Making a lighthouse crafting fun

One of my favourite things about Hours of Fun is working with groups on craft projects.  I have done a few craft sessions with St John the Baptist Church in Meols over the last few years through working with the Festival of Firsts.  This time however, I was working with them directly as Hours of Fun and I was honoured they had asked me to get involved.

Every year they have a weekend of fun for the Youth Fellowship groups that meet at the church for children aged between 7 and 16.  I headed down to the church to join them on the Saturday and we had a few sessions booked in for crafts throughout the day.  The theme for the weekend was the ‘I AM’ statements and it had been decided we would build a big lighthouse to represent the statement ‘I AM THE LIGHT’.

Prior to the weekend I had made a lighthouse structure that could be decorated and covered by the children.  The structure was made from garden canes and wire with strips of paper wrapped around it to give the lighthouse panels something to stick to.

craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-21

Each child decorated a panel which was cut to shape out of cardboard.  They used paint and paper to decorate the panels, designing them individually.  Some drew lighthouses, others went for a traditional striped pattern and others went for their own unique design inspired by light and water.  The panels were then attached to the lighthouse structure and placed in the centre of the church ready for the church service the following morning, which would be run by the children themselves.

craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-1  craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-2 craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-3 craft-group-project-making-a-lighthouse-22

For the top of the lighthouse the children constructed a piece to go around the light using transparent sheets and tape.  The lighthouse was stood on top of a table and the table was decorated with animals made by the children.

The light house was around 6ft tall when finished and looked fantastic, the children had done an amazing job.  The light was turned on for the church service and it was lovely to see some of the children taking their parents up to the lighthouse to show them which panels and animals they had made.

We had so much fun and they are a fantastic group to work with, getting involved and excited about crafts and letting their imagination run wild.

If you want to book Hours of Fun for your group sessions get in touch.

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make your own wreath – 2 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A beautifully decorated Christmas wreath!

Make your own Christmas Wreath.

Last year we decided to make our own wreath to add to the decorations around our house, so I headed out to buy some plain wreaths that were ready for decoration.  It is another Christmas craft that is super fun to make and you can be imaginative and creative as you wish, using all sorts of different things such as ribbons, fabrics, lights, embellishments, twigs, berries, pine cones…..Have a route through your Christmas box and craft box and talk a walk round your garden or head out for a winter walk and see what you find.

You can buy wreaths of different sizes and shapes, made from all sorts of materials such as grapevine, wicker, plastic, polystyrene and you can make your own.  You can buy ready made wreaths from craft shops including Hours of Fun, garden centres, local high street shops and maybe even at your local supermarket.  You need to choose the right wreath for your design and need.

We have an artificial one on our kitchen door decorated with bows, presents, flowers, pine cones and a set of star lights and it looks fantastic.  We also have some 4″ round grapevine wreaths, left plain that we use as candle holders and one we have made into a Christmas tree decoration.  The mini wreaths can be decorated and attached together to create a garland or unique decoration and the larger ones can make beautiful festive centre pieces and provide a fantastic greeting if placed on the front door.  In American Christmas movies they often have massive, decorated wreaths in offices and homes as a centre piece to a room.

You can use glue, thread and jewellery wire or garden wire to attach things to your wreath, make sure you don’t leave anything sticking out the front of the wreath and if using glue allow it to dry before hanging your wreath up.  You can buy hangers made for your door or use a nail, just make sure it is secure and isn’t going to fall on someones head!

Go for it!  Head to your garden and see what you can find, then clear a space and get crafting with your wreath and create the perfect addition to you Christmas decorations.  Pop down to see your local Christmas tree shop as they often will give you a bag full of tree cuttings for free.

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make your own wreath – 2 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A beautifully decorated Christmas wreath!

Make your own Christmas Wreath.

Last year we decided to make our own wreath to add to the decorations around our house, so I headed out to buy some plain wreaths that were ready for decoration.  It is another Christmas craft that is super fun to make and you can be imaginative and creative as you wish, using all sorts of different things such as ribbons, fabrics, lights, embellishments, twigs, berries, pine cones…..Have a route through your Christmas box and craft box and talk a walk round your garden or head out for a winter walk and see what you find.

You can buy wreaths of different sizes and shapes, made from all sorts of materials such as grapevine, wicker, plastic, polystyrene and you can make your own.  You can buy ready made wreaths from craft shops including Hours of Fun! garden centres, local high street shops and maybe even at your local supermarket.  You need to choose the right wreath for your design and need.

We have an artificial one on our kitchen door decorated with bows, presents, flowers, pine cones and a set of star lights and it looks fantastic.  We also have some 4″ round grapevine wreaths, left plain that we use as candle holders and one we have made into a Christmas tree decoration.  The mini wreaths can be decorated and attached together to create a garland or unique decoration and the larger ones can make beautiful festive centre pieces and provide a fantastic greeting if placed on the front door.  In American Christmas movies they often have massive, decorated wreaths in offices and homes as a centre piece to a room.

You can use glue, thread and jewellery wire or garden wire to attach things to your wreath, make sure you don’t leave anything sticking out the front of the wreath and if using glue allow it to dry before hanging your wreath up.  You can buy hangers made for your door or use a nail, just make sure it is secure and isn’t going to fall on someones head!

Go for it!  Head to your garden and see what you can find, then clear a space and get crafting with your wreath and create the perfect addition to you Christmas decorations.  Pop down to see your local Christmas tree shop as they often will give you a bag full of tree cuttings for free.

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make Your Own Stocking – 4 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A homemade Christmas Stocking!

Make your own Stocking

Everyone loves to have a stocking for Christmas.  You can hang is from the fireplace as a decoration or put it at the end of the bed for Santa to fill on Christmas Eve.  You can buy all different types from lots of different places however you can also make your own and personalise it and they are pretty simple to make.

We have made stockings for presents that we fill for each other with little stocking filler gifts and we have also made smaller ones we hang as decorations in the lounge to add to the Santa’s grotto look we go for!

First thing you need to decide is how big you want your stocking.  For this example we will do the same size stocking as the larger ones you can see in the pictures.  These are big enough to put little gifts in, however you can follow these instructions and make a stocking the size of your choice.

Stocking size in this example – 40cm long, 15cm diameter across the top opening with a toe approx. 20cm in length.

We advise you read through all the instructions before starting to make your stocking.

You will need

Material – Fleece or felt is perfect for this project

White trim – fleece, fur etc.

Needle and thread (sewing machine optional)

Scissors

Pins

Pencil and Ruler

Large sheet of plain paper / grease proof paper

Coloured material for decorations

Embellishments for decoration 

Piece of ribbon approx. 7cm long

How to make your stocking

Step 1 – Draw out the shape of your stocking onto the paper using a pencil and ruler.  Remember what ever size you draw the stocking, it will reduce by approx. 2 cm when sewing it together for the hem.    

The stockings we made would therefore be approx. 32cm long, 17cm wide at the top and 22cm long in the toe.  You can decide on the shape of the stocking giving it a curly toe, straight toe, equal width all the way down or allowing it to get slightly narrower nearer the foot.

Step 2 –  Cut out the stocking drawn on paper and pin it to your large piece of material.  Make sure you position it so you can cut 2 stocking shapes out.  Also make sure your pieces will fit together if the material you are using has a right side and wrong side.

Step 3 – Cut out 2 stockings using your paper template, then remove your paper template.

Step 4 – Decorate your stocking.  We cut out shapes in coloured and printed Christmas material and made a Snowman and Christmas tree.  You can then sew or glue the pieces in place.  

Things to think about – are you going to have a front and back?  If gluing the pieces in place make sure you leave it to dry.  When positioning them make sure you leave enough room along the sides to allow you to sew the stocking together.

Step 5 – Cut out the white trim for the top opening of your stocking.  In this example you would need a piece of white material 32cm long and 14cm wide. 

Step 6 – Pin your stocking together ready for sewing.  Firstly place your stocking pieces on a flat surface right sides together and pin the long side of the stocking.  Open up the 2 attached pieces and place your white trim in place for the top of the stocking.  We folded the white trim over the top of the stocking so it provided a trim both inside and outside to give a neater finish.

Step 7 – Decide where you wish for the ribbon to go which will be used to hang the stocking and pin in place.

Step 8 –  Sew the white trim in place, sewing all along the bottom line of the trim all the way round the top of the stocking.  Make sure you sew through the white material and stocking material.

Step 8 – Making sure the stocking is inside out, pin the other sides of the stocking together and sew all the way around, ensuring you sew through all the trim and ribbon making it secure.

Step 9 –  Turn the stocking the right way round and if needed give it an iron to flatten it out.

Step 10 – Hang in place and fill with presents.

 

If you have any problems or questions about making a stocking please get in touch and we will help in anyway we can.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make Your Own Stocking – 4 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A homemade Christmas Stocking!

Make your own Stocking

Everyone loves to have a stocking for Christmas.  You can hang is from the fireplace as a decoration or put it at the end of the bed for Santa to fill on Christmas Eve.  You can buy all different types from lots of different places however you can also make your own and personalise it and they are pretty simple to make.

We have made stockings for presents that we fill for each other with little stocking filler gifts and we have also made smaller ones we hang as decorations in the lounge to add to the Santa’s grotto look we go for!

First thing you need to decide is how big you want your stocking.  For this example we will do the same size stocking as the larger ones you can see in the pictures.  These are big enough to put little gifts in, however you can follow these instructions and make a stocking the size of your choice.

Stocking size in this example – 40cm long, 15cm diameter across the top opening with a toe approx. 20cm in length.

We advise you read through all the instructions before starting to make your stocking.

You will need

Material – Fleece or felt is perfect for this project

White trim – fleece, fur etc.

Needle and thread (sewing machine optional)

Scissors

Pins

Pencil and Ruler

Large sheet of plain paper / grease proof paper

Coloured material for decorations

Embellishments for decoration 

Piece of ribbon approx. 7cm long

How to make your stocking

Step 1 – Draw out the shape of your stocking onto the paper using a pencil and ruler.  Remember what ever size you draw the stocking, it will reduce by approx. 2 cm when sewing it together for the hem.    

The stockings we made would therefore be approx. 32cm long, 17cm wide at the top and 22cm long in the toe.  You can decide on the shape of the stocking giving it a curly toe, straight toe, equal width all the way down or allowing it to get slightly narrower nearer the foot.

Step 2 –  Cut out the stocking drawn on paper and pin it to your large piece of material.  Make sure you position it so you can cut 2 stocking shapes out.  Also make sure your pieces will fit together if the material you are using has a right side and wrong side.

Step 3 – Cut out 2 stockings using your paper template, then remove your paper template.

Step 4 – Decorate your stocking.  We cut out shapes in coloured and printed Christmas material and made a Snowman and Christmas tree.  You can then sew or glue the pieces in place.  

Things to think about – are you going to have a front and back?  If gluing the pieces in place make sure you leave it to dry.  When positioning them make sure you leave enough room along the sides to allow you to sew the stocking together.

Step 5 – Cut out the white trim for the top opening of your stocking.  In this example you would need a piece of white material 32cm long and 14cm wide. 

Step 6 – Pin your stocking together ready for sewing.  Firstly place your stocking pieces on a flat surface right sides together and pin the long side of the stocking.  Open up the 2 attached pieces and place your white trim in place for the top of the stocking.  We folded the white trim over the top of the stocking so it provided a trim both inside and outside to give a neater finish.

Step 7 – Decide where you wish for the ribbon to go which will be used to hang the stocking and pin in place.

Step 8 –  Sew the white trim in place, sewing all along the bottom line of the trim all the way round the top of the stocking.  Make sure you sew through the white material and stocking material.

Step 8 – Making sure the stocking is inside out, pin the other sides of the stocking together and sew all the way around, ensuring you sew through all the trim and ribbon making it secure.

Step 9 –  Turn the stocking the right way round and if needed give it an iron to flatten it out.

Step 10 – Hang in place and fill with presents.

 

If you have any problems or questions about making a stocking please get in touch and we will help in anyway we can.

Happy Christmas crafting!

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas – Mince pies. 8 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………Some scrummy home made mince pies!

Make your own Mincemeat and Mince Pies

Last Christmas we decided it was time to make our own mincemeat.  We love making mince pies and Kev now makes the pastry so it seemed only right that we should make the mincemeat.  It was set as a January task.  Late on in November I decided I should really start buying the odd jar or two ready for Christmas baking, only to get home and remember about the jars we had put away 10 months ago!  I love it when that happen.

I used Delia’s recipe for mincemeat, click here to visit her site for the recipe.

You can have a lot of fun making mince pies as they are simple and if you don’t want to make it all at home you can buy ready to roll shortcrust pastry usually found in the freezer or fridge sections and jars of mincemeat ready to use.    You can make them different sizes by using different muffin tins and decorate them in all different ways.  You can do lids in the shape of a star or other shapes so you can see some of the mincemeat through the gaps or do full lids and decorate them with shapes using small Christmas cutters.

To make mince pies, roll out your pastry to a thickness of 3mm.   Grease your tin.  Using cutters to match the size of your tin cut out circles and place them as the pie bases. Cut out your lids – match your cutter to the size you are making.  Spoon mincemeat on top of each pie base, brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk/egg mixture and place your lids over the top, sealing them around the edges using your finger.

Bake them in an oven for 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don’t brown too much.  Let them cool then sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!

Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas – Mince pies. 8 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………Some scrummy home made mince pies!

Make your own Mincemeat and Mince Pies

Last Christmas we decided it was time to make our own mincemeat.  We love making mince pies and Kev now makes the pastry so it seemed only right that we should make the mincemeat.  It was set as a January task.  Late on in November I decided I should really start buying the odd jar or two ready for Christmas baking, only to get home and remember about the jars we had put away 10 months ago!  I love it when that happen.

I used Delia’s recipe for mincemeat, click here to visit her site for the recipe.

You can have a lot of fun making mince pies as they are simple and if you don’t want to make it all at home you can buy ready to roll shortcrust pastry usually found in the freezer or fridge sections and jars of mincemeat ready to use.    You can make them different sizes by using different muffin tins and decorate them in all different ways.  You can do lids in the shape of a star or other shapes so you can see some of the mincemeat through the gaps or do full lids and decorate them with shapes using small Christmas cutters.

To make mince pies, roll out your pastry to a thickness of 3mm.   Grease your tin.  Using cutters to match the size of your tin cut out circles and place them as the pie bases. Cut out your lids – match your cutter to the size you are making.  Spoon mincemeat on top of each pie base, brush the edge of the pastry with a little milk/egg mixture and place your lids over the top, sealing them around the edges using your finger.

Bake them in an oven for 15-20 minutes, keeping a close eye on them to ensure they don’t brown too much.  Let them cool then sprinkle with icing sugar and eat!

Hours of Fun Craft Countdown to Christmas – Make your own crackers. 9 days to go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A set of crackers for the table!

Make your own Christmas crackers

I had always wanted to make crackers for the Christmas dinner table as I thought it would bring a personal touch to the table and they are a lot of fun to make.  They do require adult supervision but children can get involved and make the crackers themselves.

If you google ‘ make your own crackers’  you can buy lots of kits that have everything you need to make a set of crackers or you can go for it and gather everything you need yourself and get crafting.

To make 6 crackers

You will need:-

6 x A4 sheets of thin card

6 x jokes, make them up yourself or have a look on the internet or in a joke book

6 x Christmas hats – see below for how to make them yourself

6 x little toys or gifts – head to your local supermarket and check out the party section

2 pieces of Ribbon

Double sided sticky tape or glue

Sticky tape

Scissors and a craft knife if you have one, keep it out reach of children

Pencil

Ruler

Stickers or toppers

Snappers – check out your local craft shop  – Hours of Fun will be selling them next Christmas!

To make the crackers

  • Measure 8cm in from each edge and draw a line down the page
  • Measure 10cm in from each edge and draw a line down the page
  • Draw and cut out a row of diamonds between the 2 lines, making sure your diamonds do not touch – see diagram

A craft knife is a fantastic tool for cutting out the diamonds. Place your paper on something you can score into and using the craft knife cut each diamond out.  If using scissors you can fold the paper along the middle of the diamonds and cut through the shapes that way.

  • securely stick the snapper to the inside of the cracker using sticky tape.  The snapper needs to be central across the length of the cracker

Now its time to roll your cracker

  • Place double-sided sticky tape or glue along the inside edge of the length of the cracker and roll your cracker into shape

To make your cracker smaller and to make it stick better, it is best to place double-sided sticky tape to the other long edge, along the outside of the cracker this time.

  • Place a piece of ribbon around one end of the cracker, lying it across the diamonds
  • Gently tighten the ribbon and the cracker should gather where the diamonds are cut out
  • Tie your ribbon in a bow to secure the cracker end
  • Through the open end of the cracker pop in your toy, joke and hat
  • Using a piece of ribbon repeat the above step for the other end of the cracker
  • Decorate your cracker using stickers and toppers
  • Place on the dinner table ready for Christmas dinner

To make your own Christmas hat you can use any type of paper, crepe paper is perfect for the job.

  • Measure round your head and add two centimeters to the length – divide this figure in two

For this example we have a figure of 15cm.

  • On your paper draw two rectangles approx 10cm wide and 15cm long.
  • Cut out both rectangles
  • Either using a ruler or go for it freehand cut out triangles along one edge of each rectangle – see picture below
Diagram showing the zig zag cut at the top of the hat
Diagram showing the zig zag cut at the top of the hat
  • Stick the two rectangles together using glue or sticky tape to create a longer rectangle
  • Place it around your head to check the size, then stick the other ends together creating your Christmas cracker hat.
  • Leave it as it is or decorate it with stickers

Download the cracker diagram here Make your own Christmas crackers

Hours of Fun Craft Countdown to Christmas – Christmas cakes. 11 days to go!!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting yesterday with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A homemade yummy Christmas cake!

Bake and decorate your own Christmas cake

For as long as I can remember we have had a homemade Christmas cake and it’s always delicious.  I have a few different recipes for fruit cake I like to use.  Delia’s classic Christmas cake is a good one and Beginner’s guide to cake decorating which includes a light and dark fruit cake recipe of which both are delicious.

A fruit cake does require some preparation time and ideally should be made a couple of months before Christmas to allow you to feed it every week or so with more brandy.  Don’t forget to weigh out your fruit the night before baking your cake and leave it to soak in brandy overnight.  Ensure you will not need your oven for anything else when it is time to bake the cake as it can take a very long time.  I often find it takes at least one hour longer than the recipe states however everyone’s oven is different so make sure you check it as it nears the end time given.  Stick a skewer in and if it comes out with bits of cake on then it’s not ready.

Then you get to the decorating part which is a lot of fun.  If you want a marzipan layer this goes on first.  You can then go for something simple by covering the cake with ready to roll fondant to give a smooth finish or you can make royal icing and cover the cake giving a rough  snow scene finish.

Ideas for decorating the cake  include a Christmas message written across the cake, modeled figures made from fondant and rolled fondant cut into shapes.  You can also buy lots of fantastic decorations at your local supermarket or cake supply shop, plastic and edible.

Making a Christmas cake is a lot of fun and very rewarding as you get to eat it too!  You can get the children involved, have a night with some friends making models for the cake and try out different types of fruit cake as there are a lot!  You could try Jamaica cake made with rum or Stollen which is a traditional German fruit cake.

 

Hours of Fun Craft Countdown to Christmas – Christmas Tree Decorations. 12 days to go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting today with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A handmade Christmas decoration!

Make your own Christmas Tree decorations.

Christmas tree decorations are lots of fun and can be as simple or as tricky as you wish to take on.  Using Christmas coloured felt, foam and material pieces  you can create gorgeous decorations to add to your tree.

Snowmen, Christmas trees, stockings, angels, reindeer and snowflakes are fab shapes to work with, accessorising with googly eyes, glitter, shapes, ribbon and beads.

Hours of Fun sell make your own Christmas Tree Decoration kits which contain everything you need to make a decoration along with instructions, and we are happy to put together a particular shape or colour theme for you.  You may even be able to make a decoration using items around the house.  Have a wander around and see what you can find.  Look for scraps of material, old clothes, cotton wool, coloured paper, coloured card, ribbon,  string, buttons and stickers.    Find your scissors and glue and get crafting.

Draw the shape you want to use onto some plain paper, we will use a Snowman in this example.  Cut the Snowman out and use it as your template.  Trace the shape onto your material, foam, card, make sure you use something that will hold its shape when hung.  Decorate the Snowman by cutting out and gluing on a hat, scarf, buttons and arms if you wish, don’t forget to give him a face!  You will need to attach some ribbon or string to the top of the Snowman so he can be hung from the tree, this can be done by making a hole in the Snowman and threading a piece of ribbon through or by gluing it on – make sure it is secure as you don’t want it falling from the tree.

Other ideas

Buy some polystyrene balls which you can get from craft shops and decorate them with Christmas printed materials, ribbon and sequins.  These create fantastic baubles and you can make a set of matching colours to fit in with your colour scheme.

Buy plain baubles and paint them with Christmas pictures and designs, why not use glitter and googly eyes to add effects.

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