Step 1 is the making of the base, the "blank canvas." Step 2 is the fun part.
For step 1, you will need:
- a plain headband (one for each girl on your Xmas list). Hobby Lobby sells plain headbands for about $2, but you can also find pretty plain ones at grocery stores and drug stores too.
- self-adhesive hook-and-loop (Velcro) rounds (these can be found in a variety of places, but usually in the sewing section of a craft store; I decided to stick with the black ones, but they also make white, and I've seen tan and "clear" as well. Velcro brand ones are good, but I've also used Scotch brand, which seem to stick a bit stronger.)
For step 2, you will need:
(this is highly dependent on your own crafting proclivities, but a few suggestions:)
- craft foam
- glue gun
- decorative buttons
- cloth scraps
- feather butterflies
- needle and thread
- origami paper
- duct tape
(more details on this step later - basically, anything you need to make all thosecutelittlethings that you can find Instructables on how to make, but don't ever know what to do with, then they accidentally get knocked onto the floor and someone steps on them and you throw them away. Except this time, that won't happen!)
Step 1: The Headband
Take one of the headbands and one of the "soft" Velcro rounds (the loop part, not the hook part) and stick it on the headband. Feel free to put the headband on and do this part in a mirror in order to get it at a cute angle. (If you plan on doing "kitty ears" later, you'll want 2 of these on the headband at the appropriate angles.)
Note: it really is arbitrary, whether you use the hook or loop Velcro on the do-dads or the headband, but it is important to be consistent.
Now you have something to stick step 2 to....
Step 2: Now Make Cute Things!
Here are some suggestions, directions to follow on the following pages:
- Christmas present bows
- feather butterflies
- tiny hats
- kitty ears
- duct tape roses
- origami flowers
Step 3: The Super-easy Ones
Feather Butterflies: These can be found in craft stores, usually in the floral section. You'll need to cut the wire off the bottom of them, and fold it over so that it won't poke anyone. Then just stick the Velcro on the bottom of the butterfly and you're done! They usually come in a pack of 12 with lots of different colors.
Step 4: Tiny Hats
First, cut a circle out of your foam to be the base of the hat. Cut a hole in the middle of that circle, big enough for a Velcro dot to fit inside. Cut a strip of foam as wide as you want the hat to be tall, and long enough to wrap around in a loop a bit outside of the donut hole in the hat base.
Grab a bit of foam scrap and cut it so that it will span the donut hole, but not much more. Glue it across the hole with some hot glue.
Glue one end of the big strip of foam, and loop it into a tube. Then apply glue to the bottom of the tube, and fit it carefully over the scrap strip on the donut.
Turn the little hat upside-down and place it on some foam. Use your fingernail to poke the foam and mark out a circle, then cut out that circle, and glue it to the top of the hat.
You could stop there, but you can also color it with markers, decorate it with stickers, or anything you like! I grabbed some feathers and ribbon. I glued the feathers to the hat, then glued the ribbon around the hat.
Step 5: Kanzashi
Here's one. There are plenty more, Google it.
Mine are as far from authentic as you can get, but they're fun.
Here are the basic steps: Cut out several squares of fabric (quilting cotton works great). I usually like to cut out at least 7, at most 12, about 4" across. They don't have to be super-perfect (I just eyeball mine) but it helps if they are all consistently the same size.
Fold them in half to make a triangle, then fold down each of the pointier ends to the middle to make a square with a line down the center.
Next, fold that square on the line going down the middle, so that that line, that split, opens up even more. Flip the whole thing over, and fold up the side flaps into the center, which you are holding pinched shut. Run a threaded needle through ALL LAYERS, right where you were pinching it.
Do that for all pieces. Then trim off the ragged edges, just above the thread.
Once all the pieces are trimmed, clip the needle free and put it safely aside. Then tie the thread in a tight knot (be careful, if the thread is weak it will choose this moment to snap).
Even out the spacing of the petals, and plump them open a bit more if they seem sparse.
Grab some cardboard (like the kind beads come on, or cereal boxes are made of) and cut out a little circle (about 1/2"). Cover it with fabric, with the help of the glue gun, and then glue it onto the bottom of the flower. Flip it over right away, and cup it down with your hand so that the petals dry to the base very flat to the table (which, once attached to the headband, will help it stay close to your noggin!). Put something cute in the center of the top of the flower. I used Christmas pom poms, but decorative beads and buttons work great.
Put the Velcro dot on the base, and stick it on your headband. Yay!
Step 6: Kitty Ears
Using the same craft foam, cut out two triangles. They should not be equilateral, but rather, sort of tilted to one side. They need to be mirror images of each other, so remember to flip one over if you make two identical triangles.
Use a sharpie to color in the ears. Start from the top of the ear and work your way down, lifting at the bottom so the line sort of trails away.
Take the bottom corner of the ear, the one with the more acute angle, and use hot glue to fold it over and secure it.
Glue the ear to a base, and attach the Velcro to that base. Ta daa! (okay, they're not great, but cute enough for a little kid to get a kick out of.)
Remember, when you are doing these, you'll need 2 attachments on the headband, at different angles than the other examples.
Step 7: Other Stuff
In addition to this sort of scrounging, there are literally dozens of Instructables and how-to's on the intarwebs that tell you how to make cute flowers, butterflies, etcetera. Just look around! Look up origami flowers, duct tape roses, and panty-hose butterflies.
It's easy to end up making a ton of cute little things for these, then every girl on your Christmas list ends up with a good amount of decorations to play with. Don't forget, little girls love dress-up, so make some princess crowns out of foam too! Everyone I've given these to so far has instinctively known what they are and what to do with them, but if you won't be readily available to explain the system, make sure to include a little card that tells them what you've given them. Oh, and if you have extra Velcro, throw it in, they can make their own, too! :)