Are you bored? With few opportunities for social interaction these days, I GET IT. After being sent home from school last March, like most, I found myself splitting my attention between school and Netflix for the first few months…Now that I’m back to doing school from my bedroom for the Fall semester, I’m afraid that I’ll sink back into old habits!
Also like most, however, I eventually did pick up a few new hobbies over quarantine…In fact, I became an online art coach to kids K-8 and now have an immense collection of crafts adorning my bookshelf and walls.
Of course, there’s a difference between what a kindergartner and college student can make or would be interested in making — which is why I’m providing the following list of projects. I’d highly recommend them as an alternative to yet another episode of New Girl.
#1: Egg Carton Animals – OK, but HOW CUTE ARE THESE?
Materials needed: Requires an egg carton, scissors, paint or markers, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, and liquid glue! This project allows you to recycle materials you might have at home, in your apartment, etc.
Steps (to make an Egg Carton Turtle): Cut one of the cups off of an egg carton and color it green with paint or a marker. Design the shell however you want, adding dots or trapezoids, etc. Glue or stick the googly eyes on your green pom pom. Glue the pom pom to the egg cup to make the body and head of your turtle. Finally, cut four medium-sized pieces of green pipe cleaner, fold them in half, and glue them to the underside of the egg cup to create sturdy legs. Save a small piece of pipe cleaner to stick into the egg carton to add a tail if you’d like.
#2: Tissue Paper Flowers – Don’t want to take care of real plants? Well, there’s no need.
Materials needed: Requires tissue paper, scissors, a stapler, pipe cleaners, and tape for some beautiful fake flowers to keep around the house!
Steps: Start with two sheets of tissue paper. Fold the two sheets of tissue paper in half two times. Find the corner with all of the separate pieces of paper (not one with a fold). Take this corner and fold it to the opposite edge to make a triangle. Trim off the extra rectangle of paper, leaving 8 square sheets. Fold the paper accordion-style so that you have 6-7 folds. Staple the accordion in the center. Trim each edge to create the “petals” of the flower. (You can create different styles by cutting in a rounded, zigzag, pointed, or striped fashion.) Carefully start to separate the layers of the flower. Pull from the inside of each layer to help keep the flowers from tearing. Keep fluffing the layers until you have half the flower…then fluff the other side! Glue or tape a pipe cleaner on the underside to create a stem.
#3: Coffee Filter Butterflies
Materials needed: Requires round white coffee filters, washable markers or food coloring, a spray bottle (optional), pipe cleaners or clothespins, a spoon, and wax paper. If you make several butterflies, you could even turn them into a mobile with just a stick, string, and scissors!
Steps: Flatten out a round coffee filter on wax paper or a tray. If you choose to make the butterflies with markers, start coloring! Then, take an eye dropper or a spoonful of water to dampen the coffee filter. If you have food coloring, you should first dampen the coffee filter all over and then drip food coloring onto it. Place the coffee filters somewhere to dry. Once dried, fold each coffee filter back and forth accordion-style, with about 1/2″ folds. Finally, twist a pipe cleaner around the center or add a clothespin and pull apart the folds to make wings!
#4: Mini Yarn Pom Poms
Materials needed: Requires just yarn, scissors, and a hair tie in order to create a cool keychain or hair accessory as a gift, for yourself, or just for fun!
Steps: First, unravel about one foot of yarn. Take the end in your non-dominant hand and hold it between your thumb and your other four fingers. With your dominant hand, wrap the foot of yarn over three or four of your fingers depending on how big you want your pom pom to be, cutting a small tail at the end. Tightly hold onto the yarn in your non-dominant hand while you cut a two-inch piece of yarn. Tie and knot this piece of yarn around the “spool” and remove it from your fingers. (Then, take a break to stretch your fingers out before continuing!) You should now be left with a circular spool of yarn. Insert your scissors into the apex of the circle (where it doubles over) and cut around the whole thing. Now, fluff up the two halves of the pom pom and trim it so that the strands are even!
Despite being a college student, I had a BLAST with each of these projects! They’ve decorated my single room in my sorority house and made me reminisce about simpler times — pre-corona and as a kid — when art would keep me busy any day. And I hope they can do the same for you amid schoolwork and other stressors in your life. Relax. You got this!