June 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM ET
Renowned for her inventive and resourceful advice for stylish living, Martha Stewart turns her attention to children with "Martha Stewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids." Here's an excerpt.
Giant Bubble Wand
When it comes to bubble- making contests, those wands that come in little plastic bottles just don’t do the job. Luckily, it’s easy to create a blower that produces oversize bubbles—and a homemade solution that will keep you in steady supply.
Did you know?
A bubble is made of a thin film of soap formed around a pocket of air. The dishwashing soap in bubble solution makes the water become flexible, and the force of surface tension allows the solution to hold the shape of a bubble when air is blown into it. Regardless of a bubble’s initial shape, it will try to become a sphere.
• Liquid dishwashing soap
• Light corn syrup
• Large shallow container
• Cotton twine
• Drinking straws
• Bubble solution
1. To make bubble solution, POUR 10 cups water, 4 cups dishwashing soap, and 1 cup corn syrup into a large shallow container. STIR to combine. (You can also use store-bought solution.)
2. THREAD cotton twine through 2 straws (CUT off any flexible section of the straws), and MAKE a rectangle with straws as long sides and string for short sides (see opposite); KNOT, and TRIM excess.
3. Holding straws, and keeping blower slack, DIP in solution and lift out. Then carefully PULL straws apart so string is tight, and BLOW (you may need to practice a bit). You can CHANGE position of straws to form bubbles of different shapes and sizes. For the wand shown above right, simply SHIFT the straws so they are end to end on the bottom with string on top.
Good-bye, rainy- day blues! Hello, cheerful umbrellas! These paint- it- yourself designs should put everyone in a sunny mood in no time. All you need is paint, brushes, a solid-colored nylon umbrella, and a burst of creativity.
Read the manufacturer’s directions on the paint before you begin: Some fabric paints require the addition of fixative; others require ironing the umbrella after painting it to “set” the design. Use a low heat setting and test the umbrella before ironing the painted portions; or iron with a press cloth over the pattern to protect the nylon.
• Fabric paint, or other permanent waterproof paint such as acrylic, in assorted colors
• Child-size nylon umbrella
• Disappearing- ink fabric pen
1. COVER the work surface with newspaper, and WEAR a smock to protect your clothes.
2. PAINT freehand designs onto umbrella or MARK a pattern with a disappearing- ink pen before you begin. TRY a simple repeating pattern, like stripes, polka dots, hearts, stars, numbers, or letters of the alphabet. The (cloudy) sky is the limit! Once finished, LEAVE the umbrella open overnight and allow the paint to dry completely before you close it or use it.
These crafts are for kids who love to make things move— miniature cars and buses, trains and planes, rocket ships and UFOs. In an afternoon, you can turn cereal boxes, paper plates, and cardboard tubes into vehicles of all sorts. And you don’t need any high- tech materials— just flour, strips of newspaper, glue, and paint.
Googly-eyed aliens ride aboard out- of- this- world flying saucers. Suspended from clear monofilament, they speed through space passing a rocket ship from earth on the way.
• Lightweight cardboard containers
• Masking or painter’s tape
• Tempera or acrylic paint
• Ribbon, rickrack, stickers, and colored paper, for decorating
• Cardboard tube
• Paper plates
• Small paper cups
• Small alien figurines
• Small, clear plastic containers
To make the base
1. LOOK around the house for lightweight cardboard containers the right shape and size for your base and other parts. You can manipulate the shape of each box— we opened the corners of one to make windshields. TAPE boxes together to secure.
2. To make wheel shapes, POKE holes in box with a pencil, and SLIDE chopsticks through as a place holder; CUT out rounds from cardboard. For spinning wheels, CUT straws a bit wider than car and use to replace chopsticks; SLIP on cardboard wheels.
To cover with papier-mâché
1. MAKE the papier-mâché mixture by blending 1 part flour with 2 parts water in a bowl, and STIR until smooth.
2. TEAR or cut newspaper into strips. DIP a piece of newspaper into the mixture; SQUEEZE with your fingers so it isn’t drippy. LAY paper over vehicle base; gently smooth. CONTINUE until the outside is a few layers thick. Let dry overnight.
3. Once dry, PAINT with tempera or acrylic. GLUE on any details, stickers, and other decorative items. ATTACH wheels; TRIM chopsticks.
Papier-mâché can get a little messy, so be sure to completely cover your work space with paper before beginning.
To make a rocket
1. For an irregular shape like the rocket’s, SQUEEZE crumpled newspaper into a tapered shape, and TAPE in place on top of a short cardboard tube.
2. CUT out wing shapes from lightweight cardboard boxes and TAPE into place, then cover rocket and wings with papier-mâché as directed, opposite. Let dry overnight.
3. PAINT rocket with tempera or acrylic, then DECORATE with stickers, rickrack, andother decorative items.
To make a flying saucer
1. CUT a hole in the center of a paper plate, making it large enough to hold a small paper cup.
2. PLACE the paper plate with the hole and another paper plate together with their tops facing (STUFF crumpled newspaper inside to support the sagging surface). TAPE together and cover with papier- mâché as directed, opposite. Let dry overnight.
3. PAINT with tempera or acrylic, then DECORATE with stickers and tape. When dry, PLACE an alien inside the cup, and TAPE down a plastic container (clean fruit cups or drink covers are just the right size).
From MarthaStewart's Favorite Crafts for Kids. Copyright © 2013 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc and reprinted by permission of Clarkson Potter/Publishers