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December 20, 2010

Fun Craft Idea

So today while looking through one of my magazines I found a really fun idea for a craft. It seemed pretty easy to do so I decided to do it with my 2 year old. Here is the simple instructions with pictures showing each step. This is a great activity to do. I would recommend if you have younger children to prepare the paper ahead of time so they don't have to wait. Also, if they don't like the sound of a blender do that part ahead of time.

Step 1: Tear colored construction paper into about 1 inch square pieces. (They recommended using 3 sheets of 8x11. ) Then soak in hot water for 5 minutes.
Step 2: Pour water and paper into a blender. Blend until its just little chunks of paper. (sorry I almost for got to take a picture so this is after I had removed most of the paper.)
Step 3: Pour the paper into a sieve and squeeze as much of the water out as you can. If you don't have a sieve you could probably just use your hands to do this or if you have a strainer with extremely tiny holes or a cheese cloth. Those would all work good.
Step 4: Place the paper into a bowl. I used 5 different colors and it was nice having them all ready to goat the same time.
Step 5: Take a plate or cookie sheet and cover it with a couple of old towels or rages. Then put a paper towel on top of that. Fill cookie cutters with the mush up to the top. Then smash it down, squeezing out the rest of the water and flattening the mush as flat as you can. For the smaller cookie cutter like the light bulb one I used int he picture below a spoon was needed to flatten in the small spots. I would recommend using larger cutters for little kids so its easier for them to fill and flatten. Do not remove the flattened mush from the cutters just yet! Feel free to get creative and mix colors together. We did two Christmas trees and put garland on one and ornaments on the other using other colors of paper. Add the additional colors after you flattened the main backing down. Make sure you push them into the main back well enough that they connect together.
Step 6: Move the cutters over to a new cookie sheet. (I lined mine with parchment paper). After the cookie cutter is placed down slowly push around the edges to pop the mush out. If you have a smaller cutter like the light bulb one I used be careful that you don't push just one side out first. kind of slowly work your way around the cutter. I did have to re attach some of the green part to the bulb because they came apart. To help keep this from happening make sure you has squeezed as much water out at possible and make the paper as flat as you could.
Step 7: Place the shapes into the oven for 2 hours at 200 degrees. This will dry out the paper and form the hard ornaments. I flipped mine over about 1 1/2 into the time. This helped the other side to dry up a little faster. If they still seem a little damp keep them in for a bit longer and check again. You can then glue ribbon onto the back of them for hanging.
Here are some of the light bulbs I made. My husband said they looked like carrots and beets. lol
After my 2 year old and I were finished we have some left over paper. My husband couldn't resist this fun craft and made a layered star.

I hope you enjoy this idea! This is a great way to use up those scraps of paper left over from other projects!