I’ve started crafting. It’s could be part of a larger post titled “My Shocking Shift into the Parody of a Domestic Housewife” that I’ll write later, but for now, I’m very happy to report that my crafting blood has been ignited by a 4 and 6 year old. FINALLY, they are old enough to participate and enjoy it. The weekend craft sessions are truly living out a fantasy that I didn’t really know I had.
Now I want to be very clear, this is a hobby, I love the process far more than the result. I have decent taste, but lack skill and attention to detail, as you’ll see. I won’t be setting up a booth at an artisanal market anytime soon. I’m more doing this with the kids to have something that we can do together that we actually ALL enjoy (plus I get adorable mementos for trees or scrapbooks that will help memorialize this time together).
Sitting at that table together, creating garbage ornaments feels incredibly bonding. The energy is so happy, the creative freedom has no restrictions and there is ZERO pressure on the results.
I went on the Pinterest and found some ornaments that kids could make, some inspired from the mountain house, others just looked like fun.
Then I popped over to Michaels early on a Saturday morning and trolled the aisles for inspiration. The first time, I brought Birdie with me, accompanied with a fantasy that we would get creatively inspired together, that she would be drawn to the same colors and finishes that I would. I was brought back to reality when she somehow found the only Frozen related everything in the store and then tantrumed when our “craft” wasn’t coloring in Elsa’s hair on an already drawn ornament. Shockingly she wasn’t impressed with my raw wood embroidery hoops that I envisioned as wreaths or my white buttons to make snowmen.
The next week, I did a solo mission that was wildly more productive. I hadn’t gone to a craft store in forever, to just look for me, in a leisurely way. Up and down every row I felt a rush of serotonin that screamed I’m back.
So here we are. Currently joining the ranks of domesticity by way of haphazard DIY ornaments that I’ll cherish likely for the rest of my life.
I’ll show you the ‘inspiration’ first and then ‘what we did’ – although it will be obvious.
There really wasn’t much of an inspiration out there for this, but our preschool has them do self portraits all the time as art, so I figured why not have them do it on a little wooden person, instead. It turned out SO sweet, if not a little janky.
What We Made:
We used plastic jars (so they are cheap), mini bottle brush trees (that you can buy in bulk), cotton for snow and wooden bead letters for their initials. I did the bulk of the assembling but the kids chose the trees and colored in their faces and clothes. You might think they are creepy, with little charlie leaning almost dead-like against the side of the jar, but I will always remember the afternoon that we did this together and as I look at them on the tree, I feel very happy. (I used hot glue to secure the ribbon, its kinda messy but that’s okay).
There were a lot of inspiration on these and I liked the simplicity of just one material, stacked. I thought that the kids could do it…
What We Made:
I literally made all of those because despite using a low heat glue gun they still hate getting burned by hot glue (boring) and inevitably you do get burned when using a glue gun. We had to buy a decent amount of bags of buttons from Michaels (here) to have enough that really stacked so this isn’t the most cost effective. But we all know that crafting with kids is rarely about saving money and more about creating something together. So much hot glue all over that top snowman, but again, I love the process and memory not the result.
Please note that I signed and dated mine making it clear that while it looked like a child crafted this masterpiece, it was indeed the “skills” of this mama, in 2019. That one has broken a couple times as its fell (the hat coing off the body) so I would stick to the stacked ones.
How sweet are these? I thought that they would be great for the mountain house, so Scandi and pretty. They currently live on this tree but when we go up for actual christmas we’ll bring them up.
What We Made:
I actually LOVE how these turned out. The kids found their initials and chose the tree, but I did all the hot glue-ing. I don’t think they’ll last for long with the cotton being so fragile, but I think I’ll just rip it off and replace it when it gets gross. Easy peasy. I did one for “mommy” and “daddy” to practice before we did the kids’ ones, and it turns out having a custom ornament that says “daddy” feels totally creepy for unknown reasons.
Sure, I thought it would be fun but I had no idea how much my kids would love shrinky dinks. Hours, HOURS of drawing on different occasions.
What We Made:
The biggest hit by far. At first, these turned out way too small to even be readable, but then I had them do larger ones that took up the whole page and once shrunk down were big enough for ornaments. 100% the most fun for them. Watching them curl up and then flatten out in the oven is always nerve-wracking and then so satisfying. We use colored sharpies or paint but please let me know if you can use other mediums to do this. We are ever-expanding our shrinky dink portfolio.
One night, when they were out of town, I took some of my favorite drawings of theirs from this year and traced them to memorialize them as ornaments. They didn’t see the fun in that when I first proposed it, but once I showed them how a drawing could be a hard permanent ornament, they felt very special, like artists whose work was worth the effort.
You really have to use one big page for each shrinky dink. We made so many the size of our hand which turned into tiny ornaments the size of my fingerprint. If you want a white background get the matte white paper, but if you want to color all of it then get clear. Google how to do it, but I set my oven for 340 degrees and do it for about 3 minutes until they flatten out. Darker colors go even darker so stay light if you want bright.
When the kids saw the above ornaments, they were sooooo happy.
Nordic Style Ornaments
These wood circles are at every craft store and are incredibly cheap (or you can saw your own, obviously). The potential is certainly huge, but I kept it simple as this was our first one and just put their initials and the date on them. The letters were readymade and just used hot glue and ribbon.
What We Made:
So easy. Not very impressive, but so pretty. Next time maybe I’ll do the date on the back or in something more intentional.
So here they all are…
This is just a snapshot from my iPhone of all the ornament types we made together this year and they all make me (and us) so happy. If you go back and look at my living room holiday reveal here, you’ll absolutely see these on my more “personal” tree and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are moving on to snowglobes next weekend and the kids are VERY excited.
We’d love to see yours so DM us on social (or tag #showemyourholiday) especially if you try any of these “ideas” that we can repost on stories.
I know ornaments can be a big tradition for some families, and I’d love to hear about yours in the comments… 🙂