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.

Nature Candles

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

– crock pot to melt wax
– wax available through craft suppliers
– wicking
– styrofoam bowls
– 16oz cold cups
– sand
– things from nature
– 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.

Peppermint Christmas Trees

You will need one medium-sized styrofoam cone, bag of wrapped peppermints, and straight pins. Simply push the peppermints into the cone with the pins. After you have completely covered the “tree”, you may then decorate with miniature tree ornaments, garland, etc…with a gold star on top! These are really very cute and inexpensive to make.

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.

Potato Bulletins

Print up your youth bulletins as usual, but don’t include a cover page. Hand them out to the youth group and lay out potatoes, knives and other cutting tools, inks and paint, markers, etc and have them make potato stamps and design creative covers for the bulletins. Gather them, mix them up and hand them out again to different people than the creators as they leave.

Rustic Picture Frames

You can collect the driftwood yourself or you can arrange a nice walk along a river or somewhere “earthy”. I basically got this idea walking along the river with my dog and he kept bringing me sticks. Collect a lot (as straight as possible but maybe with some’quirks’to them)
You need:
– 4 sticks of driftwood (whatever length depending on your picture size. I like the frame to overlap a bit on the edges)
– 1 piece of cardboard
– 1 photo
– glue gun
– ball of hemp or even leather cord

I glue the picture to the cardboard (with a glue stick…I dont know if the hot glue would destroy it not), and line the frame with the driftwood. Then I just tie the corners together and after making sure its the right size for the picture, I glue it ontop of the photo. If some edges stick out from it I just snip them off. Then you just glue on a loop of string onto the back to hang it and voila! You have a cheap frame that looks fun. You could even get really artsy and add bits off moss or go for a “seaside” theme.
Quick to make too. About 15 minutes once you get the knack of it.

Screen Printing

This is a great idea to help your youth groups really feel like a group. Get someone artistic (preferably one of the youth) to design a funky logo for the group. Or you could have a competition to see who can design the best logo. Get hold of some screen printing screens (talk to schools or anyone you know who’s crafty). Trace the logo onto plastic adhesive, cut out the image so that the logo creates a hole in the plastic, and then stick the sheet of adhesive onto the printing screens. Get the youth to bring along t-shirts, material, underwear – whatever! – and everyone can have a go at printing the logo. The paint to use is reasonably cheap, and the screens are easy to clean up. The youth will come away with something they’ve made that identifies them with the rest of the group, and most likely they would have had a lot of fun doing it! (Check with someone who knows how to screen print before you do this activity, to find out exactly how to go about doing it.)

Scripture Cards

You’ll need some colored card stock / construction paper 6″x6″. This square size makes the card more unique, you may make it any size. Find someone with a computer. Ask if they could print Scripture in a 4″x4″ box, then cut the paper 5″x5″ so there is a 1/2″ space around the text. This could be bigger for more drawing space. Have youth draw/color a design around the scripture. Glue this sheet on the card stock / construction paper. There should be a 1/2″ of colored paper frame. Laminate when done. Leave a 1/2″ of laminate, punch 2 holes on top corners and tie a string or ribbon for hanging. Great gifts for the elderly, Mothers / Fathers Day Christmas or any special day. Have fun. Another idea is instead of scripture, have the youth do a WWJD design or make their own fun logo and hang in their room.

Snow Globes

To make snowglobes, you will need:

glass jar w/ a plastic lid
ceramic or plastic figurine
hot glue gun and glue sticks

First, glue the figurine standing up to the inside of the plastic lid. While that is drying, fill the jar about halfway with water and add as much glitter as you would like. Fill the jar completely and after the glue is dry, place the lid tightly on the jar. Turn it upside down and shake the gltter up. If the jar leaks, you may want to glue around the edges of the lid and tie a ribbon around it.

Snow Globes Tips

I read your snow globe idea and I wanted to add from my own experience.
To seal the lids use some plumbers tape around the top of the jar before screwing on the lid. Also some glycerin added to the water and glitter helps the glitter not to clump up. Just a few drops is all you need. This can be purchased where cake decorating supplies are sold.
Good luck =)

Snowman Pots

I saw this in a catalog and it looked easy enough to make. Paint a terra cotta pot white, and the band of the pot black (for the hat). Glue on different size buttons for the eyes, nose, and to form the arch for the mouth. Use red paint or rouge to give the snowman rosy cheeks.

Sycamore Leaves

Go to the nearest Sycamore tree. Several grow around my house, so this was easy. Collect the amount of leaves you need. Take a single leaf, and put it in between two squares of wax paper. Take an Iron, on a numer 1 or 2 setting, and a very small amount of steam. Press the leaf in between the wax paper. After you steam it just a little bit, then take the steam off, and use the iron dry to finish pressing it. The wax paper seals itself around the leaf. When you are finished, and the paper has cooled, you can write the child’s name on the outside of the wax paper. You need to leave it in a square (not cut around the leaf). If you cut around the edge of the leaf, then you will have nothing to seal the wax paper together, therefore, deafeating the purpose of pressing it. this craft relates to the Story of Zaccheus and Sycamore tree. Luke 19

World’s Largest Christmas Card

The world’s largest Christmas Card is a great way for your Youth Group to show the rest of the congregation how much they appreciate them.

Take two pieces of dry wall and then duct tape them together. Use ideas from old Christmas Cards to paint, decoupage or decorate however the teens desire. Write a Christmas message inside and have all the teens sign it. Then as a surprise to the congregation a week or two before Christmas put the “Card” in the back of the church or in the lobby.