Projects for kids – using mostly things found around the house – that are super easy – and actually make great decor pieces – check, check, check and check! Paper always seems to get the creativity flowing at PurpleTrail. Here’s a few of our favorite paper crafting ideas for kids or kids at heart…
The stars and stripes never looked so good on a classic, patriotic pinwheel. The great thing about pinwheels? Easy to make and easy to transfer from cute, hand-held toy to dramatic decoration to even gift wrap embellishment. The common theme is square paper – think larger, double-sided, playfully printed, scrapbook papers, gift wrap or paper with kid’s artwork for fun decor pieces. Smaller paper works well for a gift wrap accoutrement. Decorating a school bulletin board? Use standard filler paper cut into squares. Starting with any size square sheet of paper (remember heavier weight papers will tend to crease rather than loop for the spokes of your pinwheel), follow these steps to create a pinwheel.
- Draw a light pencil line diagonally across the middle of the pinwheel – from one corner to the opposite corner. Turn and do the same for the other two corners.
- Where the two lines intersect is the middle of your pinwheel. Lightly mark the middle and alternating corners of each spoke with a dot. Hole punch your dots – including the middle.
- Cut along each line toward the center of the square – leaving about 1” (do not cut all the way to the center). Cut the same from each corner toward the center.
- Fold alternating corners toward the center point and secure using a pin, brad or use these handy ‘pinwheel parts’ we found online https://www.amazon.com/We-Memory-Keepers-Pinwheel-Attachment/dp/B00O2YO5ME
- Fit your cut/hole punched paper on the pinwheel assembly thru the middle hole and then one by one lightly bend the spokes to fit over each other. Slip the circular stopper over the end of the plastic assembly. If you are not using the pre-made parts, use a pin to punch a hole through each spoke and attach to the eraser of a pencil. (You can also use a brad, but your pinwheel will be stationary.)
PurpleTrail’s resident origami expert, Melanie, (who incidentally as a child got in trouble for focusing on her paper folding rather than her homework), can bring paper to life with fun paper-folding techniques. While there are plenty of resources for origami, some of the easiest folds, create the cutest results. Have an impossible tween or teen to shop for? Use a dollar bill (or any president will do) to fold into a gift that any picky teen will enjoy spending.
- Place bill ‘president-side’ down and fold up bottom edge of bill (you will be able to see the words ‘twenty dollars’.) Fold bill in half vertically. Unfold.
- Fold up from both sides to meet at the center fold line. Flip over.
- Make two small diagonal folds at top/center as shown below.
- Do the same with the outer edges – folding down to meet the edge.
- Fold in the outer tips to make a flat edge. Flip over… Your heart is done!
Tissue Paper Critters
Dive into tissue paper with sea creatures big and small. From whales to sea turtles and a little, red crab – we have the beach covered. The key here is folding – accordion folding – lots of it – back n forth, back n forth then securing the folded stack in the middle and gently spreading each tissue paper layer until you have a full ball – the body of your creature. Add paper features like a water spout, fins and facial features to give your tissue paper ball a personality. Look at the personalities some of our students created for their sea turtles.
- Layer approximately 8-10 sheets of 20”x 30” tissue paper (this size will create a large pom pom).
- Fold edge over approximately 1” – turn over and fold back – repeat – they will create an accordion effect. Secure the middle with a pipe cleaner, wire or tie.
- Trim the corners of each end to round (or pointy if that’s your preference).
- Carefully separate the layers of tissue paper. Pull each layer up, away from the accordion stack. Continue with all layers on one side, turn and do the same for the other side. Adjust and ‘fluff’ the tissue to make the shape you prefer.
- On a piece of construction paper or colored paper, cut out claws, fins, eyes, spout, etc… add body and facial features with double-sided tape (glue will discolor some tissue paper) and voila… you have a creature!
Have a farm or jungle themed birthday coming up? It’s easy to move your tissue paper critters from the beach to the farm or jungle, by adjusting colors and changing up the paper features.
Remember when grocery bags were for groceries and book covers? No longer… we love repurposing paper bags in a ‘recycling meets crafting’ kind of way and came up with an oversized flower/rosette that makes a huge statement while being ‘super easy’ on the difficulty meter.
- Gather 7-8 gusseted paper bags, stacking them so they are all facing the same direction.
- Tape or glue each bag to the next, careful to keep your adhesive in a ‘T’ shape that does not go too close to the edges (this allows for some flexibility when you open the flower).
- Trim the top of all the bags to form a point. Open so the top bag meets the bottom and tape the final two sections together. Voila – awesome decor for any room!
With over 10 billion grocery bags used by Americans each year, this project also got us thinking about what else a paper bag can do. You can also transform a standard grocery bag into utilitarian items like a basket and the much coveted ‘last minute class Halloween costume’ – even a Thanksgiving turkey! Check out
While our passion may be made mostly of paper, PurpleTrail offers a variety of ways to be creative. For more information about PurpleTrail, visit www.purpletrail.com.