice I changed the large snowman’s mouth. Originally it was a squiggle but I decided I didn’t like it. Painting over it won’t work, as the white paint doesn’t cover the black without doing a millions coats. So instead, I sanded it off with a fine grit sandpaper. Then, I re-painted it white, and applied a new mouth with my black paint pen. I like the circle mouths because it gives them more of an “aww crap, I’m melting!” look…lol!

I also applied a coat sparkle mod podge to seal it and give them a sparkle. I am kinda obsessed with this sparkle mod podge incase you haven’t noticed. I think it gives a magical feel to a lot of Christmas and/or holiday crafts!

Dr. Seuss Inspired Star Tree Topper

Now that Thanksgiving is over, Christmas crafting is in full force! Recently my Mom was looking for the star tree topper that was in the Grinch movie (the Jim Carey version) and couldn’t find one anywhere. I decided to give it a whirl and make one. This is my attempt at the Dr. Seuss style tree topper and my first experience with paper mache in many years. It was a fun, messy project, and I love how whimsical and Seuss-ish it came out!

The biggest challenge was how I was going to create the swirly shape of the star. I planned on finding a normal star shape and using foil to mold the curled points. Instead, I got super lucky and stumbled upon this star at the At Home store. It was already the perfect shape! I had a coupon too. SCORE!

Paper mache calls for strips of newspaper so I cut some up ahead of time.

I added some foil around the points just to give the paper some more form to cling to, and to bulk up the star which was mostly hollow.

Most paper mache projects call for a watered down glue solution. I tried the watered down glue and it was just too runny. I ended up using straight glue with no dilution. I used some wood glue because I wanted to use up the bottle, and then just used regular Elmer’s glue.

Apply as many coats as you’d like, letting them dry completely in between. I did two full coats of the paper mache before painting. I used my trusty DecoArt multi-surface paint.

I mixed some red and black to paint the sides of the points in attempt to make it look more “3D.”

I got the small gold bells at the Dollar Tree.

A little piece of wire tied on the bells allowed me to shove them down into the small openings (some right through the paper that covered the tips of the points) and then used a dab of hot glue to hold them in place. You probably don’t even need the wire, but I did it just for extra security.

I applied one coat of sparkly Mod Podge to seal it and give it a bit of a shimmer! Also painted the base spiral black.

It’s a bit lumpy and bumpy but I think it looks pretty cute and whimsical! Mom loves it so that’s all that matters! πŸ™‚

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