Your child's private diary is even more personal when she creates it herself in this artistic kids' paper craft. With a handmade paper cover, kids will be so proud of their work they'll have a hard time hiding their journals away from prying eyes!
What You'll Need:
- 5x7-inch wooden picture frame
- 8x10-inch coarse nylon net
- Large brown paper grocery bag
- 21-inch square of old sheet
- 20x20-inch piece of flat, smooth, nonporous plastic or similar material
- Tools: Staple gun, two 1-gallon buckets, large slotted spoon, blender, deep plastic dishpan, kitchen sponge, clothespins, and clothesline
- 15-20 pieces of recycled paper, 5x7 inches
- 4-inch twig
- 12 inches of twine
- 1 piece each of heavy gold, orange, and dark red paper, 5 inches square
- Tools: Pencil, tracing paper, hole punch, scissors, and craft glue
How to Make a Handmade Leaf and Twig Diary:
Step 1: Staple the nylon net across the back of the picture frame, stretching the net tightly (this is best done by an adult). Set aside.
Step 2: Fill a bucket half full of warm water. Tear the grocery bag into 2x2-inch pieces. Drop the pieces into the bucket of water and stir with the slotted spoon. Let soak 1/2 hour.
Step 3: In the blender jar, add the soaked paper to an equal amount of water a little at a time. Don't overload blender and use plenty of water.
Blend on low speed, then medium speed, until paper becomes pulpy. Don't overblend. Fill dishpan halfway with warm water. Pour pulp into pan.
Step 4: Hold the frame horizontally, net side up. As you lower it into the pan of pulp, tilt it down and scoop under the pulp, moving it away from your body. Tilt it to horizontal under the water and lift up, shaking it slightly.
Do this in one smooth, continuous motion. If the pulp is too lumpy or has holes, dump it back into the pan and start over.
Step 5: Let the pulp on the frame drain for a moment over the pan. Wet one of the pieces of sheet and smooth it onto the flat plastic, removing any air bubbles. It is important that the sheet be flat and stuck to the surface; if not, the pulp will not come off the netting later.
Turn the frame with the pulp upside down and set it onto the wet sheet. Use the sponge to press out as much water as possible. Do not rub.
Step 6: When most of the water has been removed, lift the frame away from the pulp. The pulp should stick to the sheet. If it does not stick, or if there are holes, dump it back into the pan of pulp and start over.
Step 7: Once the pulp is stuck to the sheet, pin the sheet to the clothesline until the piece of paper on it is dry, then carefully peel away the paper. While the paper dries, make another piece.
Step 8: On a piece of handmade paper, measure 1/2 inch in from a short edge and make a light pencil line. Then measure up from a long edge and make marks at 1-1/2 and 3-1/2 inches.
Punch holes at the marks. Using this sheet as a guide, mark and punch holes in recycled paper and other sheet of handmade paper. Stack all sheets, with the handmade paper on the top and bottom.
Step 9: Thread the twine up through each hole. Lay the twig over the holes and wrap twine around the twig. Then wrap twine around the opposite end of the twig and tie the ends in the middle. Set aside.
Step 10: Draw the leaves and cut them out. Trace an oak leaf on the dark red paper and elm leaves on the gold and orange papers. Cut out. Glue leaves onto front of book. Press under a heavy book and let dry.
Have some old magazines piled up around the house? See how your kids can turn them into pretty mailing envelopes in the next section.