Rainy Day Craft

Walnut Wishes

This craft is inspired by the Victorian tradition of hanging gilded walnuts with a special fortune tucked inside. When friends and family come calling for the holidays - have them chose a walnut to crack apart, revealing your best wishes and thankful thoughts.

What you will need:
Sharp knife
Butter knife or skewer
Gold paint
1/8-inch-wide ribbon

What you will do:
This is definately a job for grown-ups.
Cracking walnuts open perfectly in half is not so easy, so be prepared for some broken shells. Pick walnuts that have a space you can see at the top, slide the tip of the sharp knife into the top of the shell, and twist the blade so that the nut begins to split. Continue to push the knife gently into the seam until you can cleanly break the halves apart. That said, if your nut breaks in such a way that you can still fit your wish inside, use it. The two pieces usually fit back together so perfectly no one would know it wasn't a clean break.
Now let the kids clean the meat out of the shells with a butter knife or a skewer.

Paint the outside of the shells gold (or whatever color they want) and set them aside to dry.

Write hopes and wishes for the holidays or the new year on small strips of paper, roll them into little scrolls, and tie them with some ribbon.
For each hanger cut a 4 - 5 inch lenght of ribbon,and glue it to the top inside edge (in the center) of a shell half. Place the scroll inside and glue the halves back together with a thin smear of glue. Firmly press the the walnut halves together for 15 to 20 seconds, then allow to dry completely before hanging the ornament on the tree

Guests can break open the walnuts with a nutcracker or a hammer!

Shopping bag kite

This is a fun way to recycle/reuse all those plastic shopping bags. This type of kite is called a sled kite -  you can really fly it!

What you will need:
Download, print and cut out  this Kite template. Tape its two pieces together.
1 plastic bag - make sure the template fits on it.
6 straws - you want the straight kind NOT bendies.
clear tape
duct tape
string - fishing line is great for this project
hole punch
What you will do:
Cut the bottom off your shopping bag, line the template up to a fold on the bag. Use a marker to trace the template, then cut out the kite and the vent in the center.
Join two straws by pushing the end of one straw into another, then tape the straws as shown (look on your template), using three pieces of clear tape on each straw.
Put a tab of duct tape on each side of the kite, punch a hole through each of the duct tape tabs.
Tie each end of a 6 foot string to the holes (this is the bridle ).
Now tie a loop in the center of the bridle.
Flying your kite:
Test fly your kite by holding the loop in the bridle and running, hold your hand high and the kite should follow along behind you.                         To fly higher, tie a long string to the loop in the bridle.

Pasta Airplanes

Pasta Planes - cleared for takeoff!

This is a lot of fun, and you end up with a great-looking model (not really a play thing).

What you will need:
There are no rules about what types of pasta you get, but of course the more shapes you have to work with, the
more stuff you can make. I recommend starting with manicotti, lasagna, rigatoni and fettucine. If you can find
wagon wheels, they make very good landing gear.
I used a hot glue gun, and I recommend it strongly, because it dries so much faster than white glue.

What you will do:
Glue the manicotti to the center of a lasagna noodle. To make a biplane, glue an upright rigatoni on each side
of the lower lasagna wing, then add another lasagna noodle for the upper wing.Now, add a tail fin. Break a fettucine noodle into three equal lengths (about 2 inches). Glue them to the top of the manicotti. Glue one rigatoni to the fettucine base.

To finish the nose of the plane, glue a shell or elbow macaronis over the open end of the manicotti. Now make
a propeller by gluing on several short pieces of fettucine (or one bow tie pasta).
It’s time to attach the landing gear. A single wagon wheel holds up the front of the plane, and a pair of wagon
wheels (or one rigatoni) brings up the rear.

You can get a low-temperature hot glue gun at any craft store. Check out Michael’s, Home Depot and Dollar General.
Take a little time to practice with it if you haven’t used one before. They can be tricky!

The Great Frame-up

This is a project we made at the library on Earth Day because it is made completely with recycled materials!
Well, almost completely. You need a photograph to display in this super cool frame. Do NOT use your
ORIGINAL photo. Make a copy - if your printer does not copy, get a friend to do it for you, or come to the
library to make a copy here (10 cents).

What you will need:
Copy of a photo
Old newspaper
Glue/glue stick
Strong tape
Watercolor paint - optional
Empty cereal box

This how you do it:
Cut your empty cereal box down one side, so you can work with it inside out.
Draw and cut two rectangles. You want one the size of your photo and one bigger to be the frame behind it.
The bigger rectangle can be any size you like (even square), just hold your photo over it to decide what you like
Then draw and cut a third shape (the leg) in the shape of the leg template. See template here.
Now wrap the frame piece in newspaper - like wrapping a present. Secure with a bit of glue.
Paint the frame. Touches of color here and there - not too much water or the paper will warp. Let it dry
Use some glue to attach your photo to the smaller rectangle, then attach that to your painted frame.
I like to decorate the frame with interesting cutouts from the news paper - just glue them on.
Use packing tape or duct tape to make a "hinge" that attaches the leg to the frame.
It's ready for display!

Canvas Checkerboard

Kids who learn how to play checkers always have something to do on a rainy day. Kids who make their own portable checkerboard have a game to play on car trips or almost anywhere.
Collect bottle caps in opposing colors (you'll need 12 for each side). The caps stack easily, making for  very regal kings. I also like clear glass beads with construction paper glued to the bottom.

What you will need:
A piece of resilient fabric, more than a foot long & wide
Pinking shears
A stamp pad (ink)
Styrofoam to make your stamp
Bottlecaps or buttons - 12 of one color and 12 of another color

How you make it:
Using pinking shears, cut a square of canvas that is about 12 by 12 inches. (The shears protect the edges from fraying and give the board a decorative flare.)
You can use all kinds of materials to make a square stamp that is about 11/2 inches in each dimension. "Supermarket styrofoam" is good, if you can buy something at the market that comes packed in it. An art eraser cut in half works too.
Begin by stamping a single square in the corner of the board, then stamp a second square so that only their corners are touching.
Now continue on until you have  the first two rows.
Repeat, staying neat, until you have eight squares (four stamped, four made of the space between the stamps) along each side of the board.
King me!

Make a Glittery Snowflake


What you will need:
Cardboard TP or PT roll
White glue
White paint
2 paintbrushes (one for paint and one for glue)
How to make it:
Start with the cardboard center from a roll of paper towels or toilet paper. Using rolls of different sizes is great.
Flatten it, or them, with your hands.
Use a ruler and scissors to cut the flattened roll into strips. Any size is okay, so long as the strips are all the same. I find that around 1/4 inch works best.
Paint the strips white and let them dry.
Put a dab of white glue on each side of each strip, and use clothspins to hold them together . . . like this.
Make whatever pattern you want to - your only limit is the number of strips you cut (and the number of
clothespins you have).
Add a second batch of strips if you want to make a more complex shape. While your strips are drying, mix some white glue . . .
with water to make a slurry glue solution. Paint the solution onto your snowflake and . . .sprinkle it with glitter.

Make a Snowflake Birdfeeder

I make these birdfeeders every year at holiday time as a special treat for my bird and squirrel friends. These birdfeeders will last a long time if they stay dry, so hang them in a covered area if you can.What you will need:1 cup birdseed1/4 cup water1 small envelope of knox gelatineWaxed paper ot parchment paperA large cookie cutterA drinking straw    StringSmall saucepanHow you make it:Lay your cookie cutter flat on the waxed paper. Cut the straw to three inches long. (When you assemble the birdfeeder, the straw will stand up in the middle.Mix your gelatine together with 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer on the stove. Keep stirring until the gelatine is completely dissolved (as soon as it is invisible).Remove it fron thr heat and let it cool for a minute. Stir the birdseed, adding more birdseed if there is still liquid in the pan.(I used a snowflake cookie cutter, but of course this will work with any shape. Also, you might need to adjust the amount of birdseed &am ...

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