January 28, 2007

Chinese Dragon

Filed under: Kids Projects,Paper Craft,Seasonal — sarah @ 9:24 pm

I ended up having to work out a craft project for our Cubs for Chinese New Year. However, I could not find anything on how to make the lanterns I had initially envisioned them making – so I cast my mind back in time.

I have a vague memory of doing a play called something like ‘Ching Ching and the Dragon’ in junior school. We made dragons for the puppet show in the play. I vaguely remembered a technique for folding paper so started experimenting.

My first attempt I decided was good enough. Chinese DragonChinese Dragon, front view

I cut some strips of coloured card about 1.5cm in width; the pieces of card I had, however, were A3 size and too big for the paper guillotine, so I had to chop a bit from the bottom first.

I chose what I consider to be dragon colours, so they were¬†red, green, yellow and blue. For my prototype, I chose blue and yellow, and placing the ends of the card strips one over the other at a 90 degree angle, I then folded one piece over the other. You fold the coloured card alternately going around the ‘square’ so blue, yellow, blue, yellow and so on.

Paper Strips

Because the card strips I had weren’t quite long enough, I had to overlap the ends of the card strips with a second strip of the same colours, so in some places there is a double thickness of cardboard.

The head and tail were a bit tricky; I sort of imagined very square features so that I could work out a sort of box that could be stuck on. I also added lots of curves as I think they look a bit like flames and very dragony.

I drew the rough outlines and then scored along the bits that would need folding (this makes folding easier and gets a nice neat line). I folded the head and tail into shape and then stuck them onto the body using sellotape (I made a loop of sellotape with the sticky side out, but double-sided tape would be better.) I then cut out some fins for the tail and stuck them on with the sellotape.

This done, I took two plastic drinking straws and cut the bendy ends off. I then stuck these to the body of the dragon inside the ‘pleats’ with sellotape. This all worked a lot better then I had expected!

I then drew out the designs for the head and tail, including fins, in fine-liner pen, including dotted lines for where the children would need to fold the cardboard. I then scanned them and tidied up the digital image a bit (ie correcting the mistake of a solid line that was supposed to a dashed line for folding), using a programme called the Gimp. I put two copies of it on to an A4 sheet and printed them onto brightly coloured paper (we had run out of card).

I also did a ‘proper’ set of easily understood instructions for the kids – the kids did really well with this. Here is one of their dragons: ūüôā

A cubs attempt

This project got nicked by an art teatcher for her secondary school kids so I was quiet chuffed. ūüôā I still have my digital copy of the head and tail.

Here are the instructions:


3 strips of one coloured card

3 strips of a different coloured card

1 dragon sheet with shape out lines on



Pens and things for decorating

2 drinking straws


Take two strips of card, preferably different colours, place the ends of the strips together so that they overlap and make a right angle. Fold the bottom colour over the top of the top colour – alternate.

So it should be blue, red, blue, red. You should end up with a squared shape of folded card. When you are near the end of the first two strips, lay the next two over the top and continue folding as before Рmake sure there is lots of overlap. Once you get to the end of these strips, do the same with the next two.

You now have the dragon’s body. You may have to cut excess card off the finishing end. Double-sided sellotape or single-sided sellotape looped back on itself should be used to secure the very ends of the body to prevent unravelling.

Cut out the dragon’s head and¬†draw eyes and nostrils on it. Fold along the dashed lines and sellotape the tabs on the jaw to the sides of the head. Using double-sided tape, attach to one end of the body.

Cut out the tail and back fin. Again, fold along the dashed lines. Stick the fins on the tail and, using the sellotape, stick the tail on the other end of the body.

Take two drinking straws and cut off the tops just before the bendy bit. Attach these to the underside of the body, one under the head and one under the tail.

January 21, 2007

Bubble photographs

Filed under: Art and Drawings — sarah @ 11:53 pm

I’m addicted to taking millions of photographs! Here are¬†the ones I have dubbed BUBBLES!.

(I still have three new pics to upload!)

January 14, 2007

Summer Holidays Card

Filed under: Paper Craft — sarah @ 8:29 pm

Spell check and links coming soon!

I made this card for a friend who was going away to sunny climes, leaving the rest of us to freeze – sort of a bon-voyage card.

Equipment needed:

Paper Card Pritt stick or equivalent Fine-line pen

The finished card

Mainly what I do with these cards is think about what sort of things I want on the card, and then collect together the different colours I want and the paper punches I want. In this case, I chose pale blue card for the actual card. Then I selected dark blue paper for the sea. This paper has a sugar paper type texture to it – ie it’s not glossy printing paper, more like mounting paper you get in schools.

Yellow paper for the sand.

Red for the boat and the crab.

Orange for the starfish and the sun.

Green for the leaves of the palm.

Brown card for the palm tree’s trunk.

Pink paper for the shell, and white for the boat’s sail and clouds (the white paper was actually an old envelope).

Paper and punches

I punched out a selection of shapes becuase originally I wasn’t sure exactly what sort of design I was going for. In the end I used:

Six cloud shapes – these were punched out of white paper

One orange sun

One orange starfish

One pink shell

I also punched one red crab out.

When punching out of the paper I find it’s better to fold the paper twice, as the shapes punch more easily that way. If you just have one thickness of paper I find that the shapes tear out instead of looking clean cut.


I had to punch out three palm trees – one out of yellow paper, one out of green paper and one out of brown card. I then used the thicker brown card as a base. I cut the bottom off the yellow tree and stuck it onto the brown tree. This is the sand. I then cut the green leafy bit off the green tree and stuck that onto the brown tree. I was actaully quite impressed with the result.

Close up of treesPalm trees

For the boat, I used the same technique as I did with the tree. I punched out a red boat and a white boat – then I cut the white boat’s sail off and stuck it onto the red boat.

I then folded the pale blue card into four, making sure I lined up the edges as much as possible.

Make sure the edges line upAnd then

This produces a card that stands up. I use card that I got in a big multipack in Costco’s. It is slightly bigger than A4 when unfolded but folded in four makes a good card size!

Folded card

I then cut out a piece of dark blue paper to stick on as the sea, and stuck it onto the pale blue card, leaving a nice bit of pale blue showing as the sky.

Then I cut a strip of yellow paper for the sand and stuck that on.

I then arranged the shapes on the card to see where I wanted things.

Once satisfied, I started gluing the shapes on. As a finishing touch, I drew some features on the pink shell to make it look more like a shell and less like a pink blob!

Place your shapes

I think great variety and style can be achieved by overlapping shapes, as in the case of the sun and two clouds on this card. Just as an aside, I actually sell these paper punches.

January 8, 2007

Reusable Table Confetti for Valentine’s

Filed under: Polymer Clay,Valentines Day — sarah @ 12:40 am

Spell check coming soon, along with colour ref for the fimo and links.

Hearts Click on the photo to see a bigger version.

We used this sort of thing at our wedding and I have made a mix with stars etc… for my cousin’s 18th birthday.

These are flat polymer clay (fimo) hearts approximatly 1cm across. I mixed the colours and textures I wanted, then rolled out a flat sheet of fimo. This can be done either with a rolling pin, preferably glass, or by using a pasta machine. I tend to just use a glass tumbler or some such as I’m too lazy to set the machine up.

I then use the heart aspic cutters (mini cookie cutters) I got from Almond Art who predominantly cater for sugar crafts. With the cutters, I cut out as many hearts as possible. Sometimes, one of the more flexible plastic sculpting tools I have, has to be used to tease the shape from the cutter or from the surface it has adhered to, ie sometimes they get stuck inside the aspic cutter and sometimes on the chopping board I use. The¬†chopping board should ideally be untextured glass, though mine’s a beaten up old wooden one – warning, fimo stains such surfaces.

I then laid these hearts on a baking tray. When I have sufficent things for baking (at least 2 trays as I hate using the oven inefficiently) I pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees C. Whist the oven was heating I scrunched up any excess fimo, rolled it into a ball and rolled it flat to cut a few more shapes out.

I then baked them for 30 minutes. Warning, when the fimo comes out of the oven it is hot and is also still soft and malleable, so don’t go prodding it! Wait for it to cool. Also you may have to use the sculpting tool to help you ‘ping’ some of the hearts off the baking tray!

I have a tendency to use these hearts for many other craft projects as well, and have even sold them as craft materials!

January 1, 2007

Christmas Wreath and Matching Centrepiece

Filed under: Christmas — sarah @ 3:17 am

I made these about three years ago, so apologies for them looking a bit battered! I thought people might find how I made them useful, even if I do not have step by step photographs. ūüôĀ

The Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath

This is currently hanging on our front door!

What I did was use a piece of metal wire I found at my uncle’s car garage/workshop place. It was basically a perfect circle and I knew instantly what it would be useful for – however, I doubt this would happen if you were looking!

So its probably best to bend a wire coathanger into a circle, or if you are feeling adventurous, use some willow whipping canes! You can also buy twig circles and stuff for this sort of thing from lots of haberdashery shops and craft shops, not to mention flower arranging places (both sick flowers and floristry).

I had two nice bunches of silk flower poinsettias, which I had picked up in a pound shop along with some nice gold and glitter acorns and twirly bits and flowers (plastic) picked up in Romford market.

I had also picked up some pine cones earlier in the year (they may even have been from the year before!) which I attached some floristry wire to.

I then took four of the poinsettias and, envisioning a square inside the circle of wire, positioned them at what would be the four corners. I twisted their wire stalks around the wire circle, then discovering I had no florestry tape, I raided our electronics book and selected the red electrical insulating tape. This I found worked really well, though only if you aren’t going to be seeing the result! I wrapped it round the wire and stalks, fixing them in place.

I then raided my mum’s leftover materials box and found some red satin back material. It had some frayed edges which I folded behind it and stuck down with more electrical tape (mum was not impressed, but then I don’t do sewing.¬†I would advise that if you have the time and skill that you do sew it, as it will last longer!).

This was for the banner across the middle. I laid it out flat, and making sure that there was plenty of room at each end, painted ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ onto it. I used a gold, glittery fabric paint that I had picked up in WH Smith’s of all places!

This had to dry – it took forever!

I got impatient though and put it on the wreath – hence one of the letters is smudged! I placed the piece of material so that it was cutting the square in half, then I folded the ends over and secured them with a mix of stitching and yet more electrical tape.

I then got two of the golden glittery things with acorns and attached them either side of the banner in a similair fashion to the poinsettias. Then I attatched the pine cones in the spaces – not all of these have survived! Place them where you think it will look good. I had two between the bottom poinsettias, one between the¬†poinsettia and golden arrangement, each side etc…

One I had all of this on, I wrapped green and red tinsel around it all and was quite chuffed with the result. I originally had a piece of wire wrapped round the top for hanging it up, but unfortunately this rusted through and it’s now just tied up on a mangy old piece of string.

The Matching Centrepiece

Centre Piece without FlashCentre Piece

We have a gold pillar candle in a gold dish type of candle holder and I decided to make it Christmasy when I realised that I hadn’t even touched the second bunch of poinsettias. These ones had gold petals in the middle.

First of all, I made a metal hoop – I think this was out of some wire I pinched from the electronics bench. I bent it into shape using pliers, making sure it would fit over the candle. The making of this was pretty similiar to the wreath. I just wrapped four poinsettia flowers onto it – though I did have to trim the stalks a bit! The old electrical tape came into play!

Then between two of the flowers I put the gold acorn arrangement and then some pine cones in the other gaps. Then I wrapped silver tinsel around it.

I did find, however, that I needed to alter the postion of some of the pine cones slightly – mainly becuase they were lifting the candle holder and candle off the flate surface – never good when you think of a lighted candle!

These were quite rushed and I’m sure that time and care could make this sort of thing look professional!