Friday, November 30, 2012

Easy Wreath Ideas

Here are a couple of simple wreath ideas that can add just the right touch to your holiday decorating this year.

Your kids can whip them up in no time with supplies you already have on hand.


- cardboard
- 2 round containers for tracing, one small, one larger
- pencil, scissors
- fleecy "fake" snow from the dollar store, you want the fabric not the loose stuff.  You could also use white felt.
- tacky glue
- heavy posterboard or bristol
- template if needed
- watercolor pan paints, tempera, or even colored pencils
- a little glitter glue
- a few sequins, beads, gems or other embellishments
- ribbon or string for hanging

Trace out a wreath shape using 2 round objects.

Cut out.

Take your fleece or 'snow' fabric and cut into strips.

Put some tacky glue on your cardboard wreath.

Put the end of one strip in the glue and start wrapping around the cardboard.

Continue wrapping and gluing as you go. 

I find the Dollar Store "snow" fabric sticks quite easily.  With felt you may need to clip on a few clothespins to keep the strips in place until the glue sets up.

While the wreath is drying sketch or trace out your shapes on heavy posterboard or bristol.

If you want to use my shapes check out my template HERE.

Paint on a little colour.  Use some fine sharpie for outlining and details.

Add some glitter.

Cut out.

A nice way to add definition to your shapes is to add some black on the edges.  I use a black crayon.  Place your shape on top of a piece of paper and then rub a little crayon right on the edge of your shape.

You can see by the 2 stars what a difference it makes.

For the butterfly I added some antennae, which are little wires you use when making flowers.  You can just use some fine wire.

I also added some gems to the stars.

Glue your shapes onto your wreath.  The fuzzy fabric makes gluing things on a snap!

Add a ribbon or string for hanging.

For my bluejay wreath I added some fir garland.

I also added some sequins and beads for a little extra.

That's it.

More holiday ideas to come.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

CD Book and Giveaway Results

Well it's been one of those weeks....crazy busy and I totally missed the Friday post with the Giveaway winner.  My apologies, the winner will be announced at the end of this post.

This is a cute little book that fits in a CD cover. 

When you open it up the CD case keeps it standing upright for display.

You can click on the photo to see larger.


- CD case
- regular copier paper, 11x17 works well if you have it
- ruler
- scissors
- glue stick
- assorted scrap papers
- embellishments
- tacky glue
- liquid and disk tempera


You have to make some careful measurements when making this book.  You want the book to fit perfectly in the case so you can close it.

Measure the dimensions of the case excluding the spine and take a 1/8 to a 1/4 of an inch off those dimensions.

Here I took a sheet of 11x17 paper and cut 2 strips that are 12x36 cm or 4 3/4"x 13 3/4".  This makes a 5 page book not counting the front cover.

Fold each strip into 3.

Using a glue stick glue the last page of one strip to the first page of the other strip.

You want them to completely cover one another.

Your book should fit perfectly in your CD case.  In order for it to close the paper must be under those little plastic flaps at the top and bottom of the case.

I prefer not to secure the front page to the case, like by taping or gluing, as this can make it harder to close.  When you open the book you just slide that front page back in place if needed.

For the front cover of this "SNOW" book I painted the paper blue, added some snow drifts with some paper that had white streamer glued to it as well as some newspaper that was painted white and then coated with glitter glue.

The letters were cut from white paper and outlined on the edges with silver sharpie.

I punched some holes out of white paper and glued those on for the snow.

When the cover is dry paint the backgrounds for the pages on the other side.  I did a light blue with dots made in white paint and the end of a paintbrush.

Darker blue with white circles from a toilet roll stamped in white paint.
Grey with painted on glitter.
Purple with white paint dropped in with an eye dropper and then blown with a straw for some snow covered trees.  Finally I used a white crayon to make some snow drifts, made dots in the sky with it as well and then painted in a sunset.  The crayon resisted the paint to make it look like it was snowing.

I glued on some snowflakes for the first page.  A little snowman made from painted paper scraps for the third, and then added text printed out from the computer and the cut and glued into place.

Embellish if you wish just choose fairly flat items so you can still close that case.

Now the giveaway winner for "Drawing Comics Lab" by Robyn Chapman.  A new release from Quarry Books.

I had 82 total entries and the winner by random draw is:

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-11-26 05:42:26 UTC

which is Lisa Wood who sent me this email:

"I would love a chance to win the Comics Lab book. Thanks for this new idea. I'm sure the students in my class would love it."
Congratulations Lisa and thanks everyone for entering.  Sorry again for the delay.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Comics Lab Giveaway and Coffee Filter Books

This is a neat pocket book idea using coffee filters

With the holidays coming up this would make a great keepsake that students could make for their parents.

The pockets are quite large and can hold lots of tags, bookmarks, and additional papers.

This would be a great format for research projects or subject reports, similar to the file folder books.

Before I give you the full tutorial on how to make the coffee filter book I want to introduce you to this week's giveaway.

"Drawing Comics Lab" by Robyn Chapman is the latest book in the lab series.
 Just like the previous lab books this one is full of practical information on how to draw comics.

It has 52 activity labs to walk you through the essentials like:
- how to draw basic figures
- how to build characters
- page building
- storytelling
- what materials and techniques to try
- and publishing
I have not been disappointed with any of the lab books.  Each lab activity is well thought out, with "how to" pictures and instructions.  This one also has a "Tips of the Trade" feature for every activity, giving you advice from other artists and ways to expand the activity.

Stay tuned to the end of the post for giveaway details.

Now back to the Coffee Filter Books.


- cone coffee filters, each one gives you 2 pages and a pocket
- cereal or cracker box, (chipboard)
- standard one hole punch
- any of the following for binding: o rings, jump rings, wire, binder clips, ribbon, string
- paper, cardstock
- glue
- scissors


Choose how many filters you want to use.  A good sized book will have 3 to 4.

It's a good idea to make a template to help cut your pages.  I know, I know it says coffee fitter but you know what I meant!  :)

Place a filter on the cardboard, trace around and cut out.  Now you have a template to use over and over again.

You need to cut 2 pages for each filter.  Using painted paper, cardstock, scrapbooking paper, or just plain old paper, trace out 2 pages.

Now your filter is not perfectly symmetrical.  There is a rounded end and a pointy end.  I like to have the pointy ends at the top of the book.  Just keep that in mind when you are cutting your pages, you might need to turn the template over for some pages.

Attach a page to the front of each filter and one on the back.

You can use a gluestick or regular glue.

You should have a pocket and a front and back page.

Do this for all the filters. 

I like a heavier weight cover for my book so using my template I cut 2 covers out of cereal box (chipboard).

 I painted them black and then added some paper that was cut using the template and then trimmed a 1/4" all the way around.  My covers do not have a filter so there is no pocket.

Now you need to punch holes in your pages and covers for the binding.

I start with the front cover.  Punch your holes.
place one of the inner pages under the cover, mark where the holes are with a pencil and then punch them out on the page.

Repeat with all pages and the back cover.

When I bind a book I do one hole at a time.  Feed the pages onto 1 ring, ribbon, binder clip, or whatever you are using.  Tie or clip and then do the other hole.

That's it.

For the pockets you can stuff in bookmarks, tags, etc.

You can also make extra pull out pages to stuff in.  Use your template and then cut the page slightly smaller.

You can add string or ribbon to help pull out the pages.

I try to vary the location of the pull.

I like using homemade painted papers when constructing my pages.

An interesting paper you can make is stenciling designs on wax paper.

Use acrylic paint as it sticks well to the slippery surface.  You then have a great patterned translucent paper.

I used it here in the SNOW scene.
I always attach translucent/transparent papers with Mod Podge.  It dries clear, no cloudiness to be seen thru the paper.

Another interesting variation is shown here. 

 I use a star shape sticking out from the page as the pull tab.

I punched 2 star shapes from glitter paper.

Then glue 1 star off the edge of the pull out page, add glue to the other star and glue it on the other side of the page, lining the stars up.

That eggshell tree was made using this method from a previous post.  It was an idea sent in by Stephanie Brown and her daughter from NC.

They took the eggshell mosaic idea and used it to make Christmas cards.  I think they turned out incredible!

I hope you give one of these coffee filter books a try.

If you are interested in winning your own copy of "Drawing Comics Lab" by Robyn Chapman please enter in one of the following ways:

- leave a comment on this post
- email me at
- like or comment on this post on my Facebook page

I will be making the draw Friday Nov 23rd so have your entries in by Thursday at 11:59pm.

Canadian or US residents only please.

Thanks to my friends at Quarry Books for sponsoring this giveaway.

See you soon.