Mar 30, 2012

Daisy chain toy

I thought you might get a kick out of this craft for smaller children that I wrote about over at Alpha Mom, seeing as we've just entered spring in the northern hemisphere, and Easter is nearly here. All the things you need to make a nice big set of these work out pretty cheap, and this is a DIY toy that will last a long time, so worth it. I spent just over $5 for all the materials to make enough of these to keep my two girls very busy and give them plenty of options.

The way these work is that you make lots and lots of individual flower sections that the kids can thread into each other and be taken apart again easily to make many different kinds of chains for head dresses, necklaces, bracelets or just long decorative garlands. It would work out to be a really neat fine motor skill activity for preschoolers.

If you'd like to see how to make these then pop over here to Alpha Mom where I have the whole tutorial posted. Bonus Easter points on this one, because they fit into the plastic egg hunt eggs, so that gives me more options that aren't candy for the egg hunts that we do here.

Flower fairy baby Del likes stealing them.

Over the weekend I'm hoping to put together another post about a similar daisy chain craft we did that is more suited to older, grade school kids like my girls. They really enjoyed the pipe cleaner daisy chains, but it was a bit too easy for them as they are now six and seven years old. After thinking about it for a bit I came up with another option for them that would be more of a test of their motor skills and look more realistic too. It's all made and I did take photos, but I need to find the time to write it up for you. I'm hoping that if I get it up here some time tomorrow then anyone that wants to will have enough time to make a set as an Easter gift.

In the mean time, here are a few older FW posts of easter type crafty goings on that might interest you...

Last year's Easter craft I wrote about over at Alpha Mom was the Pysanki on paper eggs. Ours are back up on the walls this year and we're going to make new ones over Spring break.
Bunny ear paper plate hat, with the template also over at Alpha Mom...
Origami bunny ear headbands from last year...

Lastly, here's an old post about how we do our egg hunts. It works out much better for us as a collaborative hunt, rather than the crazed, free for all, seemingly "Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome" themed event they hold at the local park, that everyone needs padding and pepper spray for.

Hope you're all geared up for some fun spring break times with the kiddos! My best mate from home just sent me a bag of 40 mini Cadburies Creme Eggs. I am ALL SET! Om nom nom!

Mar 17, 2012

X-wing flight suit t-shirt printable

The last post I wrote was all about making the x-wing fighter pilot helmets from our bike helmets. This post is to share with you the hoodies that we made for the girls to wear with the helmets. I thought about making them t-shirts, but it was still winter, so we went with something warmer instead.

I made the artwork for it on the computer. It's not totally accurate, but close enough that the kids and most people that have seen the movies will recognize it as the white padded bib and communications device that the x-wing pilots wear. I did look online to see if there was anything that you could buy that was regular clothing and not just halloween costume stuff, but the only things I could find were hoodies for grown ups that were sort of based on the flight suit but again not accurate and rather expensive. Here's a link to a picture of what the real movie flight suits looked like.

If you want to make one like I made for my girls, or a t-shirt, you'll need some printer transfer paper and the artwork that I've included as a printable in this post, plus whatever orange garment you're going to iron it onto. Just click on the thumbnail below to get the full size image to print on your transfer paper. It is designed to print on US letter sized paper, but if you scale to fit A4 when you print it, you shouldn't lose too much of the size. It should be an ok size to work for small and medium sized kid clothing. I'm not sure if it will work out for larger sizes or if you'd have to enlarge the image and print it across multiple sheets of transfer paper for that, which might be a pain.

Please don't use this to make money, because George Lucas will likely use the force to kick your ass.

I made it with a little Alliance logo in the empty space at the neck that can be cut out separately and ironed onto the arm of the garment too.

My first thought was to just iron these directly onto the hoodies, but then I thought that to anyone that wasn't totally into Star Wars it might look a bit like my kids were wearing some sort of bizarre bomb strapped to them?!? In the interests of not having random strangers calling homeland security on us while we're out and about, I instead ironed the bib part onto white felt and had safety pins to take it on and off the hoodie.

They still have their Rebel Alliance logo ironed directly onto the arm of the hoodie, so they can wear them to school but not look like they are "in costume".

I'm hoping to find some orange velcro at some point that I can use to replace the safety pins, but they are working fine in the mean time and being enjoyed by my rebels! If I spot an orange sleep suit for Delyth, I'm totally making her one too! Promise I'll post a photo if I do :) I might have to crochet her an x-wing pilot's helmet to go with it.
My apologies to any of my readers that aren't into Star Wars. I wasn't expecting the last three posts to be all Star Wars themed, and I know we've had minor Star Wars themed marathons in the past with light sabers and storm trooper masks, toys and doll house, and birthday parties, but that's it for a while I promise! Look , look, look though! These awesome peeps have had a go making the R2s and blogged about it. Makes me very happy to see that there are families that are up for the same antics as we are.

We got to benefit from other Star Wars crafty people's ideas this valentine's too, because my older daughter made a version of the glow stick light saber valentines we saw here at Stitch/Craft for her class.  Ffion wanted to do the lolly pop valentines that we've done before for hers. Thank you to all the fab readers that got in touch to let me know that you'd done our giant lollypop valentines this year after they appeared in Family Fun magazine. It's really lovely to see projects I put up on here being done by other families around the world. The kids get a real kick out of seeing those photos too!

One last thing, I'm behind on replying to my emails, so please don't think I'm ignoring you if you've emailed me asking about something and I haven't got back to you yet. I can read my emails while I'm nursing Del, but replying to them whilst nursing means I can only use one hand to type and that's kinda slow going ;) Here's a photo of a cute baby for you to look at while I'm mashing one finger on the keyboard to write my replies...

Actually two last things! Happy mother's day to all the mums in the UK for tomorrow! If you're reading this mum, I loves ya!

Oh! Actually three last things! Paul just did a post over on his blog about the doll house we made based on our own house for Carys's birthday present last year. The kids love it, and he's said that if anyone wants to make one like it then to get in touch and he'll write out the plans and measurements he worked out to put on the blog. I still have a load of photos of things that are on our walls that I need to print out and stick on and varnish over, but we figure this is a work in progress and we'll add to it as we find the time.

Mar 14, 2012

Kid's DIY Star Wars X-wing fighter pilot's helmet

Oh my goodness! Let's all stop getting ill ok? Just for a while? This last month has been a relentless torrent of snot and barf and squitty butts! I've just put my back out as well, so although thankfully the ever evolving plague seems to have finally left the house, I am now creeping about like Julie Walters in the "Two Soups" sketch. Can we all agree that April will be super-awesome-not-sick month? Yes? Everyone remember to cough into your sleeve, only stick your fingers up your own noses, and try not to lick each other's eyeballs or any other gross, weird, contagious disease spreading malarky, you dirty, dirty little gremlins!

So, on to the post that I've wanted to write about for weeks!

The kids are still way into Star Wars and playing make believe, so I thought it would be fun to see if we could make some sort of very low cost dress up play version of an X-wing fighter pilot's helmet, so they could play Rogue Squadron with their walkie talkies. As usual with our antics, it's got to be really cheap to pull off, so yeah, it doesn't look like a cosplay prop, and you aren't going to want to rock one of these at Comicon, but if you have little children who aren't fussy about their dress up clothes being made from hot glue and paper plates then this is going to work for you.

The kids were so happy with how it turned out and it was pretty easy to pull off with some stuff that you likely have in your cupboards already.They were enjoying their Rogue Squadron status so much that I decided to make them "flight suit" hoodies, and I'll post the printable iron on decal that I made for those in the next post. This post however is all about making the helmets. Here's all the bits and bobs we used to make them.

The easiest thing to use as a base for this was going to be their bike helmets, but I didn't want to permanently alter them or damage them. The solution was to cover the bike helmet with one of the white trash bags that we use for our kitchen bin. I laid out the bag and wrapped it around the helmet and then used masking tape to tape around the edge of the helmet to hold it on. We just had cheap Kirkland bin liners, but if you had the fancy stretchy ones you could probably make this look really neat and tidy.

Then I trimmed off the excess bin liner, leaving enough so that I could fold it into the helmet and use a few bits of masking tape to hold it down.

Doing it this way means that when you are done and want to use your bike helmet to go out for a bike ride again, you can just peel of the masking tape and the whole x-wing pilot helmet will come off the top leaving the bike helmet underneath undamaged. Now you need a couple of paper plates (These ones I sort of popped the rims over on, but with the other type we used we didn't do that and both ways worked)

The next step was to use a low temperature hot glue gun to glue a white paper plate to each side of the helmet to get the shape right. We used two different kinds of paper plate for our two helmets, just to see which looked better, and I think they are both pretty ok really, so most any type of paper plate should work fine. The really cheap ones with the crimped edges we had to double up to make the card thick enough to be sturdy though.

We also cut and glued on a third plate at the back to make it a full helmet.

For the mohawk section that runs down the center of an x-wing pilot's helmet we cut two strips of corrugated cardboard from an old box and then wrapped it up in some butcher's block paper and glued it on with the hot glue.

I think it might be important to note that we used low temperature hot glue for all of this. I think if you tried it with the high temp stuff then you'd wind up melting the plastic bin liner that you'd used to cover the bike helmet and possibly damage the helmet underneath.

Once all the extra stuff was glued on to get the shape right, we  decorated our helmets with pens (we used Sharpie permanent markers because the one type of white plate we used had a sort of waxy finish to it that regular pens wouldn't write on) I also drew the Rebel Alliance logo onto some card circles for them to glue on. Here's a link to a pretty good reference photo of the movie helmets if you want to copy the decals on them for your own helmets.

We didn't have any yellow transparent plastic handy to use for the visors on the helmets, so we used some clear plastic that was in the recycling bin from some random packaging and the kids coloured it with orange and yellow Sharpie pens. That sort of worked, but it wasn't really very yellow and if we were setting out to do this from scratch again then I think I'd try and find maybe a cheap yellow plastic see through sleeve or wallet from an office supply store that could be cut up and used for the visor.
All in all this was fast, cheap, easy, and the kids have got some good fun out of them. They decided that they should wear their dad's DIY safety glasses under the helmets to make the visors look more real, which is what you can see in the photo.

My friend Jordan says that there are actually at least two women fighter pilots in Rogue Squadron! I had no idea because they aren't present in the movies, but I was pretty stoked to find out it wasn't all men as I'd assumed. Very glad that the Rebel Alliance is equal opportunities, even if it was "long ago" and "in a galaxy far far away"!

Next post will be the flight suit hoodies :)