A Charlotte Mason Christmas (aka Handicrafts)

Dear Reader,

The upcoming Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival is on the holidays so I have been pondering how to combine CM and Christmas. Then I realized the most CM thing about our Christmas is all the handicrafts. Charlotte was a big proponent of making useful crafts, and at this time of year that is easier than ever. Nick-knacks become ornaments, and presents abound. We may not be able to use another set of plastic canvas coasters but Great Aunt Milly probably wants some.

So without further ado, here are some of the crafts we have done to fit the season:

make your own wrapping paper: we actually have a kit for his but one could easily and cheaply use plain paper (large sheets of a roll of brown paper like you might wrap shipping boxes in) and paint or stamp it with seasonal patterns. Even the littlest crafters can handle this. The results may not be stellar but grandmas will love it anyway.

Paint glass bowls or jars. There are special glass paints but we have also used acrylics. Fill them with candy or potpourri and you’ve got  a nice present. I wouldn’t have the tiniest kids do this but mine did it at ages 6 and 8 or thereabouts.

A candy dish?

A candy dish?

Salt dough ornaments. It’s like 2 crafts in one because you get to use cookie cutters and then later to paint.

Shrinkable plastic crafts. Like cheap shrinky dinks. You can use plastic with the number “6” on it. I have used the lid from my swiffer refills boxes which doesn’t shrink a lot and the plastic tray from a box of Ian’s Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets. The latter looks rough to start but shrinks up nicely and ends up flat. Cut a piece much larger than how you ant it to end up, color it with sharpies or other permanent markers, and then bake. We put ours on a piece of cardboard (like a piece of old cereal box) on a cookie sheet and bake it at 325 degrees. The plastic will curl up and then uncurl and then it is ready to take out. Be sure to punch holes in it before you bake if you will want them. They can be made into ornaments or charms for necklaces or bracelets. My kids also once did a similar craft with plastic cups. The cups shrink and curl up a little and end up a nice shape. They are ornaments now. I am not sure what cups were used but I assume those slightly thick clear plastic ones.

plastic canvas coasters. You can buy bigger squares and cut them down to size yourself or look for ones that are already appropriately sized. I have younger children use yarn and a yarn needle. They usually need a little practice the first time in getting all their stitches to slant the same way. A set of 4 or 6 makes a nice gift.

Paper-mache bowls. Cover a bowl inside and out in plastic wrap, smoothing it down. Make up your favorite paper-mache paste. We like to use Elmer’s glue diluted with water. Flour-based pastes tend to get moldy. Drip strips of torn paper in the paste and smooth them onto the outside of the bowl. Make sure they overlap and do at least 4 layers. If you don’t want to have to paint it later, you can make the inner and outer layers of colored construction paper. Allow the bowl to dry thoroughly. When it is dry peel the plastic wrap away from the bowl and the paper-mache bowl should pop out. Sometimes we have to pull at it a little. If you want to paint it, cover it in a layer of white paint of modge podge first. Allow it to dry and then paint. Again these make good gifts. We have also done paper-mache cups this way which could be pencil cups.

a paper-mache bowl

a paper-mache bowl

My 10-year-old likes to do her own thing. This year she made us an angel tree-topper:

Our new tree-topper

Our new tree-topper

Merry Christmas!


2 responses to this post.

  1. I bought some shrinky-dink plastic and forgot about it until now–thanks for the reminder. I’m definitely going to get it out for my littles this week. Great list of ideas!


  2. Hi Nebby. Thank you for sharing- some great ideas there. I love the idea of painting glass bowls – we have some old glass candle containers, so you’ve given me an idea of what to do with those. Merry Christmas!


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