Thursday, June 26, 2014

A simple craft for little hands.

The other day, mini came inside with a bunch of dandelions and asked me to make her a "hat".  Well, I totally took her hat, and raised her one full blown princess crown.  And by her reaction, I totally KILLED that request - you'd think I'd magically called some gold and jewels out of thin air or something - and I was pleasantly surprised at how a 5 minute "project" for me could result in something so fun, endlessly entertaining and cherished (we still can't throw it away) for her.

Once bug saw mini's awesome crown, he had to have one, too.  Hence our "nature crowns" were born.

I realized the potential to make this something super meaningful, though at the time it was just a simple, thrown together, very quick craft for us to do together.  I let both mini and bug "design" their crowns, collect the "ingredients" themselves, and help me pull it together.

 They couldn't stop collecting things, even after their nature crowns were complete!

The tutorial here is specifically for the Dandelion Princess Crown, but it's obviously very easily altered.

You need scissors, dandelions (buckets and buckets of dandelions), skinny elastic, ribbon and matching washi tape.
Also, and most importantly so I'm not sure how it managed to elude the list up there, you need a large piece of poster board.

Now, I can't, unfortunately, give you specific dimensions or anything, mostly since I didn't measure, but also because every kids head is going to be a little different.  So take these general instructions and run with them.
1. Start with your poster board laid out flat and begin your cut near one of the bottom corners.
2. Continue cutting up so that you have a half circle that's a little over 3/4 of the width of the poster board.
3. With the flat side facing you, a) bring the corners of the half circle towards the middle and b) then overlap the one corner and continue pulling it until the point of the crown is well-established and the bottom of the hat is fairly flat around.
4. Let go of the outer corner a bit, put on a lot of hot glue and
5. Curl it back up onto the cone and press down hard.
6. Pull the inner corner down away from the inside of the cone and
7. put on a bunch of hot glue, then
8. Push it back up against the cone and hold it for a few seconds.
9. Now your cone, or crown, is glued together.
10. It may be totally uneven or lopsided.  Just trim around the bottom to make it level.
11. Cut some elastic to fit snuggly but not too tight under your kids chin.
12. Dab some hot glue (which is really hard to see) on the inside of the crown at the side and
13. Press one end of your elastic onto it.
14. Then dab some more hot glue directly across from the first and press the other end of the elastic onto it.  Make sure your elastic isn't twisted before you glue.

Now, we decorate!
1. Wrap washi tape from top to bottom at an angle.
2. Continue wrapping pieces of washi tape bottom to top at angles and overlapping until you like the pattern.
3. Take the stem off of the dandelions.
4. Put hot glue on the back of the dandelion head.
5. Press the dandelions heads all around the bottom of the crown!

Now, I don't have pictures of this, but take your ribbon and cut it in three pieces.  Use your hot glue to glue one end of each piece into the inside of the point of the crown.  Hot glue another large dandelion over the point.

And now, you are The Dandelion Princess!  (make THAT into a movie, Disney...)

 I couldn't stop taking pictures of her smelling dandelions.  She was so funny!

When bug wanted in on the action, I charged him with the task of collecting items he might want on a prince crown.  He chose several long pieces of grass, some dandelion STEMS, some rocks, and a few leaves.  And I looked at the assortment and went, uh... (the dandelion one was pretty straight forward...)

 Ignoring the fact that he plucked leaves off of my hostas... It was kind of fun working with bug to come up with the perfect "plan" for his crown.  I made a cone like mini's and glued on the elastic.  Then I wrapped some green and white washi tape around it.
I started by gluing the 3 rocks in the front, like jewels.  Then I figured the leaves could nicely wrap around the bottom of the crown - and I like how the kind of curl together.  I glued some long grass and some dandelion stems into the inside of the point and then wrapped two dandelions stems around the point.  Voila!  A boy version!

He called it his "Crazy hat" - which I think is a compliment.

 And now, you are the Prince of Pebbles and Leaves!  Or something...

 What I think is great about this project, is how customizable it is.

1. Go for a "nature scavenger hunt" with specific items in mind.  Then use those items to create your Nature Crown!
2. Go on a walk around the park or neighborhood and see what items jump out at you.  There might be some really interesting things you never would have thought of that you find along the way!
3. Collect items when you are on a special trip - when you take a break to stretch your legs on a road trip, when you're picnicking somewhere special, when you take a day trip to a special place, when you go camping or bike riding or to the beach!  Use your natural "souvenirs" to make your crown!

Don't forget to stop and pick some dandelions along the way.

*Be sure to check below for all the fun parties I link to!*

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