March ushers in the beginning of spring, a season of renewal and rebirth. As winter comes to an end, it’s a great time to encourage your group to blossom outwards into National Crafting Month. Originally established in 1994 to encourage Americans to discover their hidden creativity, National Crafting Month is now celebrated worldwide. If winter and the pandemic have had your group feeling cooped up, guide your members to unleash their inner creativity with the activity ideas below.
IRISH WREATH – Perk up your community by creating Irish wreaths that members can use to decorate their doors. You’ll need styrofoam wreaths, yarn in each of the colors of the rainbow (you can skip indigo), small black plastic pots, shamrock wire garland and gold coins. Instruct participants to section their wreaths into six equal parts. Use long pieces of yarn to wrap each color in the corresponding rainbow color, until the wreath is completely wrapped. Then, give each participant a section of the wire garland to wrap loosely around the wreath. Secure the black pot on the bottom of the wreath with craft wire. Use hot glue or craft glue to glue the gold coins all around the wreath, focusing the majority around the black pot, as if they’re floating out of the pot.
NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH CHALLENGE – If you have a crafty group, consider participating in a National Craft Month Challenge. Check with your local craft stores to see what events they may be sponsoring this month. Some craft stores provide a month’s worth of craft ideas, one per day, that you can do with your group. Click Here for one from a few years ago.
BOBBIN NECKLACES – Create a bobbin necklace with your group and you’ll be sure to evoke memories about their sewing days. Purchase small wooden thread spools, and long chain necklaces from your local craft store. Using remnant fabric, instruct participants to measure and cut a strip of fabric long enough to wrap around the inner portion of the spool. Secure in place using craft glue. Thread the spool onto the chain necklace so that it lies horizontally. Another option would be to make a wooden wind chime from spools.
CRAFT REMINISCENCE – Gather a basket of craft supplies, such as yarn, knitting needles, scrap fabric, ribbon, charms, sewing patterns, buttons, etc. Then, gather your group and reminisce with them about crafting. Discuss favorite craft hobbies they pursued throughout their lifetime. Ask: Did you ever participate in a quilting bee or knitting club? Did you grow up wearing homemade clothes? What do you remember about any of them? Did you ever make your children’s Halloween costumes? Which costume was a favorite, or which one didn’t turn out quite right? How you they learn to craft? Other topics to consider include craft bazaars, woodworking, scrapbooking, and handmade gifts.
DIY CRAFT KITS – Use brown paper bags to put together DIY craft kits that members can pick up and complete on their own. Ideas include origami, scratch-art, Sharpie marker coffee cups, mini terrariums, model airplanes, sachets, or homemade cards. Include simple, large-print instructions that walk them through how to complete the project.
EGG CARTON CRAFT CONTEST – Invite members to participate in an egg carton craft contest. Give each participant either an entire cardboard egg carton or one individual crate from the carton. Then, ask participants to use their egg carton to create something unique on their own. For more independent members, set out craft supplies in a craft room and let them create at their leisure. For members who need more assistance, work one-on-one with each to complete the project. Display all participants’ creations throughout your facility as they are completed.
STAINED GLASS SUN CATCHERS – Use clear contact paper and colorful tissue paper to make stained glass sun catchers with your group. Before the activity, cut tissue paper into one-inch squares and place in bowls. Give each participant a six-inch square of contact paper, sticky side up. Instruct them to fill the square with tissue paper, overlapping slightly so that the entire square is covered. Cover with another piece of contact paper. Then, use a stencil to trace a butterfly, shamrock, flower, or another design on top of the contact paper. Cut out the design and display on windows.
NO-SEW SOCK BUNNY – Head over to FeelingNifty for instructions on how to make an easy no-sew sock bunny with your group. This is perfect for beginner crafters. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the rice before pouring into the sock for a pleasant aroma.
PAINT TO MUSIC – A fun way to invite participants to express themselves artistically is to paint to music. Give each participant a piece of watercolor paper and a set of water colors. Then, select your favorite classical music piece and play for the group. As the music plays, encourage members to paint as they feel inspired. If your group needs more direction, print adult coloring pages and invite them to color to the music.
INVITE A LOCAL CRAFT ARTIST – Invite local artists to share their talents with your group. Ask them to tell their story, how they started in the craft business, and what inspires them. Then, ask them to give your group a demonstration. This could be done virtually as well. Before the event, ask the local artist to drop off needed supplies. Then, when it’s time for a demonstration, ask them to walk you through the project.
CRAFT FAIR – Towards the end of the month, host a craft fair to display participants’ projects that they created this month. One option is to arrange tables around the perimeter of a room and give each participant a table where they can display their works. Ask attendees to sign up for a time slot to attend to keep on top of attendance. Another option is to set tables up around the facility, in common places but not where they’ll be obtrusive. Again, designate one table per craft participant and allow members to explore the tables at their leisure. Finally, set up tables in front of first-floor windows to display crafts that families can enjoy viewing from outside.
CRAFTING AN EXPRESSIVE MONTH TRIVIA
- What do you call the “art of paper-folding,” which originated in Japan? Origami
- If you wanted to create a scented sachet that promotes relaxation, what herb would you use? Lavender
- Old sewing machines were powered by using your feet. What is the formal name of the foot pedal? Treadle
- What is the term for the craft that preserves memories with photos, ticket stubs, etc.? Scrapbooking
- This craft involves using a needle, thread, and fabric. The end result may be a quilt, costume, or a piece of clothing. What craft is it? Sewing
- Which messy craft requires paper and paste to create a variety of objects, such as a piñata? Papier mache
- What do you call the hole in a needle where you push the thread through? Eye
- What is the term that encompasses creating small replicas of things like trains, cars, or ships? Model building
- What is the name of a popular crafting tool that can cause minor burns if not handled with caution? Hot glue gun
- Which craft project requires a hook? Crochet
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“In New York, I get a tremendous amount of ideas by looking at paintings and the sculptures, adapting artistic endeavors to crafts. There is a lot of inspiration around us that we can see every day and turn into projects.” ~ Martha Stewart
“Crafting an Expressive Month” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2021 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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