Count down the days of Kwanzaa with a customized calendar that marks off the special events and celebrations surrounding this season. The special event pieces are made of felt so the kids can easily stick them to the felt calendar on the appropriate day without using adhesive. You can use the calendar year after year, with new pieces added as desired. This calendar begins two weeks before Kwanzaa and ends one week after Kwanzaa to include the pre-Kwanzaa preparation and the final day itself—January 1.
Level: Moderately easy
Time involved: Two to three hours
A handcrafted box would keep your felt symbols safe from year to year. You can purchase an unfinished cardboard or wooden box at a craft store and customize it by gluing on felt or painting it in Kwanzaa colors. If you use felt, design some extra felt symbols to glue onto the box for decoration.
- Large sturdy piece of white felt approximately 12 x 18 inches (Craft stores sell this size felt that is stiff like cardboard but flexible.)
- Black fine-tipped marker
- Sticker letters
- Bag of felt numbers
- Bag of felt letters
- Glue gun
- Hole punch
- Assorted colors of felt squares
Lay the white felt on a work area so that the 18-inch side is horizontal. Using a yardstick and pencil, mark off a 2-inch border at the top of the felt. Draw a light pencil line at this marking. Measure a 1/2-inch section above this line and draw a line at this mark to create boxes for the days of the week.
Mark off four 2 1/2 inch sections below the drawn lines and down the 12-inch length of the calendar. Draw these lines in pencil.
Mark off seven 2 1/2 sections across the 18-inch length of the felt (also below the top, 2-inch border) and draw the lines in pencil intersecting the lines drawn horizontally. You should have seven 2 1/2-inch blocks across and four 2 1/2-inch blocks down.
Go back over the pencil lines with a fine-tipped marker. Use sticker letters to spell out the days of the week (Sunday through Saturday) in the small boxes you made in the top of the border.
Spell out the word “Kwanzaa” by gluing the appropriate felt letters onto the top of the calendar. Using the felt numbers and letters, place “Dec. 26” and “Jan. 1” on the calendar to represent the days of Kwanzaa.
Punch a hole in the upper-left and upper-right corners of the calendar. Tie each end of a 25-inch piece of yarn through the holes to form a hanger.
Cut out a red, a green, and a black 2 x 1/2 inch candle from the felt. Cut out three yellow flames. If desired, you could make enough candles for each day of Kwanzaa. Follow the patterns provided to make other Kwanzaa symbols out of the felt. Use your kuumba (creativity) to think of other symbols that might be appropriate.
This can be an ongoing project, and you can add new symbols as desired from year to year. You might want to get together with your family and brainstorm about the symbols you want to create. For example, you could make a symbol of a book and place that on the date you'd like to have a family story hour. Or, you could place a present on the date or dates you wish to exchange presents.
Keep your symbols in a special box until you're ready to place them on the calendar. You might want to purchase some two-sided sticky tape to keep them tightly secured to the calendar, while allowing them to be reused each year.
To save time, you could also make this calendar out of a blank paper calendar form and cut pictures, letters, and numbers out of magazines to mark the special events.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Holiday Crafts © 2002 by Marilee LeBon. 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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