Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marshmallow and Milk Painting

My friend Jill gave me the idea of using marshmallows for paint stampers.  Last night after dinner I decided to try this out.  The kids were already at the table and my little on was already wearing her smock.  This little craft only requires a few supplies and was perfect for my almost 2 year old to participate.  However, be forewarned - I don't know if I started a bad habit of drinking paint.  My little one fully enjoyed licking the marshmallow and drinking the colored milk!
Age: 18 months+
Time: 20 minutes+
Mess/Cleanup: We did not have any spills, so it was only a few minutes to clear the table and dump the leftover milk.  The kids ate their marshmallows.  And, the milk paint easily came off their hands and faces.
What You Need:
  • Large Marshmallows
  • Craft paper, construction paper, or brown paper bag
  • Milk (about a cup)
  • Food Coloring
  • Spoons
  • Shallow bowls or plates with a deeper rim (see green plate in picture above)
  • Smocks for the little ones
  • Paper towels on hand
What I Like This Craft:
Any craft that both of my kids can do at the same time and that doesn't require a lot of clean-up is always welcome.

Step 1:
Lay out paper and put the smocks on the little ones.

Step 2:
Pour a little milk in each of the bowls/plates.

Step 3:
Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl and stir.

Step 4:
Distribute the marshmallows and begin stamping.

Step 5:
When my son was done painting, he also enjoying mixing all of the colors.  My daughter thoroughly enjoyed eating the marshmallows.

Good luck!  And hopefully no bad habits are set for future crafting projects with real paint!

-Rose @-}---

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Easy Chocolate Candy Shapes

We had lots of pieces to our Valentine's Day projects - Chocolate Lollipops, Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes, and these little heart candy shapes to top our cupcakes to make them a little more festive.  This project is SO EASY and you can make lots of different edible shapes in a matter of minutes!  I chose to do very simple hearts, but the possibilities are endless.  You can easily make an dessert a little more festive without a lot of effort.
We used these chocolate hearts to top our cupcakes.

Age: 4+
Time: 20 minutes +
Mess/Cleanup: The chocolate can get a little messy, and the age of your child will increase the mess factor for sure.  It only took 5 minutes to clean up our table.
What You Need:
  • Candy Melts or chocolate chips (You can buy candy melts at Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, or any craft store in the cake decorating section.)
  • Food Coloring
  • Sprinkles.  The flavored sprinkles we used added an extra nice touch.
  • Wax Paper
  • Plastic Baggies or an empty squeeze bottle.  I used a squeeze bottle.

Why I Like This Craft:
Again, so easy and depending on what you create and can be very impressive. My mom and sister also thought the mini hearts were quite yummy.

You can obviously make lots of different shapes.  You could also put a pattern (e.g., coloring book pages) underneath the wax paper and trace the outline of the shape with the chocolate.  I can imagine creating some Hello Kitty candies for my daughter's upcoming birthday party.  They make perfect cupcake toppers and it only costs a few cents to make!  Just think ... Shamrocks, Christmas Trees, Easter Eggs, Spiders, Witch's Hat...easy shapes and you don't have to be an artist.

I was also thinking this might be a fun edible painting project.  Dye your chocolates a variety of colors and arm you kiddos with paint brushes or squeeze bottles and pieces of wax paper.  Once the chocolate cools, they have edible art.  I think I might make that into another post.  Maybe edible greeting cards?  How fun!

Step 1:
Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave at 30 second intervals.  Stir in between until smooth.

Step 2:
Transfer melting chocolate to a baggie or a bottle.  If using a baggie, snip off one corner.  For these, I used a bottle.  You have more control over the flow of the chocolate, but the cleanup is a bit more work.
I used a mustard bottle I bought at the Dollar Store.

Step 3: 
Make heart shapes on a piece of wax paper. Add some sprinkles.  This was my son's job during this project.

Step 4:
Once the chocolate is completely cooled it will peel easily off of the wax paper.  

-Rose  @-}---

Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes & Carrier

Last week I took my 4 year old to a birthday party.  For dessert we had ice cream cupcakes.  I've been making these for years (before I even had kids), but was surprised at how many of the moms have never seen these before, so I decided to post the how-to here.  I was also shocked that that 4 year olds actually ate the cupcake and instead of just the icing.  So I'm hoping these will be the perfect cupcakes for my son's Valentine's party at daycare.  The hardest part of these cupcakes is transporting them to the destination.  I've also included a step for making an impromptu cupcake carrier to prevent them from toppling over.
Age: 4+ (This is mostly a mom craft, but my son did help make the little heart decorations and enjoyed licking the beaters.)
Time: 20+ minutes for the decorating, about 20 minutes to make the candy decorations.
Mess/Cleanup: Typical kitchen mess when it comes to cupcakes.  I used store bought frosting, the cleanup was minimal. I just tossed the baggie in the trash.
What You Need:
  • Cake Mix (make according to package instructions)
  • Cake Ice Cream Cones. I just used a box of mix, which makes about 20 cupcakes in the cones.
  • 2 - 16 oz cans of frosting.  I use a lot of frosting for these cupcakes to get the effect of an ice cream swirl.
  • Plastic Baggies.  I like to use the gallon non-zip baggies.
  • 2 cereal/cone boxes. I used the cone boxes.  They were the perfect size.
  • Cupcake decorations

Why I Like This Craft:  I love making cupcakes and for years this has been one of my favorite.  Minimal effort for a big impact.

Step 1: 
Prepare cake mix and fill cones.  Fill to about 1 inch from the top edge.
Don't fill the cups too much.  As you can see below, I had a few over topping after baking.

If this happens, while the cake is warm pull off the goop that spilled over.

Step 2:
Bake cupcakes according to box instructions.

Step 3:
While the cupcakes are cooking or cooling, make the tray for the cupcakes.  At first, I didn't have a special tray to hold the cupcakes upright.  As soon as I moved the my tray almost all of the cupcakes toppled over, messing up the perfectly iced cakes.  Uggh.  But I'm sure the 4 year olds won't notice

Here is my little solution for the cupcakes to survive the car ride.  Using the cardboard boxes, trace circles a little larger than the diameter of the cone (I actually used a cap from one of my spices).  Using scissors, cut out the circles.  
I was able to fit 12 holes in each box.

Step 4:
Once cupcakes are cooled, transfer icing into plastic baggie.  Squeeze all of the icing to one corner of the bag.  Snip off about 3/4 inch of the corner.

Step 5:
Ice the cupcakes.  To get the swirl effect, use the baggie to ice the cupcakes.  Starting from the outside edge, squeeze the frosting onto the cake.  Swirl to the middle of the cupcake.

Step 6:
Place iced cupcake in the tray and finish the decorations.  We created white chocolate hearts to top the cupcakes.

--Rose @-}---

Valentine Chocolate Pops (No Mold Needed!)

Both of my kids have Valentine's Day parties at daycare.  I have to bring in something for the 2 & under crowd and forgot to pick something up for her classroom when I was at the store.  I went digging through the baking cabinet and found some Candy Melts left over from the Cookie Lollipops and the Care Bear Cupcakes, so I decided to wing it and make some White Chocolate Heart Lollipops with what I had.

Time: 20 minutes +
Age: 4+
Mess/Cleanup:  About 10 minutes.  Longer if your toddler spills 2 containers of sprinkles all over the floor.
What You Need:
  • Wax Paper
  • Popsicle Sticks 
  • Candy Melts (or white chocolate chips)
  • Sprinkles
  • Empty ketchup/mustard bottle or a baggie
Why I Like this Craft:  I didn't have to run back to the store to pick up more treats!  These were pretty easy to make and for the little tykes, there's not an awful lot of candy in these pops.  We kept them pretty small.  My 4 year old also loved helping to decorate them.

Step 1:
Melt the Candy Melts in the microwave at 30 second intervals.  Stir in between until smooth.

Step 2:
Transfer melting chocolate to a baggie or a bottle.  If using a baggie, snip off one corner.  For these, I used a baggie.  You have less control over the flow of the chocolate, but the cleanup is easier.

Step 3: 
Make heart shapes on a piece of wax paper.  While chocolate is still warm press the top of a popsicle stick into the heart.

Step 4:
Cover the stick with more chocolate.

Step 5:
Sprinkle on some sprinkles and let cool.

Step 6:
Bag 'em up and you're ready to go!

--Rose @-}---

Monday, February 7, 2011

10-Minute Jet Pack Craft

This weekend we had two preschooler birthday parties.  After all the wrapping we had an empty wrapping paper tube sitting on the dining room table.  Just before I tossed the tubed into the recycling bin, we whipped this little jet pack together while dinner was cooking on the stove.  It only take a few materials and a few minutes to make.
My son is now into the Despicable Me movie.  He particularly loves the part where Vector zooms around with his jet pack (or as my son calls it, his "Rocket Jet Pack").  
Age: 3+
Time: 10+ minutes
Cleanup: A few paper scraps, that's it!
What You Need:

We used some old drawings for the paper scraps

  • Wrapping Paper Cardboard Tube (paper towel tubes or Pringles can would probably work too)
  • Tin foil
  • Yarn or ribbon (2 pieces, about 24 inches each)
  • Red, orange, and yellow paper scraps
  • Scissors
  • Glue (To make things quicker, I just used the hot glue gun to stick everything together.  You could staple or use craft glue to adhere the pieces).

Why I Like This Craft:
This was so quick and easy to make (as are most of the crafts on this blog).  And any craft that can double as a costume accessory is always a plus!  I love pretend play!

Step 1:
Cut tube in half.

Step 2:
Cover tubes in foil.
Step 3:
Glue tubes together.

Step 4:
Poke 2 holes at the top and bottom of each tube.

Step 5:
For each tube, tie the piece of yarn  to the top and bottom of tube to make a backpack.

Step 6:
Cut scraps into flame shapes.  I drew some shapes on the paper and my son cut out the pieces.

Step 7:
Glue the flames to the bottom of the rocket jets.  All done!

See, so easy!

-Rose @-}---

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Make your own fancy paper purse or Valentine holder

  This project was inspired by my daughter searching for something to put her little Peter Pan action figure in while she made up some random obstacle course in the play room (my craft room).  I had an extra-wide lovely cardboard photo holder from some prints in the recycle bin and a purse was born. It would be great for holding Valentines, too!

Age:  3+
Time: 15-25 minutes
  • Envelope-style photo holder left over from a photo print order (mine was sturdy cardboard and extra wide from Photoworks)
  • paper or cardstock to cover the photo holder (or fabric if you have a sturdy photo holder)
  • glue or tape
  • embelishments that will stick to paper-we used die cuts 
  • glitter glue (paint brush optional)
  • scissors
  • 2 to 3 ft of ribbon or string
Alternatives:  flimsy paper photo holders would work if you use heavier cardstock to cover it. You can also substitute any kind of stickers or cut out your own shapes to decorate the purse. 
Most of the materials we used (the coveted glitter glue is clutched firmly in her hands)
Step 1:  Cover the photo holder with paper.  We opened up the photo holder and started on the outside flap and worked our way to the inside.  We needed two sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper to cover this extra wide photo holder.  This still wasn't wide enough for our envelope so I used some cardstock strips along the side (which ended up making it extra fancy). 
My three year old liked using the glue stick.  It was quite easy since the paper was so large and sturdy. 

Matching the stripes on the inside

Trim off the excess paper and tuck a bit inside.  Have your kid glue it down.

 I recommend tucking a little extra on the inside flap (shown below).

Step 2:  Tell your kid for the 10th time in 2 minutes it is still not time to play with the glitter glue.

Step 3:  Add some cardstock to the side to make it fancy and cover any remaining part of the photo holder.  We used self-adhesive cardstock strips to make it really fast and easy to attach but any paper strip will work just fine.

Fancy border covers the remaining Photoworks photo holder

Cardstock strip on the side to cover the remaining photo holder that was showing-and a random scrap of cardstock on the inside flap that is not part of the finished product.
Step 4:  Make it fancy!  We used a glue stick and some double-sided tape to add some flowery and swirly die cuts and some glitter glue.

Glue stick time
Glitter glue time!!!!  She used a paint brush to spread out the huge piles of glitter she glopped on there.

Step 5:  Measure a length of ribbon using your kid as a guide.  Leave a little extra to make some knots at the end once it's threaded through the purse.

Step 6:  Snip some holes for your purse strings.  Make sure you cut through both layers.  If by chance you cut too far (or rip the paper while putting the string through like I did) just tape it up.

Step 6:  Thread the ribbon through the holes you snipped and add a bit of tape to the inside for added strength. 
Step 7:  Tie a knot on the inside and add a piece of tape to secure it.

My kid took this photo. 

Now show off your fancy purse!!

Front of purse
Back of purse

Valentine embelishments inside