“I want it said of me by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.”
— Abraham Lincoln
For this week’s How-Tuesday, Heidi Kenney from My Paper Crane plants the seed for a presidential project that can bloom on your craft table, from her new book, Every Day’s a Holiday: Year-Round Crafting With Kids. The book is packed with fun and clever tutorials for projects that are suitable to make with children and correspond to occasions throughout the year. Read on for tips on how to pay tribute to your favorite head of state in miniature.
What better way to celebrate Presidents’ Day, which falls annually on the 3rd Monday of February, than creating mini president figurines? The small wooden bodies can be found at most craft stores and here on Etsy. This project makes 4 presidents.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Small paintbrush
- Acrylic paint (color of presidents’ hair and clothing)
- 4 mini wooden figures
- Black fine-point felt-tip pen
- Pipe cleaners in various widths and neutral colors, such as white, gray, brown & black
- Tacky glue
- Tiny plastic hats, bits of fabric, and other small presidential accessories (optional)
1. Choose the presidents that you’ll be re-creating. You may want to print out pictures of your favorites for reference.
2. Using a paintbrush and paint, add hair and clothing to the wooden figure. Start with the lightest colors, such as white and light gray (so you can paint over any mistakes with darker colors). Move on to the darker colors. Leave the faces and hands as unpainted, natural wood. Don’t worry about details; you will draw on faces, buttons and collars with the pen later. Let dry completely.
3. Using the felt-tip pen, let the children add eyes, nose, and mouth to each figure — small dots work perfectly and do not require such a steady hand. Supervising adults may want â€¨to tackle outlining the clothing, creating collars, buttons, shirt ruffles, and sleeves. Let dry completely.
4. Depending on the president you have chosen, cut small pieces of pipe cleaner to use as sideburns or hair curls, and longer pieces to wrap around the face for beards. Pipe cleaners come in many sizes and types, so experiment until you find the one that gives the look you want. Dot small amounts of glue onto the figures and hold the pipe cleaners in place for about 5 minutes, until dry.
5. Attach small plastic accessories, such as Abraham Lincoln’s famous black hat, using dots of glue. Allow the figures to dry for several hours.
Thank you to Heidi Kenney and the good folks at Chronicle Books for sharing this project with us. For more fun projects to make with kids, check out Every Day’s a Holiday.