Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pom Pom Puppets

These are some funny little creatures made from yarn and scraps of felt.

Here's what you'll need to make them:

The first thing you'll need to do is make a pom pom for the body. There are several different ways to make pom poms, but I think this method works best for this particular project. Take a piece of scrap cardboard and draw two larger circles with smaller circles in the centre. (I traced around the inside of a roll of masking tape for the big ones and a bottle cap for the small ones)

Cut out the circles and choose your yarn.

To make it easier for the yarn to fit through the centre of the cardboard rings, wind some of it into a smaller ball.

Place the rings on top of each other and wrap the yarn around them.

Once you've gone all the way around, keep wrapping until you've covered the cardboard with several layers of yarn- three layers should be thick enough.

(If you run out of yarn and still haven't finished wrapping, make another little yarn ball and tie it to the end on the cardboard.)

Once you've finished wrapping, take a pipe cleaner, cut it in half, and put it through the middle of the yarn ring.

Next, take your scissors and work them under the yarn at the edge of the ring and trim all around. This part is a bit tricky, since it's important that you don't lose any of the bits of yarn as you're cutting.

Once that's all cut, take a length of yarn, insert it between the two pieces of cardboard and tie a tight knot. Then you're ready to pull off the cardboard to complete the pom pom.

Take a wooden skewer and push it through the pom pom. Make sure it goes right through the centre, or the pom pom won't stay on securely.

Now for the head! Using some felt, cut two shapes of the same size, and glue them to either side of the skewer.

Cut out some features for the face. I gave this puppet horns, pointy teeth, and some purple ears.

And that's it!

 Why not make a whole bunch and put on a puppet show?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Egg Carton Turtle

For my first project, I thought I'd start off with something simple. I posted a picture of this little guy on Instagram a while ago, and I've been getting a lot of requests for instructions, so here they are.

First, gather your materials. Here's what you'll need to make the turtle:

Take your egg carton and use a pencil to draw an outline of the areas you're going to cut out (I used a red pen to make the outlines easier to see). This part of the egg carton will make the turtle's shell.

Once you've cut the cup-shaped piece from the carton, trim around the edges of the turtle's shell so that it sits flat. Make sure to also round off a little space for the turtle's head to poke out.

For a more shell-shaped look, pop out the top of the shell so that it forms a dome.

Next, take the lid of the carton and cut out the piece that will become the turtle's head.

Cut a small fringe around the edges- you'll need this later when we're gluing the head to the shell.

The last part that needs to be cut out is the feet. Using the side of the lid, cut out a shape like this:

Then cut this piece into four equally-sized pieces like this:

Round the edges off to they have a more foot-shaped look

You'll also need a long, skinny triangle for the tail- you can use any piece of scrap carton for that (I forgot to take a photo of the tail piece, but you can see a picture of what it looks like in the photos of the pieces being painted)

Now that all the pieces have been cut out, you're ready to paint them. You can make your turtle any colours you want. I chose green and brown colours for a more realistic look, but you could use your imagination to make all sorts of colours and patterns. A purple turtle with a polka-dot shell? Why not! A blue turtle with yellow zig-zags? The possibilities are endless.

While you're waiting for the paint to dry, why not watch this funny little guy eating a tomato:

Now you're ready to put all the parts together. Spread some glue on to the fringe on the edge of the head piece and stick it inside the shell so that it pokes out of the little round nook. Press the piece firmly so that the glue will hold.

(The head piece I made was a little too big, so I trimmed off the extra with my scissors.)

Now for the feet and tail. Fold the pieces in half and add some glue to the part that will go inside the shell.

Place the pieces around the shell with two feet near the front, two near the back, and the tail between the back feet and press them into place like this:

But wait! I forgot one very important step! This turtle needs a face! A few spots of paint will fix that problem:

And that's it! Now your turtle friends are ready for fun! If you'd like to find out more about turtles, check out these weird and wonderful facts about these shelly reptiles:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Welcome to Bricolage Forest!

Hello there! My name is Zoë, and I've created Bricolage Forest as a place to share instructions and inspiration for creative projects of all kinds. I love to make all sorts of things, mainly out of stuff I find around the house. Most of the projects I make use things that would normally just end up in the garbage or recycling bin, since I believe that it's important to experiment and have fun, but it's also important not to be wasteful. This way we can begin to consider the things we might otherwise overlook from a different perspective, seeing creative potential all around us. With a few basic supplies and a spoonful of imagination, it's amazing what you can create!

In addition to instructions for arts and crafts activities, I also want Bricolage Forest to be a place to share other sorts of fun things to learn and do. In the future, I will be posting videos, sharing some of my favourite books, taking a look at cool science stuff, and presenting interviews with artists and dancers and musicians and other folks who do interesting things. I have a lot of ideas sprouting in the Forest, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you!

First off, let me introduce you to the Bricolage Forest team. I'm Zoë, and I'm an artist. I like to draw and sew and make collages and sculpt and... well, I'll try pretty much any kind of art you can think of. I might not always be great at everything (I made some pretty wobbly bowls when I tried my hand at pottery), but I'm always on the lookout for anything that's fun and creative. I went to school to study art in Toronto, and then in Montreal to study Art Education, which taught me a lot about how to share my ideas for projects with others. I've also worked with Montreal's Rock Camp for Girls for the past six years- one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Artistic self-expression in all it's forms has always been my biggest passion, second only to helping provide others with the tools to express themselves creatively.

This is me, looking very serious in some very silly 3-D glasses

The other member of the team is a little less hands-on, I mean paws-on. His name is Barkley, and he is the resident Bricolage Beagle. He may not be great at making crafts, and he always thinks it's time for a lunch break, but the Forest just wouldn't be the same without him. 

This is Barkley getting ready for a walk in the cold Canadian winter 

Come visit the Forest again soon- we're still under construction right now, but things are about to start blooming!