Shrink art Christmas tree decor!

We’ve been shrinky-dinking our Christmas tree! It all started with a simple play-date and then I guess the festive mood set in. 😉

shrink art Christmas tree decor

If you’re a shrinky dink noob, it’s best to experiment with a few extra pieces in the oven before putting in your real handiwork. (Saves you the heartache from seeing your precious design destroyed by too high a temperature. Recommended temperature is about 150 degree celsius.)

Here are some posts for tips and how-tos:

I got my opaque white shrink plastic paper (A4 size, $1.50 each) from Art Friend. The store also stocks Sharpies permanent markers, which you’ll need for drawing on the paper. I’ve tried using colour pencils and the effect isn’t as great. I’ve also tried the transparent plastic paper that Art Friend also stocks, but found the white ones better, in terms of baking results and look and feel.

When designing your plastic sheet, remember that the piece will shrink to approximately a quarter of the original size, so don’t make your designs too small!

When you’re ready to pop your design in the oven, be prepared to see your plastic paper warp and distort in the heat as it shrinks. Remember the temperature cannot be too high. Toaster ovens work best, but my stove-top convention oven also does the trick (although it tends to over-heat at some points.)

shrink art in the oven

You’ll notice that the plastic piece will twist and turn and look hideous, but stay calm and allow the heat to do its thing. After a couple more seconds, the plastic should unfold and flatten out. (If it doesn’t, use a pair of long chopsticks to ease the plastic apart if it looks like it’s stuck together.)

Once the plastic is flattened, remove it onto a chopping board and quickly use your tongs or another flat surface to flatten it completely. (Like ironing out the kinks.) I keep a mitten nearby in case I need to use my hands to flatten the artwork.

shrink art Christmas tree decor

Oh yes, to get the little hole so that you can string the ornament onto the tree, just use your regular hole puncher to punch a hole BEFORE you pop it in the oven. Easy!

We chose to keep the piece in a rectangular shape so that it stands out a bit more on the Christmas tree. You can choose to trim your design according to whatever shape it is, of course.

There. This was a fun and simple project to do, and adds a personal touch to our tree. Which by the way, the little elves thoroughly enjoyed decorating.

Here is a time lapse video of their merry-decorating. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! 🙂

Little Lessons: Discovering your child’s talents and gifts

Vera was busy painting last Sunday.

rainbow painting

When I asked her about her artwork, she said:

“Someone squeezed this black thing here (which looks like an ink jar to me…) and a rainbow shoots out!”

I was a little surprised at how she got the idea of squirting a rainbow out from a little black pot. But I just stood back and let her do her thing. Occasionally, I glanced over just to see how she’s going.

After she was done, I asked her what were the two things jumping on the rainbow. (I honestly thought they were monkeys…) She said they were water droplets since a rainbow is formed from droplets in the air, and light shining through them. (She had just been learning about the water cycle at school.)

I just stood and examined the finished piece. We’ve long realised that she’s interested in art, and loves to doodle and draw on her own. Obviously since the days of Frozen, everything has to do with princesses and castles and snow and kings and queens. But occasionally, she goes and draws something out of the blue – like this one.

She loves rainbows. She always has. (Maybe it has something to do with Aunty Waijia’s A Taste of Rainbow book that she read long ago.)

I remember thinking sometime back about discovering each child’s interests and area of giftings – yes it might seem a little young to jump to conclusions about where these may lie, but I think what they naturally like to do, and also seem to excel at, give us some handles to go by.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ve done much to hone her interest in art. I’ve pretty much provided the paints, different media for her to paint on, and sometimes we paint twigs, leaves, and other little things that we pick from the park. Yes we also love to do simple crafts at home. But that’s about it. I think it’s time to pick up some art books from the library.

At some point in the near future, I’d love to bring her to take up some formal art lessons, but for now I am enjoying watching her express her ideas and personality through her paintings and drawings. It’s raw, childlike and gives me a window into her thoughts and feelings too. It’s also a joy to behold, every new piece is like a little surprise. I hope she continues to love and express herself through art.

This is Little Lessons #22, which runs on the blog every Thursday. Do grab our badge and link up your little lessons / reflections / learning activities below!

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Handmade mother’s day cards and gift tags {Fund-raiser for MINDS}

Some of you know I’m involved in a handmade for charity project.

We are raising funds for MINDS by selling handmade cards and tags.

Here is my latest batch of cards for mother’s day (coming up next month)!

mother's day cardSold

Sold

Sold

These 6×6 cards come with white envelopes. I also have some gift / encouragement tags too. These are made using coasters and pretty paper, windmills and lotsa love. 😉

gift tags All sold, except B1 and B3

 B9 sold

All these are going for $2.50 each (not inclusive of postage), which is a steal if you ask me. LOL.

Just leave me a comment or email me at mamawearpapashirt@gmail.com for orders.

Thanks for supporting our cause! 😀

Check out the designs made by other mums:

Little Lessons: Valentine’s day craft and learning about extravagant love

This week’s little lessons is inspired by a craft I first saw at education.com.

I adapted it with materials that I found around the house.

valentine craft

love bug DIY craft
1) Cut out a heart shape using red or pink card stock. Tip: the heart should be about the size of your palm or smaller. The paper should ideally be more than 120gsm as this will help the bug to “stand” better. (Ours was a tad flimsy and could barely support the weight of the ping pong!)

2) Write a simple love message on the heart.

3) Decorate the ping pong ball with red or black paper, making a smiley face.

4) Cut pipecleaner into one-inch legs. Fold each leg to make a right angle. Glue one end of the leg to the bottom of the paper heart. Your love-bug can have six or eight legs, depending on you. Tip: It can get messy glueing the legs as you need to hold it in place for a few minutes while it dries to ensure it stays upright.

5) Glue the head onto the tip of the heart. Voila! Get bitten by the love bug! 🙂

While doing the craft, I spoke to the kids about Valentine’s day and explained that it’s a day where we express our love to those we love.

After saying that I realised how silly that may sound to them since they express their love to us every day, day in day out. (And we to them too.)

Especially like how they rush to the door with peals of excitement whenever daddy comes home. Or how they give us a giant hug out of the blue. And those unexpected “i-love-you’s”

Their acts of child-like love are so full and real and extravagant. Sometimes I think they put us to shame. Perhaps it’s because they have no fear of what people might think. Or that they haven’t learnt to inhibit their behaviour according to social norms.

Perhaps it’s also because they know that we love them, and they feel safe expressing their love to us.

When I see them loving us so richly, I’m inspired to love them more, and to express my love to them in similarly extravagant ways too.

For them, every day must be Valentine’s day.

What are some of your favourite ways of loving and showing love to your children? 🙂

Little Lessons linky is open. Do link up your everyday lessons and learning activities here!

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How to make paper snowflakes

Snowflake fun

We made paper snowflakes recently.

I started by folding a square piece of white paper using the instructions here. (Note: the folding in thirds part may look a bit complex, but after the first try, it’s actually quite simple). Then randomly cut out small triangles and other shapes from the folded piece.

Here’s what this snowflake design looks like when still folded.

snowflake craft

I unfolded the paper from time to time to see the progress and to understand how each cut made a different pattern on the snowflake.

Then I got the kids to paint the snowflakes, and let them dry. After they were dry, we ran glue tape over the surface and sprinkled red sparkles all over. (I tried to get silver sparkles but alas Popular seemed to have run out.)

After the sparkles have set (gotta shake the snowflakes a little to get ride of excess sparkles), we stuck them on the kids’ bedroom wall for that little Christmassy touch.

 

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. 😉

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