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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, 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!

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Ribbon Wind Catcher

Categories: no-sew

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My favorite style of holiday craft is the kind that’s generic enough I can leave it up for several weeks (or months) without looking like a nutter. This St. Patrick’s Day rainbow ribbon wind catcher is something you can enjoy all season long, not just on March 17. It fits with the overall theme of the holiday–leprechauns hiding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow–but it’s also just a pretty spring accessory for your home or garden. I imagined this hanging from our dining room light fixture over a table set with corned beef, potatoes, and soda bread, but after seeing how my seven-month-old’s eyes lit up when he saw it, I also love it as a nursery mobile.


And speaking of babies, I made this whole thing during my son’s pitifully short afternoon nap, so it definitely passes the working mom’s quick’n'easy test.

What you’ll need:

  • ribbon
  • scissors
  • embroidery hoop
  • double-stick tape
  • string (optional)
  • glue (optional)
  • I bought a few spools of ribbon at the craft store thinking I would made red, white, and blue wind catchers for Independence Day, but then I popped onto eBay to see if I could get a better deal on supplies, and when I found out I could get the same ribbon at half price, I wanted to buy it all–hence this rainbow version for St. Patrick’s Day.


    My ribbon is 5/8-inch “satin” ribbon (it’s really polyester) and I got 4 yards (12 feet) of each color for $1.50 a pop including shipping. The embroidery hoops are 6-inch plastic Hoop-la brand.


    Cut your ribbons to a length that will work best for wherever you’re going to hang your wind catcher. My ribbon streamers were about 18 inches long. If you’re using a ribbon that frays (like this “satin” stuff), you might want to apply a smear of clear glue to the dangling ends to keep them from unraveling in the wind (or your kids’ fingertips). When doing this project with children, it’s a good idea to prep these little fussy things beforehand so they can just dive right into the fun part.


    Embroidery hoops are made of two rings that fit snugly one inside the other, and you’re going to sandwich your ribbon in between them. The double-stick tape will hold all your ribbon in place on the outer hoop until you’re ready to fasten the smaller hoop inside it. To keep things from getting too sticky and tangled, I worked around the hoop in sections, applying a small strip of tape, then a few strands of ribbon on top, then some more tape, then some more ribbon, and on and on until I had the whole hoop covered.


    Press the tape onto one side and then fold it over the top, so you have three surfaces of stickiness.


    Again, you don’t need to be precise with anything here. Just stick and go and you’ll be done in a snap.


    Once you have all your colors in place, it’s almost time to secure everything with your inner hoop. But first you’ll need to make a hanger for your wind catcher out of some string or extra ribbon. I used nylon string because that’s what I had on hand, but cotton string, baker’s twine, sisal, ribbon…it’s up to you.

    Measure three equal lengths of string so that each strand loops under the inner embroidery hoop and meets back at the top at your desired length. You can use double-stick tape to keep the string in place if things start sliding around. With each string looped around the hoop, gather up all six ends and tie them in a knot at the top. (You might have to do some futzing to get the hoop to hang level from the knot, unless you don’t mind it being a bit off-kilter.)


    Now that your two hoops are ready, snuggle the inner ring inside the outer one–being sure that all your ribbon ends are tucked in securely–and then tighten the nut on the screw to finish everything off.


    Watch how your kids swirl these through the air as soon as they’re done. That right there is worth more than a pot o’ gold.


    “May the wind be ever at your back.” –old Irish blessing

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