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When my daughter’s teacher invited me to come into the class to make crafts with the kids that could be sold at the school’s charity Christmas market (a couple of years ago I did the same thing with these yarn Hopi Eye ornaments), I was thrilled to find out that this year’s theme was “recycling”—my favorite thing!
I got a bunch of big paper egg crates from the supermarket (from the area where you can by single eggs instead of whole cartons) with the idea that I’d make these little Christmas trees that I saw a while ago on Mammabook. But my trees didn’t come out anywhere near as cute as Silvia’s, so I started playing around with the pieces of cut egg cartons to see what else I could come up with.
I remembered the adorable egg carton flower fairies that Silvia had made for her guest tutorial for the Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewers series and it hit me that I could make poinsettias from these egg cartons and crates! And thus the DIY paper poinsettias, upcycled-style, were born! The kids in the class did a great job with theirs and were so thrilled with them, that I decided to share how to make them here.
Children can do steps 2-8, but it’s better if an adult cuts apart the egg cartons and manages the glue gun. Keep on reading to find out how!
To make one poinsettia flower you’ll need:
- Egg cartons/crates
- A piece of a yellow fruit net (you can see another project for kids with fruit nets here)
- Scissors (one big pair and a smaller pair for more detailed cutting)
- Red and green paint (I used regular poster paint*)
- Paintbrushes (not pictured)
- Silver glitter*
- Glue gun (I have a Dremel 910, which is great, but I don’t think that this brand is available in the States)
- Twine, string or ribbon for hanging
- Needle with large eye* (optional)
1. Using the larger scissors or a box cutter, cut apart the egg carton or crate so that you have three of the higher “mountains” between the egg cups. You can also use the wider cups, but I think they look better with the “steeper” parts between them.
If using a larger crate, first cut it into rows. Then trim off the edges and cut each “mountain” apart.
If using normal egg cartons, you will waste more of it. Cut apart a regular 6-egg carton as shown above.
2. Trim off the rough edges and shape the petals as shown above. Remember that poinsettias have pointy petals and leaves, so don’t round them off.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as often as needed to create the desired number of poinsettias. Remember that you need three pieces per flower.
4. Paint two of the three pieces red, and the other one green. Paint both the inside and outside. I suggest painting on top of magazine pages or other sheer paper to avoid regular paper (such as newspaper) sticking to the wet paint.
5. Position all the pieces face up on a flat surface, retouching the paint on top of the petals if necessary, and sprinkle glitter on the wet paint.
6. Let the pieces dry completely. I dried mine on an old disposable pastry tray with a foil top so that the paint wouldn’t stick and I could move the whole thing without problems.
7. Cut a strip of fruit net.
8. Get the one green and two red pieces ready while the glue gun heats up. Check to see if one of the red pieces is smaller than the other. If there is one smaller, you’ll start with that one so that it stays on top.
9. Apply glue onto the four side corners on the bottom of the smaller red piece.
10. Stick the red piece with glue on it inside the other red piece, but so that the petals of the two pieces are not on top of each other.
11. Apply glue onto the four side corners on the bottom of the second red piece (as in step 9) and stick the joined red pieces inside the green piece so that the petals of the bottom red piece and the green piece are not on top of each other.
12. Roll and bunch up the piece of netting so that there aren’t little cut bits sticking out the top. Apply glue around the inside of the first red piece and stick the rolled-up netting inside the center.
13. Press each of the petals (both red and green) between your fingers to make it a little less stiff, and then shape them with your thumb and forefinger to curve it backwards.
And there’s your finished poinsettia! You can leave them like this to use them as decorations. If you want to make Christmas tree ornaments, though, you still need to create the hanger, so continue to the next step.
14. Cut a length of twine or ribbon for a hanging loop. You can either glue it in place or string it through one of the petals. If you want to glue it on, knot the two ends together. If you want to string it on, stick one end through the needle with a large eye.
15. If you’re gluing the loop on, apply some glue from the glue gun in a point in the space between the green piece and the second red piece, and stick the knotted ends into the glue.
16. If you’re using the needle, stick it through one of the green leaves. I realized after taking this picture that it looks better if you insert it from the front, not from the back as seen here.
17. Pull the twine or ribbon through and knot the ends together.
Easy, right? Now make a whole bunch more to decorate your tree and home, or to give away to loved ones! These are great gifts for kids to give away to family and friends, which is exactly what my kids are doing with ours!
These are super cute and sparkly on Christmas trees, especially when colored lights shine off of them! And kids are always so proud to have their creations hanging up for everyone to see!
Want to make some other Christmas decorations with your kids? Take a look at these pine cone Christmas trees that can be decorated in all sorts of ways!
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