The best part of starting a new craft is the shopping, the discovery of all the delightful accessories that can help turn your plain, rolled beeswax candle into a work of art. My best idea so far has been Wilton Cake Accessories. 🙂 The darling little cookie cutters used for fondant are perfectly sized for cutting shapes out of wax for applique onto the completed beeswax candle. I have to say, I’m rather proud of us! Hazel and I worked on our candles for the first time since getting into business together. We not only had a lot of fun, but we completed a project worth to be put in our shop!. First we experimented with mini candles. These were considerably more intensive than I’d anticipated! And very difficult for little hands.
First we took our Valentine’s Day mini cookie cutter set and cut out a couple of hearts. The idea was to simply press the two layers together, sandwiching wick and stick, to make a mini candle!
Unfortunately one layer of hearts wasn’t enough. With just two slices of wax the shape was weak, wobbly, and transparent. The wick and stick were clearly visible, and it wasn’t particularly attractive. So we cut two more layers, and the problem was solved. Four layers of beeswax was perfect thickness for a lovely mini candle. You can really see the difference:
We really liked our end result and so got to work on the next mini candle. I handed Hazel the cookie cutter and told her, “ok, we need four pieces!” “MOM!” she shouted! Why do they have to shout when they’re sitting right next to you??? “WHAT?” I said. “Mom, cutting four is a lot of work. Look what we can do instead!” Then she folded the wax in half.
Ah! Fantastic. She’s already working on problem solving. “This way,” she explained, “we can cut out two at a time!” This was a nice trick, but made it slightly more difficult at the same time. It takes a gentle hand to mash the two pieces together, otherwise the shape is obliterated.
In order to make the two pieces meld better, we use a heating tool. Many people simply use their hairdryer, but I find this cumbersome. Hairdryers are super loud and even small ones are an awkward shape and take up space. We use a heating tool used for embossing:
It only takes a few seconds! Beeswax is very sensitive and is easy to melt accidentally! Not that we had any problems with melting our shapes, lol.
Hazel was able to do both of the heart shapes for our Valentine’s set, but the X and the O proved to be too difficult. The cookie cutters are quite tiny and the X and O were delicate, so I finished those pieces.
Rather lovely, don’t you think? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think about our adventures in business! Keep coming back as we’ll continue posting about our products and processes, and coming in March we’ll be starting a candle give away! Don’t forget to check out Woo Who! on Etsy while you’re at it! We’re growing imaginations!
For Christmas my daughter received a candle making kit from the Magic Cabin and she LOVES it. She’s six and rolling bees wax candles is a task that her happy little hands can handle.
Watching her ponder the color selection and carefully consider the shapes to apply to the outside of the candle it occurred to me that this might be a great way to introduce her to a crafty business. Its not an expensive craft. It doesn’t require a great deal of precision. It doesn’t require a great deal of time. Before mentioning anything to her I looked into the rules for Etsy and minors, and Etsy had this to say:
- You must be at least 18 years of age to hold an account on Etsy.
- If you are under 18, you must have the permission and supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years of age; that adult is responsible for the account.
- If you are under the age of 18, you may not utilize the community features on Etsy (for example: Forums, Teams, Treasury, the blog, and multimedia Online Labs events), unless otherwise specified by Etsy. When using Etsy, those under 18 must, at all times, have the permission and supervision of a parent or legal guardian who is at least 18 years of age.
Perfect! She definitely has my permission, and I’m happy to take complete responsibility of the account and product. Besides, we’ll be making everything together, and she won’t be looking at anything on Etsy I haven’t researched first. Once I was sure this was something we could do, I asked her if she’d be interested? She loves watching me work and look at my Etsy shop, so I wasn’t surprised when she began to glow. I knew we’d hit on something. This is going to be a lot of fun for me, too, because its a no-pressure shop. When working on my shop and making decisions regarding my shop and product everything I do impacts sales. Starting a shop from the ground up with my kiddo is going to be a lot of fun for both of us as most everything children do is more about the process than the end result. 🙂 Stay tuned as we decide on a name, select our shop setup, and begin making our product! I’m eager to hear her opinions on everything, and I know she will give them to me, lol.
Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Yes, candy, flowers, and the idea that love is in the air is nice, but truly I love the color palette of Valentine’s. I love chocolate brown and red, pink, cream, and turquoise color combinations, and for me anything I make for Valentine’s can be used year round.
Recently I started working on a Heart Felt Garland. Unlike the felt circle Christmas tree we made using free hand cut circles, I prefer to use a die to cut out my hearts. The dies make the cutting out go faster, it ensures uniformity in size and shape, and its fun to do with kids. I punched out 100+ hearts with my four year old son. He’s super into mechanical things, and he thought turning the handle of the big shot and plucking the hearts off of the cutting mat was the coolest thing in the world! Whether you are cutting by hand or using a punch, cutting out a hundred hearts is time consuming, but we used it as a way to merge our adult and child worlds and spend time together.
Once I had my pile of hearts, I lined them up in the pattern I wanted to stitch them in. This is far faster than picking through the pile for the right size when its time to stitch on a new heart. (By the way, I’m using premium red felt. Premium felt is thicker than the regular eco felt, and the red is richer and deeper. The thickness of the felt gives the shapes structure. If I was using eco felt for this project I might do two-ply hearts. Doubling up on the hearts would give it depth as well as structure.)
Stitching the garland is easy! Make sure you have a good tail of thread at the beginning, and back stitch on the first heart as you would any sewing project. *Note – don’t leave too much space between the hearts as you sew! Regular sewing machines are not made to create thread chains as sergers are, and leaving too large a space between the hearts can cause your bobbin thread to jump and the machine to bog down. As you can see as my hearts run out the back of the machine, the tip of the first heart fits right into the cleavage of the next heart.
By the time I was through I had a heart felt garland length of 9.25 feet! 🙂 I’m going hang it from hooks around the ceiling of my children’s room. Like I said, I love chocolate brown, turquoise, red and cream. Up next is painting their walls turqoise, the bed chocolate brown, and the windowsills/door frames cream! 🙂
Would you like a heart felt garland? Of course they’re available for purchase in my Etsy shop, however after I finished my lengthy garland, I made a mini garland of large and small hearts measuring approximately 26 inches. It would be perfect to hang in a window or off a doorknob, and I’m giving it away!!! Please visit Woo Who! on Facebook and click our “LIKE” button! Then return to this post and leave a comment telling me you did. If you’ve already been to our FB and joined us, check out my Etsy shop and comment on an item in the shop that you like and why! I love feedback. This give away will end on February 14th. 🙂
So easy! So fun! Most people have the ingredients lying about, and normally we would too. Except we actually needed them so of course they were no where to be found. We hopped in the car and after a quick trip to Walgreens, and I use the term quick loosely – it was me, three kids and the dog – we were mixing up a batch of Cloud Dough!
You’ll need baby oil and flour. Yep, that’s it.
I gave the kids a half scoop measuring cup and they each got to make four scoops. This is not a specific mix by any means, so it doesn’t matter if the scoop is half full or heaping, but they each had approximately two cups of flour in their bowls. Then I used a quarter measuring cup to measure out the baby oil.
Then its nothing but fun! They decided immediately that it was too crumbly so we added an eighth of a cup more oil and then it was perfect. Its soft and maleable – like moonsand but not gritty! It vacuums up easily and the kids had about as much fun cleaning up as they did playing. 🙂
Uh-oh. Christmas break is looming! What am I going to do with the kids?!?! Well, of course I’m going to send them to Grandma‘s house for a while, lol. But not the whole time. I’m going to have to bust out the recipe book.
Today we make Glow in the Dark Slime!
Glow in the Dark Craft Paint (readily available at Michael’s craft stores)
4oz Elmer’s Glue
Two bowls for mixing (we’ll be making two separate solutions and then combining them!)
First, pick a bowl for the glue mixture. We’re going to squeeze that entire 4oz bottle of Elmer’s into a bowl! This is great work for little hands: they can squeeze to their little hearts’ content! If a mom were to do this by herself she *might* take the cap off the glue all together and dump it a lot faster, but kids do like to squeeze out the glue, and if they get tired (bonus) you can take the cap off for them, too. 🙂
Then we’ll add one cup of warm water to the glue, and 2-3 tablespoons of the glow-in-the-dark paint and start mixing. We used a small whisk, but a potato masher or large spoon would work just as well! (*NOTE* The glow in the dark paint at the Michael’s by my house came in several colors, however it also came in a neutral, glows only, non-color. If you only have the non-colored glowing paint available to you, add yellow food coloring to give it a nice popping color when its in the light!)
In the next bowl we will combine 1/3 cup water and 2tsp borax. We added r two tablespoons plus one teaspoon of the borax solution to our glue mixture. However if you want a stiffer slime, add a bit more borax solution!
And voila! There we have it. Now shut your kids in the bathroom – you’ve got about thirty minutes before they get bored, go watch t.v. – something with a grown up theme! LOL
Oh Blogosphere, thank you for the constant influx of inspiration!!! Julia Crossland posted the cutest Christmas tree how-to ever! And as usual I thought to myself, “now why didn’t I think of that???” I have felt in abundance. I have bored kids. I have needles and thread. So we got busy.
My kids don’t have the fortitude to sit and do something beginning to end, especially if it takes longer than
two five minutes. This project is easy to break up into sections, and sometimes this makes it even easier to do with multiple kids. For example, my daughter wakes up early while my older son sleeps later. She cut the circles over several days before the sun came up. Once the circles were finished, I cut a length of brownish felt, ran a line of glue down the center and rolled it up. Later on I sat with my four year old son and the circles my daughter had cut and talked about the size of the circles and how to stack them to be tree-like, largest to smallest. I then, when the glue was dry, threaded the trunk onto the embroidery thread and handed the small, pointy needle to my four year old and he started threading the felt circles.
I didn’t do dots or any guiding marks, I just explained we wanted the thread to go through the middle if possible. It pleases me that our tree leans off center in places. My son is a little off center himself. Then I cut a star and stitched the edges – my daughter helped initially but its hard for little hands to stitch something so small. She asked for help and I took it over.
Etsy is hands down one of the coolest sites on the web. But it is HUGE. Its bigger than Disney World. Its bigger than the North American continent. Its as big as the world! You can’t see it all in one day.
Etsy has tools to help you keep your sanity while browsing, tools such as “favorites.” You can “heart” something and it gets filed on your profile page as a “favorite!” Its possible to favorite several hundred items in a day, however, and before you know it your favorites file is nearly as extensive as Etsy itself. How to keep it all organized became my obsession. Then I figured out how to make a Treasury and I’m hooked.
Want to make your own treasury? First, go to Etsy’s home page, it looks like this:
On the left side of the page you will see a list of options, or “Ways to Shop” Etsy. The second selection is “Treasury.” Click it.
Clicking Treasury will take you to the treasuries as compiled by hundreds and hundreds of Etsy Buyers and Sellers. It will look something like this:
On the right hand side you will see the heading “Curator Tools.” And there it is! “CREATE A LIST!” Clicking “create a list” takes you here:
So far things have been pretty simple. BUT you cannot navigate from this page before hitting “save” or you will lose your work. Take it from me, I learned from experience. The “save” button is in the bottom left hand corner:
In a separate window – be it a different browser window or a new tab, browse Etsy and copy the Url’s for your fave items that fall under your Treasury theme and paste them individually into the Url boxes, clicking OK after each one. They’ll pop up pretty as you please. Then once you’ve created a Treasury its always available to you under “your treasury lists.”
Happy hunting! 😀
Water colors are the best kind of paint for little kids because they are intended to be left to dry! There’s no worrying about losing lids or replacing the caps like with other paints, and they’re pretty easy on the stomach should your kids eat one or ten. As cool and convenient as store bought water colors are, I have been trying to help my kids understand that everything comes from somewhere, and by somewhere I do not mean the store! Making simple craft materials from scratch has been a great way of doing just that. Water colors are easy and cheap to make (in fact I didn’t have to leave my house, all of the materials were in my pantry), and with water colors you don’t have to worry about sealable containers. I used party cups just because I happened to have some party cups left over from a party. Otherwise empty ice trays, applesauce, yogurt or those plastic baby food containers would have been perfect.
Googling water color recipes will give you a variety of slightly different methods to try. I went with Martha’s (Stewart, that is) because I wanted to try a recipe with the best chance of success the first time around. But there are other recipes I am interested in trying, one in particular that calls for gelatin in place of corn syrup. We’ll make a new batch and compare at some point, but for now here are your materials:
Light Corn Syrup
Small mixing bowl
Forks (for mixing)
Scoop four tablespoons into the mixing bowl, then add two tablespoons of vinegar – get ready for the fizz! Kids love fizz. 🙂 Once the bubbles have calmed down add a half teaspoon of corn syrup and two tablespoons of corn starch. The cornstarch can be difficult to blend and is the reason I recommend using forks for mixing.
When you are finished mixing your solution it will be thick and stark white. Pour it carefully in equal amounts into small containers. Our next step is to add the color. Not all of you are brave enough to put a vial of food coloring into the hands of a three year old, and that’s ok. My food coloring bottles were almost empty which is the only reason I let my kids do the squeezing. You need between five and ten drops of each color for vivid, eye popping saturation. We mixed blue and red to make purple, but only did five containers. The more containers you divide your mixture between the more fun you can have mixing colors.
And voila! That’s it! You’re done! Well, almost. Now comes the hard part – waiting for it to dry. It literally takes twelve hours or more to dry completely, and you will have some separation as the lighter liquids will rise and settle on top, but they’ll dry eventually. We haven’t painted with ours yet, that’ll come in the next post. In the mean time, make some of your own and give it a try! I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on other ways to do this.
My kids are SO CREATIVE, its crazy, really. I’m constantly blown away by their resourcefulness and ingenuity. They find ways to use materials that are not only surprising, but delightful. So I decided to surprise and delight them for a change!
First I pulled from their closets two plain, solid colored t-shirts. I dug around and found some plexi glass, and a small piece of chalkboard chalk that I broke into two, because, well, four and six year olds aren’t famous for their ability to share. 🙂
We’ve all had bleach mishaps. How many shirts and pants have been relegated to the “weekend wear” because a surprise bloom of bleach spots appeared mysteriously? We’re going to be using bleach in this project, don’t want any surprises!! The plexi glass is the perfect size to slip into the shirts to keep the bleach from bleeding through. Its also a very sturdy surface and was easy for the kids to work on.
The kids literally sketched with the chalk a design onto the t-shirt. Once the kids were finished with their designs it was time for mom to take over. Beware, bleach pens smell like bleach, and while the fumes were not nearly so noxious as regular bleach, I’d still have a fan blowing or a window open if I were you. The bleach “pen” is actually a tube of gelatinous bleach and so it stays where you put it. I carefully laid a line of bleach gel on all of the chalked lines of the kids’ designs. You don’t have to lay it down super thick, but you definitely want coverage. After I was done going over the outlines on both shirts, we set them aside and went off to do “something else.” About twenty minutes later we returned and the kids were SURPRISED and DELIGHTED to see the shirt was changing colors everywhere there was bleach!!!
When they realized their designs were becoming a permanent part of their shirts their eyes really started to shine. Like I mentioned, we let it sit for about twenty minutes, but you can let it stand for more or less time depending on the color you want the design to be. For example, with the green shirt, if we’d rinsed it ten minutes earlier my daughter’s fairy would have been yellow instead of white. Darker colors take longer go bleach than lighter colors, so if you want white lines on a black shirt you may have to let it sit for a l-o-n-g time.
We took the shirts to the sink to rinse. Be careful. The gel starts to set and actually flakes off. You don’t want to submerge the shirt and work the bleach out that way, you want to hold the design under running water and slowly flake the gel off.
Our freshly rinsed t-shirts:
We hung them to dry, but you could have just as easily popped them in the dryer.
They are so proud of themselves! And my son has worn his shirt three days in a row… 🙂
Materials for this project:
*Solid Color T-Shirts
*Cardboard, chip board, or some other firm surface to put in the shirt as a work surface and to keep the bleach from bleeding through.
*Imagination, creativity, and a smile.
I decided a month or so ago that I wanted to redo my daughter’s room. She and I discussed it and decided a painted tree was just what her room needed. I started researching tutorials on mural painting, as I’ve never done it before, and was a little worried because almost every single tutorial directed the use of an overhead projector! I don’t know where to get an overhead projector and didn’t feel like renting one. So, although I’m not an “artist,” I decided to go freehand. Am I crazy? Maybe. Freehanding the outline was an exciting thought. But how to change it as revisions would be inevitable? Then bam, it hit me: CHALK! Its easy to erase from the walls. Plush stuffed toys or dirty clothes are easy to find lying around kiddos rooms, and either one does an amazing job erasing chalk from walls without leaving anything permanent on the object you’re using as an eraser. Its a little hard to see, but there is a chalk sketch of a tree on the wall in this first picture! I want to empower you to attempt your own freehand outline!
I erased and re-sketched quite a bit. Once my outline was done it was time to start painting. I thought about the paint quite a bit. There are a number of different choices out there as far as paint. Ultimately, however, I opted for interior wall paint, as opposed to acrylic craft paint. I thought that with acrylic I’d have to go over the finished mural with some sort of fixative or my kids would slowly chip the paint off the wall! Lowe’s sells these small tubs of “sample” paint for about $6. I picked a brown I liked and had them mix it up for me.
I’d had such success with sketching my outline freehand I decided to attempt painting freehanded as well. Sadly, the walls in my house are textured, not smooth. This means that no matter how gently, no matter how slowly, you drag your paint brush across the wall you’re going to get little “jumps” of paint ruining your straight edge. Here I’ve pictured the side I tried without tape. Not so great. I decided to move to tape before I went too far.
Taping is tedious. It took forEVER to get the entire tree outlined. I used regular, narrow width masking tape and a double wide masking tape. (Mainly because I didn’t have blue painters tape and didn’t feel like going to the store, but also because historically the blue tape hasn’t worked well on my walls.) ***TIP*** I tore the masking tape at an angle to create kind of pointy, tapered tape ends that gradually widened and uesd those narrow pieces for create the forks in the tree trunk.***I painted as I taped, just to give myself a sense of progress, but even with the husband and two older kids out of the house it took me a couple of hours.
Happily, tho, I finished before they got home from swimming. I gave the paint some time to dry before I pulled it off, and voila! One beautiful tree outline.
Now for the leaves. My daughter wanted leaves she could change with the season. No problem, I thought.
I wanted to do something super crafty and cool at first, but really, what’s better than a pad of autumn colored paper, a marker, scissors, and adhesive putty? First I sketched some leaf outlines. The oak leaves would have given a lot of texture to the tree, but my daughter is five. She would have had trouble cutting out leaves with such complexity, so I opted for a smooth, general leaf design. Then it was off to the craft store where scrapbooking embellishments and paper packs were 40% off! I bought a package of autumn colored photo mat sized paper. Its a light card stock and would hold up to our task. I traced the outline of the leaf on a number of cards for my daughter to cut out, but I found it was easier and faster for me to simply fold the card in half and cut freehand (there’s that word again) the leaves. It took a while, there were 81 cards in this particular pack. We chose not to use the white, pink, and purple for leaves, but that still left seventy something potential leaves to be cut. It was fun, tho, and these leaves can be saved and re-used again next fall.
To attach the leaves to the walls we used plain ol’ Scotch brand removable adhesive putty, like you frequently find on school walls, and that’s working fine for us. My daughter LOVED pulling the putty apart, rolling it into the little balls and smooshing the leaves onto the walls. This project is definitely time intensive and a creative process not to be rushed.