El Esqueleto

el esqueleto

Celebrate Día de Muertos with this jolly paper clip skeleton ornament! All it takes is 15 paperclips, paper, and a little glue!

You’ll need:

  • 15 paperclips
  • 1 rectangle of black poster board (approximately 4.75″ x 7.75″)
  • A number of yellow and gold tissue paper squares (approximately 3″ x 3″)
  • 1 snippet of ribbon (ours was 8″ long)
  • Scissors and squeeze glue for construction
  • Hole punch

The most important thing about this project is to use squeeze (i.e. liquid) glue. Glue sticks, alas, do not work! You’ll really have to glop the glue on to anchor the paper clips, but the good news is that everything dries clear and muy bueno!

First, punch a hole in the top of the black poster board rectangle. Next, glue crumbled yellow and gold tissue paper squares around the rectangle, making sure NOT to cover the hole you just punched.

Glop glue inside the rectangle, then arrange 14 paper clips to create your skeleton. The 15th paper clip gets unfolded and rounded to form the skeleton’s skull. Use hole punch remnants to make eyes, and a little snippet of paper to make the mouth.

Allow the frame to dry completely, then thread the ribbon through the hole. Done!

Sneak Peek: The Secret Garden

champagne glass butterfly feederTomorrow, our library is kicking off the programming year with a Secret Garden event at Morven Museum & Garden. Today, we have a sneak peek at one of the hands-on projects, a champagne glass butterfly feeder!

This project is based on the one designed by Leslie Garisto Pfaff for FamilyFun magazine. Leslie mounted her feeder on a 4-foot garden stake using a bit of vinyl tubing. We simplified ours down to a “tabletop” version.

You’ll need:

  • 1 plastic champagne glass
  • 1 plastic pot scrubber
  • Craft foam
  • Scissors for construction
  • 1 batch of homemade butterfly nectar (recipe below)

Cut leaf and flower shapes from craft foam. Cut slits in the centers, then slide the foam shapes up the stem of a plastic champagne glass. Pop a plastic pot scrubber in the top, and you’re done:

side view of champagne glass butterfly feederTo make the homemade butterfly nectar, mix 9 teaspoons of water with 1 teaspoon of white sugar. Pop it in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Pour the nectar on top of the pot scrubber…your butterfly buffet is ready!

If you’d like to send kids home with a print out of this recipe, you’ll find that template here.

The Small Screen

the small screen

It’s a mini puppet theater with a retro twist! With just a few supplies, you can create a B-movie extraordinaire…and did you notice the television screen illuminates?

You’ll need:

  • 1 cupcake box
  • A couple wooden coffee stirrers
  • White card stock
  • 1 sparkle stem
  • 1 light source (more in this below!)
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • A pen for drawing your characters

This project works best when you use a cupcake box with a plastic window. I purchased my 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 3″ cupcake boxes from Oriental Trading Company (item #3/3581). A dozen boxes cost $5.

side view of television theaterThe mini theater is basically the cupcake box with the lid raised. Simple, right? I cut the tab off the lid and added a sparkle stem antennae, but I left the sides of the lid intact because it makes the screen more stable. I also added a rectangle of black construction paper to make the television appear to be resting on something, but that’s optional.

To make your puppets, draw your characters on white card stock, then tape them to the bottom of wooden coffee stirrers. Store your puppets in the box when not in use!

mini puppets on sticksThe real fun is when you turn down the lights and illuminate your screen by dropping a submersible LED light in the box! You can find these lights in the floral section of Michaels Craft store:

submersible ledHowever, at $20 for 12, they can get pricey. So bring one of Michaels’ standard-issue 40% off coupons, or go with a cheaper alternative, like a glow stick. Here, for example, is a green glow stick in action…

green screenDefinitely gives new meaning to the phrase “green screen special effects.”