Are you one of those Crafty Kids? Header with photo of scissors, bag and string.
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Cardboard cutout of reindeer.Whether you are looking for something fun to do at home, or you are planning your holiday gifts, now is a perfect time to get crafty! A handmade gift shows you care and lets the recipient enjoy a unique creation that has your personal stamp on it.

Boomer has some craft ideas to share, and you can find ideas and tutorials online, too. You might have materials already at home and you can repurpose some items from the recycle bin.

Cardboard Creations

Cardboard animals are fun to make and decorate! You could make some farmyard animals for a young relative or friend, or make a forest or desert scene or a nativity as a gift. 

Start with a sketch of the silhouette, or side profile, of the animal you want to make. Draw the animal’s head, body and tail. You can draw on a piece of paper to cut out and use as a template, or you can make an outline directly on your cardboard. To make the cross pieces that make your animal stand up, cut some upside down U-shapes, or make a semicircle for a sitting animal, or one that doesn't have four or more legs. You can also make cross pieces for certain features that will make your animal more 3D, like ears or antlers.

Younger kids and those working with thick cardboard should ask for help when cutting out your animal. If you don’t have packing boxes to cut, you can use thinner boxes and paperboard—like cereal and other food boxes. Paperboard boxes may be more available to you and—bonus—they are easier to cut.  To make thinner cardboard shapes more sturdy, double it by cutting mirror images.

cardboard cutout of coyote and saguaro cactusCardboard cutout of animal with a piece of holly stuck on the neck.a diagram of how animal cardboard cutouts look before assembly

If you want to make your animals more colorful, you can paint them or use marker or even crayons. You can also glue on construction paper or fabric. When the animal looks the way you want to, it’s time to cut the slots that will join the body and legs together. For thicker cardboard, cut your lines more that one time or even cut a little V-shapes so that the pieces will fit together.

Small clear containers ready to repurposed into container ornaments.Round holiday ornaments made out of plastic containersContainer Ornaments

You might have small plastic food or condiment containers around. What can you do with them? They may be too small to be recycled, but you can REPURPOSE them! They can make cute ornaments or mini photo frames.

Make sure to clean out the container thoroughly. Then get some string, yarn or ribbon to make the hanger and even to glue on as decoration. Measure the space in back of the container, and cut out a small drawing, some patterned paper or a photo to glue or tape in the back. Bling it out with some stick-on jewels, or glue on some beads, ribbon or fabric. You can make a set of complementary ornaments, or make each one unique!

Yarn ornament. Boomer bear cutout of paper is glued on top.

Time for Tutorials

When you are trying to learn a new skill, like knitting or crocheting, you can find lots of tutorials online. A video tutorial can be really handy because you can stop it and go back when you miss a step, and you can pause if the instructions are going too fast. When learning a new skill, start small and have patience! A good yarn project that makes a great gift is a scarf.

Remember: The more time and practice you put into your crafting, the better you will get at it.

Don’t worry if your finished item doesn’t look like an example picture (here or elsewhere). The differences are what make your creation special and show that it is hand made!


Boomer's notepad provided to write a holiday poem.