Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Ten Easy, Cheap Crafts for Fall

At the Farmer's Market this week, I was asked if I had ideas for simple, inexpensive crafts kids could do at upcoming Halloween and Thanksgiving events. Are you kidding? Of course, I do!

So here we go: Ten Easy, Cheap Crafts for Fall!

1. Paper Plate Scarecrow Faces -- Make them pretty, or make them spooky; either way this craft is a ton of fun for everyone. Just use standard paper plates as the head. Cut triangles of colored paper for the hats. Googly eyes add a lot of fun, and the rest of the face can be drawn on. Strips of paper or some raffia make great hair. That's it! Let the kids get creative!

2. Paper Plate Jack-o-Lanterns -- This is a classic, but I have an update to make it so much easier and less messy! Usually you'd paint the plate a bright orange, let it dry, and then attach the elements for the face. But that takes a lot of time. Instead use squares of tissue paper attached with a glue stick! You can buy them precut or make your own easily. Then just add construction paper eyes, nose and mouth. So easy!

3. Toilet Paper Roll Owls -- Folded and cut cupcake liners become wings and feathers when added to a toilet paper roll using a glue stick. Use markers to add a cute face. And of course, googly eyes. I just love googly eyes. A little black paint or a black marker, and these make great bats too!

4. Toilet Paper Roll Mummies -- I found this idea on Pinterest, and it's just TOO cute! Just wrap a toilet paper roll in tissue paper, gauze or, well, toilet paper, using a glue stick to keep it attached. Use twine or yarn to add texture. Top it off with googly eyes. Ta da! Perfect little mummies!

5. Duct Tape Spider -- Everyone loves duct tape crafts! This one, from Leisure Arts, is so simple, just about anyone can pull it off. Use newspaper or a plastic bag to create a ball, about the size of an adult fist. Squish it a bit to flatten it. Use a bit of masking tape to secure this ball. Cover with duct tape. Take four pipe cleaners and twist them together in the center to form a bundle, then tape them to the underside of the spider. (Cover them with additional duct tape for extra drama.) Add googly eyes and your have a great creepy creature. Tip: Use solid color duct tapes if you're on a budget. You get more tape per roll.

6. Pine Cone Turkey -- Dip colorful feathers in Elmer's Glue and attach them to the wide end of a pine cone. Use a little Model Magic clay to form a head. A small piece of corn makes a great beak. Attach eyes, have a great decoration for your table! Don't have clay? Try this version of a turkey without it.

7. Lots of Leaf Crafts -- You can do SO many things with just the leaves from your back yard! Just collect a tons of pretty dried leaves. From there you can create a tons of great crafts. Start by pressing them in between sheets of clear contact paper for bookmarks or punch a hole to string them on yarn as a necklace. Or use glitter glue to lightly coat the leaves for sparkly garland or necklaces. Or lightly coat the leaves in paint and press them to paper as stamps. You can also place them under paper, vein side up, and use crayons to create rubbings. Cut the center out of a paper plate and use glue to attach leaves around the rim, creating a pretty wreath. And then there is my personal favorite: Attach the leaves to mask shapes, cut from card stock. Add feathers, plastic jewels and stickers to create fabulous masks. Use ribbon wear it, or attach to the popsicle stick for a held version.

8. Corn Prints -- Kids love breaking out the paint. Why not give them something fun to paint with? Try taking dried corn on the cob (like Indian Corn), rolling it in paint, then rolling it or pressing it onto paper. You can make tons of great patterns this way. While you're at it, cut open an apple and use it as a stamp. Try using things like gourds and acorn squash as stamps too.

9. Corn Bin -- This one is great for younger children and provides a wonderful sensory experience. Just fill a bin with feeder corn (a.k.a. deer corn) and hide all kinds of fall themed items in it. Then they can go on a treasure hunt.

10. Monster Paper Bag Puppets -- This craft couldn't be simpler. Give kids lunch bags. (I like the plain brown or white versions, but colored bags, sold as party gift bags are lots of fun too.) Print out some fun monster face pieces, like these free ones. You can just use regular paper and a glue stick to attach, or print them onto sticker paper. Use additional stickers, markers, sequins, plastic gems, feathers, etc. to add bling.

So I hope these fun crafts make your holiday parties and events more fun and creative. Enjoy!

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