Student-made

Simple ways to get crafty in Lockdown

It’s getting to the point in lockdown where we need a new way to stay occupied, so why not try your hand at crafting. Since a young child, I have loved getting creative and this has been my saving grace during the pandemic. Crafts don’t have to require previous experience and copious amounts of equipment. This blog will detail different crafts that anyone can undertake with items you are likely to find in your home.

#1 Salt dough gift tags

Go that extra mile when giving presents and create your own clay gift tags with ingredients that you can find in your kitchen cupboard.

Materials

  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • ½ cup of table salt
  • ½ cup of water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the water and stir until it comes together into a ball.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and shape into your chosen model.
  4. Put your finished items on the lined baking sheet and bake for 3 hrs or until solid.
  5. Leave to cool and then paint.

#2 Quilling artwork for your home

The art of paper craft is a simple but effective way to create colourful pieces of artwork for your home.

Materials

  • Strips of coloured paper that are approximately 3mm wide
  • Clear drying paper glue
  • Plain white card

Instructions

The possibilities are endless for quilling and it’s a case of creating shapes from the strips of paper and gluing them down, sideways, onto your plain white card until you have a design worth hanging up in your home.

There are a lot of YouTube tutorials for creating quilling designs and so I would recommend taking a look for a tutorial.

#3 Garden bug boxes

Encourage insects to make your back garden their home and give nature a helping hand by creating a homemade bug box that the little critters can enjoy.

Materials

  • An old wooden box which could be an old deep picture frame, wine crate, cookie tin, or small draw
  • Flowers, leaves, wood, sticks, moss etc. collected from the outdoors

Instructions

  1. Fill your wooden box with the supplies collected from outside to create a fun and packed environment for your garden insects.
  2. Place your bug box in a sheltered but sunny spot surrounded by a variety of flowering and insectary plants for the best results.

#4 Tie-dye old clothes

A simple but effective way to add a pop of colour to your old clothes.

Materials

  • Old piece of white clothing
  • Rubber bands
  • Gloves
  • Vinegar or salt
  • Water
  • Various pots and pans
  • Stove
  • Containers for dyeing
  • Small strainer
  • Raw materials to make dyes including; turmeric powder for yellow, red onion skins for pink, and red cabbage leaves for purple.

Instructions

  1. Prepare your fabric for dyeing: Use rubber bands to create a pattern on your fabric.
  2. Once you’re satisfied with your design, it’s time to treat your fabric with a fixative: If you are making a plant/veggie-based dye, mix 1-part vinegar to 4 parts water and bring to the boil. Simmer your fabric solution for one hour prior to dying. When done simmering, run under cool water and wring out a bit of the excess water.
  3. Make your dye: Wearing gloves, cut or tear your raw ingredients into small pieces and measure. Throw it in a pot and pour in water (2 parts water to 1-part raw ingredients. For example: one cup of torn cabbage leaves to two cups of water). If you are using a spice, such as turmeric, the proportions will be 1-2 Tbs. of spice to 3-4 cups of water. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for about an hour. The longer you simmer, the more intense your colour will become. When done simmering, strain dye into a container or jar big enough to fit your garment or fabric. You will feel a bit like a mad scientist at this point, but just go with it!
  4. Dye your fabric: Wearing gloves, place your fabric into dye containers and allow them to sit for a while. Once your fabric has reached the desired hue (remember, colour will lighten a little as your fabric dries), pull it out of the dye and rinse with cool water separately until it runs clear. Remove rubber bands and hang to dry.

#5 Origami greetings cards

Spend some time hand making cards for upcoming events and celebrations with the art of paper folding.

Materials

  • 1 square piece of plain paper (pink)
  • 1 square piece of patterned card
  • 1 small square piece of metallic card
  • 1 small square piece of card in the same colour as your larger square plain piece of card
  • Ink pen for the card’s message

Instructions

  1. Follow the steps below to create a homemade pinwheel greetings card.
Photo from My Paper Arts on Pinterest

#6 Drip paint plant pots

Brighten up the plain pots sitting in your garden with a splash of paint.

Materials

  • Old plain plant pot
  • Acrylic paints in your chosen colours
  • Piece of cardboard

Instructions

  1. Turn the plant upside down on top of the piece of cardboard
  2. Pour the different coloured paints over the base of the plant pot until you are happy with the coverage.
  3. Leave to dry before planting.

#7 Confetti bowl

Create a new bowl that’s full of colour and fun with nothing more than cut up pieces of paper, a balloon, and some glue.

Materials

  • Confetti or small cut up pieces of paper
  • Clear drying glue
  • Paint brush
  • Balloon
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Inflate the balloon to your desired bowl size
  2. Paint a thin layer of glue onto the top of the balloon where you would like to add confetti which will make up the bowl.
  3. Begin to add the confetti pieces and add more glue where required.
  4. Paint a final layer of glue over the pieces of confetti.
  5. Once dry, carefully deflate the balloon by making a small incision at the base beside the knot.
  6. Cut back the edges of your bowl to your preference.

#8 Homemade soap bars

Wondering what to do with old bars of soap lying around the house, why not melt them down and curate your own homemade bar.

Materials

  • Old bars of soap
  • Sharp kitchen knife or grater
  • Wooden spoon or wooden spatula
  • Saucepan
  • Heat proof bowl
  • Liquid of choice (water/tea/milk)
  • Fragrance of essential oils of choice (lavender/rosemary/peppermint)
  • Nourishing oils of choice (vitamin C oil/ jojoba oil/almond oil)
  • Exfoliants and botanicals of choice (oatmeal/sea salt/dried lavender buds)
  • Silicon moulds

Instructions

  1. Cut or grate the soap into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the faster your soap will melt.
  2. Place the soap into a double boiler. Fill a saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heat-safe bowl om top; make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pan. Pour the soap pieces into the bowl and melt down to a liquid.
  3. Add the liquid. Add around 25ml of liquid per 100gs of soap to reach a think doughy consistency.
  4. Start heat the soap, every 5 minutes. Turn the hob on to a medium-high heat and allow the water to come to a boil. Stir the soap every 5 minutes with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Make sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  5. Continue cooking and stirring the soap until it softens. It should turn into a grainy mixture; this takes about 1-2hrs.
  6. Allow the soap to cool so that it is warm to touch. It should be around 70degrees centigrade.
  7. Stir in a fragrance or essential oil. Use about 5ml of oil per 100gs of soap.
  8. Mix in some nourishing oils for extra luxury. Add a few drops of chosen facial oils.
  9. Add some texture with botanicals and exfoliants. The exfoliants gently buff away dry skin, leaving it feeling silky-smooth and the botanicals add a bit of decoration to your bar. Use 40g of exfoliants and botanicals for every 100gs of soap.
  10. Scoop the soap into the mould. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scoop the soap into the mould. Smooth the back of the mouth down with your instrument. Drop the soap mould onto the counter multiple times to release and air bubbles
  11. Allow the soap to dry for 1-2 days in refrigerator before demoulding it. Once the soap is dry, carefully pull it out of the mould. Allow the soap to cure, if it feels a little soft and gummy, for a further two days on a cooling rack.

#9 Hemp pendant lamps

Replace an old light shade with one that you can create at home with a ball of string.

Materials

  • Hemp string
  • Balloon
  • Clear drying glue
  • Paint brush
  • Plastic container
  • Permanent marker
  • Old hardware from existing old lamp

Instructions

  1. Inflate the balloon to the desired size for the lamp
  2. Draw a circle around the knot that would allow a light bulb to fit through with the permanent marker pen. This circle represents the portion of the lamp that needs to remain clear of string.
  3. Fill your plastic container with glue
  4. Begin assembling your hemp lamp by placing the string in the glue before placing it onto the balloon in a lattice design. Leave the circle around the knot untouched.
  5. Allow to dry before carefully deflating the balloon by making a small incision by the side of the knot.
  6. Install the recycled hardware into the top of your lamp and fix in position over your desire light fitting.

#10 Cushion covers

Wondering what to do with old fabrics lying around your home, well why not create your own customised cushion?

Materials

  • Old piece of fabric
  • Needle and thread or sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Chosen embellishments (beading, sequins, embroidery, fabrics, pompoms, tassels, fringing etc.)

Instructions

  1. Wash and iron your fabric. This will help to avoid shrinkage in future washes.
  2. Cut out your fabric shapes. Measure out a square on your fabric that is two inches bigger than your cushion pad and cut. Cut another piece into a rectangle that is half the width of the square you just cut but keep it the same height. Cut another rectangle that is 2/3 of the width of the square but keep the same height. The two rectangles are going to form the back of an envelope cushion.
  3. Make the edges look nice. Fold over a ¼ inch on one of the sides of the rectangles and stich in place.
  4. Assembling your cushion. Place the square fabric (right side facing up) onto the counter. Lay both rectangles on top of the square (right sides facing towards the square’s right side) so that the folded edges overlap and pin all the way round. Sew along all four sides and back stich where the back pieces overlap. When you have finished sewing, clip the corners. Turn the cover right way out and push the corners out.
  5. Add your desired embellishments or design. Use embroidery, beading, sequins, fringing and patchwork to make your cushion come to life
  6. Insert the cushion pad and relax on your new cushion. I hope this blog has been useful to those of you seeking a new way to spend their time during lockdown, or anyone simply interesting in forging a deeper connection with their homes!
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