Chicagoland Field Trips
Craft Ideas - A to Z
From: Darlene Pitman
Ages: Any level
- small embroidery hoop for each project
- white cotton muslin
- assorted paints/brushes
Stretch a piece of muslin in each hoop. Trim the excess from the edges. Paint muslin with 2 or 3 coats of Gesso. Dry overnight. The muslin is now like canvas stretched in a hoop.
Take some time to let the girls look at Indian style designs and the colors used. Then let them paint whatever they want on their 'drums'. Add some small feathers and ribbon for hanging at the hoop closure.
From: Mary Beth Hunt
- Foam from pizza boxes, egg cartons, vegetable trays
- Black printing ink
- White paper
It's fun to make prints with flat pieces of foam from pizza boxes or the lids of egg cartons or clean styrofoam trays. Just draw a design with a ball point pen, pushing hard so you make lines in the soft foam. Then roll black printing ink over the foam with a brayer. Or, paint the ink on the foam with a brush. Press paper on top of the foam and then lift off. you can make dozens of prints from your foam design. Everything you draw will be white, the backgrounds will be black.
From: Deb Graham
Ages: probably 5 on up
- old or new terra cotta flower pots, any size
- white glue
- paint brush
- paper lace doilies
- clear varnish
Scrub used pots clean. Soak flowerpot in water 10-15 minutes. Cut doilies to cover most of flowerpot, leaving some areas exposed. You could also cut large-ish shapes instead. Thin glue with water, 4 to 1 ratio, then "paint" glue onto areas where doilies will go. Carefully smooth doilies onto pot with wet fingers. Let dry at least overnight. Varnish outside of pot.
Notes: I saw these at a craft fair for $8!! They are very easy, and really elegant.
Laundry Cap Flower Arrangements
From: Troop #401 - (Lynn Whited) / Seven Lakes Girl Scout Council
- Caps from Plastic Laundry soap containers
- Plaster of Paris
- 'Silk' Flowers and Leaves
Take apart the flowers and leaves so they are on individual stems. Mix up Plaster of Paris so that it is thick, fill the laundry soap caps. Arrange the flowers and leaves in the cap. Allow the plaster of paris to set.
Comments: This is a very easy craft, but the girls love doing it. We have made them for the girls to take to nursing homes as a service project.
Little Hands Greeting Cards
From: Cindy Rio - Paisano Girl Scout Council
Ages: Daisies and up
- Colored tagboard or heavy construction paper
- Pencils, crayons, markers
- Any extras you will want to add for decoration
Each girl is given a piece of tagboard (8 1/2 x 11).
Fold paper in half, making 2 pieces of 8 1/2 x 5 1/2.
Each girl now places her hand on the paper with the little finger side of her hand on the fold.
Trace around the hand.
Cut out the hand, being sure that the part for the little finger side remains solid as this is the fold of the card. When you open the card you see 2 hands opening.
Decorate the cards for nursing homes, valentines, thinking of you, Mother's or Father's Day cards, or any other type. A small heart placed in the palms gives a loving appearance.
From: Rosemary Speers
- personal size mirrors, approx. 2" x 3"
- thick cardboard or sturdy piece of foam, approx. 6" x 8"
- wallpaper samples, or other fancy paper
- magnet strips (2 strips of 2" lenth for each mirror)
- double-stick tape and/or craft glue
- stickers, glitter, ribbons, lace remnants, etc.
Cut a large enough piece of the fancy paper to cover the cardboard, allowing at least an extra 2 inches to wrap around each edge. Secure with double-stick tape or craft glue. Take care to have neat corners, and a smooth appearance on front and back. Position the mirror in the center of the cardboard/foam backing, and secure with tape or glue.
On the back, attach the magnet strips with tape or glue. Decorate with ribbons, stickers, remnant craft supplies, etc.
Another possibility is to cut a hole from the center of the cardboard/foam backing and to "set-in" the small mirror. This may be difficult to get nice looking edges, though.
These are a useful back-to-school craft, are relatively quick and easy, and allow each girl to make it "her own" by choosing colors, decorations, etc.
Love Stamp Pins or Swaps
From: Jo Paoletti
Ages: 6+ (able to use scissors accurately)
- "Love" stamps (from your local Post Office -- 32 cents each!)
- clear Contact or laminating plastic sheets
- small safety pins or pin backs
- glue (hot glue works best with pin backs)
make a sandwich with one stamp and two stamp-sized pieces of plastic. Trim neatly. For pin, glue pin back to reverse side. For swaps, attach a safety pin to the corner.
You can use other stamps, too (there are some gorgeous designs available, or visit a stamp dealer for low-cost discards that collectors don't want). You can get stamps in smaller values if you are really pinched, or ask girls to bring in used stamps from home. (The envelope backing will give the stamp a little extra body.) I have done this with all levels from Brownies to Seniors and they all love it -- the Seniors used the recent comic strip stamps!
From: Sharon McCarter
"I love doing crafts with kids - as long as it's not too many at a time. I've done 4-H, Youth club leader, helped with crafts at Sunday school and in the classroom at school. So, why is it nothing is coming to mind to share???
Actually, that's not true. One thing we did with the kids last year, for Mother's day, was to make marbled clay bead necklaces. The kids ranged from K to 6th grade, and all had fun with it. We used Sculpey clay, which comes in little bricks that are prescored in 1/4's. I take each of the blocks and divide it into 12 pieces. Each child gets to choose 2 or 3 colors they want to use. Take each small clump of clay and roll it into a long strip, like fat spaghetti. Then, take the 2 or 3 and put them side by side and twist them a few times. Fold that over and twist it a few times. Roll this out into a strip again, fold and twist. This could go on forever, but will turn into mud. As you do the folding, twisting, you'll notice that the clay looks sort of marbled. When it looks nice, stop with the folding and twisting. Now you can take off chunks and roll them into a marble shape, or press them into a cube shape, a cylinder or any other shape you want. Use something to poke a hole through them (I use a knitting needle, about size 6-8) and place them on a cookie sheet that's covered w/ foil. Bake according to the directions on the sculpey package. Next, they need to be stringed. I often fine 1/8" satin ribbon on sale at Jo-Ann's Fabrics, so I always have some of that on hand.
Choose a coordinating color and let them string the beads.
What we did was have each child make their beads and put them in a little paper bowl w/ their name on it. I baked them at home and brought them back the next week for them to string. The mothers were thrilled, and the kids had fun. The sculpey seems expensive sometimes, ranges from 1.35 to 2.25 at different places, but from one brick of the clay, you're going to get several sets of beads.
From: JC McShane / San Fernando Valley
- Sandpaper (brown, not orange)
- One medium floor tile for each girl - terra cotta or glazed (large enough to fit a child's footprint)
- White Glue
- Brown or black permanent Marker
Help each Daisy trace her footprint on the smooth side of the sandpaper. Have each Daisy cut out her own footprint. Apply glue to smooth side of footprint & glue it to the tile. On the front or back of the tile, have the Daisy write her name & the year.
Comments: This makes a nice gift for Dad. He can keep it by the fireplace or bar-b-que to strike matches on. The girls can do their hand print, if they prefer.
Mexican Folk Painting
From: Sharon - Farthest North Girl Scout Council
Ages: Brownie Girl Scouts and Junior Girl Scouts
- Large brown paper bag
- felt-tip markers, crayons, and/or tempera paint
- sink or large bowl of water
- Prepare the bag so that it resembles the "Amate" paper used in paintings by the community of Xalitla in Mexico: Soak it in water for about ten minutes to loosen the glued seams. Then open the bag and carefully squeeze out the extra water. Spread it out on newspaper to dry. This soaking and crushing of the bag makes it more pliable. Any tears can be repaired with scotch tape on the bag after it's dried.
- After the paper has dried, trim it to the size you want and round the corners with scissors.
- Plan the type of design you would like, sketching the basic outline on the bag.
- Outline the figures in your design with a black felt-tipped marker or crayon.
- Fill in the outlined designs with colors. You can use tempera paint, crayons, or felt-tipped markers. Traditionally, the design is bright, colorful, and decorative.
This idea, and several other wonderful inexpensive crafts, is from a book entitled "Brown Bag Ideas from Many Cultures" by Irene Tejada (Davis Publications, 1993). Several examples of traditional folk painting designs are illustrated in the book.
Milk Carton Bird Feeder
From: Bonnie Sedore
Ages: Daisy- Brownie
- Empty clean quart milk carton
- poster paint
- wire hanger
- sand paper
Prepare carton by making a slice (with knife) in the carton about the middle just big enough for girls to fit scissors in. Make hole at top of carton with knife also. Have girls cut out a rectangular area from the carton from middle to about 2 in. from bottom. Sand wax from carton before painting. Put bird seed in bottom of feeder, hook hanger through hole in the top of carton, hang on tree or fence.
Mom's Memo Paper
- 1 1-quart paperboard milk or juice carton
- Tissue paper
- Craft glue mixed with water 1 part glue to 3 parts water
Cut the bottom off the carton approximately 1-1/2 inches from the bottom so that it forms a little tray. In the center of one side, cut a v (so you can get the paper out easily. Paper mache the holder with tissue paper dipped in the glue water. Let dry.
Cut paper to fit the inside dimension of the holder. Have each girl design borders for the memo paper (flowers, hearts, "A Note from Mom," etc.) and copy them on a copier. Cut to size, and have each girl fill their tray with assorted papers. Tie with a ribbon to finish.
From: Jan Schairer, Tejas Girl Scout Council
- Cardboard Circle for Wreath
- Native (from your area) items from nature (pinecones, gumballs, acorns, leaves, gourds, pecans, etc)
- Hot Glue
- Twisty Tie
Note: "We acquired our cardboard circles from a bakery and cut a whole in the center..."
Easy to do - just glue the nature items onto the wreath - Make a loop out of the twisty tie and hot glue on the back, top of the wreath
We made this craft available at our day camp (Camp Amiga) this past summer. There were some very creative and imaginative wreaths made.
Nifty Page Marker
From: Johanna Burton
- envelopes (small is fine)
- paper cutouts
- anything else you might want to decorate with
Cut the bottom corner from an envelope, giving the edge a decorative shape. Use crayons, pencils, markers or anything else to decorate the bookmark.
Slip the bookmark over the top corner of a page in your book to mark the place.
We decorated them to look like faces with the top corner being the hair, but you could do pretty much anything you wanted. We made them to donate to a nursing home to be put out as tray favors (one of many projects for the folks at this home).
Old Fashioned Pins
From: Gail Faulkner / NW Georgia GS Council
Ages: 5 - 8
- old magazines
- foam meat trays or foam picnic plates
- felt tip markers
- clear nail polish
- pin backs
Cut out scene (small) from magazines. Trace around edge of picture onto foam meat tray or disposable foam picnic plate. Cut out. Edge border of picture and foam back with felt tip market. Glue picture to foam back with craft glue. Let dry. Brush two coats of clear nail polish over all surfaces, allow to dry between coats. Glue bar pin to back.
Oscar in a Garbage Can
From: Juel Fitzgerald
- Green Pom Poms - one each Oscar
- Film Canisters - one for each Oscar
- Wiggle eyes - a set for each Oscar
Put glue on full circumference of lip of film canister. Glue one green pom pom to this lip. Glue top of canister to the top of the green pom pom. Glue at whatever angle desired to look like garbage can lid. Then glue wiggly eyes to green pom pom to look like a face.
Note: This is great for Daisy and young Brownie scouts!
From: Heather Minol / 2nd Scullin Girl Guides, Ginninderra District, Canberra, Australia
- 370 ml (or similar) can (soup can size)
- can of spray paint
- PVA glue
- quantity of seeds (various colours/types)
Spray the can with paint and allow to dry. Glue a variety of seeds, in an interesting pattern, over the surface of the can. Can be coated with a clear varnish or estapol if required.
This craft is suitable for either a back-to-school theme, or an Autumn/harvest theme, or just for the fun of it! Choose an interesting variety of shapes and colours in your seeds (eg red lentils, green split peas, barley etc) for the best effect. The variety of patterns is limitless and will vary according to the age group of the children making the item.
From: Beth Katcher / Patriots Trail Girl Scout Council
- Poster board
- An assortment of magazines
- straight edge
1. Draw the outline for a cube on poster board and cut out on black lines. Gray lines are fold lines, so don't cut on those!
2. Fold with traced fold lines to inside and glue tabs to corresponding sides of the box (if you glue the tabs to the inside of each edge, it will look neater).
3. Find pictures in the magazines that reflect your personality, things that you like to do, etc. Cut them out and glue to the box.
4. Glue your box together.
With Daisies or younger Brownies you may want to have the boxes all cut out and ready for them to decorate. Older Brownies can cut out something that you've drawn, Juniors could trace around a template and progress to drawing their own, etc.
This makes a good springboard for discussion - what you put on your cube, why, how this reflects what you want to do in scouting this year, etc. You could probably do these with different themes also.
From: Debra Marsh
- Red and Green card stock
- hole punch
- ornament hooks
- red ribbon
- small silver foil muffin or petit fours cups
This year I made simple photo ornaments with my first grade Brownies. I took a close up photo of each one of them and cut out their face in a circle (approx. 3").
Then I used the computer to make a series of circles (about 6 to a page) slightly larger in diameter than the photo circle. I copied these onto green card stock and let the girls cut them out. Then I made another circle, slightly larger than the green one, and put a small rectangle above it, to be an ornament shape. I erased the bottom of the rectangle so I had a continuous ornament-shaped outline. In the ornament shape I printed "From a Special Brownie--Troop 234--1995" and then copied the whole thing as many times as I could fit on a page. Then I copied that onto red card stock for the girls to cut out. Then they glued the photo to the green circle, and then that was glued onto the red ornament shape so the writing was on the back. We punched a hole in the top rectangle, hooked on an ornament hanger, slipped a very small silver foil muffin or petit four cup over the hook and top of the ornament, and tied a red ribbon bow above the foil cup. I recommend using glue stick for the gluing--at this age they use way too much liquid glue and the items tend to warp.
Next year I'll try this: Take a photo of the whole troop looking perfect and one of the whole troop looking goofy. Put them together back to back, possibly in a plastic sleeve, and sandwich the edges between popsicle sticks with glue on all 4 sides. The sticks can be painted, glittered, etc. and the troop number and date can be written on one. Add a ribbon loop and you have another ornament!
From: Elisabeth England / Jr Leader - Western Mass Council
- Assorted colors plastic canvas (one sheet yields 4 pinwheels)
- 12 mm bead
- tri beads
- snowflake beads
- 30 lb fishing line
- 16mm split rings "or size 7 barrel swivel (fishing accessory)"
- ornaments for bottom such as large clear acrylic shapes, gold bells, etc.
- For each pinwheel cut the plastic canvas 5" x 5". This size should have 33 holes on each side. Cut each corner 2 1/4" deep. This should leave 11 holes diagonally uncut in both directions.
- Cut a two yard length of fish line. Slide bottom ornaments onto center of line. Fold line ends together and use doubled.
- Slide on a 12mm bead followed by a tri or snowflake bead and another 12mm bead.
- Now string a pinwheel: Put the fish line through center hole of pinwheel. Fold over alternating corners and put line through corner hole.
- Repeat with beads and pinwheels and tie line onto split ring or swivel. You may want to use about 6 pinwheels for each mobile. Use different colors for each pinwheel or make pattern.
- Tie a length of fish line through ring and hang outdoors
I use a large blunt needle to make pinwheel
From: Kit - Connecticut
Ages: All ages
- juice can lids
- felt - beige
- red fabric paint
- red sequins
Cut beige felt circles slightly smaller than the lid "pizza pans" for the pizza crust, thick red paint for the tomato sauce, shredded coconut for cheese, and dark red sequins for pepperoni. We glued pins to the back to attach them to our swap hats. For an older troop, it might be fun to use clay for some of the components, but I've never tried it.
Plastic Bag Holder
From: Cydney Walvoord - Cross Timbers Council Denton, TX
Ages: Brownies (with help), Juniors, Cadettes and Seniors
Pertinent notes: Also makes a great fundraiser for craft booth
- 1 kitchen hand towel
- 2-6" pieces of 1/4" elastic
- 1-1 inch plastic ring
- several plastic grocery bags
GSRC Craft Archive
Scouting File Cabinet
Stretch elastic and sew to each end of towel just below the fringe. Turn towel right sides together and sew up long side to form a tube. Attach ring at one end. Stuff with plastic bags. Hang in convenient place from ring. With both ends open, bags are accessible from the bottom when you need them and it's easy to add new bags from the top.