March is the month of crafting, so pull out all those projects that you have been saving ‘for later’, and get crafting! I’m often confronted by people telling me that they can’t craft. What they really mean is that they tried one thing and did not enjoy the outcome or they are afraid to try. So this month, I am challenging YOU to try something crafty.
Children are fearless – and crafting is no exception. Their imaginations are endless if you give them the opportunity and are enthusiastic about the outcomes. Remember that children mimic adults so if they hear you say that you can’t then they will say and believe that they can’t.
Paper is so much fun to work with – you can fold, colour, weave, paint, and even make your own. This month on the Touch and Learn blog, we will be making different types of paper butterflies – all you will need is some paper, scissors, glue and string or ribbon.
For the adults, I’m going to put a brief description of how to make your own recycled paper. Get the children involved – it is so much fun!
Collect various scraps of paper. Do not to use newspaper as the ink makes the paper grey (and it has usually already been recycled). Computer paper works well so get about 20 sheets and start tearing it up into narrow strips. Place the strips in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak overnight. Grab a large bowl and a blender. Place handfuls of the soaked strips into the blender with extra water and turn it on. Blend until it looks like sludge with no lumps. Pour this into the large bowl and continue blending the rest of the soaked strips. Move outside. Place a pile of newspapers on a table (or the grass) with a kitchen towel on top. Using a sieve, gently scoop the blended pulp from the bowl and place on the towel. Keep the pulp as wet as possible and overlap further scoops until you have a page sized piece. Try not to make big lumps of pulp – if this is happening, rather scoop less from the bowl. Do not smooth it out with your hands as this will cause the paper fibres to straighten and so will not bind with the next scoop. Place another towel on top and repeat the process until all you pulp is gone.
Place a flat board on top of your paper and weigh it down with heavy items. After about 2 hours, remove the weights and board and carefully lift each towel and lie flat to dry. When dry, gently peel your paper from the towel. Press again if necessary.
All sorts of creative things can happen with pulped paper. You can add lavender leaves, dried grasses, flower petals, either food colouring or paint – use your imagination to make the finished product beautiful.
If you do not have a blender, you can pulp the strips by hand, rubbing the strips together with your fingers. You will end up with small unblended pieces but this can also make the paper unique.
Have fun this crafting month and let me know what you enjoy crafting the most.