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Crafts

The Science Behind Crafting: How It Helps Kids Learn and Grow

crafting - a kid painting a face on a paper plate
Image by rawpixel from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

Crafting is a beloved pastime for children worldwide. It’s a fun and engaging activity that allows kids to express their creativity and imagination. However, did you know that crafting also has numerous benefits for a child’s development? In this blog post, we’ll explore the science behind crafting and how it helps kids learn and grow.

The Benefits of Crafting for Kids

Crafting offers numerous advantages for children’s development, encompassing various skills and benefits.

Enhances Fine Motor Skills

Crafting involves using small tools and materials, such as scissors, glue, and paintbrushes. These activities help develop a child’s fine motor skills, which are essential for tasks like writing, buttoning clothes, and tying shoelaces. By engaging in craft activities regularly, kids can improve their hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

Boosts Cognitive Development

Crafting also plays a crucial role in cognitive development. When children engage in arts and crafts activities, they learn to follow instructions, solve problems, and think critically. These skills are essential for academic success and overall cognitive growth. Additionally, crafting encourages kids to use their imagination and think outside the box, which can lead to increased creativity and innovation.

Promotes Social and Emotional Development

When crafting is introduced as a playtime activity during playdates or birthday parties, it allows children to interact with other children and adults. They learn to share, take turns, and collaborate with others. This too, helps develop and enhance their social skills and emotional intelligence. This helps develop their social skills and emotional intelligence. Moreover, crafting can be a great way for children to express their feelings and emotions, which is crucial for their mental well-being.

Encourages Self-Expression and Confidence

Crafting provides a platform for children to express themselves and showcase their unique talents. When kids create something with their own hands, they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. This boosts their self-esteem and confidence, which can have a positive impact on their overall development.

Choosing the Right Art and Craft Supplies

While the benefits of art and craft for kids are clear, it is also essential to choose the right supplies to ensure an enjoyable experience. Look for high-quality materials that are safe, non-toxic, and age-appropriate. A wide range of art and craft supplies can be easily found, making it convenient for parents and carers to stock up on essentials.

From paints and markers to craft kits and activity sets, there are numerous options available to keep your little ones engaged and creative. The best part? These supplies are affordable and of top quality, ensuring that your child’s art and craft experience is both enjoyable and educational.

Crafting Activities for Different Age Groups

1.    Toddlers (1-3 years)

For toddlers, simple craft activities that focus on sensory exploration are ideal. Some great options include finger painting, playdough sculpting, and tearing and gluing paper. These activities help develop their fine motor skills and encourage self-expression.

2.    Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers are ready for more advanced craft activities that involve following simple instructions. Some fun ideas include making paper chains, creating collages, and painting with sponges. These activities help improve their cognitive skills and promote creativity.

3.    School-Age Children (6-12 years)

School-age children can handle more complex crafting projects that require planning and problem-solving. Some great options include origami, beading, and woodworking. These activities help develop their critical thinking skills and encourage self-expression.

Incorporating Crafting into Daily Life

Crafting doesn’t have to be limited to designated art time. There are many ways to incorporate crafting into your child’s daily life. For example, you can encourage your child to make handmade cards for special occasions or create decorations for their room. You can also use crafting as a way to bond with your child and spend quality time together.

Another great way to incorporate crafting into your child’s life is by using it as a learning tool. For instance, if your child is learning about colours, you can create a colour-matching game using paint swatches. If they’re learning about shapes, you can have them create a collage using different shaped cut-outs. The possibilities are endless!

The Role of Parents and Caregivers

Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in fostering a love for crafting in children. By providing the necessary supplies, encouragement, and guidance, adults can help children reap the many benefits of crafting. It’s essential to create a supportive and nurturing environment where children feel free to express themselves and experiment with different materials and techniques.

One way to encourage crafting is by setting aside dedicated time for art and craft activities. This could be a weekly family crafting session or a daily quiet time where children can work on their projects independently. By making crafting a regular part of your child’s routine, you’re helping them develop important skills and habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.

Another way to support your child’s crafting journey is by providing them with age-appropriate supplies and resources. Websites like the one mentioned earlier offer a wide range of art and craft products that cater to different age groups and skill levels. By investing in quality supplies, you’re not only ensuring that your child has the tools they need to create, but you’re also showing them that you value their artistic endeavours.

Crafting and Mental Health

In addition to the cognitive and social benefits, crafting can also have a positive impact on a child’s mental health. Engaging in creative activities can be a great way for children to relieve stress, express their emotions, and find a sense of calm and focus.

Studies have shown that crafting can have a meditative effect on the brain, helping to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When children are absorbed in a crafting project, they’re able to tune out distractions and focus on the present moment. This mindfulness practice can have long-lasting benefits for their mental well-being.

Moreover, crafting can be a great way for children to process and express their feelings. When kids create art, they’re often communicating their inner world in a way that words cannot. By encouraging children to use crafting as a means of self-expression, we’re helping them develop emotional intelligence and resilience.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the science behind crafting reveals numerous benefits for children’s learning and growth. From enhancing fine motor skills and boosting cognitive development to promoting social and emotional well-being, crafting is a valuable activity that every child should have the opportunity to engage in.

As parents and caregivers, we have the power to foster a love for crafting in our children. By providing them with the necessary supplies, encouragement, and guidance, we can help them reap the many benefits of this wonderful pastime. So, the next time your child reaches for a paintbrush or a glue stick, remember that they’re not just creating art – they’re building important skills and habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.

The Benefits of Creative Hobbies and Why You Should Have One

woman doing origami - creative hobbies
Photo by cottonbro studio

Do you have hobbies that you like to work on in your spare time? If not, you could be missing out on something that really enhances your life in so many different ways. Having hobbies can bring a whole host of benefits. Hobbies come in all shapes and forms. But one of the most popular types is creative hobbies. 

In this blog post, we’ll examine the many benefits of having a creative hobby, and we’ll even provide you with some creative hobby inspiration to get you started. So, keep reading to find out why having a creative hobby can be so beneficial:

Reduces Stress

Modern life can be super stressful. So many of us find ourselves juggling a wide range of responsibilities and being pulled in multiple directions. So it’s no wonder that many people suffer from chronic stress and permanently feel anxious and on edge.

One of the great things about a creative hobby is that it’s an excellent way to shift your focus from feeling stressed and to bring your attention to your hobby instead. So instead of having your mind feeling scattered and worrying about your to-do list and the many jobs you need to complete, you can simply enjoy the distraction of working on your fun hobby.

Helps You Learn New Skills

As adults, it can feel like our days of learning are left behind. However, while your formal education may be complete, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn a new skill or two. Taking up a new creative hobby is a perfect example of this. 

Challenging yourself to learn a new skill is such a rewarding process. Spending your spare time mastering something new ensures you feel like you are accomplishing something in your downtime, and is far more productive than simply sitting in front of the television binge-watching the latest must-watch series.

Seeing your knowledge and skills develop with practice is rewarding in itself. Noticing that you are gradually improving and making progress with your new creative hobby is really satisfying. Knowing that you’ve started with no knowledge at all and have acquired a new creative passion is definitely something worth celebrating.

As well as helping you use your time productively, learning new skills also helps you to keep your mind active and engaged. This can help you to improve your memory and could even help you to keep conditions such as dementia at bay.

Encourages a State of Flow

Learning how to perform your creative hobby takes concentration and perseverance. You will need to nahe both your mind and body in the task to really master your new skill. Whether you are learning to play a musical instrument or how to make dollar bill origami, you still need to connect your mind and your physical activity to successfully achieve this. 

When you’re fully immersed in your task, you can enter a state of flow. Flow states often bring joy and happiness. They also bring satisfaction, the feeling of being fully absorbed in what you are doing right now without your mind wandering off to other thoughts. In a world where we are constantly being inundated with information, achieving a state of flow can be an extremely welcome way to spend your time.

Enables You to Connect With Others

Another excellent benefit of having a creative hobby is that it allows you to connect with others. Meeting like-minded people who share your passion for your creative hobby can be a useful way to make new friends. You may find that your new creative hobby has online forums where you can chat with others. This feeling of connection can be really beneficial in many ways and help you to feel like part of a wider community.

Creative Hobby Ideas

If you’re keen to enjoy all of the above benefits, you may feel ready to get started with a creative hobby. But which one should you choose? Here are some creative hobby ideas to inspire you:

  • Origami
  • Knitting
  • Embroidery
  • Paper crafts
  • Painting
  • Sketching
  • Photography
  • Pottery
  • Woodworking
  • Sculpture
  • Jewellery making
  • Collage
  • Colouring
  • Pyrography
  • Calligraphy
  • Screen printing
  • Tapestry
  • Candle making
  • Musical instruments
  • Baking
  • Sugarcraft
  • DIY crafts
  • Upcycling
  • Crocheting
  • Quilting
  • Sewing
  • Diamond painting
  • Needle felting
  • Macrame
  • Creative writing
  • Wood turning

As you can see, there are a huge number of potential creative hobbies you can start. Each of them has the potential to enrich your life in so many ways and help you make the most of your spare time. All you need to do is pick one!

How to boost your creativity with paper-based crafts

Image by PIRO from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

Are you looking for a new hobby in 2024? Perhaps you’re searching for something to spark your creativity, like the 25% of Brits focusing on self-improvement this year. If so, then crafts can be a great way to grow new skills and create fun items to keep, gift or sell!

Paper-based crafts are among the easiest to get started with. Ideas range from simple scrapbooking and cardmaking to complex origami, giving you plenty of scope to explore. And with over 80% of us now concerned about climate change, it’s good to know it’s a sustainable option too.

Below, discover five ways you could get your creative juices flowing with a paper craft.

Scrapbooking

paper-based crafts - scrapbooking
Image by Jan Kosmowski from Pixabay

Would you like to store your memories somewhere beyond your phone or social media profiles? If so, then scrapbooking could be perfect for you!

With little more than paper, scissors and glue, you can begin creating aesthetically pleasing displays of your favourite activities or interests. Think photographs, tickets, recipes – anything you end up collecting along the way!

Origami

origami
Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

Origami could be ideal if you’re looking for something a little more complex. With roots in ancient China and Japan, this iconic art involves folding paper in creative ways until they become finished sculptures.

You could create recognisable shapes such as animals, plants or objects. Alternatively, channel your inner modern artist and go abstract!

Handmade cards

handmade Birthday card

If you get tired of picking from the same card selections for every birthday, Christmas or other event, then making handmade cards might be the craft for you. This way you can create more tailored designs and messages for your loved ones to brighten their day!  

How you decorate the front is up to you of course. You could use simple drawing or painting or go wild and add texture with stick-on materials, for example.

Gift wrap

wooden stamps
Image by Pieternella Busink from Pixabay

Sticking with the theme of giving, creating your own gift wrap helps add an extra personal touch to your birthday or Christmas gifts. Plus you won’t end up with something that can be found in the shops – helping your gifts stand out from the rest!

You can use a stamp technique to customise the paper itself, then go one step further with homemade gift tags.

Papier-mâché

papier-mache masks - paper-based crafts
Image by izako77 from Pixabay

For something a little different, papier-mâché sets hard overnight to create a host of projects such as party pinatas, bowls and masks. It’s also an extra fun option to get little ones involved with!

You can use almost any old paper you want too, making it a great way of recycling items that would otherwise go to waste. Combine it with paper, plain flour and water and you have your papier-mâché mix!

Have any of these paper crafts piqued your interest? Try your hand and see what you can come up with!

5 Crafts to Do with Your Foster Children

woman doing crafts with 2 foster children
Image by thank you for 💙 from Pixabay
This is a collaborative post

There were a staggering 82,170 children in the UK foster system in 2022, with around 57,540 of these living with foster families. Every one of these children deserves the opportunity to grow healthily, which can be facilitated through many things, but arts and crafts are often overlooked. Below, you will find inspiration for crafts and insights on how they can help your foster children.

Rock Painting

rocks with faces painted on them
Photo by Glo Russo

Rock painting is a fun and inexpensive craft that children and adults of all ages can enjoy. Start by heading to the park for a healthy dose of fresh air, but pick up some suitable rocks along the way. Then, you’ll have to wash the stones with warm water and soap, which will kill germs and remove debris.

When your foster children have finished and the rock is dry, you can spread a little cheer around the neighbourhood by leaving them around for other people to find.

Friendship Bracelets

a friendship bracelet
Image by Katharina N. from Pixabay

Whether you’re fostering in Bristol or anywhere else in the UK, you’ll learn about how important socialisation is during childhood development. As a foster carer, you may need to teach those in your care how to make friends, and then encourage them to feel confident enough to build meaningful connections.

When your foster children have a best friend, it may be a good idea to make friendship bracelets together. You can make one for your foster children and they can make one for their close friend. Not only will you all have something meaningful, but the activity will strengthen your connection.

Handprint Tree

a red child's handprint

Making your foster children feel like they’re part of your family is essential, and the best way to do this is through group activities like doing drafts. One of our favourite group craft activities is the handprint tree, which involves getting messy with paint and creating a tree made up of handprints.

When all members of the family have placed their mark on the tree, you can hang it up on the wall once it’s dry. Whenever your foster child sees the piece of work, they’ll feel like part of the family.

Slime

a child playing with slime
Image by Jamie Harrington from Pixabay

Most children enjoy playing with slime, which is why this is one of the most popular crafts you can do. As well as having some fun slime to play with at the end, this craft can be turned into an opportunity to learn some science. All you will need is shampoo, cornflour, water, and a dash of food colouring.

Paper Bag Puppets

assorted arts and crafts supplies
Image by freestocks-photos from Pixabay

For a simple craft that won’t cost too much, you can make paper bag puppets with your foster children. All you’ll need is a brown paper bag, coloured pens, scissors, glue, and other accessories like googly eyes. After making your puppets, you can get even more creative by putting on a show. Crafts are a simple way to bond with your foster children while creating lasting memories. They will also help with childhood development including problem-solving, fine motor skills, and creativity.

Have A Creative Christmas With Design Bundles

merry1

This is a collaborative post.

When I got my Cricut in February 2019, my first project was to make a wedding gift for my cousin and his wife.
I didn’t really know what I was doing, having never used a Cricut before but I managed to figure it out, eventually!
The first SVG file I ever used was from Design Bundles; as soon as I saw it I knew it was perfect for what I needed.

Butterfly Bouquet Cutout Framed personalised wedding gift

Early Christmas Decorating

We put our decorations up on November 29th. We’ve never put them up in November before and I always said I never would! However, after the year we’ve all had thanks to Covid-19, we all needed something fun to do and something to look forward to.

Gnome tree decoration from Design Bundles
I love these gnomes. They’re super easy to make.

Everyone in the country seems to have gotten into the Christmas spirit a bit earlier than usual. We’re grabbing hold of it like a lifeline and even though it’s not going to be a normal Christmas, it can still be a brilliant one.

A Design Bundles Crafty Christmas

Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year and one of the things I look forward to is crafting with the children.
We used to do lots of different crafts when they younger and I loved spending the time with them. Nowadays they prefer social media to crafting with mum but I can sometimes cajole them into crafting with me!

I downloaded loads of Christmas svgs from Design Bundles. They have so many you’re spoilt for choice! I use Design Bundles a lot so I decided to sign up for the Plus Membership. I can now choose new files every month using my Plus Credits 🙂

We’ve made tree decorations, 3D layered scenes, Christmas cards and Christmas t-shirts.

3D layered deer scene from Design Bundles

You can find tutorials below for some of the things we’ve been making.

3D Layered Penguins Scene Tutorial

This 3D layered penguin scene is simple and fast to make. All you need is a Cricut or other cutting machine, the 3D Christmas SVG papercraft bundle from Design Bundles, your choice of coloured/glittered card for each layer and some glue.
An optional extra is to add some wired fairy lights that you can put inside the scene behind the first inner layer. The finished product looks lovely when the lights are on.

3D layered penguin scene

Step 1 – Cutting

Cut all the pieces using your cutting machine. If you’re not sure how to use an SVG file, I have an in-depth tutorial here.

I used:

Black card – 2 outer layers
Silver glitter card – inner layer 1
Cream card – inner layer 2
Light blue card – inner layer 3
Dark blue card – Inner layer 4

Design Bundles penguin 3d scene

Step 2 – Assembling

Glue the 2 out layers together using the flap on the front piece.

mmm

Step 3 – Insert inner layers.

Starting with the back layer, insert all inner layers by slotting the tabs into the holes.

Penguin 3D scene - adding the layers
Design Bundles - Penguin 3D scene - adding the layers
Penguin 3D scene - adding the layers
Design Bundles - Penguin 3D scene - adding the layers

Step 4 – Closing the frame

All you need to do now is to apply glue to the tab on the outer back piece and stick the front penguin layer to the back.

Glue the flap

Christmas Tree Decorations Tutorial

This is a great project to use up all those card scraps; if you’re anything like me, you’ll have boxes of them!

We made our bauble decorations to go in the kitchen window rather than on the tree and they look lovely when they spin and catch the light.

All you need is scraps of card, glue, ribbon/string and adhesive gems.

Step 1 – Cut your pieces

I resized all the bauble files when I got them in Design Space because they were huge!
I resized them to around 10cms and changed the colour from black, making each design a different colour so they would be placed on different mats by Design Space.
If we were going to hang them on the tree, I’d have made them smaller but ours are going in the kitchen window so we need them a bit bigger.

Bauble files in Design Space

Step 2 – Duplicate and Flip

Now click on each bauble in turn, right click and duplicate then with the duplicated piece selected, click on Flip and flip the ornament horizontally.

Flip the duplicate piece horizontally

Once you’ve saved your work, click the Make It button in the top right corner of Design Space and cut all the pieces.

Step 3 – Assembling and Decorating

Put glue on the back of one the pairs of ornaments then stick the other piece to it, making sure they’re lined perfectly.

Using adhesive gems or any decorations you choose, decorate both sides.
If you’re using glitter card like me, it’s a good idea to put a dab of glue on the card where you want a gem to go, even though they’re adhesive, they sometimes fall off when put on glitter card.

Hang them using ribbon or Christmassy string.

Iron-On Vinyl T-Shirts Tutorial

My last tutorial today uses iron-on glittery vinyl to create some Christmas Movie watching t-shirts for KayCee and Ella.
Now before I start, I have to say I’m no expert when it comes to working with iron-on vinyl. I was really excited to try it when I first got the Cricut but I didn’t enjoy it the way I did when working with card.

I haven’t mastered layering yet so this is a one colour vinyl tutorial. I have to say, though, I do love the glitter and the svg files I got from Design Bundles made this a quick and easy craft.

KayCee and Ella wearing thier Christmas movie watching t-shirts

Step 1 – Choose Your SVG file

Go to Design Bundles and in the search box, search for Christmas Movie. This search term is enough to give you hundreds of results.

Choose your design and add it to Design Space.

Set the size and click Make It.

Step 3 – Cutting Your Design

The most important thing to remember at this stage is to MIRROR your design. I totally forgot with the second t-shirt and I wasted a whole sheet of glitter iron-on!

Design Space glitter iron-on settings

Click Continue then select Glitter Iron-On for the material.

When the cut has finished, weed away the excess material and your design is ready to be put on the t-shirt.

Step 4 – Applying The Iron-On

I used the Heat Press 2 with the following settings for Glitter Iron-on, a Cricut t-shirt and using the Cricut Easy Press mat:

Heat press 2 settings 1

Centre your design on the t-shirt and use the Easy Press to stick the design to the t-shirt. Let it cool before trying to peel off the carrier sheet.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorials. I’ll be back tomorrow with some free Christmas printables I made using gorgeous artwork I bought at Design Bundles 🙂

5 Must-Know Tips That Make Sewing Easier For Beginners

sewing tools, ribbon, zip, buttons, scissors

When you decide to take up a sewing project, or you’ve just started picking up this skill, you’ve got a lot to learn. This is a magnificent craft, but the skills don’t just come to you in your sleep. It takes a lot of determination and effort to learn how to become a master of this craft, with the accent on the determination. If you are one of those who develop a certain interest and then get bored after seeing that there is a lot of work to do, then sewing is definitely not for you.

On the other hand, if you are determined enough and willing to learn, you’ll be really happy after your accomplishments. Just imagine being able to call yourself a sewing expert a couple of months from now. I understand that picking up these skills might seem difficult in the beginning, but believe me when I say it; it does get a lot easier.

It gets even easier when you find the right sewing tips and tricks. There are a lot of those online and, frankly, the Internet has made learning everything much easier. The technological developments have made everything possible, so there’s no need to worry too much about where to find the tips I am talking about. All you need is an Internet-connected device and you’ll have everything right there at the palm of your hand.

You simply open your browser, find a website or two which are abundant in these tips and tricks and you’ll be able to pick up quite a few useful skills. Finding these websites won’t be that difficult, just make sure that you end up learning from reliable sources. Let me give you a few must-know tips myself and hopefully make sewing much easier for you.

sewing machine

Learn How To Quickly Thread The Needle

Anyone who has ever tried to thread the needle knows how much patience you need in order to do it successfully. That might be a good thing, because it prepares you for the fact that sewing is a craft for patient people. It’s soothing at the same time, but you can’t deny the fact that you can get rather frustrated after not being able to thread the needle for some time. I know that you might think it’s completely unnecessary to talk about this, because everybody can do it with some determination and patience.

When you learn the right way to do it, though, there will be no need for you to spend too much time trying to do this successfully. Consequently, you won’t get frustrated every time you need to do it and you won’t delay your decision to start sewing just because you cannot bear the thought of wasting your time on threading the needle. Here’s what you need to do. Instead of moistening the end of your thread, you should moisten the back of the needle. Try it out and see how big a difference it makes.

Don’t Watch The Needle

The biggest reason why people aren’t able to improve their sewing skills is that they keep watching their needle and it distracts them. Since you are a beginner, you might be shocked by this idea, but the truth is that you should never, ever watch the needle while sewing. Think of it this way. The first rule of learning how to dance is not to watch your feet.

This might be easier to say than to do, though. What are you supposed to look at? How are you to divert your attention from the needle when you need to know what the needle is doing at all times. The solution is quite simple. Watch the marks on your throat plate guide. That will help make sure that your lines are straight and precise.

sewing machine

Check The Presser Foot

Don’t forget to ensure that the presser foot is up while threading. If it’s kept down, the tension will lock and that’s not what you want. If you are a complete beginner, you might not even know what I am talking about right now, but don’t worry. After you get the hang of it, everything will become much clearer. As it usually goes, things that seem completely strange to you turn into completely simple and clear ones after a while.

Here are some more tips for when you get the hang of everything and get some more advanced skills: https://sweetredpoppy.com/sewingtips/

Magnets Come In Handy

Why would you possibly need a magnet while sewing? That was your reaction right now, wasn’t it? While this is not directly connected to the sewing skill, it is a really useful tip that will definitely come in handy and save you a lot of trouble. Let me ask you a question. What will you do if you lose one of your needles and can’t seem to find it?

If you have ever dropped a needle on the floor, you know how frustrating searching for it can get. It’s as if it falls from the face of the Earth. This is not only time-wasting, but it can also pose a real danger to you or anyone in your household. Having a little magnet next to you will make the process of finding the needle much easier and much quicker. You just go over the area with the magnet and the little sneaky needle will stick right to it.

Measure Everything And Then Do It Again

Picture this scenario. You want to cut some fabric, you quickly measure it and proceed to cut. After the cutting is complete, you realize that you have made a huge mistake. Things might be uneven, or the dimensions might be completely wrong. The worst part is, there’s no turning back.

I’m pretty sure that everyone has been there, so don’t get to angry at yourself. You should, however, remember to be more careful next time. Measure once, measure twice and then measure everything all over again if necessary, but don’t cut anything until you have checked the measurements a couple of times.

This is a collaborative post

Cut and Fold Book Art

A few years ago I tried book folding for the first time and really enjoyed it. I made a simple Christmas tree using Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol book.
While browsing Pinterest for ideas for book nooks, I saw pins for cut and fold book art. I’d always wondered how they made more elaborate designs so I Googled cut and fold book art and came across All In The Folds website.

Free Cut and Fold Book Art Masterclass

I took advantage of the free cut and fold masterclass and printed out my first pattern.
I was going to order a T shaped ruler from Amazon but decided I’d make my own for my first try in case I didn’t like it! A piece of glitter card taped to the top of my ruler worked well!

cut and fold book art pattern

It was a bit intimidating at first glance but after watching the video tutorial it turned out to be really easy!
I’m now hooked on book art and I can’t wait to learn the other methods.

cut and fold book art spelling the word, Inspire

Charity Shop

You may know that I volunteer at the charity shop where I run the book section.
We currently use CD cases with letters on the spine to separate the paperback books alphabetically. They’re ok but they can be hard to see so I’ve decided that with my new-found knowledge, I’m going to get hardback books that have been donated and make letter dividers using an alphabet I’ve seen on All In The Folds 🙂

I’ll share photos when they’re all done and in place.

All In The Folds Facebook Group

Anemone Flower Vase Cricut Tutorial

I’m back with another Dreaming Tree project, this time we’re making anemone flowers in a vase.

My tutorials assume you’ve added all the files to Design Space and saved them as a project. If you’re not sure how to do that, I have a tutorial which will help – How To Download, Unzip & Upload SVG Files

Anemone Flower Vase

anemone vase

You Will Need

supplies needed to make anemone flowers in a vase
  • Black card for flower stamens
  • Green card for long leaves
  • Green card for smaller leaves
  • 3 different colours of your choice for the flowers
  • Patterned card for the vase
  • Plain card for the vase
  • 3 x wooden dowel – 4mm diameter, 30 cm long
  • Ink
  • Makeup sponge
  • Green florist’s tape
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Decorative gems/pearls
  • Ribbon – Optional

Cut all the pieces needed using the files from Dreaming Tree.

As usual, there’s a great video of Leo showing you how to put all the pieces together. My tutorial is for those of you who prefer written instructions and lots of photos 🙂

Method

Load the makeup sponge with ink and wipe the excess off on a piece of scrap paper.
Apply the ink to the middle of the petals. How dark the ink is, depends on how you want your flower to look.

Anemone and vase tutorial - inking the flower petals

Ink the first 3 sets of petals for the first flower. Two of the sets have pointed petals and the third has rounded petals.

Anemone and vase tutorial - inking flower petals

Using a dowel, curl the edges by holding the paper between your thumb and the dowel and gently pull the paper down between them.

Anemone and vase tutorial - shaping petals using a dowel

Put your first set of pointed petals on to the dowel. If you’re using a 4mm piece of dowel, the petal should fit nicely. Don’t push it too far down the dowel, just enough to leave room for the other petals and the stamens to be added.

Anemone and vase tutorial - put first petal on to wooden dowel

Put a little bit of glue around the dowel on the first pointed petal.

Anemone and vase tutorial - put some glue on first petal around the wooden dowel

Stick the second pointed petal to the first. Make sure you offset the petals.

Anemone and vase tutorial - put next set of petals on, offset from first

Add the third set of petals, the one with the rounded ends and again, offset them.

Anemone and vase tutorial - repeat with last set of petals

Using the dowel, curl the first stamen like you did with the petals.

Anemone and vase tutorial - shape first piece of flower stamens and glue to flower

Do the same with the second stamen piece and glue it to the first, making sure to offset it.

Anemone and vase tutorial - repeat with second set of flower stamens and offset from first

Add the third stamen piece, shaping it as before. Don’t worry about the little bits of hot glue, you can remove them with some tweezers.

Place the black circle piece on to a folded teatowel and use a ball tool to shape it. Press on the circle with the ball tool and use a circular motion to shape it. You want it to have a slight bowl shape

Anemone and vase tutorial - using a ball tool, shape the circle to give it some depth
Anemone and vase tutorial - circle after shaping

Using a hot glue gun, put some glue on the end of the dowel. Don’t worry if you get little stringy bits of glue, you can remove them using some tweezers.

Stick the black circle to the flower stamens.

Anemone and vase tutorial - glue circle into place

Using a dowel, shape the small leaves piece that are going under the flower. The leaves need to bend down, away from the flower.
Add some hot glue to the base of the flower and slide the leaf piece down and stick it to the flower.

Anemone and vase tutorial - shape small leaf set and hot glue to bottom of flower

This is how it should look.

Anemone and vase tutorial - leaf set glued to base of flower

Cover the dowel with some green florist’s tape. You don’t need to go all the way down because you’ll be adding more when you add each new leaf.

Anemone and vase tutorial - cover dowel in florist's tape

Ink your first leaf piece.

Anemone and vase tutorial - ink rest of leaves

Shape using a dowel then curl it around the dowel to help make it easier to attach to the flower dowel.

Anemone and vase tutorial - use dowel to roll and shape the leaves

It needs attaching to the dowel so that it sits just under the leaves under the flower without touching the small leaves.

Anemone and vase tutorial - use florist's tape to attach leaves to stem

Ink and curl 3 leaves.

Anemone and vase tutorial - use dowel to shape leaves

Attach them to the dowel using florist’s tape where you think they look best.

Anemone and vase tutorial - use florist's tape to attach 3 leaves to stem

Repeat the above steps for the other 2 flowers before moving onto the vase assembly.

Vase Assembly

Get the 5 identical vase pieces and bend all the score lines.

Anemone and vase tutorial - bend all score lines on vase pieces

Glue the the bottom side tab to the next vase piece, making sure you glue right to the edge of the tab and line the pieces up as precisely as possible.

Anemone and vase tutorial - glue bottom side tab to next piece

Continue gluing the bottom tabs to the next vase piece until all 5 pieces are glued together

Anemone and vase tutorial - stick the rest of the side tabs to each piece

Next, glue the 3 small tabs on the left hand piece and stick it to the next piece.

Anemone and vase tutorial - stick 4 small tabs to next piece

Glue the top tab, making sure the glue goes right to the edge and stick it to the next piece.

Anemone and vase tutorial - stick top tab to next piece

Always be as precise as possible when lining up the tabs to glue them.

Anemone and vase tutorial - continue sticking all the tabs

Continue gluing and sticking all the side tabs to their neighbour pieces.

Anemone and vase tutorial - vase with all tabs glued

Fold the base flaps and get the piece of base card ready to stick to to the tabs.

Anemone and vase tutorial - vase base to glue onto tabs

Start by gluing one tab and stick the base piece to the tab. Again, be precise.

Anemone and vase tutorial - stick base to one tab

Glue the remaining tabs and stand the vase up. Use a piece of dowel to put inside the vase and press the tabs down until they stick.

Anemone and vase tutorial - stick the base to the rest of the tabs

Get the patterened vase pieces ready to stick o the vase.

patterened vase pieces

There’s a little scoreline at the top of each long vase piece. This is to help you position the patterned piece to the right place on the vase.

find the scoreline

Stick the first piece into place; it’s the piece with the decorative cutout.

stick the first piece into place

Continue sticking the other long pieces onto the vase then stick the smaller pieces around the bottom of the vase.

For the top of the vase, there are 5 decorative pieces that need curling into shape. I wrapped them around my Cricut score tool.

curl the top vase pieces

Curl all 5 pieces.

Anemone and vase tutorial - get the 5 top pieces to attach to the vase

On the curled pieces, you can see little cuts. These are to help you stick the curls in the right place. Line them up inside the top of the vase, with the rounded end on the long patterned piece.

Anemone and vase tutorial - notice the marks that are there to help position the piece correctly
attach all the curled pieces

Get creative and apply the gems where you like.

add gems

Ink the long leaf pieces

Anemone and vase tutorial - ink long leaves

Use the dowel to shape the leaves.

Glue the leaves inside the vase to four sides, leaving the front without a leaf.

Put some sand or shredded paper inside the vase and use it to position the three flowers you made earlier.

Finished vase

Here’s another one I made 🙂

finished vase

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you make this flower vase, I’d love to see your result; you can post in the Dreaming Facebook group, of which I’m a member 🙂

High Heel Greeting Card By Dreaming Tree – Cricut Tutorial

I love this little high heel greeting card from Dreaming Tree. I have lots of girly friends and family members who would love to receive one of these cards for their birthday. A great bonus is that the SVG files to make this card are totally free from Dreaming Tree 🙂

High Heel Greeting Card

If you prefer video tutorials to written tutorials, you can find the Dreaming Tree tutorial video here.

Before I begin the tutorial, I just need to let you know that in the first image below, it shows a white piece of cardstock. When it came to using the white card, I decided I needed a stronger colour and changed to a dark purple cardstock. I’d already cut some files before I decided on the change so I couldn’t retake the photo!

For this tutorial, you will need:

  • Cardstock in  a design of your choice for the shoe – I used glitter cardstock
  • Co-ordinating cardstock for the shoe embellishments – I used adhesive foil
  • Cardstock for the flower embellishments, the card insert and the envelope embellishment
  • Card/paper of your choice for the envelope
  • Glue
  • Cutting machine – I used a Cricut Maker
  • Cricut cutting mats – I used a green and a blue mat
High heel greeting card supplies

To see how I got to the cutting stage for this tutorial, check my previous tutorial – How To Download, Unzip & Upload SVG Files

1 – After you’ve clicked Make It in Design Space, you’ll be taken to the Prepare screen.

Click Continue

cut high heel shoe

Choose your material by clicking on All Materials.

high heel greeting card - choose material

I’m using Glitter cardstock.

high heel greeting card -choose material

When you’ve set your material, you will be taken to the following screen and on the Cricut machine, the Load button will be flashing.

high heel greeting card - cut high heel shoe

Load your card onto a mat – I used the green mat because it holds the glitter cardstock well – then place the mat under the guides on the machine and while holding the mat in place, press the load button.

Press the Cricut Go button when it flashes.

When your first piece has finished cutting, carefully remove it from the board and set it aside.

Load the next piece of card onto the mat. I used Adhesive foil and the blue mat. Remember to change your material settings.

high heel greeting card - cut 2 - embellishments

Load the mat into the machine and press the Cricut Go button when it flashes

adhesive foil embellishments

Unload the mat and remove the embellishments carefully, from the board.

embellishments cut

Load your envelope card/paper onto the mat and then load into the machine. Press the Cricut Go button when it flashes.

envelope

Unload the mat and carefully remove the envelope and excess card/paper from the board.

envelope cut

Load the mat with the card for the next piece then load the mat into the machine and press the Cricut Go button when it flashes.

main card

Load the mat for the final time and load into the machine.

second set of embellishments

Remove the card from the mat and fold along the score line.

main card cut

Glue the high heel piece to the card ensuring it all lines up along the edge then glue the embellishment piece onto the shoe piece.

attach high heel shoe and embellishment

Using a piece of dowel or similar, shape the flower embellishment petals by holding the flower and dowel together then pulling the flower down between your finger and the dowel while slightly bending the card as you pull it.

Glue the flowers to the card.

add flower embellishments

Stick the flower middles onto the flowers.

add middle of flowers embellishments

At the bottom of the heel, you’ll see two tiny cuts. These are there to help you with placing the heel piece in the right place.

cut marks show where embellishment is to be placed

Glue the heel piece into place.

attach bottom of heel

There are also tiny cut marks to show you where the sole needs to be placed.

cut marks to show where sole is to be placed

It should look like this:

attach purple sole

Add gem embellishments.

add gem embellishments

Fold all the score lines on the envelope piece then apply glue to the inside envelope flap.

high heel greeting card - fold envelope on score lines then put glue on inside flap

Glue the envelope flap piece into place.

high heel greeting card - stick purple flap to envelope

And that’s your card and envelope complete 🙂

high heel greeting card - completed card and envelope

How To Download, Unzip & Upload SVG Files – A Tutorial

After receiving my shiny new Cricut Maker a few of months ago, it’s fair to say I’m now a little bit addicted to paper crafting!
One of my favourite sites to download SVG files from is Dreaming Tree. I stumbled across them while Googling for free SVG files.
I’m now a member of the Dreaming Tree Facebook group and I love looking through all the results. Each person puts their own creative style into the projects so no matter how many ‘exquisite eggs’ or ‘darling dress’ cards are shared, they’re all different and provide me with lots of inspiration for my own projects.

Design Space

SVG files are used by Design Space, which is the online design software for Cricut. You upload the files to Design Space and it then sends instructions to the machine, telling it what you want it to do.

Dreaming Tree has many videos on their site to help you learn. If you prefer videos to written tutorials, the videos that show you how to unzip and upload the Dreaming Tree SVG files can be found here.

Video Tutorials

I don’t much care for video tutorials personally, especially on my phone. I find myself having to rewind the video often as I get behind and miss bits. It’s harder to rewind on my phone because of the smaller screen and my chunky fingers!
With a written tutorial, I don’t need to do anything except scroll to the next instruction when I’m ready 🙂

Dreaming Tree Tutorial – How to download, unzip and upload files to Design Space

With this in mind, and knowing I’m not the only one who prefers written instructions, I’m going to show you today how I download an SVG file from Dreaming Tree, how to unzip it when you have it on your Windows machine and how to upload it to Design Space.

I created an account at Dreaming Tree because I plan to be a long term customer! The following tutorial assumes you’ve created an account and are logged in.

We’ll be using the High Heel greeting card file. This is a free download.

Click the following link to be taken to the download page – High Heel Greeting Card
Add the file to your shopping cart.

Dreaming Tree high heel card download

Click on your shopping cart and click Checkout

Dreaming Tree high heel card checkout

Click Place Order

Dreaming Tree high heel card place order

You will receive an email confirming your purchase and there will be a link in it which will take you to the download. Alternatively, go to your account and click on Downloads

Dreaming Tree high heel card download

Find the file and click the blue button to download it.

download file

I created a new folder in my Documents folder and called it Dreaming Tree. When you’ve picked your folder, click Save

choose location to download file

Open the folder that contains your file and right click on the zip file. On the dropdown menu, click Extract All

extract zip file

A window will pop up telling you which folder the files will be extracted to. On my laptop, it always chooses the folder I’m already in so I never change the file destination.

select folder to extract files

You will now have the extracted folder and the empty zipped folder.

extracted folder

Right click on the zip folder and click on Delete

delete empty zip folder

You will now have the folder containing your svg files. Click on it to open it.

extracted folder

Inside this folder, you have another folder titled SVG. Click this folder to open it.

svg folder and jpg files

Inside the SVG folder, you’ll see two more folders and the SVG files. You need to upload all the SVG files to Design Space, including the SVG files in the envelope folder.
For the purpose of today’s tutorial, I won’t be using the extra files. The Extras folder contains a solid scorelines file and a Caption file. I’ll cover these in a later tutorial.

svg files

Open Design Space and click New Project

design space new project

You will now have a blank canvas. Click Upload

design space canvas

Click Upload Image

design space upload file

Click Browse

design space choose file location

Browse to the folder that contains your SVG files and click elements_peapod.svg

choose svg file

When it opens in Design Space, click Save

design space save file

Your new file will now show on your Recently Uploaded Images.

dreaming tree choose file

Repeat the process until you have all 4 SVG files uploaded into Design Space.
Don’t forget, like I did when making this tutorial, to go back and upload the envelope file in the same way! You should have 5 files, not 4 as in the screenshot.

uploaded svg

Click on each of the five(!) files and click Insert Images

You will now have the files on the canvas of Design Space. Down the side, you can see the layer palette.

design space canvas files inserted

You now need to look at each layer in turn and see if any of them need attaching. The attach button is kind of like a paperclip; it clips 2 layers together so when you move them, they stay together and remain in the right place. If you didn’t attach the layers, the machine would put both layers on separate mats or on the same mat but not in the correct place.

The elements_peapod, elements_salmon and panel_black_pattern are single layers and don’t have any parts that need attaching. When you click on these layers, the actions at the bottom, including Attach won’t be available.

The main_white has a separate cut layer. This cut layer is in place of a solid scoring layer. This means that those who don’t have a scoring wheel or scoring tool will have tiny little cuts in a straight line in the place where the card needs to be folded.
If you click on main_white and look at the bottom of the layer palette, you’ll see that Attach is now available to click.
Click Attach

design space layers

The Attached layer will now move to the top.

You need to do the same with the envelope layer because it has a layer that needs attaching so the score lines are in the right place.

You can now click the save button and save your project. It will then be available in your projects every time you want to make a new card.
Just click save and give your project a name.

Click Make It

design space attach

You will now be taken to the Prepare Mats screen.

design space make it

That’s it for this tutorial. If you’d like to carry on and see the cutting and assembling process click for Part 2 

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