With the pandemic still raging and a toddler to take care of at home, I’ve been trying to get into more crafting and origami during the late evenings and night (which is my ‘me time’).
I found this book – Pom Pom Animals by Trikotri – and I liked it almost immediately. It has 45 different tutorials to make your own animals such as a Brown bear, hedgehogs, polar bear, red fox, rabbits, owl and more. All of these are incredibly cute and her instructions are easy to follow. All you need is a pom pom maker and wool of the desired color – and you are set!
The first tutorial in the book is a brown bear. This was my first attempt, and according to the book, this is one of the basic models. There is only one color of wool required and a bit of black felting / roving wool to make the nose and nose-mouth markings.
I decided to make a Winnie the Pooh bear using the book’s instructions as a guideline. The book tells you exactly how many rolls of wool is required on the pom pom maker and the color to use. It even indicates the points where one has to knot the twine to hold the pom pom strands together! For a newbie like me, this was perfect! I have never felted wool before but the instructions and details on forming the nose and the mouth markings are very clear and I found these easy to follow. I made my Winnie the Pooh bear a brooch using a brooch back pin.
The overall size of the finished bear is 3.5 inches across, 3 inches in length and 2.5 in height. It fits exactly in the palm of your hands. I used the required 65 mm pom pom maker as described in the book and purchased the set of pom pom makers from Michaels.
I enjoyed this DIY pom pom craft and I see myself doing a few more of these. I think these would make a fabulous addition to my daughter’s nursery decor, too.
Shurikens literally are “hand released blades” and historically there have been two types of shurikens – the bo shuriken which are thin narrow blades and the hira shuriken which are plates having anywhere between 2 to 8 spikes radiating out of the center.
This wheel blade design of mine has 8 pointed spikes – a happo shuriken. I folded it using 4 inch square sheets of paper which are duo colored. This has given it a nice color combination within the folds.
The assembly is quick and easy – each unit has to be placed within the outer flaps of the next unit and so on. There is no need for glue to hold this model together, unless you prefer to hang it, then glue would make it more sturdy.
The idea behind this design is Paolo Bascetta’s ring which, I find, has a brilliant, easy assembly and I wanted to replicate this process albeit with differently folded units.
In the spirit of Halloween, I folded this nice Jack O’Lantern designed by Edward Mistretta. He generously shared the diagram on his Instagram. This design is easy to fold with no complex folding sequence involved. Having said that however, one should be precise with the pre-creases so that the model folds easily.
I prepared this paper by using Japanese Washi Paper measuring 4 inches in size and sticking a sheet of orange ombre colored tissue paper on the other side for the pumpkin colored duo effect.
For my daughter’s first birthday, I decided to mark the milestone with all her favorites as a keepsake. That’s how I ended up with a bee themed 1st Birthday Milestone Poster framed in her nursery.
I designed and created this poster on my own and used Shutterfly to print it out to a standard 16″ x 20″ poster size. This was the first time I designed such a sign and I started by looking at other chalkboards and birthday posters online. There are so many different types on multiple themes that it’s impossible to like just one!
For this poster, I used just my Mac and no additional software such as Photoshop or Lightroom. So, this tutorial makes it all the more convenient to create one on your own. I decided on a 16″ x 20″ final size for this poster as Michael’s carries a lot of frames in this size.
Choosing the background
To create a poster size document to frame for your little one’s big day, a larger sized background is always better. I used Keynote to make my birthday sign and I resized the document to 2000 x 2500 pts. This setting also prints to a 16″ x 20″ sized poster perfectly – as you can see in the image above.
Deciding on the color for your birthday sign is the next important step and based on this, all your other images and text are matched. The trendy chalkboard is ever popular and keynote has a default chalkboard background which you can use. However, it is wise to think a bit on how you would like your poster to finally look. For example, is the rest of your party decor all on a lighter color palette such as white or pastel shades? Does your theme already have tones of black or grey in it? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then it’s better to go with a white background or a shade to match your theme. When I created the poster for my daughter, I went with a white background because she had a bumble bee themed birthday and I envisioned using a few black and yellow bees, honeycombs and bee hives.
For another poster I designed, this time, for a friend of mine, I used the chalkboard background and had all the images and text match traffic light colors because it was a transportation themed birthday.
What fonts to use?
Once you have the background, think broadly on the text you would like to include in the poster. For example, your little one’s favorite toys, books, food, baby’s weight and height, etc. There are loads of milestones to choose from and you can always play around with the placement. There are lovely fonts available online these days and most of them are available to download for free. Christine of Where the Smiles Have Been has a lovely collection to choose from.
These fonts can be downloaded and then used in your poster. When you’ve downloaded the font(s) you like, double click to run the .ttf file which will display a dialog box as shown below. Click on “Install Font”.
Once you have installed you new font, it may not show up automatically in the format toolbar of Keynote when you want to use it. In that case, select the text you want to change to the new font, click on Format –> Show Fonts and the dialog box (as shown below) will appear. Select the font you want to use from this list.
Using fonts, you can play around with your poster until you come up with a combination of colors and placement that pleases you. When I create my posters, I try to avoid using the more ‘formal’ font types such as Times New Roman or Arial. The fonts such as Marker Felt, Chalkboard or Noteworthy gives the poster a more playful look.
Your child’s favorites
This is the best part of this project – listing out all your little one’s likes and accomplishments. There are different things to choose from:
Things s/he can say or do
Number of teeth
Favorite Songs / Rhymes
Things s/he loves
For my daughter’s poster, I experimented a little with an acrostic poem to describe her. This took me a few days to think about and get it to rhyme perfectly. For my friend, I went about a shorter way and just included adjectives describing her son. I thought this is a lovely way to make the keepsake a memory.
Once you have the text sorted out, you are almost there. The next step is to make your poster look fancy with images.
For images, I do a quick search online for ideas on icons, symbols and colors which are associated with the theme I am working on. Usually, I try to connect every image and color to the theme and as a general rule, I use as few colors as possible to make it look easy on the eye.
For example, for my daughter’s bumblebee theme, I wanted to use only black, yellow and white as colors and have images matching the theme of bees and flowers. For the transportation chalkboard sign I created, I used different types of vehicles, traffic light colors of red, yellow and green and made it a point that the vehicle colors in the images I chose, matched the overall color palette, too.
Displaying the birthday sign
You can display your birthday poster / chalkboard either in a frame as part of the party decor or simply place it on the main party table propped up with a stand. I chose to frame mine as I wanted to hang it in her nursery.
When saving your final poster, it will help to export the file as a JPEG and a PDF document. The JPEG file can be used to share on social media whereas the PDF file can be sent to the print shop. I used Shutterfly to get it printed and sent back to me in a 16″ x 20″ size format. The frame I purchased from Michael’s.
Paper flowers come in really handy as quick, easy to make decorations for any occasion. The materials you need to make these pretty designs are usually found in all homes. I made these tissue paper flowers for my little one’s first birthday, as a quick design element in her photo gallery backdrop.
In the 1st birthday backdrop pic above, you will notice that the flowers at the top are also made out of tissue paper. I followed the same steps to fold these flowers, too. The difference being the size of the paper:
For the center most flower, I used 10 sheets measuring 20 inches.
For the next biggest size, I used 6 square sheets measuring 12 inches,
For the in between sized flowers, I used 5 sheets measuring 8 inches and lastly
Used 4 sheets measuring 5 inches for the the smallest flowers.
I wanted something which screamed out ‘1’ for her special day, and I wanted it to be a very DIY, eco friendly design, too. I found a floral tissue paper numeral idea along with a very detailed tutorial on making the paper flowers on The Craft Patch.
To make my paper flower number, I needed to have a firm base to attach the flowers and then the multiple flowers themselves. For the base i.e. the number 1 (since it was my little one’s first birthday), I used pieces of a cardboard box glued together to form the digit. I then covered this cardboard numeral in yellow tissue paper to match the theme, before I glued the finished flowers on it.
How to make the template for number ‘1’:
You will need:
Amazon Packaging box
Ruler / Measuring tape
Take a piece of cardboard – I used Amazon packaging for this purpose. Draw the number ‘1’ and then cut this out.
OR you can also cut the flaps of the box, and then stick them to form a ‘1’ shape (you need 3 flaps of a rectangular box). My numeral was approx 14 inches tall and 5 inches in width.
Next, cover this base with a sheet of tissue paper to match your tissue flowers. This will enhance the look of your floral numeral.
Start placing the tissue flowers on the numeral base to form the digit ‘1’. (The image shown in the series below if of before I covered the base in yellow tissue paper)
*For other numbers, draw the outline on cardboard or thick paper and then cut out to form the base.
How to make the tissue paper flowers:
You will need:
A pack of yellow tissue paper (10 sheets)
thread (preferably yellow)
Ruler / Measuring Tape
(This will allow you to make 6 flowers of 8" diameter)
Measure & cut 8 inch squares – 30 in all – of the yellow tissue paper. *to make 6 flowers, use 30 square sheets of tissue paper.
Take 5 sheets and then accordion fold them to a 1 inch width as shown below.
Cut and shape the ends of the accordion folded set of sheets as shown.
Use a small piece of thread and tie the center of the sheets. Spread the right side of the accordion as seen in the image below.
Now, carefully start separating the layers, starting from the top and pull towards to the center. There will be 4 layers on each side. Repeat on the left side.