So, as suggested in the title of the summer series, my area of expertise in the arts and crafts department is gluing shit to other shit. The real goal, overall, is to diversify those skills. So for this first project, in the interest of dipping our toes before swimming with the big fish, we simply melted shit FIRST, then glued.
I got the idea for melted bead fairy wands from my favorite kids art blog that doesn’t make me feel bad about myself, The Artful Parent . Each and every one of the posts is full of accessible ideas on not only specific projects, but ways to inspire creativity in the time between. Not to mention, the outcome of each is often quite beautiful, which really cuts back on the guilt laden “smuggling into the recycling” factor.
I had this project bookmarked for quite some time due to it’s passing the criteria with flying colors:
How inexpensive are the materials?
Prior to the wands, I had none of them on hand (except for the hot glue gun), but they are cheap and certainly the left overs will come in handy for a variety of other projects. A one pound tub of (glittery) pony beads (5.99), a 12 pack of 1/4″ wooden dowels (2.99), and a small box of 40ish faceted acrylic jewels (2.99) none of which turned out to be a pink heart BECAUSE LIFE ISN’T FAIR, KID. I also bought a set of multi sized star cookie cutters because using the only one I had to assemble them one at a time seemed tedious.
How long will this take?
Start to finish could be as little as 15 minutes. The first time I did the project was with my 2.5 year old daughter and her 2 year old friend. (DISCLAIMER: Obviously, the beads are quite small and using them with this age set requires close supervision, but mawing on non food items isn’t really these girls thing.) To set up, I covered a small baking sheet with foil and placed 2 cookie cutters on it. I thought perhaps the girls would spend some time sorting the beads into piles by color because that’s what the children of artistic, creative people take upon themselves to do (according to the blogs I’ve stalked), but instead they just plunged their sweaty hands into the bowl and sent them scattering under every piece of furniture in a 12 foot radius. I also mistakenly assumed they would choose a specific color palate, limiting their selection to a few complimentary colors. Wrong again. They simply hurled fistfuls, willy nilly all over the baking sheet, giving less than half a rats ass if anything actually ended up in the confines of the cookie cutter. Once they aimed enough to form a single layer in each of the star shapes, I cleared away the extras and put them in the toaster oven at 425 degrees and set the timer for 10 minutes.
It is advised to ventilate properly, perhaps even move the toaster outside. I’m pretty sure you can feel the actual brain cells melting right along with the plastic if you take a good whiff of the process. It would have been far too much of an order to relocate the toaster for me though, so I moved us outside instead. Though it stands to reason that I grew up inhaling Tinkerbell nail polish, Aqua Net, and whatever danced over the waist high divider between the smoking and non smoking section of the diner and so far have turned out fine.
After the timer was up, I pulled the napalm-esque death stars out to cool. (Right after they melted into a smooth surface, but right BEFORE they started to bubble.) They were cool enough to be handled in about 5 minutes and all popped out with just a bit of coaxing.
Using the hot glue gun, I attached the dowels to the backside, and the jewel of choice to the front.
How much of a mess is this going to make?
Blessedly little. If undertaken by a set of children that don’t dive into a bowl of beads like there’s a prize at the bottom, of course.
How difficult is it overall?
Pretty much negative on the difficulty scale. It’s like sensory table play with a goal. My 8 year old, who cares not about fairy wands but a GREAT DEAL about melting things discovered the project and took to making various Christmas themed tokens for his friends on the last day of school. We are not baking people, therefore the tub of Holiday cookie cutters was all I had to offer. His teacher got a red, white, and blue present shaped one, because, I don’t know. I guess she’s patriotic and likes gifts.
All in all, it was a solid go. Alternatively, the melted shapes could be hung as sun catchers or arranged into a mobile, but that requires an electric drill and since no one required first aid in with all the melting and gluing, LET’S NOT PUSH OUR LUCK.
Craft on, party people.