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Sew Girl
"Over the years I have made several of these. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that these boxes -when used in the pictured position- are not strong enough on their own to hold very many books or magazines for very long. Eventually they will sag and become an eyesore. Preventing the eyesore from happening is simple - turn the boxes on their side once they are completed, and Voila! They are an EXCELLENT way to wrangle in all that clutter and chaos we often find throughout our home and office. There is also another way to make them strong and that is to REINFORCE THEM. Personally, I like to do this when I need to use the boxes for flimsier items like loose papers that have a tendency to curl on their edges if stored on their sides or when not packed tightly. Reinforcing the boxes means you can put a lot more weight into them even while they are laying flat like they are in the picture. I reinforce my boxes with a very thin wood that can be purchased at almost any hardware store - it is called Louon (my spelling is probably off but it is pronounced LEW-ON). It is very cost-effective and extremely easy to work with. Add to this that it is VERY VERSATILE and you have a great solution to making even very flimsy projects much more stable. I hope this helps! BTW USPS boxes are legal to use BUT ONLY if you PURCHASED them OR they are USED. IF you are thinking about using new boxes that were FREE from the USPS Priority Mail Services - then you would be breaking the law. New FREE Boxes MUST be used only for Mail. Boxes that are Purchased or Used should be OK."

"Hand" Made Ornaments

These adorable handmade ornaments are a fun and easy activity to do with your kids. It's an easy Christmas craft that will take no time to make, and you can look back on your kids' little hands from years past.

Handmade Ornaments

Materials:

  • 2-ounce bar of polymer clay in your favorite color
  • 2-ounce bar of polymer clay in another color that you like
  • 6 toothpicks
  • A clean surface
  • Bag of alphabet pasta
  • Brown paper grocery bag
  • 1 Photograph - in which the face will fit in the palm of the hand
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Steps:

  1. Cut the grocery bag so you have a work surface large enough to accommodate your clay work. Roll out a flat sheet of polymer clay on the paper, in color desired, so the clay sheet is big enough for a child's hand to fit on it.
     
  2. With a toothpick, have the child trace his/her handprint on the clay. Go ahead and push on the toothpick a little - so it actually cuts through the clay. Then gently pull away the excess clay from the hand you just traced.
     
  3. Trim the photo so you have just the face. It should fit comfortably in the palm of your clay hand. Gently press it onto the clay.
     
  4. Take the other-color clay and break off a piece about the size of a dime. Roll it out into a long thin "snake." Use the snake to "line" your photo all the way around - kind of like a frame. It should touch the edges of the photo you trimmed. Gently press it down along the edges of the photo so it holds the photo in place in the palm of the hand. Careful! Don't mash it down too hard!
     
  5. Pour out a pile of alphabet pasta. Have the child pick out the letters in his/her name, and any other letters or numbers that would make a nice extra message - like your name or "MERRY CHRISTMAS" or "HO HO HO" or the year (noting the year would be a great way to remember when you actually did this, in later years). Then arrange the letters and numbers around or near the face you just framed with the "snake" in that other color of clay.
     
  6. With the toothpick, poke a little hole so you can hang the hand when it's finished. Don't go too near the edge of the clay!
     
  7. Bake at 275 degrees for 25 minutes - ON the grocery bag. It's easier to just leave the clay hand on there til it's baked. Then let it cool to the touch.
     
  8. When cool, carefully pull the paper away. Turn the hand over, and on the back of each of the fingers, glue a toothpick. The toothpick will keep the fingers reinforced. Your clay hand will be thin, and if it's handled roughly, one of the fingers might snap off. Reinforcing the fingers in the back will prevent that. When the glue dries, your hand can be hung!

 

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Very cute ornaments project. Thank you for sharing such detailed information. I think the kids will love these!

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