Make Your Own Coloring Books

coloring book craft

Coloring books can be a kid’s best friend, right? Well, you can make these even more interesting and fun by using your own personal photos to create a coloring book for your child. Here are the steps to using your own personal photos to create a coloring book:

Decide which photos you want to use.

When selecting pictures, it is best to use pictures that have a lot of contrasting colors and are in focus. This way, you will have a lot of clear and distinct lines and you will clearly be able to make out the picture later.

Next, use a software that will allow you to make edits to your pictures. Probably the most commonly used is Pixlr, not only because it is free but because it is very easy to use and allows you to make great coloring book pages. Open Pixlr or whatever software you prefer and find the image in the “open image from your computer” option.

Your photo will immediately appear. Then, go to the sidebar on the right and open the Navigator menu. This will allow you to move all around on your picture, zooming in and out.

Next, at the top of the page, hit the adjustment tab. Then locate the Desaturate option, this will turn your photo black and white.

From here, you’ll want to right click on your mouse and find Background in the Layers options, then hit Duplicate Layer. This will add a new layer that it will call Background Copy.

Then, go back to the adjustment options at the top of the page and select Invert.

Now, you put it all together with a little skill. Use the little box that has the two arrows at the bottom left corner. This will allow you to get access to the Opacity and Mode options. From here, you want to change your Background Copy layer from Normal mode to Add mode. This is going to make your entire photo go white.

Then, the Amount slider will pop up. Drag the slider to the right and the left to see how it is going to change your image. This will adjust the strokes in your image. Try to make it so that it is at a medium point, so that you can see the image clearly.

Next, right click on the Background copy again and hit the Merge Down option.

Hit the Adjustment menu and then select levels. A graph should pop up as soon as you select this option.

Move the slider pretty far to the right so that you can see your image get dark.

Then, move the grey and white sliders all the way to the left, which will leave you with dark outlines and almost all white insides.

Your image is complete! Follow these steps for other photos you want to use to make your own coloring book. You can also play around with this software to create your own images and edit pictures so that they are easier or less complex to draw.

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Easy Christmas Craft Ideas

Easy Christmas Craft Ideas

As Christmas draws near and the weather gets colder and colder, having indoor activities to do with your family becomes more and more appealing. However, not all of us are pro DIY-ers. Not to worry! Here are some easy Christmas Craft Ideas that you can do with your kids.

These crafts are excellent to do in the days leading up to Christmas and/or on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Bring the supplies to craft with your kids plus your nieces and nephews wherever you are going to celebrate the holidays and you will have provided a constructive place for the little ones to funnel their energy. In addition, you’ll have provided a memento of the holiday celebration for each child to take home.

Fingerprint Christmas Lights

This is a bit of a messy of craft, but it is so much fun and looks so cute! All you’ll need are primary colored finger paints plus maybe orange and green paint.  Have your kids dip their fingers into the paint and onto the paper in any sort of way. When they are done, depending on their ages, have them bring the paintings to you. Use sharpie “connect the dots” to create the Christmas light chord in a doodle-y and Charlie Brown style Christmas light strand sort of way. Connect the painted lights to the Sharpie-ed on chord with a filled in rectangle shape. And voila! You have an art project to display on your fridge! Little tip, set up the paints and paper on a table with a plastic table cloth on it.

Santa Beard Half Mask

These are so fun and simple! Plus, you get to take pictures of your kids with little Santa’s Beards. Depending on the ages of your children, you may need to begin the craft by cutting out a printed Santa beard template and taping or gluing a popsicle stick to the back of the beard. Then, have your child glue cotton balls all over the beard. They cannot go wrong. After they are dry, have a cute little Santa’s Beard photo shoot!

Felt Christmas Tree Pins

Cut out a 3-4 inch triangle from green felt to be your tree. Cut out a rectangle from the brown felt to be the tree trunk and glue it to the base of the tree. Glue pom poms, sequins, glitter, or whatever else your heart desires to the tree as ornaments. Wait for the glue to completely dry. Once dry, the trees can be safety pinned to your shirt.

Alternatively, you can glue the tree to popsicle stick supports along the edges and down the center of the tree. When the framework is dry, glue the whole thing to the side of a clothing pin so that kids can take the pin on and off a little bit more safely on their own. This craft does involve waiting for something to dry which can be very difficult for little ones. However, the finished product is very-cute.

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How to Make Christmas Cards on a Budget

Making Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are wonderful to receive at the holidays but can be really pricey if you’re trying to do Christmas on a budget.

So what can you do?

Pick up some card stock or even heavy construction paper and get the kids involved to make one-of-a-kind Christmas cards to send to friends and family.

Snowflake Card

Using black construction paper, take a snowflake stamp and some silver or gold ink for an elegant Christmas card.  Even easier, pick up some already purchased small snowflakes and glue them on the front of a black card.

Remember when signing the card to use a Sharpie with either gold or silver ink.  Have the kids get involved with choosing the kind and number of snowflakes for the front of the card.

Christmas Present Card

Choose a light colored stock or construction paper as the card itself.  If your kids are old enough, have them help you cut out small squares in different colored pieces of construction paper.  Glue the squares on the front of the card and add a bow to the top.

Then put your family holiday letter inside and send it off.

Photo Card

Take some light colored construction paper, cut out family photos and glue them to the front.

Button Cards

These cards can be done with construction paper and thread for another elegant handmade Christmas card.  You can use any color construction paper you want and find interesting buttons to sew on the front in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Your kids can help you with this by choosing the buttons to use and you can even shape the buttons in the form of a wreath and tie it with a bow.

Fresh Wreaths

This is a great idea that helps you use up some end of the season herbs in your garden.  You’ll want to use herbs like rosemary, sage or thyme because they are sturdier than basil or mint.  These can be shaped into mini wreaths and attached to the front of a card with some string.

Using Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps and ink are another way to create fun Christmas cards on a budget.  This is also the perfect activity for younger kids who are just starting to be interested in creating handmade gifts.

Find some fun Christmas themed rubber stamps at a local arts store or even a store like Wal-Mart that has a crafts section.  Pick up some different colored ink pads and start designing your cards.

Fabric Strips

This card is more for an older child or teenager to help with because a sewing machine is the best way to do this.  Take some attractive material and cut it into strips.  From top to bottom, the top strip will be the shortest and the bottom strip will be the longest and what you’re doing is creating a Christmas tree.

You will sew the strips onto the front of the card with a sewing machine so that they stay in place.

Try some of the ideas above for cards that will be remembered for a lifetime.

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Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Some of the most fun we have at the holidays is when family gets together to think up and make Christmas presents.

And while we could do things like cookie gift baskets or coupons for chores and errands, here are some other awesome gift ideas to make at home. Many of these ideas are courtesy of our friends at witandwhistle.com.

Terrarium Kit

Using ordinary canning jars from the grocery store, place a one-inch layer of pebbles in the bottom. These can be ones you pick up on a walk or you can invest in some at the local home store.

Print a pretty label that says “terrarium kit” and either print out or handwrite some basic instructions on a three by five card that will go into the jar.  Pick up some activated charcoal at the local pet store and add a couple of tablespoons to a small zip lock bag and place in the jar.

Here’s a sample of some instructions:

  • Line the terrarium bottom with stones
  • Sprinkle charcoal on top
  • Add a few inches of potting soil
  • Add some small plants to the soil as well as any desired decorations
  • Place the terrarium in indirect bright light and be careful to water only when the soil is dry

When you’re done assembling the terrarium, place the lid on the jar and wrap the lid with a ribbon and add a holiday card.

Picture Coasters

This is a great present for grandparents or any family member to enjoy pictures from your last vacation or holiday time together.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 inch round, flat cork pieces
  • Glue
  • Card stock paper
  • Printouts of your photos
  • Foam or felt mounting dots

Here’s how to put them together.  Using the cork pieces as a template, trace a circle onto the card stock and the picture to make sure the size of materials match. Spread a thin layer of glue onto the cork then place the card stock on top.  Place another thin layer of glue on the back of your picture and then put that on top of the card stock.  Turn the coaster upside down and stick for mounting dots on the back to project wood furniture.  Voila!

Peppermint Brownie Mix

This idea and recipe comes from our friends at iheartnaptime.net.  If you have some extra canning jars from the store after you finish your homemade terrarium, this is a great way to fill them.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Another cup of sugar
  • 1 cup Andes peppermint crunch baking chips (or chopped up Andes pieces)
  • 1 ¼ cup of flour (add this carefully because some of this layer will sink into the mints that you have already placed in the jar)
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions

Layer ingredients in a Mason jar, tie with a ribbon and then print the following instruction tag for the lid of the jar:

Mix contents of jar with 1 cup melted butter (two sticks), for eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Bake in a 9X13 pan at 350°for about 25 minutes and enjoy.

You can also print out a peppermint brownies label to put on the jar itself.

They’re you have it.  Some crafty Christmas ideas for DIY presents.

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