How to Display Your Child's Crafts
Look for ingenious ways to hang things. Using the same kind of hooks you would use to hang a houseplant, suspend a three-dimensional project from the ceiling. Again, a special corner could be reserved just for this in a room shared by the family.
The seasonal tree mentioned in Crafts For Every Holiday is a great way to display smaller items like beaded eggs, dough sculptures, or felt creatures. Just put a hanger on the item and suspend it from the branches. If seasonal themes are used, the objects can tie in nicely with the purpose of the tree -- but it can be used to display things at any time.
Another way to display items is from a line (like a clothesline) using S hooks. This can be strung close to the wall if you are displaying smaller or flatter items, further away for bulkier ones.
Shadow boxes are useful to display three-dimensional objects. These can be made or bought. Compartmentalized shadow boxes, great for showing off smaller objects, are available from Northwood Products. A shadow box kit is available from Keepsake Frames, S&S Richards (Web site: http://www.yourhobby.com/keepsake.html).
Smaller lightweight objects can be made into a mobile. Origami crafts work well for this, as do small clay pieces or fabric shapes that have been stuffed and decorated or stiffened. Crocheted snowflakes that have been stiffened with starch can be hung for a wintry mobile. Mobiles are very adaptable.
Let's Play Interior Decorator
I always thought it would be cool for a kid to be able to decorate his room using his own crafting talents. Depending on your child's crafting interests, this could be an interesting project that could evolve over several months. He can pick a theme to tie it all together, such as Tropical, African, Country, Sports (or a particular sport), Dance, Garden, or anything else that appeals to him.
Scour magazines and books for ideas that could be adapted to your theme. Consider all the different aspects of the room, from ceilings and walls to floors, window treatments, and accessories. You and your child can change the entire room by refinishing old furniture using various painting techniques or decoupage. You can also build simple pieces of furniture from scratch, paint murals, sew accessories, and create mobiles or collages. Let your child design and create his own living space. This is something that would especially appeal to older children. There's a show on Home and Garden Television called Awesome Interiors that has some very simple and inexpensive ideas for decorating that could easily be adapted to a kid's room.
All the different crafts I've covered in this book will give you ideas for decorating and creating accessories. Paper projects could be framed for walls, or you could make a pierced paper lampshade together. Fabric techniques could be used to create bed coverings, window treatments, and pillow covers. Your metalwork projects could be used as embellishments for wooden furniture. Etched or stained glass could be used for windows or lighting fixtures. You could craft leather accessories. Poured molded plastic has an infinite number of possibilities for room decorations and desk accessories.
Stenciling techniques could be used on walls, ceilings, and furniture. A store-bought rug or pillows can be stenciled with fabric paint. Build boxes for storage, or cover existing boxes with creative fabrics and designs. Paint and decorate, use faux finishes (finishes that look like marble, stone, metal, wood, and so on but aren't), or cover surfaces with fabric or marbled papers that your child has made. These can then be covered with a coat of clear acrylic to help preserve them and make them easy to clean.
Try sponging or marbling both objects and surfaces. There are products on the market that give you all the tools, paints, and know-how in one package. Use needlework to decorate accessories or create them from scratch. Make frames or cover existing ones with fabric or decoupage. Use decorative painting techniques on furniture and accessories. Handmade baskets can also be used for decoration and storage. Make a wooden shelf or a rack with hooks to hang hats or jackets. Make a rag, needlepoint, or hooked rug for the room. Make a bed quilt together.
Add interesting details, like handcrafted pulls for the shades or drawers, a miniature room your child can set on a shelf or hang from the wall and change with the seasons, a small wreath on the door that changes with the holidays or seasons, even a miniature holiday tree.
Let your child's room be a virtual showcase for his talents and interests, even if it may look a little quirky sometimes. As long as he likes it, that's what counts. You may find that the more of himself he's allowed to put into his space, the better care he takes of it. It makes sense.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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