Crash Course In Crafting


Martha Stewart began her billionaire's climb to fame and fortune by cooking and making crafts. Millions of loyal fans follow her suggestions for arts and crafts projects. Why not let your young parks and recreation customers enjoy the creativity that develops from making easy arts projects? There's no need for picture-perfect results. Part of the fun of crafting involves letting children feel free to experiment with colors, textures and designs. If they want to make a three-eyed puppet—let them.

Flying Apple Butterfly Shirts

Supplies needed:

Solid colored T-shirt that has been washed

Old magazine

Brush on fabric paint

Paper plate for paint

2-3 contrasting colors of “puff” paint

Cutting knife

Follow these easy directions:

1. Place your shirt on a flat surface, like a table or kitchen counter.

2. Slip the old magazine inside the shirt. This makes sure the paint doesn’t soak through to the backside of the shirt.

3. Pour about 2 Tablespoons paint on the paper plate.

4. Cut the apple in half, starting from the top near the stem. This creates a “butterfly” shape.

5. Press half the apple in the paint.

6. Press the paint-covered apple on the shirt. This is your butterfly shape. Repeat the process, making as many butterflies as you want. You can make random prints or create a butterfly border around the neck of the shirt.

7. Let the paint dry overnight.

8. After paint is dry, use the puff paint to add embellishments. Add an antenna or draw designs on the butterfly wings.

9. Let the puff paint dry and proudly wear your new shirt.

Mighty Cute Mouse Houses

Supplies needed:

1 empty shoebox lid, any size

Scissors or utility knife, to be used by an adult


Assortment of scrap paper, felt pieces, beads, buttons, etc.

1 old glove (that you don’t mind cutting)

2 tiny wiggle eyes

Black thread or embroidery floss


Follow these easy directions:

1. On the inside of your shoe box lid, sketch a “window” about 1 inch by 1 inch.

2. Have an adult use the utility knife or scissors to cut a hole in the box for your mouse’s window.

3. Use the paper, felt or craft foam to cover the outside of the shoe box. Be sure to cut around the window so your mouse can peek out!

4. Use more scraps of paper or beads to create door knobs, window boxes and “welcome” signs.

5. While you are letting the glue dry for your house, it’s time to make your mouse.

6. Cut off one finger of the glove. This is your mouse.

7. Simply glue on the tiny wiggle eyes at the tip of the finger.

8. Thread the needle and pull the floss through the very end of the glove. You should have about two inches of thread on either side of your mouse’s “nose.” Cut the excess thread. You just gave your mouse some whiskers.

9. Slip the mouse over your finger and poke his little head out of the mouse house window. Who said mice aren’t cute?

Creative Crawling Creatures

Supplies needed:

10-15 plastic spoons

Plaster of Paris

Disposable container, such as a clean margarine tub

Permanent markers


Yarn or embroidery floss

Dish towel or folded newspaper

Follow these easy directions:

1. Lay out the plastic spoons on a smooth surface.

2. Put a dish towel or folded newspaper under the spoon handles to level out the "bowl" portion of the spoon.

3. Pour 1 cup Plaster of Paris in the tub.

4. Slowly add about ½ cup water and stir.

5. Mixture should be the consistency of pudding. Add a few drops water if mixture is too thin.

6. Pour the Plaster of Paris mixture into the plastic spoons.

7. Lay a 3- to 4-inch piece of yarn or floss on the tip of the spoon. Press yarn gently into plaster to create antennas for the bugs.

8. Let dry overnight.

9. The next day, pop the plaster out of the spoons. You'll have perfect bug shapes to decorate with permanent markers.

10. These shapes also make great pumpkins, or eggs for Easter.

11. If you want bigger bugs, use regular soup spoons for the mold. The plaster slips right out and doesn't damage the spoon.

CD Sun Catchers

Supplies needed:

2 old or unwanted CDs (for each sun catcher)

Assortment of inexpensive “puff paint” (available at any craft store)


Scraps of ribbon


Follow these easy directions:

1. Use the paint to draw designs on the unprinted sides of the two CD’s.

2. Let dry.

3. Spread glue on the unpainted side of a CD.

4. Cut a piece of ribbon about 12 inches long.

5. Make a loop with the ribbon so the two cut ends are placed about 1 inch inside the CD with glue.

6. Put the other CD on top, so the painted sides are on the outside of your CD “sandwich.”

7. Let glue dry, then hang your sparkly CD in a window to reflect the sun.

Silvana Clark has over 20 years experience helping thousands of children create arts and crafts projects. She presents keynotes and workshops on a variety of recreation-related subjects. She can be reached at (615) 662-7432 or via e-mail at