It's not too late to scan your woods for dried materials to use in crafting. In western PA, I discovered a treasure trove of milkweed pods this year and have found the teardrop shape lends itself to many things. My college daughter points out that I am also being very "green" with this project. You may be able to find other types of pods that would work in your area. You can do this assembly line style and complete many in a short time. Use a hair dryer to speed up the paint drying time.
Approximate Time: 30-45 minutes
dried milkweed pods
acrylic paints, black, dark blue, tan, brown, dark green, white, gold
glitter or glitter paint, optional
gold thread or ribbon
Make sure the pods are dried and have been split open and emptied of their many seeds outside!
For each project, basecoat one pod-half with white, inside and out. Or leave the outside natural. Dry and add second coat if needed. Dry again.
Paint inside of pod dark blue.
Decide where you want the star. Begin by painting an asterisk with thinned white paint. If too harsh, add a couple of dark blue lines. Dry.
Paint a diamond shape with gold paint. Add four gold lines around diamond as shown. Dry.
Using tan paint, mixed with a little brown, paint the desert platform for your village and dry.
Referring to the picture or a design of your own, paint in the buildings with tan mixed with a little white. Make squares and rectangles with "stairstep" tops. Dry.
With tiny brush and black paint, add windows, doors and domed tops as desired. Dry.
Add white dots to domes and black shading on left sides of buildings if desired. You may also add a faint black line under the buildings to define them a little.
Paint rim of pod with gold paint or glitter. You may also paint the back side of the pod with twinkly glitter paint or use diamond dust and thinned glue.
With embroidery needle or hot glue, attach gold thread.
You may add varnish to the village if desired.
Use Christmas cards or children's coloring books for inspiration for other scene ideas.
This one is easy enough for kids. It's cheap and quick so kids in Scouts or groups can make several for gifts. I wrapped mine, using red and white tulle which comes on a roll. I closed the ends with tinsel pipe cleaners and added beads on the end. You could use curling ribbon, too, but the pipe cleaners are faster. Makes a nice presentation and the person can see your project if they don't feel like opening it this minute.
Approximate Time: 10 minutes
dried, empty milkweed pods
acrylic paints, white, black, flesh, red
"Snow-Tex" craft medium*
thread or ribbon
diamond dust or twinkly paint, optional**
small white pom pom for hat, optional
*If you don't have time to dry the projects before completing, use cotton or fiberfill for the hat and mustache.
**They now have paint with the diamond dust right in there - a lot less messy than sprinkling on glitter, but less fun!
Make sure pods are split and emptied of seeds outside!
Base coat entire pod in white. Dry.
Paint top of pod red to resemble hat.
Referring to photo, paint flesh color on face area. Dry
With end of paint brush, add black eyes and red nose.
With "Snow-Tex" and paint brush or craft popsicle sticks, add mustache and trim on hat.
Snow-Tex will have to dry over night.
Add pom pom with glue if desired.
Paint back of project and all but the face with twinkly paint. (Or use glue and diamond dust).
Attach ribbon or thread for hanging, using needle or hot glue.
I used milkweed pods from the woods around my house for this ornament idea. You may have other types of pods in your area or you may be able to find something similar in the dried flower section of the craft store. Great project for Scouts or school groups. Use a hair dryer on the paint and Fiberfill for snow to keep it quick.
Approximate Time: 15 minutes
Dried Milkweed Pods
Acrylic paints, sky blue, royal blue, white,brown, green
"Snow-Tex" Craft Medium or Fiberfill
Twinkly Paint or Diamond Dust and Glue
Tiny Figures, Deer, People, Houses, etc.
Thread or Ribbon to hang
Silver Glitter Paint, optional
Make sure pods are split and emptied outside, preferably in the woods where you found them. Basecoat one half of a pod inside and out with white. Dry.
Dip paintbrush in Royal Blue and wipe most of it off. Rub it on the outside of pod and dry.
Inside pod, paint top half sky blue. Dry.
For pine trees, use brown paint for trunks and dry. Holding a small flat brush horizontally, add limbs by lightly tapping on trunks, with longer strokes toward the bottom. Dip "dirty" brush in white and add to limbs for snow in the same manner.
Fill bottom half of pod with Snow-Tex or Fiberfill. If using Snow-Tex, allow to dry overnight.
Add clouds to sky. Dry.
Add twinkly paint or diamond dust to entire project as desired. Dry.
Now add your figure with hot glue. If your figure is a house, add a smoke line in the sky coming from the chimney with thinned white.
Add silver glitter paint to rim of pod if desired.
This project, using milkweed pods, is a little tricky and probably more suitable for adults or teens. It is somewhat time consuming because of all the paint drying time, unless you leave it natural (see photo).