I have always been envious of people I know who are able to do fabulous crafts with their kids. Though I am an artist, and have the paper in my basement to prove it, I seem to be lacking the crafting gene. My kids, like most kids, love to do crafts. I think this is because they feel as though they are contributing to the decor of the house, and don’t think of it as one more macaroni covered piece of clutter.
When you think about it, how much of what is in your home was actually picked out by them?
The holidays are the perfect time to make time for crafts. They are seasonal, which means you don’t have to feel bad when you “store” them at the town dump. It is a nice way to spend a cold stormy day when everyone is trapped in the house and about to tear each other’s throats out. And since it is a holiday, you can drink eggnog and eat cookies while you do it.
This week we made tin can lanterns.
Get some cans. Making chili is always a good way to get lots of cans. Just be sure you tell your significant other not to take the recycling to the dump. Because even though there are weeks upon weeks worth of recycling sitting in the bins next to the garbage, this will be the week that he decides to go. That is after you have painstakingly washed the cans, removed the labels, and stacked the cans neatly on the counter.
Then you will be stuck standing in front of your cabinets muttering, “Now what can we eat that comes from cans?”
Fill your can with water, allowing room at the top for expansion, and put the can in freezer. Or if you are very lucky like me, just put the water filled can outside. The warning for this step is to make sure you tell the beloved fruit of your loins to not knock them all over and let the water spill on the steps leading to the back door. Because they will do this. And then deny they did.
Gather your supplies. The now frozen tin can, a towel, a big pointy nail, a hammer, a pencil, the label from the can, and a set of child hands.
Step 4: Using the backside of the label that you lovingly and painstakingly removed from the can, draw a pattern. it could be a snowflake, a star, a tree, or just a design.
The wearing of festive jewelry, sometimes also referred to as Christmas tree decorations, is optional, though highly recommended.
After the pattern is drawn on the back of the label, tape the label onto the can making sure that the design does not go over the seam of the can. Place the can on a folded towel to protect the table. Hammer your nail into the can. It doesn’t require much effort to pierce the can. So even the littlest ones can do this craft with help.
Not like this though
Unless you have a spare finger.
My 4 and 7 yr olds were able to do it pretty independently. They took turns helping each other hold the can when it threatened to roll away.
Not pictured, is the extra special fun of scooping up the ice chips as they shoot out of the can before your siblings can get to them. This turns lantern making into a contact sport. And what better way to say Merry Christmas to your siblings than a sucker punch in the arm, all while your mother says, “Have you children never seen ice before?”
When you are done, the cans will look like this. You can spray paint them if you want with some high heat spray paint, which would be nice touch. But I was going for the recycled can look. Yes, I was. No, really.
Put a little candle inside the can.
Arrange the cans on a windowsill with some garland, or as a centerpiece on the table, maybe even a mantle.
Stand back, turn down the lights, and ooooh and ahhhhh.
When I first began thinking of this craft I planned on drilling a hole in the bottom of each can and attaching the cans to a string of lights, with the lightbulbs going into each individual can and illuminating it. And then hanging this entire string of tin can lanterns up in my screened sun porch. But after we began the project I realized that I only had 20ft long light strings which would probably be about 15 ft too long.
Also, I started to think that maybe this wouldn’t be as shabby chic as I originally thought and perhaps screamed double wide instead. What do you think?