Cute and Creepy Halloween Bracelets

Halloween is just around the corner and while most people have been planning their costume for weeks, I have put very little thought into it.  I get way more excited planning what my toddler is going to be.  I’m usually stuck somewhere between wanting to show my Halloween spirit but wanting to wear clothes that won’t leave me freezing, itchy or with some form of face paint on.  I’m also one of those people that once I get dressed in the morning, I’m dressed for the day.  That’s where these cute Halloween bracelets come in.

I wanted something that would be easy, cheap, and good looking.  In my opinion that is basically the holy trinity of any craft project.  These bangles can be made to fit any holiday really and with just a few supplies you could make quite a few of these. I made a few plain ones and then added some embellishments to show that I’m representing the holidays even if it is just the bare minimum.  I would say that this is definitely easier for adults and older children.  It can get repetitive and tedious but it is in no way hard.  And the best part of all is that it is super cheap to make these and they can be any size so feel free to not only deck yourself out but throw some of these bangles on your baby, cat and neighbors (with their permission of course!).

What You Will Need:

  • plastic canvas
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • plastic spider rings
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue

First you will need to cut a strip of plastic canvas in the width that you want for  your bracelet. I cut the strip along the shorter side of the plastic canvas sheet so that I could make more.  It doesn’t matter at this point if it is too long because you will want to overlap it anyway.

Next make sure you cut off any of the little “nubbins” from the plastic canvas.  You want it to be smooth on both sides of the strip.  This is an easy step, but a surprisingly messy one.  Those things will go everywhere and if they get in your carpet the only chance of getting them out is vacuuming.

Now you need to determine the size of your bracelet.  It needs to easily go on to your wrist but also not be so big that it falls right off.  This is where the overlapping happens.  Once you get the size you want, you will need to tie the overlapping parts together.  You will only need to do this in one little spot, just to make sure the size stays like you want it.

The next step is going to require you to make a small ball of yarn that can easily go through the ring you have made for your bracelet.  I originally tried to just wrap the yarn around the strip before I folded it into a bracelet but that did not go so well in the end.

Once you have your mini yarn ball, pick a spot and start wrapping it around the strip. This part is the most annoying and time consuming part.  Weaving through the bracelet hole while trying to keep the yarn close together on the strip takes a little bit of effort.  Once you make it all the way around the bracelet you can either stop or go around again just to give it a little something extra.  I went around three times, but on the third time I wrapped it not as tight and spread it out to give it a little different texture.

Once you have your bracelet wrapped you will need to cut the yarn and glue the end down, preferably on the inside of the bracelet.  I glued it down and then tucked it a little so that it would be more hidden.

Finally add all of the finishing touches!  I just simply took the spider rings and cut the ring part to there was an opening and wrapped it around the bracelet.  If you bracelet is smaller in width, you can cut the spiders from the ring and glue them to it.  For eyes I just glued them on.  I think in hindsight I would have used a different color of yarn so that the spiders would stick out more.  I didn’t want to do the traditional orange and black because I’m honestly not a big a fan of the color.  But a green or even a lighter purple would have looked pretty good too. You could easily add some small plastic snakes or skeleton bones if you could find them.  I even tried wrapping one in “spider webs” but it looked a mess so I didn’t post any pictures.  When you are done, slip your creation on and wear it proudly!

Easy Magazine Ghost

My little guy has just discovered the joy of the paper cutter.  He is only two, but cutting paper by sliding a “magic button” as he calls it is way more effective than his plastic kiddie scissors and maybe even a little safer as well.  Obviously I still hover over him while he uses it, but he seems to appreciate the autonomy that it gives him.  To celebrate the discovery of a new tool to use, we decided to do a little Halloween craft with some paper strips.

This one is super easy and can easily be made with things already in your house.  You could easily adapt it be any character or symbol, but we decided to go with a ghost.  I would say that this choice was on purpose but it was really more of a necessity due to lack of pages that were all one color scheme.

What you need:

  • magazine or scrap book paper
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scissors/paper cutter
  • googly eyes (optional)

If you are using magazine pages, you will first need to go through and find pages that are all one color scheme.  I found that it was a lot easier to find pages that were mostly white.  Even a page mostly full of writing would work.  Colored pages were a lot harder to find, but different scrap book paper patterns in the same color family could also work.

First you will need to cut your paper in to strips.  I made them all different widths but all the same length.

Next, glue the strips to paper making sure to cover the whole page.  I even layered some just to get the patterning that I wanted.

Finally, you will need another sheet of paper in the desired color you want to contrast  your ghost.  Simply draw the outline of the character that you want on to this paper.

Next cut out the character, being sure to cut out from the center.

Place the cutout on top of your strips of paper and glue it down.  Its that easy!  All you have to do is put the finishing touches on!  I love this project because it is easy for every age, and it can be anything.  Even if I didn’t have orange pages I could still use white and then use a translucent paint to make a cute pumpkin, a spider, or a a witch hat.  The possibilities are endless and it can be used for every holiday.

Colorful Toddler Treasure Hunt

Our little guy has always had a flair for letters.  I blame (maybe thank?) PBS and that pesky little show called Word World.  He has even dabbled in writing a few of those letters, although he is only two so its mostly O’s and I’s.  But for some reason his stubborn little personality has zero interest in numbers.  Specifically the number 3.  I don’t know what it is but no matter how hard we try, he refuses to count in order.

Lately I feel like the days have started to be pretty routine and uneventful in our house.  We play the same games over and over.  We color, we play hide and seek, we play sandbox.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t really have my day planned out even a little.  I have decided to come up with a theme for each week, and this week we have been circling around the theme of pirates.  I know it sounds kind of like a silly and limited theme, but just hear me out for a second.  You can learn about boats, counting dubloons, parrots, the ocean, and the classic pirate treasure.  I decided to take that treasure and turn it in to a little game for the little man.

Obviously a treasure hunt is the first thing that comes to mind, but toddlers can’t typically read a treasure map.  I figured that I would have him find this by following clues, except toddlers can’t really read clues either.  But one thing they do understand is pictures!  I decided that we would have a him follow picture clues that were inside number envelopes.  It was super easy to do and could be modified if you don’t have everything to make them exactly like I did.  So lets get started!

What you need:

  • Plain envelopes
  • Felt stick on numbers
  • pictures or clip art of items around your house
  • notecards or cardstock

First thing I did was think of things around that house that were easily recognizable for little FEZ.  I tried find clip art for each item and I wanted them to be as simple as the Googling powers of the internet would allow me to find.

Some examples:

  • refridgerator
  • trash can
  • lamp
  • bed
  • bookshelf
  • oven
  • washer
  • dryer
  • couch

I made sure that I had more than 10 items just in case we wanted to play the game again and wanted something new.  I sized them up and printed them off on just regular paper.  Next, I cut out the “clues and just for extra durability I glued them on to thick cardstock.  This isn’t really a necessary step, but I figured if we wanted to reuse them it couldn’t hurt.

Next up, I simply peeled the backing off of the felt numbers and stuck them to the outside of the envelopes.  I only numbered them 1-10 but you could easily do more.  Obviously felt numbers aren’t a requirement for this project, you could easily write the numbers on the envelopes.  I just happened to have some stick on numbers gathering dust in the craft room and was thrilled that I finally found a use for them!

To play the game you just need to leave the clues in the envelopes.  In the first envelope you will put the picture card with the location of the second envelope. For example, envelope 1 had the picture of the fridge in it.  Envelope number 2 was taped to the side of the fridge.  Inside envelope 2 was a picture of an easel.  Taped to the easel was envelope number 3.  You get the idea.  To start the game you simply give your little one the first envelope.  I helped FEZ out the first few envelopes but once he got the hang of it he was all over the house hunting clues.  The last clue led the little guy to a little “treasure chest” that had a pack of fruit snacks and a cookie.

He immediately wanted to play again, probably because he wanted more cookies, but I would like to think it was because he loved following the numbers.  We did eventually play a few more rounds and he seemed to be content with just finding a cool book to read or a game to play at the end.  Overall I would say that it was success!

 

Busy Book Counting Page

When I was pregnant with my little guy I happened upon one of those mommy sites with a discussion board.  I randomly peeped in on a conversation about must have items for your new addition to the family.  Most items seemed pretty basic and nothing was really different from what I had already been told or search for myself online.  In the middle of all the suggestions for swings that mimic car rides and all terrain strollers for the fitness junkie moms, I came across the idea of a busy book.  She spoke of soft pages of activities like buckles and zippers and velcro shapes all packed into one travel sized book.  It sounded perfect, and especially appealing to our family since we traveled around a lot during our kiddo’s first year to show him off to family. Underneath her comment were an endless amount of other moms chiming in about how this was their favorite purchase and was totally worth it. Excited for the prospect of something new to look at I decided to look into it.  This helpful mom provided a link to her favorite company that makes busy books and much to my surprise these suckers come out to around $300.00!!!!   Ummm…no.  I thought it had to be a mistake and that there was no way a book full of zippers and buttons was that much.

A quick trip over to Etsy and I learned that just one page in a busy book can cost anywhere from 10-36 dollars.  While I agreed that most of these were adorable, they were also mostly felt.  Being the stubborn cheapskate that I am, I decided that I could do it myself.  I looked over the web for some cute ideas and loaded my kid up and set out for the craft store.  I think I ended up spending around 38 dollars on supplies, and I made around 12 pages and even had some leftover stuff.  I actually really enjoyed making them, and I even made two books for babies showers recently.  I even made up my own cover to hold all of the pages in, which I will post later when I get a good pattern up.  For now I will start with the basics.

These are the instructions for the numbers and counting page.  I used sew on buttons, which could be pulled off if you have a rough kiddo so use discretion with what you think your kid can handle, you know them best.  As always, stay close to your child when playing with these pages as they are handmade and might have small parts.

 

What You Need:

I use the same basic starting point for all of my busy book pages.  Most sheets of felt that you will get at the craft store will come in a size that is roughly 9 x 12 in size.  I like to cut my pages to be a 9 x 9 square.  Stiffened felt may come in a much larger sheet, and a lot of times you can get two squares out of one sheet.  The stiff  felt is what you will be sewing on to and the regular felt will just be the backing, regular felt can also be used for both the front and back but I found that it is a lot easier to handle the pages when sewing on to the stiff felt.

First you will need to cut the flaps that will be used for the numbers.  I kind of estimated on the size needed so I don’t have an exact estimate to use, but you will need to cut two rectangles for each flap.  In total you should have 18 rectangles so we can go up to 9.

It helps to take time to arrange the colors and the numbers so that they are set up the way you want.  I had several options of colors for each number and I didn’t want the same color to be right next to each other.

When you have the layout the way you want it sew the numbers to the middle of one rectangle from each of the pairs.  When the number is secure, you can set the number rectangle on top of the matching rectangle and sew them together.

When the number rectangles are all made, line them up on the page how you want them and sew straight across the top of the rectangles to connect them to the page. Under each flap you will want to hand sew the corresponding number of buttons or characters. This part takes forever!  Patience though my friends.

The back of this page will look all a mess because it is where you will tie off everything.  That is where the next step comes in.

            Once the page is complete you can lay the whole thing on top of a regular felt page and sew the two together so that your tied off ends and the stitches from the back of the page are hidden and the page is more sturdy. Then cut off the excess felt.  I usually add three eyelets to one side of the page when I am finished and I keep them all held together in a “book” with binder rings.

That’s it!  Make sure you always watch your little one when they play with this page, it is cute but the little buttons are small.  You could also try to glue on patch numbers or sew on felt numbers.  Iron-ons will not really work with felt, the felt tends to melt and even on a low setting doesn’t get hot enough to set the glue on the patch.