Wednesday, December 26, 2012

DIY Salt Dough Whirligig, Buzzer, Button Spinner or Buzzing YoYo Toy Craft

So I had this idea….
(This phrase is how most of my random crafts and projects begin.)

There are many names for this toy but I will call it a whirligig.

I grew up with one of these toys and I adored it. My aunt crafted mine from wood and painted it. I did a bit of research and found out that this is one of the oldest children’s toys around. Apparently the Native American children played with a version of it dating back hundreds of years BC. According to the local news “Vintage toys are IN this Christmas” so, hey, it’s “trendy”. I wanted to make a whirligig with my 5 year old over the holidays but I’m not a carpenter. I’ve tried making them before with large buttons but was never happy with them. But I like salt dough…

This is me and my kids DIY version of this vintage toy.
Warning: Keep this toy away from long hair, the resulting tangle would be Epic.

I always use the Busy Bee's Kids Crafts Salt Dough Recipe found I halfed the recipe for this craft.

Warm water
Nylon rope (or other kind of rope)
Tempura paint and brushes

I picked up this rope at my local hardware store. 

To make it somewhat educational and since I didn't know what size circle I wanted to make it, the girls and I used difference size plastic cups to cut our circles. We measured and found cups with a 2 inch, 2.5 inch and 3 inch diameter to use. 

My littlest "Helper"

Poke two holes in the center of each circle with kabob skewers. 

Before they went into the oven

After the oven

My oldest helper painted them for us

Finished product, a salt dough circle with two holes and rope threaded through. 

To finish the edges so they wouldn't unravel I sealed them with a flame. 

All three sizes worked but we decided the 2 inch circles were our favorite.

When you twirl it you want to keep the sealed rope edge in your hands away from the circle. Hold the rope in both hands and spin the circle until it is wound tightly. Next pull the rope tight enough to make the circle begin to spin, next leave some slack in the rope so that the circle can spin in the other direction. This continues the back and forth spinning or whirligig motion of the toy.

I made a short video demo as an example. 

My Ugly / Gaudy Christmas Sweater DIY Updated Version

I finally managed to find LED battery operated Christmas lights to add to my sweater for this year's sweater party. Target had these lights, 15 on a strand with some that blink. 

I had hoped that putting these lights on the shirt would be super simple...but I was wrong. I had to cut small holes and then hand sew them into place to keep them from falling out. The time and effort were completely worth it! I kept the battery pack in my back jean pocket and the lights worked fabulously! They were "Festive". 

All sewn in and ready to roll

"Oh"! LOL

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Ugly / Gaudy Christmas Sweater DIY

Last year I won the ladies ugly sweater contest at a dear friend's party with this howling ugly creation. 
I made the sweater with things I already had around the house and I did not buy anything. 

I only wish I had added battery operated blinking Christmas lights to the tree. 

To complete the look I wore pick-tails with the matching green bows, sewed green bows on my shoulders and wore green sparkly bulb ornament earrings. I still Shudder when I look at this picture!

If you want to create a sweater so ugly people's eyes bleed to look at you, here is how I made mine.
Be sure to see the update I posted, I added lights to make it more "Festive". 

To Do It Yourself Ugly Christmas Sweater 
Second hand sweater or sweater you will donate to the cause
Red tinsel or any other color
Contrasting color ribbon (I had the kind of ribbon with wire built in to help it hold the shape.)  
Small ornaments 
Needle and thread (I used my hand quilting thread because it is stronger than regular thread.)
Optional - sewing machine
Basic sewing skills
Know how to make a small bow

For the Barrettes:
Two barrettes
Two twisty ties (the kind you get off bread loafs)

Pin the tinsel in whatever shape you like. I made a triangle shape. Sew the tinsel by hand into place. I confess that I did use the sewing machine to sew some of the tinsel on with the zig-zag stitch. However, it was problematic. I kept breaking my sewing machine needles and ended up hand sewing a large portion. Sew a bow or something else on top of the tree. Once the tinsel is in the desired shape, sew on the ornaments. 

Note: when I sewed the ornaments on I sewed them to where they hung by their thread. In other words, the ornaments had free movement. That way if you shimmy or move quickly, the ornaments swing! Hahaha
Completed sweater with additional bows on the sleeves.

For the hair barrettes I made small bows and used twisty ties to attach them to the barrettes.

Remember! We are going for Ugly, Tacky and Gaudy. Nothing has to be perfect or symmetrical. I intentionally left the hair the bows different sizes to add to the awkwardness. Let things be sideways and imperfect.