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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kids Crafts: Paper Chain Fairies, Fairy Wings, Flowers, Butterflies

Easy Kids Crafts, easy kids craft fairy wings, Paper Chain Faeries, Flowers, Butterflies
Ana was excited about making decorations for her birthday party.

Paper Chain Faeries was the most fun, at least the first dozen or so that she helped make. Basically,
  • fold the paper a few times and cut out the shape making sure to leave the hands attached so it opens out to form the chain; we went with long skirt and blouse as a short dress would involve cutting out legs and worrying about shoes for them
  • then color in the skirt, blouse, hair using chalk pastels and markers, or cut scrap paper, or paints, glitter, just anything we fancy at the moment
  • then draw in a cute face - Ana made alien face, goofy face, face with goggles etc., just had fun with the few she made, and I enjoyed making the rest
  • Finally, glue on tissue paper wings at the back, add some glitter, and they are ready to cheer up the party!

At first, Ana started naming each of her paper chain fairies, making up stories about them based on her favorite characters so far. The one with the blue hair is called Madeline - she has a bridge on her skirt and is lifting up her shirt to show her scar in the tummy when her appendix was removed :) Yes, she has memorized Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline and thanks to the Puffin Books' Madeline CD, she has picked up a few French words and songs. And holding Madeline's hands is the Pink Princess Faery who helps princesses look pretty and pink.

After about half-a-dozen, she just gave up and let them be whoever they wanted to be.

Ripped and Layered Tissue Paper (Découpage-style) Flowers and Butterflies:

Easy Kids Crafts, Paper Chain Faeries, Flowers, Butterflies
  1. Place a large piece of cling wrap or plastic bag flat on a large sheet of newspaper or drop-cloth on the work surface
  2. Then rip colorful tissue papers (preferably in some harmonious colors), place them in one layer, slightly overlapping, to cover the whole area on cling wrap; we went with pink and purple for some, and baby blue and pale yellow for some as we had those handy
  3. Brush on diluted white glue
  4. Add another layer of torn tissue paper and brush with diluted white glue
  5. Add as many as 5 or 6 such layers, sprinkle glitter, allow to dry
  6. Brush on some more diluted white glue to keep the glitter from falling off (this is a bit challenging as some of the loose glitter wants to stick to the brush), and allow to dry completely
  7. Peel off the cling wrap/plastic bag and now we have a beautiful sheet of thick colorful tissue paper to cut up shapes

Ana has been working on "complex cutting" according to her teacher, and as evidenced by the bits she brings home in her folder - lots of waves, zig-zags, complex shapes and such. So, cutting the flowers and butterflies was not too challenging for her. I simply drew the outlines, dark enough for her to just cut along the lines.

For the flowers, the elongated rounded petal shape seemed the easiest to cut, but any nice petal shape would be fine I'm sure. We cut out circles in contrasting color to glue to the center of the flowers. For the butterflies, of course, I folded the paper in half and drew the wing shapes, for symmetry, which makes it easier to cut. We can get fancy with the body, add beads, and embellish each one uniquely. We just went with cutting a rough body+antenna from marbled paper.

I had saved most of her art work from previous explorations - Marbling, Salt Sprinkled Paintings, Bubble Painting, Textured Papers - and we put them to good use to cut out flowers and butterflies.

As always, inspiration comes from many places. One of my favorites I mention here on and off is Usborne Book of Art Ideas. Many of these decorations are a direct result of easy-to-do ideas from this book, as well as Usborne Book of Fairy Things to Make and Do.

Fairy Wings with Tissue Paper, Cardboard, Elastic:
Easy Kids Crafts, easy kids craft fairy wings, Paper Chain Faeries, Flowers, Butterflies
This is an easy and fun project to do for a faery or butterfly themed party craft.
  1. Decide on the approximate wingspan - we used 26x12 inches for the top part and 22x10 inches for the bottom part of the wings
  2. Cut out a rectangular piece of tissue paper: about 26x12 inches for the top wings, and 22x10 inches for the bottom wings. Trim the rectangles if it feels too big. Accordion fold the top wing rectangle, gather and pinch the middle and tape it; do the same for the bottom wings; keep handy
  3. Cut a piece of cardboard rectangle about 6x4 inches or 5x7 inches; poke four holes about an inch from the edges to loop the elastic through
  4. Measure the elastic for the child who will be wearing it - we used two 16 inch pieces of 1/8th inch wide elastic, one for each loop that sits on the shoulder; it worked fine for the 2 yr old as well as the five year olds; it fit me just fine too :)
  5. Thread the elastic through the cardboard holes, as in the picture, and make a knot to secure them in place
  6. Position the tissue paper wings on the prepared cardboard, tilt the top wings upwards and the bottom wing downwards a bit, glue or tape the top and bottom wings to the cardboard to satisfaction. Voilà!

Some options:
  • Before gathering and taping the middle of the rectangular tissue papers to form the wings, we can shape the wings by trimming the edges appropriately. Or this can be done at the end, after assembling the wing, which is what we did, using pinking shears.
  • Also, can cut notches in the cardboard to match the shape of the wings so the cardboard is not visible as much. And, if the plain cardboard irks the senses, we can glue some tissue paper on it first before punching the holes and inserting the elastic.
  • If preferred, can use the découpage-style layered and glued tissue paper as made in the Tissue Paper Découpage Flowers and Butterflies section above for stiffer wings... the possibilities are many and the idea is to keep it simple for the kids to do
  • Instead of two rectangular pieces for the wings, can also take a largish rectangle, fold in half, trace out butterfly wing shape and cut it out to make butterfly-shaped wings

I was debating posting each project above on its own, but, seems like the underlying idea is the same so grouping them here...

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At 5:21 AM, Blogger Kristine said...

What a lovely way of making tissue paper. It would look beautiful with dried flowers added in.

PS Ana's wings match her dress beautifully.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Kristine::Thanks :) Your "dried flowers added in" note reminded me of the hand-made paper we've been churning out in our house - most of kids' art that we don't want to save, junk mail, envelopes from bills, torn wrapping paper... we recycle all of these into hand-made paper - some with glitter, some with dried flowers... and some of these hand-made paper become greeting cards, some remain plain note cards...

At 5:25 AM, Blogger Kristine said...

that sounds lovely - can you do a post on it so I can see it

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Sheela said...

Absolutely, Kristine. We do it on and off and the pictures of the process itself are not too great (it's a bit messy) - but will post it here soon.

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. I am a kindergarten educator & it is so hard to find fairy wings the children can make themselves.
This will empower the children to be able to make them instead of asking for ready made from the shops!
It also teaches them about recycling in a fun way.


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