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Family Craft Ideas

with Leah

I'm Leah--wife, mother, editor, writer, photographer, and rickrack apologist. There's craftiness in my DNA, but between the kids and my work and the house and the television and my blogs (http://www.agirlandaboy and http://www.workitmom.com/bloggers/workingonmotherhood, among others), I have to keep my projects quick and easy if I hope to finish them before my boys (born December 2008 and July 2012) graduate from college. You're a working mom and you're busy too, but if you still want to get your craft on, join me here for some fun projects!

Holiday Craft: Spaghetti Tree Gift Tags

Categories: Christmas, diy, no-sew, paint, paper, upcycle

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What does spaghetti have to do with Christmas? Aside from my mom always suggesting we skip the big Christmas dinner and have pasta instead, not a whole lot. Until now. Let’s make some fun tree tags with dried noodles.

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What you’ll need:

–dried spaghetti (or the long noodle of your choice)
–empty cardboard cereal box, or even the spaghetti box itself
–craft paint
–foam craft brush
–scissors
–clear-drying glue
–pencil
–scrap paper
–tree template (optional)

This idea is a take-off of these awesome feathers from super-crafter Dana, of Made fame, and I think the technique lends itself perfectly to the tree theme, don’t you?

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Start by drawing your tree shapes. I folded a piece of scrap paper in half, drew half a tree along the fold, and then cut it out. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly symmetrical. (You can print out a clipart tree if you don’t trust your freehand skills.)

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When you have your shapes like you want them, trace the outline onto your cardboard. I used cereal boxes but you could use the spaghetti box if your trees aren’t too big.

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Time to paint! I used greens from the acrylic paint set I bought to make custom pencils for back-to-school time, but you could use washable kid paint too, especially if your kid’s the one doing the painting.

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Let the paint dry. Maybe make some more snowflake forms in the meantime. When your trees are dry to the touch, it’s time for the spaghetti. Prep the surface by coating it with clear-drying glue. (We used regular old school glue.)

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Pasta time! Lay one long noodle onto the glue. To break it off in just the right place, press a finger onto the noodle and snap off the excess with the other hand. I only took one photo of this step, but the original feather post can help you out if what I’m saying doesn’t quite make sense. Also please note this step is messy; don’t even try to be neat about it.

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When you have all your noodles in place more or less (they slide around a lot), you have to do some more waiting while they dry. Maybe take a nap in front of the fire? When you wake up, you get to add another layer of paint, and that’s what makes these look cool and fancy and boutiquey instead of like pasta glued to cardboard.

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To give the tree some extra interest and dimension, we used a slightly darker shade of green for this step. I instructed my son to splotch it on somewhat randomly instead of trying to perfectly cover only the noodles, and I love the effect.

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When your trees are all dry (yes, I know, again with the drying), you’re ready to…do stuff with them. I’m using ours to embellish wrapped gifts, since I bought an industrial-sized roll of plain brown kraft paper that needs a bit of sprucing up (see what I did there?), but you could also turn these into ornaments or door hangers or you could put them in a shadowbox frame and make a little 3D forest (ooh, I’m going to do that now), or maybe stick a gift card to the back for a teacher or your mail carrier, or maybe you’re going to do something a thousand times more creative that will make everyone go wowzers!

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(I’ve only just recently noticed that although the comment counts at the tops of these posts always say zero, if you scroll down to the bottom, hey! there are sometimes comments there! If you make these–or any of the crafts you see here–I’d of course love to know about it, so do share!)



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