Anyone who has experienced a New Hampshire winter—even those of us who revel in the beauty of the snow-covered landscape—eventually get to a point where spending another day cooped up inside can feel a bit like a prison sentence. Whenever I sense the desperation setting in, I know it’s time to get crafting! Today I’d like to share a couple of colorful, kid-friendly craft ideas that are sure to brighten the dreariest winter day.
Kite Paper Window Stars
Nothing lifts the spirit on a dark winter day like light gently filtering through beautiful, vibrantly-colored paper window stars. To make window stars you will need kite paper and a glue stick. Kite paper can be difficult to find in stores, but it is widely available online. I bought mine here.
Typically, kite paper comes in a stack of many square sheets, and each square measures just over six inches. Most basic stars are composed of eight squares of kite paper, and can be made as large or as small as you desire. When using eight full sheets, the finished star will be about 17 ½ inches tall and wide; using two full sheets cut into four squares each results in a star about 8 ½ inches tall and wide. The final size will vary and depends on the design you choose to make.
To make a simple “beginner” star, start by turning the first paper square clockwise, so that it forms a diamond shape. Fold the top point down to the bottom point, forming a triangle. Open the triangle back up and re-position (if necessary) so that the folded line is centered, vertically. Next, fold the left point in toward the vertical fold, as if you’re making a paper airplane, and glue to secure; repeat action on the right side. You should now have something that looks like an asymmetrical diamond or an arrowhead. Repeat the entire process on the rest of the unfolded squares.
Now it’s time to assemble the star. Glue the bottom points of two folded pieces together so that the left bottom edge of the second piece lines up perfectly with the center line on the first (see photo). Repeat all the way around until all eight folded pieces are glued together, and now you have a star!
I like to make several of them in different colors and then hang them in the window with clear tape. It is fun to experiment with different and more complex designs, too. For more tutorials, you can search Pinterest, or check out Magical Windows Stars , by Frederique Gueret, or Paper Suncatchers , by Christine Gross-Loh (includes kite paper and glue stick).
Hand-Rolled Beeswax Candles
Another way to bring light and warmth to cold winter days is by making your own hand-rolled beeswax candles. To roll your own candles you will need honeycombed beeswax sheets and some yards of cotton wick. There are kits available online in many color schemes. If you’re looking for a wide variety of colors, I recommend this multicolored kit that makes 8-inch tapers (this shop also offers kits in Hanukkah, Christmas, and Valentine colors, as well as natural-colored beeswax).
To make a candle, start by measuring a length of cotton wick that is about one inch longer than your sheet of beeswax, and then cut it to size. Stretch the wick out across one edge of the beeswax sheet, allowing the extra length to hang over the edge of one side (the sheets are square, so it doesn’t matter which side you use). Begin turning the edge of the beeswax sheet over the top of the wick, just a little bit at a time.
Once the wick is completely covered by beeswax you can begin rolling the sheet—starting from the wick end—away from your body, going slowly so as not to crack or break the fragile beeswax. Taking your time is the key to success with this project, and you want to roll as carefully and as tightly as you can. Once you reach the end of the sheet, press the remaining edge of the beeswax gently against the shaft of the candle to secure it.
Provided you roll them tightly enough, these candles should fit into a standard taper candle holder. The lovely scent of natural beeswax and the cheerful glow of the flame will warm even the coldest New Hampshire night. They also make great gifts for family and friends.