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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Egg Carton Wreath

how to make egg carton wreath
Several years ago, I made an egg carton wreath for my mother. We were on a budget, and I wanted something extra special for my mom on Mother's Day. The wreath took about 8 hours for me to make, but literally cost pennies to put together. It's made from recycled egg cartons. I did this craft with a friend, which might have attributed to the longer craft time. We had little kids under foot, and we talked a bit as we worked!

I often buy eggs from different places, so I have a variety of styles to choose from. You might think egg cartons are all the same, but they are not. And this wreath can be made best from several different styles. You can have different shaped flowers depending on the piece of the carton you use.

types of egg cartons to make wreath

The hardest part is the cutting! I still haven't figured out scissors that will easily cut through egg cartons, and I own a pair of Cutco scissors which are supposed to be strong enough to cut a penny. Scissors just rub your knuckles the wrong way when you cut up egg cartons. I don't think there is a pain free way to do. But it's all worth it! 

blue and yellow wreath made from egg cartons

After the flowers are painted, and glued on the cardboard ring, you are left with a wreath that makes you smile. Every time I see this wreath hanging in my mother's kitchen, it makes me happy.  It also makes me remember the act of love which went into the making. I never could bring myself to duplicate the wreath for my own house. The time spent on cutting the different flowers scared me away from trying again.

close up of flowers on blue and yellow egg carton wreath

Without having to be super creative on the cutting, you can always make each flower different in the painting. Be creative with the centers! Each flower is unique!

The only part of the wreath that isn't made from the egg carton, is the cardboard ring I painted for the back. You can make it as big, or as little as you would like. I didn't even add any kind of hook to the back of the wreath. A simple brad will hold the lightweight wreath on the wall.

Remember that act of love I never wanted to duplicate for myself? 

I didn't have to! For my birthday this year, my mom surprised me with my own egg carton wreath in my favorite colors. Now I can smile every time I see it on my wall, and I can remember my mom loves me enough to spend hours making her fingers sore.

yellow and green egg carton wreath

close up of yellow and white flowers made with egg cartons

I loved how instead of coloring the middle of these yellow flowers, my mom glued a brown pom-pom into the center! It adds a little depth to the flowers!

egg carton wreath

If you want to use it as a craft for your kids, let them paint the flowers as you cut them! They will love putting their own special touch on it!

small bird resting on flowers for egg carton wreath

Nestled in the flowers on my wreath, you will find a sweet little bird.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Shadow Puppet Theater

My favorite summer activity we do each year is our Shadow Puppet Theater Performance. We invite our family over to watch an original show written and performed by my kids. We've been doing this for 7 YEARS! 

how to make a shadow puppet theater for kids

It's very simple to make your own Shadow Puppet Theater! I bought a sheet for a couple dollars at Goodwill. All they had there at the time was a peach color. I would have preferred white; however the pale pastel color peach works just fine too. You can still see through it perfectly when you shine a light behind it.  

I made sure to sew a small pocket, with each end open, at the top of the sheet so we could slip a PVC pipe through it to hang. We now own a set of Fort Magic which works GREAT to build our theater on. We've been using our Fort Magic set for several years. 

To get the theater look, I used some painters tape around the edges of our sheet, and painted it with house paint I had on hand. I made sure to do several coats so you can't see through it when the light shines behind.

Through the years our transparency puppet collection has grown. Each year we do a different performance, and typically will chose a new character to make. Sometimes I have printed the characters on transparencies, but most of the time I have printed a coloring picture of the character out, and then I transfer it to the transparency by tracing over it with a permanent marker. 

how to make shadow puppet characters

I've tried using super glue to attach the transparencies to small dowel rods, but they often fall apart and break off during the show. Now I simply use a couple pieces of clear tape to get them to stick. If it's good tape, you won't even be able to see it!

We always make a day of summer fun with our theater performance. We write the story ourselves, make the characters, we practice repeatedly until it's perfect. And we invite family to watch the show in the evening. We also like to provide some yummy snacks for everyone. The boys will often take drink orders before the show, and will bring a treat to everyone during the intermission. The kids love this part of serving!

This night is always a favorite for all. It's so fun to watch the kids act out the show through shadow puppets and I love the different voices they do for each character. They always make me laugh. I enjoy it just as much as a night out at an expensive theater.

To make things funny, this year we decided to do our play based on the game Mash. We wanted our main character to be my husband since he wouldn't get to participate in the planning. The kids thought he would make a great main character. All of us chose one suggestion for each category of the Mash game. If our suggestion ended up being chosen, that meant we had to write that part of the story. It was so much fun! This play ended up being a collaboration of all four of us writing different parts to Titus' Grand Life. It was silly and memorable. I know the kids will remember this night for quite a while!


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