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!

Witchy Kitchy

witchy kitchy

From the well-stocked shelves, to the bubbling cauldron, to the secret storage space…this kitchen is ready to concoct some scintillating brews. It also folds down into a snappy little travel case, complete with your shopping list clipped to the outside!

witchy kitchy travel modeWe read One Witch, written by Laura Leuck, and illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Walker & Company, 2003). A witch visits her ten sets of (unusual) friends to gather ingredients for the ultimate brew. She cooks it up, sends out invitations via bat, and a massive party ensues – including a special bowl for you! This is a fantastic counting book, plus a real family favorite. My kids asked me to read this book to them year round!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large tissue box
  • 1 small tissue box
  • Poster board
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 wooden coffee stirrer
  • 1 mini cauldron (or paper cup)
  • 1 ingredient bottles template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ card stock
  • 2 plastic sample cups
  • 2 snippets of drinking straw
  • 2 buttons
  • 1 small rubber band
  • 1 spooky shopping list template, printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper
  • Scissors, tape, and glue for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue

We used our standard craft boxes for this project, but I’m also going to show you how to build it with large and small tissue boxes. Here’s a bird’s eye view of the project:

witchy kitchy birds eye viewAs you can see, it’s a box within a box. The left side of the kitchen is the unfolding countertop/secret storage area, the the right side is the fireplace for the cauldron (which we stoked with brown poster board logs and red paper crinkle, but construction paper works too). The front of the fireplace is a V-shaped door that folds down. Use markers to create the stones for your hearth.

If you want to make the project with tissue boxes, the key is to flip the tissue boxes upside down and cut the bottoms into lids. Here’s the large box:

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 1The issue, of course, is you have a big hole in the floor of your kitchen. No problem! Just glue or tape a piece of poster board over the hole (shown here in yellow):

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 2To make the unfolding countertop/secret storage space, flip a small tissue box, cut the bottom to make a hinged lid, cut the box down to the proper height, then attach it inside the large box. Cut the V-shaped hearth door and you’re set!

witch kitchy tissue box alt step 3The shelves along the back of the kitchen are basic poster board pockets. Cut and color the various bottles in your template to stock your kitchen:

witchy kitchy shelvesIn the secret storage are little plastic sample cups for mixing, snippets of drinking straws, plus (optional) ingredient bottles repurposed from old-school film canisters. We filled ours with fabric flowers, foam beads, and green paper crinkle. I also added little cleavers I cut from silver mirror board.

witchy kitchyBut my FAVORITE item in the kitchen is the cauldron. We used plastic mini cauldrons, but you can also fashion a cauldron from a paper cup. To hang the cauldron, cut little notches in the sides of the boxes, then slide a wooden coffee stirrer into the notches.

The outside of the box gets a poster board carrying handle, as well as a shopping list you can either tape or clip to the front:

witchy kitchy travel modeThe box does get a little heavy. In fact, our lid kept popping open. So we added extra support in the form of two buttons, which we hot glued to the lid and body of the large box. Wrap a rubber band around the buttons, and you’re set!

A week after this project, we ran into one of our story time kids. She wants you to know that “THIS IS MY FAVORITE TOY AND I PLAY WITH IT ALL THE TIME I MAKE SOUPS THAT I FEED MY BROTHER!”

Tea is for T. Rex

tea is for t rexThe cookies are served, the tea is steeping, and now it’s time to greet your guest…a very civilized T. Rex puppet that sips tea and nibbles delectables!

We read Tea Rex by Molly Idle (Viking, 2013). When Cordelia invites Mr. Rex to tea, she follows all the proper rules of etiquette. Of course, it quickly gets derailed by T. Rex’s size, loudness, and clear preference for snacking on her little brother’s teddy bear. Nevertheless, she persists, and later earns an reciprocal invitation to a dino-mite tea!

You’ll need:

dino tea table

First, set your tea table! We used a 2″ x 4″ x 4″ craft box, but you can also cut down a small tissue box. Add a crepe paper streamer skirt to make it extra fancy. The teapot template is from this Delicious Dim Sum post. Use the leftover paper from the template to create teacups, a serving tray, and cookies. Once the table is ready, it’s time for your guest to arrive…

t rex puppetOur T. Rex puppet is a 4.5” X 4.5” x 9” craft box, but a large tissue box wrapped with construction paper works too! The head, legs, arms, and tail are made from brown poster board, and his collar and necktie are extra teapot template paper.

The puppet’s arms swivel on brass fasteners. Simply tape wooden coffee stirrers to the backs of the arms to get them to rotate. Tape a cookie and a cup to T. Rex’s hands, move the sticks up and down, and watch him enjoy his refreshments!