Crafts

Memory Lamps

You’ll need for each youth: 1 quart sized Mason canning jar or other similar jar with a lid, a battery powered window candlestick (I found them at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby around Christmas time), and a small lampshade that fits over the christmas tree light bulbs of the candlesticks.

Additionally, you’ll need decorating materials such as ric-rac, buttons, stickers, fabric paints, glitter glue pens, leather laces, lace trim, yarn, fringe, “jewels”, whatever might trim a lamp shade.

Before the meeting time, use a drill press or punch to cut a hole in the top of the jar lid that is just big enough for the candlestick to fit through.

A week or two in advance, instruct the youth to bring small items that mean a lot to them or that bring back special memories. Examples are trinkets won for Sunday School attendance, keychains or other tokens from youth trips, ticket stubs from a favorite Christian concert, ring from a bubble gum machine when you were little, token from a grandparent or other relative. Any small items that will fit in a jar.

Have the youth glue the candlestick in the bottom of the jar. Next have them paint or decorate the lamp shade. Finally, fill the jar with their memories.

I used this as a Sunday School lesson for my Jr/Sr Highs with two topics of focus. The first was “Jesus is the light of the world.” Each youth’s lampshade was unique with varying amounts of light showing through which really helped bring home the idea that each of us shows God’s love through our lives in varying degrees. Are you a dark or light lampshade? The second topic of focus was on the special memories of the youth’s items. Many of mine, as a youth leader, were from past youth camps, trips, and meetings. Several students had small items from when they were babies. This is a very special way to store those small trinkets and occassionally reflect on the memories they hold. Makes a great nightlight that works during power outages, too!

Variation: A small strand of Christmas lights can be wound through the trinkets instead of a candlestick/lampshade. If you do this, do not cut a hole in the jar lid. Also, be sure to use the small twinkling lights that don’t get hot… helps avoid fires.

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Christmas Cards and Bookmarks

Inexpensive way to make Christmas cards and Scripture bookmarkers for the elderly of your parish. This is a great service project as well as craft.
Start collecting old Christmas cards from your parisioners or family. You’ll need colored construction paper or foam paper, whichever you prefer. Start cutting out all the old cards (pictures, words, anything you see that is worth salvaging). Then using the construction paper or foam paper cut each in the size of a small card or bookmarker. Using what you cut from the old Christmas cards, start creating your own creations. Use use glitter pens or bright colors to write scripture quotes as well. Also glue small parts of the picture (for example if you have a tree, glue the tips of the branches and sprinkle glitter, making the picture come to life.)
You can give them out at a neighboring nursing home or to the older members of your congregation who you know are living alone. Also we had so many Christmas cards made, we sent a group to the armed forces to be sent to people overseas for the holiday with no one to write to them.

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Christmas Tree Decoration

Our youth group was asked to prepare something to add into the gift bags that are given to “Shut-ins” in our parish. We bought the cheap plastic, glossy (or matte) Christmas tree balls and decorated them. We used the metallic gold and silver pens (the “gel” pens do not work very well) and the pen-like glitter glue. The kids had a great time and the receivers had a wonderful Christmas decoration to brighten their day!
HINT – use egg cartons to hold the finished balls until they dry!!

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Little Angels

Fast, Easy & Inexpensive (about $1.30 each)

(1) cut 40 lengths of yarn 15″
(2) tie the bundle in half with scrap piece of yarn; fold bundle in half at the tie
(3) tie 1″ from fold (this will create head)
(4) using six strands on opposites sides, braid to about 2″, know at end (these are the arms
(5) tie 1.5″ from head (this will create the body
(6) hot glue ends of arm lengths at the waist tie; hot glue cross over joint (you can get these little crosses at all Christian bookstores)
(7) hot glue small silk flower at “neck”
(8) using wired shear ribbon, fold four times a 15″ length; hot glue at center to hold; fan to create wings
(9) hot glue wings on back

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Crayon Meltdown

Materials Needed:
Rocks or bricks, crayons, newspaper or other table coverings, oven, potholders or towels.
In this craft you melt crayons onto rocks or bricks. Like all crafts, you will want to test this out before doing this as a group. First you need to collect, wash and dry your rocks or bricks. If you use rocks, collect only smooth, light colored rocks. Next, heat the rocks or bricks in a 250F oven for at least 30 min. Cover the work area with newspapers and use the potholders to transfer the rocks from the oven to the front of each artist. Use discarded, stubby, crayons to “paint” the surface of the rocks or bricks.
Depending on the artistic abilties of your group, you can achieve very nice results. You can use the bricks to create a little brick youth walkway in a garden area. Kids and adults both have fun melting the crayons on rocks. Needless to say… they’re HOT so BE CAREFUL!

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Candle Rolling – Advent

Just before the Advent season starts, our parish holds a day for all the families in the Church School to come and make Advent Wreaths. They use styrofoam blocks for the base, and work greenery around the (purchased) candles. There is also a teaching unit about the meaning of Advent, as a season of preparation for the birth of Christ.

With our youth group, which is aimed at the early teens, we rolled beeswax candles. This is amazingly simple to do, and you can get about four candles from a single sheet of beeswax if you’re clever. It sounds expensive, but it worked out to roughly four dollars per kid (allowing five candles).

You will need the sheets of beeswax, wicking, and most likely a hairdryer or two. Wax needs to be kept at room temperature or it either melts or freezes and becomes difficult to work with.

Start by cutting the wax into the size and shape desired. A rectangle or square will result in a straight column; a triangle will give you an edge spiralling around the candle. If you use the triangle, make sure that the edge which forms the top of the candle is cut straight across, so that it’s easier to light the candle. Measure out the wick to exactly the height of the candle, and press it into the inner edge of the wax, offset by 1/2″. (Why? Two reasons: you need a wick sticking out the top to light, and because beeswax has such a low melt point, you can damage your candle holder if the wick runs to the very bottom of the candle.)

Once the wick is aligned with the wax, roll steadily and evenly away from you. The wax tends to adhere to itself. If you’re having trouble, or the edge of the wax starts to break up, use the hairdryer to heat it up a bit. It doesn’t take much.

If you have an edge spiralling around the candle, you can go a step further and flare it out a bit by pinching the very edge gently with your finger tips.

And voila! The Light of Christ, given for you.

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Jesus Grams

Jesus Grams are a fun Christian way to show God’s love and the senders love during Valentines Day. Get a person with a computer to design a Jesus Gram front and a back. For the back, We used 1 Corinthians 14 for our scripture references and had space for a personalized message. Use red or pink paper and glue candy to the front. (sturdy paper is best) This is also good for a fundraiser (suggested donation 1.00).

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Nature Candles

Two kinds of candles that are easy and fun to make.

Supplies:
– crock pot to melt wax
– wax available through craft suppliers
– wicking
– styrofoam bowls
– 16oz cold cups
– sand
– things from nature
-ice
– crayon shavings

SAND CANDLES — tape the wick to the bottom of the styrofoam bowl. Fill part way with sand, have kids make a mold in the sand. Pour wax into the sand mold, add leaves, glitter, grass, flowers, petals, etc. Let set (3-4 hours). To take candle out of mold, break bowl and brush sand away.

ICE CANDLES– Tape wick to bottom of cup. Fill the cup with ice. Pour wax into cup. Add leaves, grass, glitter, flowers, etc. Let wax set. (3-4 hours). Gently tear cup away letting the water run out of the candle. YOu will have a candle with natural holes. NEAT! To add color to the candles have the youth use crayon shavings. Add those after it is poured into the mold.

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Inventions

This game, which can unfortunately become expensive, involves creating things from random materials. I started buying materials from a local craft store and bought 4 of everything. It included styrofoam balls (large and small), dowel rods, animal fur, yarn, tape, colorful pipe cleaner, empty 2 liter coke bottles (a must), feathers, stick glue, etc. Divide up the teams and allow them to work on their creation. Guidlines are a good idea. Such as it has to be a robot, person, or animal. Give it a name and possibly a story. The crowd loved the inventions.

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Popcorn Ornaments

This is fun, easy and very inexpensive! you can purchase your normal glass christmas ball, or even use old worn out balls from your past.
You just dip them into a solution of salt, water and vinegar (don’t forget to put the solution inside also). This will remove all the paint and you will be left with a clear ball. Rinse, let dry completely, then simply put a teespoon of unpopped popcorn kernels inside the ball. Place the ball in a paper lunch sack and put it in the microwave.
Pop about 1 minute on the high setting. I have had a few I had to pop just a few seconds longer to get the popcorn to pop well. (By the way, be sure to leave the metal top off while microwaving.) When corn is popped replace metal hanger and add a bow or whatever decor you please.

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