Children face Christmas with a very different attitude to adults. They are excited, they enjoy the planning and the preparation and they love the concept of giving. Throwing yourself open to the joy of children at this time of year can be a confronting and messy approach to the next 7 weeks but it can also be one of the most rewarding and valuable experiences they have.
Over the next few posts, The Family Beast will be showing you and your children how to create a handmade Christmas that is fun, easy to achieve, with end results that look great. The only thing we can’t promise is no mess. There will be mess. It’s unavoidable.
But first you will need some basic supplies.
The Ultimate Handmade Christmas Craft Supply List
1 roll of Kraft paper
This can be found at office supply warehouses such as Office Works. For around $25 Australian dollars you can get a roll that is half a metre wide and 70 metres long. This should last you for at least 12 months of birthdays, and a Christmas or two.
Good quality water colour paper
Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, good quality paper makes a big difference when you are creating your own cards. Keep in mind a gift card can cost upward of $7.00 – and really, what becomes of those exquisitely presented cards a few months down the track? They are either thrown out or hoarded. Or given to a child to cut up. Something like a Canson 200gsm watercolour stock is ideal, but any thick watercolour paper will be fine. The Two Dollar type shops often have a good craft section.
There are two types of glue that are essential. One is the UHU Glue Stick type of glue. This is easy for little hands to use and it washes out easily, wipes off all surfaces including the dog and does a pretty decent job of sticking paper and cardboard to paper and cardboard. The other glue is PVA glue. PVA glue will stick most things to most things; wood, plastic, paper, and while it claims to be washable, that only refers to before it dries and hardens – after it dries and hardens, it has the same qualities as acrylic paint. It ruins paintbrushes, and can attach glitter to the dog for the rest of it’s natural life. But don’t be put off.
As with everything, get the best quality you can. For the kind of painting suggested on this blog, these Stockmar watercolours are what will be used.
All pencils are not equal. Intensity of pigment varies greatly as does the general quality of the outer casing and the inner lead.
Who ever thought that children need oil based crayons clearly never had to clean them off anything. Like skin. Beeswax crayons are environmentally sustainable, lovely to use – and when they wear down they can be melted down into fun shapes to extend their life.
Alphabet stamps can make a simple white card look both stylish and handmade at the same time. They are also great for children who are learning their letters but aren’t quite up to writing words that Grandma can understand without an interpreter. They also make a great gift in themselves. Kikki K has them in both upper and lower case with coloured stamp pads. They are available here in the UK (and shipping worldwide)
String, ribbon etc
Art and craft supply shops are popping up all over the place so you are never far from somewhere that sells big balls of coloured jute, and ribbon. Keep an eye out for rolls of ribbon in shops like Lincraft and Spotlight – their discount bins can have rolls of ribbon for only a few dollars. Stock up when you can as it will never go to waste.
It may not seem like much, and as you explore some of the ideas and have some of your own, you will add what you need as you go. For example, glitter, sequins and those punches that clip shapes out of paper. With the list above, you can create gift cards for any occasion, some stylish wrapping paper and even a few gifts! And all without sticky tape…
Next up, gift cards that are gorgeous, personal and a fraction of the cost of commercial cards.
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