Block Printed Wrapping Paper

Last year we enjoyed printing Christmas & thank you cards with my eldest daughter’s designs, so this year we had a go at printing wrapping paper. This was a great project that we could all get involved with. My four year old did the design this time; a sweet reindeer drawing that made a great print.

 
Materials

1 roll of Plain wrapping paper

Block printing ink

Ink tray

Lino cutter

Ink roller /brayer 

Lino sheet

Paper

Pencil

Marker pen

Wooden block (cut to size of design)

Strong craft glue

1. Draw out a design. Using a thick marker pen on the lino.

2. Cut out the areas around the marked section. Trimming off excess lino. Glue to wooden block.

3. Roll out some ink and apply a very thin layer to the lino. 

4. Do some test prints for positioning and ink density.


5. Apply a very thin layer of ink after each print for an even finish.

6. Print the red noses. We used a flat crayon dipped lightly in ink but fingertip will do too.

7. Leave to dry.

8. Ready to wrap gifts!

Homemade Sparkly Scented Play Dough

We get through so much play dough that I thought I’d be worth having a go making it ourselves. I’ve tried a couple of times before but always ended up with that stodgy floury nursery school smelling stuff. This time I experiented with some different ingredients and invested in some good essential oils. The children enjoyed having different fragrances to sniff, they love smelling the tester perfumes in shops so it was great to have an activity like this at home. 

To make four colours –

You will need 

2 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1 – 1.5 cups of warm previously boiled water

Food colouring 

3-4 drops of glycerine

Essential oils

Vanilla essence

Bowls

Wooden spoons

Plastic containers to store play dough 

Glitter


I used cinnamon leaf, pine needle and mandarin essential oils and vanilla essence. Make sure to research the oils which are safe for you and children, also in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.

I have used grapeseed oil with all my children in baby massage so I knew their skin wouldn’t react to it. A good tip my baby massage instructor showed me, if using for the first time, is to dab a little on the wrist and wait ten minutes to see if there is a reaction or not.

I divided the ingredients into four so the children could make a tub with a different colour and scent each. But you can always make one batch and then divide the dough to  colour and fragrance.

1. Into four bowls add flour, salt and cream of tartar. 


2. In a separate jug add 2-3 drops of essential oil (or 1tsp vanilla essence) to a teaspoon of grape seed oil and glycerine.

3. Add a 1/4 cup of warm water to the mixture and add the food colouring. 

4. Take one of the bowls of the flour mixture and slowly combine the wet mixture with the dry, adding more plain water if needed, until you get a bread dough like consistency that can be kneaded.

5. Adding different colours and scents repeat stages 2,3,4 for the remaining three bowls of flour mix  

I used yellow with vanilla, green with pine needle, orange with mandarin and red with cinnamon.



6. Place the dough on a smooth surface and add a sprinkle of glitter (too much will cause the dough to crack). 

7. Knead the dough well and it’s ready for play. 


8. Work into a soft ball and store in airtight containers when finished with


If you feel the dough needs refreshing at any point rub a few drops of grapeseed oil into hands and work though the dough, it moistens the dough and your hands!

Christmas Stocking

I had some left over hessian so decided to make three mini Christmas stockings for our daughters. I asked the eldest two what they would like on theirs and they chose “doggie” and “snowflakes and presents”

Materials

Pins

Ruler

Scissors

Pencil

Pattern paper

Hessian fabric

Thick wadding or felt

Coloured felt

Binding

Ribbon
  
  

First sketch a basic outline of a sock. Draw onto pattern paper including fold over piece (see below). Add 1cm seam allowance. Cut x2 sock piece and X1 fold over piece.

Including Sean allowance the sock opening width is 15cm and length of fold over piece is 30cm 

Draw template and cut simple applique felt shapes. Stick and/or stitch to front sock piece

  
  
Sew edges of wrong sides (not opening). Sew in binding then turn right way around

  
Cut wadding  

 

Stitch the two short sides together and fold over to slot into position on the sock. Stitch in place.

 

  

Sew 5cm of bias to make loop. Stitch loop to stocking. 

Sew ribbon to hide the fold over seam and tie into a bow. 

       

They are a lovely size for little gifts and little hands and hopefully will last many years. 

Handmade Advent Calendar

The weeks leading up to Christmas seem to get faster and faster but this year instead of adding our usual advent calendars to the end of our online grocery shop, I wanted to make something a little more special for our daughters, something they could keep for years to come. 

  
Materials –

1/2 m hessian fabric

Scissors

Ruler

Pencil

Sewing machine

Pole (I used part of a clothes hanger)

Dressmaking pins

Pattern paper (I used baking paper) 

Ribbons

Felt fabric advent numbers

Felt fabric (christmas colours)

Ribbons

Bias binding (5m)

String

Fabric glue

  
I started off by doing a quick sketch of design I wanted 

  

Once happy with the design, I drew it out onto pattern paper (I used baking paper)

  

Cut out all the pieces – one large back piece and 6 strips for the pockets 

   

Sew bias binding on the two longest sides of the pocket strips

 

Add decorative ribbon to the top sides

  

It is possible to buy felt advent calendar numbers but I made my own, – Use a paper template and cut numbers out of white felt fabric

  

Glue down the numbers and once dry machine stitch. 

Make small marks for the vertical stitched lines that divide the pockets

  

Pin in place and stitch on the reverse along the bottom of the pocket pieces. 

Test that the pockets are the right way around before sewing.

  

It should look like this when finished and ready to turn up and reveal the numbers. Pin in place.

Pin and stitch binding around edge

  

Tie bows and stitch in place. Alternatively, festive felt shapes can be used.

Stitch vertical lines for the pocket dividers

  

Fold over and stitch top section leaving enough room for pole to be inserted. 

  

Tie string and advent calendar is ready to hang and fill with goodies 

 

  

Hand printed Christmas Cards

To make lino print Christmas cards you will need –

  • Soft Lino block sheet (grey)
  • 4″ brayer / roller
  • Lino cutting tool set
  • A4 sheet acrylic perspex (3mm thick)
  • A6 cards
  • C5 envelopes
  • Pencil
  • Lino printing ink
  • Baren
  • Greeting message stamp and ink pad

*there are different types of starter kits available too.
You will need a good sized surface to work on and make sure to protect table if necessary. 

Pencil sketch design onto lino sheet. Images and text need to be in reverse. Once happy with design, carve out all the areas that will be blank. You may want to practice on spare lino first to get used to the right pressure needed to cut and size of tools needed. *Always cut away from body and other hand*

  
Using a small amount of ink, roll out onto acrylic perspex sheet making sure there is only a fine and even layer on roller. 

Roll the ink evenly onto lino design. 

Place lino block on a test sheet, use baren to give an even print. 

Carefully peel away lino and if happy reapply thin layer of ink to roller and print onto card. Each time reapplying ink and using baren for even print.  

Keep an eye on paint on fingers, being careful not to get fingerprints on cards.

  

When cards are dry, stamp in greeting massage. 

  

My cards are available at http://www.etsy.com/shop/thechrissiewhiteshop