fall gourd craft lady

Gourd craft ideas are perfect for seniors and elderly!
They’re fun all year round,
but particularly make great fall craft projects.

I love the lumpy, bumpy kinds that suggest all sorts of funny and weird characters. And these gourds so easy! And can be adjusted to all activity levels. Just take a look at the size and shapes of the gourds you can get, and let your imagination go wild.And be sure to see ideas on our Fall Senior Activities page.

These particular gourd craft ideas have more of a fall theme, but also think in terms of gnomes or elves for winter, and summer centerpieces too. (Be sure to see our page on fall crafts for the elderly, also).

NOTE:  All images are copyrighted – © 2009, Mary S. Schulte
Images may not be copied or used on other web sites, and may only be used with your personal projects.

Favorite Gourd Craft Ideas

Girlie Gourd

fall gourd craft girl

This frivolous miss was made of a mini pumpkin, topped with curly ribbon for her hair. You can attach it with a thumb tack, or glue it. Use googly eyes, of course, and a candy or pom-pom nose.

I drew on the face with a fine point Sharpie marker pen. The head is set on several artificial fall leaves that serve as a collar of sorts.

The stand is an upside-down inexpensive candle holder from a thrift store, atop a doily. Around the bottom is a sparkly bracelet.

The Gourd Ghoul

gourd craft halloween ghost

I loved this white gourd. It immediately made me think of a lumpy ghost floating on its side. First I sliced off the top of the thick part of the gourd to make an opening in which to insert a candle. (I use only flameless candles).

Gourds can be tough to cut, so keep in mind who is doing this project – they may need assistance. Scoop out the opening. (If you remove enough of the insides so the walls are thin, the candlelight will glow through the sides in the dark). Then I put in a flameless tea light candle.

Next the face – really easy. Googly eyes as usual, then marker to make a big oval for the mouth. And a couple slanted eyebrows.

Again, it’s on top of a turned over candle holder on a dish, filled with fall candy colors. Makes a great centerpiece, and is especially fun when several ghouls are lined up across a table. More gourd craft ideas below.

Gourd Ghosts

This lacy lady is one of our easiest gourd craft ideas. Perfect for elderly who may need an easier project.

Materials:

White gourd
Black ribbon (mine was glittery)
Small artificial flower (mine was black)
Glue (for flower)
Black fine-tip marker
Large square of white lace
A stand: candle holder, jar, etc.
Small flameless candle

I first drew the face on the white gourd using the fine-tipped black marker. It is simply three ovals. Then I tied a long strand of black ribbon onto the stem. Next I glued on the artificial flower.

Then just place the square of lace over your stand, and drape it. Set the head onto the draped stand. And add a little candle at the bottom.

And if you don’t have lace…

You can also see another version using a simple white paper napkin, in case you don’t have lace. Or a white cloth napkin looks nice is well. For this sample, I used a little candy cup instead of a candle.

Gourd Goose

fall gourd craft goose

I used the same stand and candy dish for this one as I did for the Ghoul. But without the candle. Instead, I created a nest of dried moss on top of the candle stand. The natural curve of the gourd made a great goose neck, head and beak, with the googly eyes added to the head.

The natural ridge of the body of the gourd protrude enough to suggest wings. For the tail I used a gumdrop (you can also use half a Styrofoam ball), with craft feathers inserted. Since the tail end of the gourd had a little protrusion, I just stuck the gumdrop onto it. Otherwise you can glue it on, even making nail holes to insert the feathers, if needed.

Granny Gourd

One of my favorites, using a combination of two gourds. The bottom was a type of squash that had lumps suggestive of a “bosom.” When I saw it in the store I just about died laughing.

I’d already had the gourd for the head at home, and now knew what to do with it. Curly ribbon was placed around the stem, and also as a bow on the “skirt.”

The face has those googly eyes, plus a candy nose, and smiley face with eyebrows and lashes drawn on with the fine-tip marker. A doily was placed between the gourd head and body, like a lacy collar. These would also look cute with an apron (such as a doily cut in half, and ribbon).

Gourd Witch

gourd craft halloween witch

This granny is sitting on top of a small, black plastic dish with an artificial tea candle inside, creating an eerie glow. Her head is topped with a simple ribbon curl. The face is a study in fabulous lumps.

The eyes are glued onto lumps which cause them to protrude. The nose is another lump on which I drew large nostrils. The lopsided mouth wiggles around more bumps.

And then there is a wonderful natural chin. Her “feet” are a couple of artificial leaves. If I turned this gourd around, on the other side could have been a perfect grandpa gourd face as well… maybe another day.

Fancy-Hat Gourd Witch

Here’s another witch with a different look, to add to your gourd craft ideas. It’s very easy to put together, complete with a fancy hat which you can decorate any way you’d like. I got a lot of the items from a local thrift store.

The hat did come from a craft store, but we also explain how to make one from felt. You could also use colored paper.

Get the full instructions on our page all about easy Halloween crafts.

On that page we also describe how to make a really cute, frilly witch’s broom to go along with many projects.

Autumn Angel Gourd

Gourd craft ideas are varied. If you want a another look, that is un-spooky, then how about an angel gourd.

She can be used for many occasions — blessing your Thanksgiving table, or as a Christmas decoration. This project is made with a small white pumpkin-shaped gourd.

But if they’re not in season when you want to make it, there are other options. Learn more at our craft angels page.

Elf or Santa Gourd

There are gourd craft ideas for Christmas too. It’s all in the costume! In this case, a festive holiday paper napkin. It can really change the look of this guy.

This is an extremely easy project, and again, is made with a white pumpkin-like gourd. But we give other ideas too.

He can be based on a jar filled with candies, hidden under his “cape.” See just what I did on our simple Christmas crafts page.

………………………………………

Our Book

Easy Crafts and Gifts

Get lots more easy yet quality crafts for many seasons and abilities – over 120 activities in our e-book. PLUS a booklet of FREE templates you can use for a variety of projects (Including other gourd craft ideas).Two books for one!

Also see:

Painting Pumpkins and Gourds – Colorful ideas to decorate instead of carving! More gourd craft ideas.
Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas – Apples are not only abundant in fall, they are available all year long. See fun ideas to make!
Elderly Activities – A wide range of activities for those who may need modified projects.

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lollipop valentine's day craft

This whimsical lollipop valentine centerpiece is really two crafts in one. You can paint the clay pot too! And there are many variations to decorate this project. Use it on the mantle, food buffet, or on a table. If you have a long table – make two or three!

This centerpiece also makes a great give-away or door prize. Plus, the best part is that you can eat it later! Perfect for your senior activity ideas.

You don’t have to paint the pot for this valentine centerpiece – you can use it with its natural terra cotta coloring. Perhaps just paint the rim, or attach ribbon and stickers. But if you want to learn an easy way to paint it, read on…

Valentine Centerpiece Steps

Painted Pot

This valentine centerpiece, as shown in the photo, has a really easy painted clay pot.
You will need:

  • Acrylic paints (Liquitex is a good brand) of your choice of color(s). Suggestions are white, “portrait pink,” or else mix white and red paint to make pink. Or just red paint will work too.
  • Optional – palette knife, if you are mixing paint colors
  • Square of ordinary kitchen sponge, about 2 inches square
  • Small plastic picnic plate to use as a palette
  • Water jar, and rag
  • Medium sized clay pot with tray
  • Water-base, clear craft varnish to seal painted pot
  • Valentine stickers, (or a stencil to paint on hearts)

Before painting the clay pot for the valentine centerpiece, wipe it clean with a slightly damp paper towel to remove any dirt or grip. Dry. Squirt some paint onto the plastic picnic plate that you are using for a palette (this is cheap and easy).

Dampen the sponge squeeze well, and dip into the paint. Then sponge paint over the entire pot (not the inside) and its tray. Also paint the bottom of the pot. It will show since the pot will be turned upside down.

It actually looks kind of cool to let some of the terra cotta pot color show through. It does not have to be painted evenly. I love to sponge paint because it goes fast and doesn’t have to look perfect. Let the first coat dry for at least a half an hour. Apply a second coat.

I like to put two different colors over each other. For instance, white as the first coat, with pink over it. Let the pot dry thoroughly, at least another hour.

If you are going paint on hearts with a stencil (or free-hand) do it at this point. Then dry over night.

When the pot has dried over night, then brush on a coat of varnish. Dry again overnight. Then you can stick decorative stickers on to the valentine centerpiece pot, if you are using stickers.

(If you like to paint pots, get lots more ideas on our page all about painting clay pots).

Lollipop Flowers

The lollipop valentine centerpiece, of course, must include the lollipops – as flowers. We wrap candy ourselves and put them on tall skewer sticks, since standard store lollipops do not have long enough sticks.

You will need:

  • Craft glue
  • Scissors
  • 3 Long wooden kabob skewers
  • Florist tape (or other strong tape), 3 strips about 6 to 8 inches long
  • 3 pieces of clear plastic wrap, cut in 8–inch squares
  • 3 8-inch pieces of green ribbon
  • 3 pieces of large round candy
  • Colored paper, cut into 3 flower shapes (for tops of candy)
  • 3 small green pompoms
  • 2 to 3 curly reeds (or any type of reed)
  • Large round doily for base

Lay down a square of plastic wrap onto the table. Place the round candy in the middle. Pull up the sides of the wrap and gather it tightly, inserting the skewer.

Wind florist tape tightly in place around the skewer and plastic wrap, tightly under the candy. Cut off any excess tape. When wound, trim down the ends of the plastic wrap if they are too long.

Curl and tie green ribbon around the tape to decorate it. Glue the flower shapes on top of the wrapped candy. Then the glue the pompom on top.

Turn the painted pot upside down on its tray. Insert the lollipop flowers and curly reeds into the hole. If the skewers are too long for your particular pot, they are easy to snap off or cut at the appropriate length.

Everything will stand up in the pot hole – no need for foam inside the pot. Place it all on top of the doily.

Also learn to make some fanciful bouquet strawberry desserts (one of them is below). Just follow the link.


Our Craft Book!

Easy Crafts and Gifts — Get lots more easy yet quality craft ideas (including several centerpieces, plus Valentine’s Day) – more than 120 projectsPlus a FREE booklet of templates you can use for a variety of activities.

More Valentine ideas at: Festive Valentines Crafts

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painted clay pot , 4th of July craft

Our 4th Of July Crafts page uses easy craft supplies and concepts, and many can be done outdoors too.

From centerpieces, to food activities, to party ideas, we have a nice variety. (And you can change out the color and themes on this page to suit other holidays as well!)

See further below on how to make the above pot. These4th of July crafts can also be modified to use as crafts for the elderly for those who may need extra help.

Easy 4th of July Crafts

painted candle, 4th of July craft

Painted Candle

Do this candle painting project on a wide pillar candle, as shown, or a narrow taper candle.

Supplies:
Pillar candle (a battery, flameless style works too!)
Acrylic paint – red, white, blue
3-D craft paint – I used white
Paint brushes
Water container and rag
Star stencils of different sizes
Candle holder for base
Styro or grapevine style craft candle ring
Artificial flowers for around base
Strong glue (if gluing flowers)
Or florist wire
Ribbon for base
Optional: star decals

Instructions:

First clean the candle with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

I first painted on the squiggly lines, free-form style, with white 3D paint. It’s best if they’re far enough down from the top of the candle for burning.

BUT, I’ve found that the candles burn an indentation into the center of the candle, so the outer squiggles do not actually “burn.” (Of course, not an issue when using flameless candles).

painted candle, 4th of July craft

Patriotic Wooden Spoons

A pair of wooden spoons are great 4th of July crafts that can actually be used (and make fun gifts or raffle items), or simply added as decor to plants and centerpieces.

Supplies:
Wooden spoons
Acrylic paints: red, white and blue
Water base polyurethane craft varnish
… (VOC of 50 g/L rating or less, if using them for food)
Brushes in a variety of sizes
Water container, rags

The designs on these are simple – stars and stripes. First I put two coats of white acrylic on the tops of the spoons, drying between (see paint directions). At least 20 minutes. You may be able to get good enough coverage with one coat.

After that, it’s just painting stars and stripes design in whatever way you’d like. When everything is dry, apply a coat or two of varnish, drying well between.

If you are using them for food…
The varnish must be allowed to set for one or two weeks until any solvents are gone and the varnish is polymerized. (If you can smell the finish, it is not completely cured yet). Then gently wash the surface before using. Again, be sure to follow product directions!

Flag on Wood

Perfect for 4th of July crafts! This rustic flag has many uses, among them as a door hanger or wall hanging. We give detailed how-to ideas on our page about crafts for men, both for larger sizes and small. You can even use templates for the star if you’re hesitant about hand painting them.

This is simple to paint using acrylics, and then standard water-base varnish (optional) to give it a protective coat). It could also be enhanced with a metallic garland, even some red, white and blue flowers.

Hand-Painted Wine Glasses

painted wine glass, 4th of July craft

These 4th of July crafts can be made with either glass or quality plastic wine glasses. They’re easy and fast, using glass paint that you can get in any craft store or online. Also find wine glasses inexpensively at a thrift store.

With some types of paint, the glass is baked in the oven when finished, to set the paint. But not always necessary, depending on the paint. So read directions carefully.

Supplies:
Wine glasses
Optional: star stencil
Glass paint from craft store – red, white and blue
Acrylic 3-D paint; I used red and white
Polyurethane varnish for glass paint
Paint brushes, wide and narrow
Small sponge for painting, if desired
Water container, rag

Instructions:

NOTE: If you are going to be drinking out of your wine glasses, always begin the design at least one inch down from the top so your mouth will not touch the paint.

Clear Glass

For the clear glass, first paint on a wide blue stripe either with a piece of sponge, or wide brush. Dry. I next carefully added the stars using stencils (which usually need 2 coats, depending on your paint brand).

But you can certainly paint some free-hand instead. Free-form stars can have a nice, whimsical look. The stars are placed in a sort of arch pattern, with one large star at the lower left.

Blue Glass

For the blue glass, I just made stars of different colors, using stencils. In both cases, I put a few small stars on the stems and base.

NOTE: Avoid putting paint where fingers will hold the glass, as the paint can wear off.

If you are using actual glass instead of plastic -  after applying the paint, the item may need to be baked according to instructions on the paint bottles, to set the paint. Then another layer of paint can be added, if desired. Instructions sometimes say to dry and bake between layers of paint, and then again in the end.

You should carefully follow the directions on your paint bottles. If you are using plastic, you would not be baking the item of course. You can use craft varnish to preserve the design (see below).

The squiggles were made last with regular acrylic 3D paint (I did not use glass paint for these) and it does not need to be baked again.

Finally, apply a couple coats of polyurethane varnish for glass paint, to strengthen it. Use these fun 4th of July crafts for drinking or centerpieces.
Hand wash only – not dishwasher safe.

Wine Glass Charms

If you’ve made yourself a nice set of hand-painted wine glasses, here’s another one of our 4th of July crafts to go with it – wine glass charms. Very easy to make. Get some fancy narrow elastic from a fabric or bead store.  I used gold.

Supplies:
Narrow gold or silver elastic cord
Optional: small, open metal rings from bead store instead
Beads: red, white, blue, and decorative
Blue or red acrylic paint (for ends)

Cut a length of elastic cord at least 1 1/2 inches longer than what you want for your glass.

String on several beads, and tie the strings together at the end, with a double knot. Tie the elastic cord so it can stretch around the bottom of the wine glass and slide on, yet is not too loose to fall off.

Put a dab of blue acrylic paint on each of the ends of the cord to keep them from raveling, and for added decoration.

Option:  A bead store may also have thin, flexible metal rings that come in a coil. And also special-occasion beads.

Just snip off a couple loops of the coil, and string on your beads. Then with a needle nose pliers, make hooks at both ends of the ring. The wire stretches out to put around the glass stem, then holds its shape, so no need to connect the ends together. 

Easy Centerpieces

Patriotic occasions are perfect times to make a centerpiece, and not just for 4th of July crafts. You’ll see in our Senior Activities – By The Month area that almost every month has some kind of patriotic commemoration. Very popular with seniors.

Centerpieces are really easy (samples below). All you need are items in red, white, and blue. I get many at thrift stores and garage sales, like colored vases, bottles, and glassware. Also artificial flowers and small flags. The metallic garlands were from the craft store. I like to stack candle holders with plates or bowls (also with treats on them). The centerpiece with flowers has a blue flower pot in the center of the plate, and then a glass jar inside that, with more flowers and the flag.

Painted Clay Pot

Painted clay pots make great 4th of July crafts and are very easy. For this sample, I put a red, white and blue flower arrangement in the top, and although you don’t see the whole thing in the photo, there is also a little flag.

This sample is again made with acrylic paints and stencils. (Or you can draw the stars free-hand yourself). A loose stripes and stars theme was used. These pots also look great when painted with bright red or blue paint, instead of white. See image below with another centerpiece.

For full instructions: painting clay pots.

Patriotic Apple Wreath

Making 4th of July crafts from apple wreaths is a good old traditional project. The easiest way is to use dried apple slices from the store – unless you like to dehydrate them yourself, which is another fun activity in and of itself.

See the full instructions on our Apple Wreaths page, and then just use a red, white and blue bow. Plus add a few artificial flowers by wiring them in with florist wire, from a craft store. Adding in dehydrated or real cranberries ( as available) is another option.

Patriotic Picture Frame

It’s really easy to make this patriotic picture frame, one of our easy 4th of July crafts. And use any size. Put in your favorite photo, especially someone you may like to memorialize. They’ve also been used to display special pictures in memorial services. Photos of veterans look especially nice in these frames. Family picnics or get-togethers work well too.

This project is perfect to use any time, besides the 4th of July and Memorial Day. Patriotism is a year-round sentiment.

We again used acrylics and 3D paints. Stencils could be used for the stars. But I like the fresh, whimsical hand-painted stars. See the full instructions at crafts for the elderly.

Patriotic Ornament

These 4th of July crafts can hang in windows, from light pulls and chandeliers, on the door, or from the ceiling. Ornaments are not just for a holiday trees! Make several, perhaps of different sizes. They can hang at different levels. These would look great in clusters from the ceiling at a party. Find the plastic ornament shapes at craft or thrift stores. For full instructions, you can again find at crafts for the elderly.

Treats

Apple Bowl

4th of July crafts also can be food projects. Like a red-white-blue berry apple bowl with pink chocolate swirl on top (see how to make it at food activities). This project can be layered with whatever you like. Some ideas…

Supplies:

Large red apple, halved and core scooped out
6 to 10 strawberries; plus several raspberries and blueberries
Whipped cream or yoghurt
Strawberry jam or sauce
Strawberry ice cream
Chocolate sauce (optional, not shown)
Mini flag
Chocolate swirl topper (see above link)
….OR other candy

Choose a bright red apple that will stand up. Remove core and scoop out a little of the center of the apple. Fill the center with berries. Then drizzle on jam or strawberry sauce (we have an all-natural easy recipe on our fresh strawberry desserts page). You might also drizzle on some chocolate sauce.

Add a few more pieces of chopped fruit, topped by a small scoop of ice cream. Next comes whipped cream (or yoghurt). Lastly, the pink chocolate topper, another blueberry, and the mini flag. Larger pieces of fruit were also arranged at the bottom of the apple.

Red-White-Blue Haystacks

Haystacks are easy projects to include in your 4th of July crafts and treats. They can also be put on kabob skewers, with festive ribbons tied around them, and displayed for grabs in a red, blue, or hand-painted vase.

Supplies:

Package of white chocolate chip morsels
Blue food coloring
1 to 2 cups coconut
Red candy of your choice
Mini flag
Kabob skewers, if using them
Spoons
Platter with wax paper

Set aside about 1/2 cup or so of white chocolate chips that you will color for the topping later.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Melt another 15 seconds and stir. Do this until they’re almost all melted, with a few lumps that will melt on their own (so you don’t over-cook). Stir until all melted.

Depending on how many haystacks you’re making and how many chips you melted, start adding coconut into the bowl until the mixture is nice and thick.

With a spoon, drop lumps of the mixture onto the wax paper.  As it stiffens, you can use spoons (or CLEAN fingers) to form the haystacks into the shapes you want.

Next, the blue topping. Melt the other white chips that you set aside, in the same manner. Add 1 drop of blue food coloring and stir. Drizzle it onto the tops of the haystacks with a spoon. Add the candy and flag while it’s still warm and soft. Put in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.

Use these along with some of the other 4th of July crafts — if you put them on kabobs, they could be displayed in the painted clay pot. Or paint a glass vase in a similar style as the wine glasses.

dipped straberry, 4th of July craft

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

And don’t forget add a little patriotic treat to your 4th of July crafts and activities. These white chocolate covered strawberries are so simple. (Use giant pretzel sticks too, with red and blue sprinkles). After dipping a strawberry in the chocolate, just sprinkle them with candies and add a blueberry (or blue candy).

Any combination of red and blue sprinkles, plus either color of candy as a topper (or a blueberry), works well. If you don’t want to fuss with melting chocolate, try a dollop of whipped cream, or frosting on top.

See full instructions at: make chocolate covered strawberries.
(You can also do something similar with cherries, as shown below)

Patriotic Marshmallows

These 4th of July crafts also double as treats! Here’s what you do:

Supplies:

Long kabob skewer sticks
Jumbo marshmallows
Blue frosting (in a can, or dquirt)
Red candies
Sytrofoam block, or a short vase
Blue ribbon
Red curly ribbon, or tinsel
Blue ornaments – optional
wax paper or plate
Small spatula, or butter knife, or spoon

Place several marshmallows on a plate or wax paper. With your spatula, knife, etc., spread on a glob of blue frosting. Press in a small red candy. Stick each marshmallow on a skewer.

Stick the skewered marshmallows into their styrofoam block base, or into a short vase. Arrange the red tinsel or curly ribbon around the bottom. Add a curl of wide blue ribbon. Also add blue ornaments, if you’re using them. Or any other red, white, and blue decor you may have. Even little flags.

These look great as a centerpiece, or in one. Or you can also lay a skewered marshmallow at each place setting. Perhaps patriotic ribbon tied around it.

template and pattern book

Our Books:

200 Template Drawings — Get loads of other ideas for crafts and activities, with a big variety of images from nature; i.e., plants, birds, animals, flowers, even scenes. Lots of holiday and seasonal images too.

This e-book is full of 200+ pre-drawn pictures of all kinds to use in your projects.

Especially suitable for those who feel they can’t draw well or who want instant ideas.

Easy Crafts and Gifts — Big variety in our craft book, and many can be changed out to suit any holiday or theme. Over 120 projects. PLUS a FREE booklet of patterns and templates to use.

Also see:

July Senior Activities — A page full of unique ideas, Lots of special commemorations for the month, plus specific calendar dates.
Outdoor Elderly Activities — Some of the outdoor activities can be done throughout the year during many seasons. And consider how they can also be moved indoors as well – they will give more options for fun things to do. (Likewise, many of our indoor activities can be moved outside!)
Creative Planter Ideas — Creative planter ideas are easy activities for all ages and abilities. Make unique gifts and give-aways using fun things you have around, or to show off heirloom and vintage items. You may get another idea here for 4th of July crafts.

to Easy Craft Ideas

painted apple valentine centerpiece craft

This apple valentine centerpiece includes a very unique hand-painted apple that’s easy to make! And the flameless candle adds sparkle.

The “painting” on this apple is really just a line drawing done with a fine-tipped, white opaque marker. (If you eat the apple later, it would have to be peeled!) The daisy and vine design is easy. You could also do a heart theme. Or something fancier, if you’re artistic.

For free templates for flowers and leaf patterns, see our pages on: Flower Templates and Designs, and Leaf Template and Pattern Ideas.

It would be hard to transfer a design onto an apple by tracing on carbon paper. So keep designs simple for this apple valentine centerpiece; something you can easily draw or copy. 

The Apple Valentine Centerpiece

Materials I used:

  • Large & small doilies, on top of each other – to set the centerpiece on
  • Red candies for around the base
  • Flameless battery tea light candle
  • About 6 inches of a red foil garland or ribbon to put around the candle base
  • Wine glass (I used a cordial size)
  • Large red apple
  • White fine-tip opaque marker
  • About 6 to 8 inches of curled white ribbon (for the top)

The Base

Layer the two doilies on top of each other. This is what you can set the apple valentine centerpiece on. Arrange the candy around the inner doily.

Put the flameless tea light on top of the doily. I put a little garland around the light to add color. Ribbon works well too. Then put the wine glass on top, upside down, as a stand.

painted apple craft

The Apple

Painting the apple – Use an opaque white marker to draw a design, being mindful of the round shape of the apple. Have the largest, most important shape in the middle.

If you know how to draw a rose, they look fabulous on these apples. (See sample below).

Place the apple on top of the wine glass, and then place a piece of curled ribbon on top (optional).

Try making a variation of the apple valentine centerpiece, and lining up several in a row across a table. Vary the height of the wine glass bases to add interest. 

Below — is another variation of the apple valentine centerpiece, with the rose design, and swirling vines and small leaves. It’s a little more advanced to draw. However, if you decide to use a rose design, you could make something looser and whimsical. Below are a couple rose templates, to give you some simpler ideas. Print them out and use them for your projects.

free rose template pattens
painted apple craft valentine candy dish centerpiece

In this centerpiece, the wine glass is right side up with tea light inside. The apple sets on top of an old CD as a base, covered with a doily. It is all placed in a glass dish with candies.

(Note: This art is copyrighted. It may be used for your personal or group projects only. It may not be displayed on other web sites, sold, distributed, etc. Thank you.)

As with any of my craft ideas, I use things from home. Or buy items at thrift stores or dollar stores. So you may have some great things around your home to use for this apple valentine centerpiece instead.

This can also be modified to fit a winter theme, for instance. Try drawing on snowflakes, stars, pine cones, pine branches, or even a snowman. And a green apple will definitely work too. Since they are lighter, though, a fine-tipped black marker will show up better.

Our Craft Book

Easy Crafts and Gifts – Get lots more easy craft ideas (including for Valentine’s Day). Over 120 projects! PLUS a booklet of FREE templates you can use for your activities.Two books for one!

To: Festive Valentines Crafts

to Easy Craft Ideas

gourd Santa craft

Santa crafts are perfect winter senior activities during the holidays. And we have several easy projects! Some are also edible holiday treats. The craft materials are easy too. Many of these could be used as elves too!

Whatever craft supplies you don’t have around. you can get most either from a local craft store or even a thrift shop. We also suggest other alternatives you could use.

A few of the ideas here are very easy crafts for the elderly to put together too (some may need extra help). Besides these Santa crafts here, we have lots of other Christmas projects on our page about simple Christmas crafts.

Santa Crafts Selections:

Pear or Apple Santa

apple or pear Santa craft

This cute Santa can be made with either a red pear or a large red apple. I liked the shape of the pear so used it in this sample. I included him in a centerpiece.

These Santa crafts are very simple and are all edible. Well almost – except for the googly eyes! But you can get candy “eyeballs” at most craft stores.

Materials:
Red pear or large red apple
Small Santa hat (craft store or thrift store)
…OR make a hat from a red felt cone shape – see template below
Frosting in a can, or squirt tube frosting
Small spatula or craft stick to apply frosting; or toothpick
Googly eyes, or candy eyeballs (craft store)
Candy for nose
Edible black marker (baking aisle)
Small jar lid for the small Santa stand (I used red)
1 chocolate wafer candy, or peppermint patty, for shoes
2 small candies to decorate shoes
Doily
Candle holder for a base, or a jar, etc.
Large bow with ribbon
Small ornaments or other decorations for the base

I like to use squirt frosting in a tube as “glue.” Or if use frosting in a can, you can apply the frosting/glue to your pieces with a small spatula, a toothpick or even a craft stick.

With the squirt frosting, I attached the googly eyes and the candy nose to the fruit. Then I drew on a smiling mouth with the edible black marker, which you can get in the baking section of the grocery store. I applied several coats so it shows up.

Then I took a very small spatula and applied the frosting from the can to form the beard and sideburns. A half circle of frosting was also applied around the mouth to form the mustache. Now put the Santa aside

Next I made the stand. I just put an old CD on top of a candle holder as a base. You could use a jar or even plastic glass instead. On top of that I laid down a doily. On top of the doily I put the red jar lid to hold the Santa so it doesn’t roll around.

Then I set the Santa onto its red lid and base. Next the feet were put in place. This was simply a flat chocolate candy cut in half. Each half forms a shoe. And each shoe has a small green candy attached to it with squirt frosting.

Lastly, decorating the base. I arranged a large red ribbon with bow around the bottom of the stand, and added a few small ornaments.

These Santa crafts look really cute in the middle of a large candy bowl, a dessert plate, or snack plate too.
P.S. – We also have lots more cute apple ideas on our apple craft page.

Santa Hat Template

Use this easy template pattern to make a cone hat from red paper or felt. Cut at the dotted line, and use the upper shape to form the cone, gluing the edges. Then just decorate it with cotton. Or fake fur if you have it. I white pom-pom is ideal for the top.

santa hat patten

Santa Decoupage Ornament


Santa Gourd

Get ornaments inexpensively from dollar or thrift stores, garage sales, or have people bring in old ones. Ones with a hanger on top work best.  (The one used here did not have a hanger).

Materials:
Ornament (best if it has a hanger on top)
Santa wrapping paper, or magazine image
Decoupage medium, or glue/water mixture
Scissors
Brush
Water container
Damp rag (optional)
Cord or ribbon
Small bottle caps or egg carton, for drying

Cut out many squares from the Santa wrapping paper, or magazine images – enough to cover the entire ball. Use paper that is thin; not, for instance, a greeting card picture). The main Santa image will go in front.

Brush a coating of decoupage medium or glue mix (4 parts glue to 1 part water) onto an area of the ornament. Then brush some on the back of the image piece.

Position the image onto the ball and press gently with your fingers to get out bubbles and most wrinkles. Sometimes wrinkles can make an interesting texture. Press it gently again with a damp rag if needed, but don’t rub. Do this with all the pieces until the ornament is covered. Paint a very light coat of medium over the whole ornament.

Dry for a couple hours. I like to rest them on a small spice bottle type cap, as a stand. An egg carton may work too, depending on your size. Or if able, hang them to dry. When dry, give it another final coat of medium; then dry again.

Finally, tie on (or glue on with a glue gun) the ribbon or cord.

This whimsical Santa could also pass as an elf. Its head is made from a small white gourd, but it could also be made from a Styrofoam ball, or even an ornament. A wine glass was used for the “body.” Or a basic drinking glass works, including plastic.

Using a glass jar is a fun idea too, because you can put treats in it, decorate it like this Santa, and then give it away as a gift. Or use it as a centerpiece, a game prize, or raffle item.

Materials:
Small white gourd, Styrofoam ball, etc.
A glass or jar for body
Markers to make face
Santa hat (craft store), or make one from felt or colored paper
1 red pom-pom for nose
2 green pom-poms for on the shoes
3 to 4 cotton balls for beard
Decorative holiday paper napkin
Black construction paper or felt for shoes
Glue gun, or craft glue
Scissors
Candies to put in glass or jar (optional)

These Santa crafts (or elves) are very easy to assemble. First I cut 2 shoe-like ovals out of black paper, and glued them together at the heels. Then I glued a small green pom-pom onto each shoe.  I placed my wine glass (or glass or jar) on top of the shoes. Depending on what kind of stand you’re using, you could also use a dab of glue to attach the shoes to the stand.

At this point you can put the candies into your glass or jar, if you’re using them. Next I draped a decorative holiday paper napkin over the glass. The type of napkins you use can really change the look of your Santa crafts.

Now the head. I took three cotton balls and stretched them out a bit, then glued them around the chin of my small white gourd. After that I drew on a cute face with red and black markers, leaving room in the middle for the nose. Then glued on the red pom-pom nose.

Lastly, I put on a hat (for my Santa crafts I get hats from the craft store), and secured it in the back with a corsage pin. Now it’s finished!

If you like working with gourds, be sure to see more on our page all about gourd craft ideas.

Wooden Spoon Santa

wooden spoon Santa craft

These simple Santa crafts could also be elves. I show two versions – the second has a felt Santa hat from the craft store added on for fun. (But you can see that he can easily be made without one).

The materials are easy – paint and a pointed wooden spoon. After the varnish is thoroughly set and dry, it is food safe according to FDA government standards (Code of Federal Regulations Title 21)  and can be used for serving. Or use him as a decoration: a planter stick, in a centerpiece, or as a gift. A Mr. and Mrs. pair of these Santa crafts would make a great serving gift. And you can make them as any ethnicity that you like!

Materials:
Wooden spoon with point (point not necessary if you’re using a hat)
Acrylic paints: red, green, white, skin color (pink, tan, brown, etc.)
Black fine tip marker for eyes and mouth
Water based polyurethane craft varnish (VOC of 50 g/L or less)
Water container and rag
Paint brushes: pointed tip and flat tip
…Optional for just a decorative Santa:
Red pom-pom for the nose
White pom-pom for top of hat
Googly eyes
Cotton balls or roll cotton for hair and beard
Ribbon and small buttons
Glue gun or craft glue (like Tacky Glue)

With a pencil, generally block out the various areas you will be painting: face, hair, beard, hat, hat rim, the bottom, etc. Then just begin painting in the areas. You may need to do 2 coats, drying thoroughly in between. When the face color was dry, I drew in basic eyes and smiling mouth with the black marker.

Varnish – If you’re just making a decorative Santa and not using it for serving, you don’t necessarily need to apply varnish.

Otherwise, when your spoon is all painted and completely dry, the varnish can be applied. If you are going to use these Santa crafts for serving, I suggest at least 2 or 3 coats (I used 3) to make it durable. Be sure to follow the product directions, and allow the appropriate amount of drying time between coats.

Before using for food, the varnish must be allowed to set for one or two weeks until any solvents are gone and the varnish is polymerized. (If you can smell the finish, it is not completely cured yet). Then gently wash the surface before using. Again, be sure to follow product directions!

Santa Marshmallow

For festive yet easy Santa crafts, decorate marshmallows! This one could also be an elf.  And he’s all edible (except for the hat of course). The face is made with edible marker.

He stands in a very easy-to-paint small clay pot. Or put several of these Santa crafts in a small, narrow vase, ready to serve.

Materials:
Jumbo marshmallow (jumbo size is easier)
Long kabob skewer
Mini Santa hat from craft store
…or made from felt or paper
Edible dessert markers for face
Squirt or tub frosting
Toothpicks or craft stick to apply frosting
Red or green ribbon
Stand: clay pot to paint, or narrow vase
Acrylics, if painting: red and white
Brush, water container, rag

If you’re painting a pot, do it first and set it aside to dry.

Paint any decorations on it that you like (I just made white dots), or add holiday stickers.

I like to keep the faces for my Santa crafts basic. I drew easy eyes and smiley mouth on the jumbo marshmallow with the edible markers.

Then I applied the frosting hair and beard all around the bottom and sides of the head like a U-shape.

It’s easiest to use a toothpick or craft stick for applying. Also add a little mustache if desired.

Tie a ribbon onto the skewer. Slide the marshmallow head onto the skewer.

If you’re going to add a hat on top, slide the marshmallow down so that about 1 1/2 to 2 inches of stick is above the top of the head. This will hold the hat on.

Place the Santa crafts in your stand(s), and you’re done.

Ribboned Santa

ribboned Santa craft

Having several of these Santa crafts of different heights together in a display or centerpiece is very attractive. The secret is in the ribbon.

Materials:
Cardboard tube (toilet tissue, paper towel, oatmeal box, etc.)
Styro ball for head
3 to 4 balls of cotton
Googly eyes
Red pom-pom for nose
Wide, wired holiday ribbon
Several flat thumb tacks and straight pins
Glue gun or Tacky Glue
Acrylic paint: black and red
Small paint brush, water container
Small Santa hat, or red felt to make one
2 pinecones for feet
Real or artificial evergreen

First I made the head. Glue on the googly eyes and nose. Then paint on the eyebrows and cheeks. I chose not to make a mouth. Instead, I glued on a lot of cotton. I pulled several cotton balls and stretched them out before gluing on the beard and hair.

Santa crafts can either have a hat from a craft store, or make your own with a small cone out of red felt or paper. Instead of gluing on the hat, I kept it on with a couple of straight pins, front and back.

Next I took a toilet tissue sized cardboard tube and wrapped it with a length of my wide holiday ribbon, which had the wired edges. I used thumb tacks on the back to keep it in place.

Now it’s time to attach the head to the tube body. I made a line of glue around the top rim of the cardboard tube covered in ribbon, setting the head onto the tube. Let the glue dry well. Also attach the pinecone feet with glue, if you are using them.

You can also make these Santa crafts in a taller size using a paper towel tube. Or a make a wider, larger Santa using an oatmeal box. It’s fun and eye-catching to have a variety of different ribbons to wrap them in. I got my ribbon cheaply at a thrift store. Put your Santas on display in a grouping with evergreens or other decorations around them.

Wrapping Paper Santa

These whimsical Santa crafts are made similar to the example above, but do have a few differences. This time I did use a tall paper towel tube; an oatmeal box would also look great.

Materials:
Paper towel tube

Fake spider webbing, cotton balls, or roll cotton
Small piece of white paper
Black and red fine markers
Red pom-pom for the nose
Piece of colorful holiday wrapping paper
Glue gun or Tacky Glue
Larger sized Santa hat, or red felt to make one.
Decorations for base of Santa (i.e. bells, little ornaments, evergreen, tinsel, red beads, etc.)

First cut a length of wrapping paper to size to wrap around the paper towel tube, then glued it on.

Next make the face. Cut a large oval shape from the white paper (or use tan or brown for different ethnicity) and draw on easy cartoon type eyes and a smiling mouth.

Glue the face onto the wrapped tube about 2 to 3 inches down from the top, leaving room to add the hat later. Attach the pom-pom nose too. 

Santa crafts could have several possibilities for the beard. I used some fake spider webbing from Halloween – I wanted a wispy look. But you could also use cotton, stretching it out. Glue on the beard and hair around the sides of the face. Then just put the hat on top of the head.

Then I made an arrangement around the base of the Santa, standing him in a small glass dish and adding colorful bells all around. You can use whatever you have.

Pinecone Santa

Learn to make a cute Santa or elf similar to the one here. Depending on the shape of your pinecone, you can get a variety of looks. Make several and do a grouping.

This one also uses basic craft items, a cardboard tube, and colorful paper such as wrapping paper. Complete with a long, trailing beard. And bells on his toes. See the details at Easy Pinecone Crafts.

Chocolate Strawberry Santa

These cute little Santa crafts or elves are both treat and decoration all in one. They’re simply strawberries dipped in melted white chocolate, with coconut added on the beard, a few candies, and be also added googly eyes for fun.

But you can make him all edible by using candies for eyes instead. Learn all the details on our page about how to make chocolate covered strawberries.

Our Craft Books!

“Easy Crafts and Gifts”
…With more Santa crafts, ornament and other holiday ideas! Why hunt all over our web site. Get them consolidated in this e-book, PLUS dozens of new projects too!

More than 120 projects. Plus, it’s bundled with a FREE booklet of template patterns.
Two books for one!

Also see:

Holiday Treats for Seniors – Besides Santas, see trees, snowmen, gift and cookie ideas.
Winter Senior Activities – By the Month
— Lots more to do than just for the holidays! Complete with calendar dates and special monthly commemorations. For all winter months.
Winter Holiday Activities for Seniors
– Lots of things to do throughout the winter holidays, no matter what your traditions.
Perfect Party Theme Ideas – Try something new for your holiday parties. See lots of possibilities on this page.

to Easy Craft Ideas

Our ideas for painting clay pots for flowers, plants and gardens, and more… on this page.

Clay pots (or even plastic pots) are a popular craft item. Use these for yourself or to give with flower gifts, for a house plant, even an outdoor garden. Giving them along with a packet of flower seeds or a plant is always a hit too.

Tips on Painting Clay Pots

You can make the designs on them from basic to advanced. So these make excellent crafts for the elderly, resulting in a pleasing and satisfying item that can be kept, used as a decoration such as a centerpiece, or given as a gift or give-away. And if your group cannot use breakable clay pots, you can do the same painting process on nice plastic ones.

The easiest way to create your designs is to use a stencil template, such as a star, bird, duck, leaf, polka-dot circle, or heart, for instance. But we’re showing a sample here that can be painted free-hand very simply.

General Materials

  • 3-D paint in squirt bottle, formerly known as “puffy paint” (used to make the spiral flower centers and squiggles). Colors I used: white and blue
  • Acrylic paint, your choice of colors (I used Liquitex brand tube paint). Colors I used: white, medium blue, yellow, medium green
  • Clay pot with tray (any size)
  • Water based craft varnish
  • Small square of sponge, about 1 inch x 1 inch or so
  • Paint brushes, — one with a wider round end; and one pointed
  • Plastic palette knife, if you are going to be mixing colors to make a new color
  • Plastic picnic plate to use as a palette
  • Rag
  • Water container
  • Paper towels

Painting A Base Coat

I first applied a base coat of paint over the whole pot and tray. However, some people prefer to keep the natural terra cotta color of the pot. (In this case, you’d skip the instructions for the base coat).

When painting clay pots, I think the easiest way to cover a surface quickly with a base coat is to sponge paint it on, as shown in the sample on the right, done in white.

Clay Pot Projects

Yellow and Blue Pot

For the flowered pot, I wanted my base coat to be light yellow, so I had to mix the paint to make a new shade. But you certainly can use the paint colors straight out of the tube or jar, if you want to.

On my plastic paper plate palette, I first squirted a blob of white paint about the size of a half dollar. Then about an inch away I squirted a dab of yellow, about the size of a dime.

 I wanted to mix the yellow in with the white to get pale yellow. Pick up a small amount of yellow on the palette knife, and mix it into the white… a little at a time, until you get the shade you want.

Using a palette knife is much like using a knife to frost a cake. When you get you shade, you’re ready to slightly dip in your moistened sponge square and start dabbing the paint onto the pot and tray, until it is all covered.

Let it dry. When painting clay pots, it’s important to let each layer dry thoroughly. Then I also wanted a darker border around the top edges of both the pot and the tray. So I simply painted that on with a brush. Let it dry.

The Flowers

On my design, I have one small (on the upper edge) and two large flowers going down the side of the pot. Plus one on the tray. To make them, I first put a small dot of paint to mark where I wanted the center of each flower to be, so I got the spacing right.

Then I mixed my light blue paint (in the same manner as above) using white with a few dabs of medium blue mixed in. But again, you can use colors straight, instead of mixing colors with painting clay pots.

Dip the larger (slightly wet) brush into the paint and make a petal, starting at the far edge of the petal and drawing it in toward the flower center.

My flowers have about 8 petals. Then, using the side edge of the brush, dip it in green paint and make a few leaves at each flower. Let it all dry.

The Squiggles

Using the squirt bottle of 3-D paint, just squiggle on some wiggly lines going down on each side of the flowers. Then take the white paint and create a spiral for the middles.

On the tray, I made a simple scallop design. However, if it seems difficult to do, you can always just make a haphazard line of dots going all the way around.

The dots could also be squirted on with 3-D paint. Your design doesn’t have to be all perfect. Painting clay pots is supposed to look fresh and fun!

And voila – you have a lovely, colorful pot that you can use for artificial flowers or a real plant. Or fill it with packets of seeds and give it away as a gift, for someone to grow their own flowers. Or fill it with candy or treats when you give it away.

Finishing Coat

When everything is dry, apply a couple coats of water based craft varnish, drying between applications.

If you are painting clay pots right onto the original terra cotta surface without first making a colored base coat, then you only need to apply the varnish just over your designs.

Painting clay pots has many uses! There are more samples below as well. You can use your painted pots for such things as a bookend (even make a pair).

Bluebird Pot

Another good theme for painting clay pots is birds. The colorful pot shown can be done in whatever colors you like. The process is the same as other projects on this page. We have a template and more instructions on how to make this on our bird crafts page. (and other bird templates, if you prefer).

The branches are just jaggedy dark lines (marker or paint). Make them as simple as you’d like. I started the branches at the top left of the pot, then made them  go down diagonally. Just a few easy leaves and/or berries will do too.

Fiesta Pot

Fiesta painted clay pot

This bright and cheery pot is made very similarly as the yellow and blue project above, so I won’t go into all the details here.

The paint colors  were bright yellow, blue, orange, hot pink, red, and green. A sponge-painted background was applied over the pot before making the flowers.

You’ll see these flowers are very simple daisies. The center daisy has two layers, the back layer having been painted on first, and the top layer when dried. Along with some basic line stems, leaves, dots, squiggles,  and scallops on the tray, this make for an easy design.

You can also do this in any color scheme you’d like. As this is very sunny, it’s a perfect craft for summer. Or for making a fiesta project. See how we use it in a centerpiece on our Make Fun and Affordable Centerpieces page.

Painted Pot Stands

I made a couple of strawberry “flowers” on short skewer sticks, with a bit of squirt frosting and sprinkles on top to give away (as shown in sample).

You can see that the pot is upside down in its dish (painted to match), so that the strawberries (or another decorative item like flowers) can stand up in the hole.

You can even give it away with a couple books. I’ve even turned mine upside down and used the hole for a slender taper candle holder. Depending on the size of your pot and its hole, you may have to carve out the bottom of the candle a bit though, to make it fit.

You can also use a little “sticky wax” that makes candles adhere to a surface. The sticky wax can be formed into a cup shape to better fit into the hole of the pot.

Holiday Pots

Painting clay pots is a perfect activity for just about any holiday or occasion. For example, a patriotic theme for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Veteran’s Day, or any patriotic occasion.

The patriotic pot to the right was made very simply with star stencils and a little 3-D paint for the squiggles. (See more patriotic themed crafts on our Fun 4thof July Crafts page).

Just switch out colors and designs for any holiday or season… greens and red for Christmas with a wreath or tree design; or blue and white with snowflakes. You get the idea.

Fall and Halloween are excellent seasons for painting clay pots, especially since terra cotta is a natural orange color — one of the favorites for fall.

You really needn’t even paint a colored base coat first. Just paint your design directly onto the pot, as done with the fall sample above.

The Cattail Pot

First, a simple round circle in a gold acrylic paint becomes the harvest moon. When dry, paint in dark brown over that basic cattails: lines and slender ovals for the tops, and a few curved leaves. The tray just has a simple rim of square dots, the width of the paint brush, applied in a loose and whimsical way.

See more fall crafts for the elderly (and for any age!) at the link.

The Halloween pot above is just as easy. Again, paint a loose circle in gold acrylic for the harvest moon. Over that, just a couple bats in black. The rims on the top of the pot and on the base, have easy stripe and line designs that are loosely and un-exactly applied with the width of the brush. Then just fill it with foliage, or a thick pillar candle.

See more fun and easy Halloween crafts at the link. We also have a bat pattern on that page.

And how about this…
We found this spectacular garden sculpture made all out of a variety of clay pots. There were lengths of rope run through the centers of the pots, sometimes with knots along the way, to string many of them together.

Do you think you could tackle something like this? Maybe a group effort – even a smaller one. Very cool!

Clay Pot Characters

Clay pots now come in all sizes, including mini sizes just for crafts. You can use your imagination to assemble the various kinds into creatures, characters and dolls of all types.

The black mouse to the right is perched upon a wrapped piece of cheese. It’s made from a mini clay pot and Styrofoam ball that I first painted black, It’s tail is made from a shoelace (the plastic end easily pokes into the styro with a little glue too). The ears are of felt, and added to the face are googly eyes and candy (or bead) nose.

Also check out our book -  Easy Crafts and Gifts and find out about lots more easy yet quality craft ideas (including lots more about painting clay pots, and crafts with clay pots). Plus a booklet of FREE templates to use for your projects. Two books for one!


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dried apple wreath craft

These apple wreaths are easy apple craft ideas and fun to make simply because of the aroma! They smell like baking apple pie, with many of the same ingredients and spices. They make easy and very popular senior activity ideas.

Apple wreaths are an old tradition dating back at least a couple hundred years. Apples were easy to dry and preserve, and made an excellent means of decorating back in the “olden days.” Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg were used when available.

Today apples are plentiful in stores all year round, so these wreaths are fun to make anytime – parties, holiday decorations for fall, Christmas, winter, variations for Valentine’s day, and also the Fourth of July. Use your imagination and see which ways you can decorate apple wreaths for any occasion.

These wreaths can be used for many seasons and occasions, so decide on yours, and then decide on your color scheme for ribbon and any other decorations.

I used Christmas holiday wired ribbon on this example, but make them for any holiday or party centerpiece. Experiment with different candle holders, even candelabras. Or use our apple candle idea on our easy apple craft page.

Apple Wreaths

These wreaths are easy apple craft ideas and fun to make simply because of the aroma! It smells like baking apple pie, with many of the same ingredients and spices.

If you are not able to make the apple slices “from scratch,” you can always buy dried apple slices at the store. Just sprinkle them with the spices below and microwave for a minute or so. You’ll get lots of aroma that way too!

The final wreaths can be used in many ways. I show the samples here as hanging, and as a candle wreath.

You need:

Bottle of lemon juice
2 tsp salt
About 10 apples
2 tsp Allspice
2 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Cloves
6 – 7 tsp Cinnamon
Other items for wreath: cranberries, chunks of sugared ginger, pinecones, etc.
10” to 12” of florist wire
1 yard of ribbon of your choice

apple wreath craft centerpiece

Pour the lemon juice in a mixing bowl and stir in the salt. Peel and core the apples. Then cut them into thin circular slices.

Soak them in the lemon juice and salt for about 10 minutes. Make sure all sides are covered; you may have to mix them around in the bowl after a few minutes. Then remove and pat dry with a paper towel.

Stir together all the spices in another bowl. Coat the apple slices with the spice mix on both sides.

Spread apples thinly on a cookie sheet. Bake at 150 F degrees for 6 to 7 hours, until dried. They will still be slightly soft. Remove from the oven and cool.

You can either fold each slice in half; or again into quarters, depending on the look you want. I folded mine in halves. (I also used some commercial “white” dried apples from the grocery store, for contrast, since homemade dried apples are more brownish in color).

See how many ways you can use the apple wreaths for decorations. I also simply hang mine on the wall. Changing out the style and color of the ribbon can make it suitable for a variety of occasions.

Read about these projects:

Whimsical Granny Apple Doll — The apple doll is a traditional folk apple craft dating back over a hundred years. And we have some really fun ideas. And easy to make, using things from home; plus imagination!
Apple Valentine Centerpiece — And this is not just for Valentine’s Day! This apple centerpiece includes a very unique hand-painted apple that’s easy to make! And the flameless candle adds sparkle. Learn how to create this special craft.
Apple Fruit Kabob Tower — This towering apple, strawberry and fruit kabob is both a craft and a food project! Strawberries are a versatile fruit to use for any occasion, so you can decorate this kabob for lots of holidays and parties.
Gourd Craft Ideas – Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies — Gourd craft ideas are fun all year round and make great fall craft projects. These whimsical characters are really easy and fast to make. Great for all ages, both elderly and kids!
Gone Fishing Party Activities — Check out our food ideas and fish party activities and crafts to make for a fun theme-based party – all about fishing! Lots of senior activity ideas. Bad weather? Take it indoors and have a Gone-Fishing party any time of year!

painted apple doll craft

Also check out Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, and find out about our two-for-one craft books, with lots more easy yet quality craft ideas for many seasons, reasons, ages and ability levels; including a booklet of FREE templates you can use for a variety of projects.

Go to: Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas

Picture frame crafts can be simple or very fancy, and perfect to give as gifts. Plus, frame your own art or photo. These crafts make great senior activities too. And simple to modify for those who need extra help, as with the beaded frame.

The best type of frame to use is one with a flat, somewhat wide frame area, so you have a good surface on which to glue your decorations. This can be worked around, however, depending on what you are gluing on. Besides using what I have at home, I pick up inexpensive frames at thrift stores, dollar stores, flea markets, etc.

Picture Frame Crafts – Ideas

Themes — First, choose the theme for your picture frame crafts. Are you giving it away? Does the recipient have a favorite hobby, like gardening, sailing, a sport like golf? You can use a variety of golf tees, and even a golf ball, depending on the size of the frame.

How about fishing? Try tackle, lures (remove the hooks), bobbers. And there’s the sewing theme. Or a frame for an artist — use old tubes of paint, brushes, etc., plus paint blobs like a palette. The sky is the limit.

Cookie Cutter Frames

Or perhaps you’re decorating a frame for a holiday or festivity, like Valentine’s Day. You can find all sorts of decorations, doilies, heart shaped buttons, even candy. See the instructions for a fun frame made from a heart-shaped cookie cutter: Heart Picture Frame Crafts.

These heart frames could also be painted white and used for a wedding or anniversary. Or used another shaped cookie cutter for Christmas, Halloween, or a birthday. A more general shaped cookie cutter, such as a flower, can be used for any occasion.

Candy Picture Frame Crafts

How about candy? Yes, you can glue hard candies on to a frame (not chocolates!).

You can get variety bags of candy inexpensively at most dollar stores. Or have your group all bring candy from home and share.

After gluing candies in place, you must apply several coats of water-based varnish, drying the frame several hours between coats. Obviously, candy picture frame crafts are not edible — but are cute!

The Beaded Frame

This beaded frame, pictured on the top of the page, is a cinch to make. You may want a color scheme. Try an all-white theme (perfect for weddings or anniversaries). Or pink and white for Valentine’s Day.

You may want to have a variety of bead sizes, but not necessary. Do you have an old bracelet or necklace? If not, you can get them cheap at a garage sale or thrift store. If you’re doing this with a group, have everyone bring something in, and share! You may want to glue on a pattern or just random groups of beads.

You will need:

Glue gun
Old newspaper to spread under project
Picture frame, any size, but 5×7 is very good to start with
Variety of beads — think of color and size
Plastic container(s) for beads, by color and/or size
Acrylic paint – optional, if you need to paint the frame first

Cover your work surface with old newspapers. Make sure the frame is clean and in good repair. Paint it first with acrylic paint, if necessary, and dry thoroughly, at least one hour or according to directions.

You can even paint the frame in a color that contrasts with your beads. If you’re making a frame for a special occasion such as an anniversary or wedding, you can paint the frame gold, silver, or white, and use the same color of beads – metallic gold, silver, or pearls.

It’s easiest to have your beads ready in a plastic container. Then just use the glue gun to adhere them, one by one. It actually goes fast! Let the glue dry thoroughly before putting anything in the frame. That’s it!

Patriotic Frame

Patriotic themes and colors are always popular, whether with national or local colors and symbols. Learn how to make this fun, free-hand painted frame at our Crafts For The Elderly page.

We also show how to make a matching ornament. These also make really nice 4th of July crafts. Use the ornament idea for any holiday — not just Christmas!

Rope Frame

The image for your picture frame crafts made with rope depends on the kind of rope you use. The one shown here uses nylon and is sort of nautical. But you could also use hemp rope or fiber rope of the type used on a farm or in camping. Then choose your picture.

You will need:

Use a regular picture frame or get creative…
…Cut heavy cardboad or foam for backing into a shape
A length of rope, as long as you need, with a little overlap
Glue gun or contact glue
Spray glue (if needed)
Clear contact paper, or laminating machine (optional)

The easy way — You can certainly just glue the rope around the edges of a frame you already have.

Creative shapes — But this one has a creative shape that no regular backing or glass would fit. So a backing was cut in the shape from heavy cardboard.

Choose a print, magazine picture, photo, etc., and cut it to the shape of your backing. If you’re using a regular frame, just insert the picture behind the glass.

Otherwise, with a creative shape you won’t have glass. So you can laminate the image, or cover it with a piece of clear contact paper, for protection. After covering it attach the image to your backing with spray glue, smoothing it out. Dry.

Then glue the rope round the frame; or around the picture/backing, using plenty of strong glue. Dry. And you’re done!

Sea Shell Frame

The project to the right is a sea shell frame craft submitted by one of our readers in our craft share forum. If you used a wider frame, you could fit even more small shells on it.

Any type of water picture would look great in it, including something beachy or with palm trees. See what she did at her sea shell frame page.    

Our Craft Book!

Get some more fun ideas
for picture frame crafts and lots more. We have a couple of great idea books for you to see. So check out Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, with over 120 projects, plus FREE templates you can use for a variety of projects.

to Easy Craft Ideas

gourd craft face

Our easy craft ideas for seniors are perfect for all abilities.
Welcome to “Crafts Central

Get a variety of ideas with affordable craft supplies. This page points you to crafts for parties, seasonal and holiday crafts, fun food crafts, crafts for gifts, and more.

Our Easy Craft Ideas…

We have fall, winter, spring and summer crafts for seniors and elderly listed here; something for all seasons. And on the various pages we also give tips on how to change out details for other occasions and holidays!

(For a special selection of easier crafts for the elderly, see our page on Crafts For The Elderly.)

And now a special page on Crafts for Men – with link to popular projects.

Templates and Patterns:

Collage and Craft Templates — If you’d like ideas for attractive page layouts, take a look at our templates for collages, scrapbooking (very popular with elderly), and good design. Learn how to break up a page into pleasing and balanced areas. Twelve free templates to print out and use.
Flower Templates and Designs — Flower templates and designs come in really handy if drawing is not your strength, or if you just need some new ideas for your arts and crafts projects.
Leaf Template and Pattern Ideas — Our free leaf template and pattern ideas are great for arts, crafts, collages, painting, etc. Check it out if you want a new idea or easy pattern without drawing it yourself!
Free Animal Template Ideas — We have several fun animals here that can be used for many seasons and in many ways (which we explain on the page).

Party Crafts:

Fiesta Party Ideas — Seniors love parties! See our fiesta party ideas and easy recipes, including for some delicious Sangrias. Fun projects for party decorations and centerpieces too.
Gone Fishing Party and Activities
— Check out our food ideas and fish party activities and easy craft ideas to make for a fun theme-based party – all about fishing! Lots of senior activity ideas. Bad weather? Take it indoors and have a Gone-Fishing party any time of year!
Perfect Party Theme Ideas — Get lots more party ideas at our “party central” page.

Apple Crafts:

Including lots of summer and fall crafts for seniors…

Really Easy Apple Craft Ideas — Try these really easy craft ideas (for all ages). Apples are not only abundant in fall, they are available all year long, so these ideas are perfect any time.
Whimsical Granny Apple Doll
— The apple doll is a traditional folk apple craft dating back over a hundred years. Many of the elderly I know used to make them. And we have some really fun ideas.
Aromatic Apple Wreaths — These aromatic apple wreaths are wonderful to make just because of the aroma – some smell like baking apple pie, with many of the same ingredients and spices! Great nostalgia. Make them the from-scratch, home-made way. Or take the short cut.

General Crafts:

Lavender Pillow — If you like projects with aromas, learn how to make an soothing lavender pillow craft using real lavender and flax seed. You can either warm in the microwave or chill in the freezer!
Fancy Soap Decoupage Crafts — Soap decoupage crafts make lovely gifts to give away, or something special to keep for yourself. And they’re easy –  just a few inexpensive supplies.
Picture Frame Crafts — Picture frame crafts can be simple or very fancy, and perfect to give as gifts. Plus, frame your own art or photo. see our ideas.
Bird Planter Feather Craft — This fancy feather craft is an amusing tropical bird that is actually a decorative planter stick. Change the feather color for any holiday or occasion. Great for gifts and give-aways at senior functions too.
Bird Crafts for Seniors — Birds are a popular theme for crafts, and we have lots, plus many FREE templates!

How To Paint Glass — Easy even if you don’t think you’re an artist. These really are easy craft ideas. Get great results, either simple or fancy. Free-hand or use stencils. Try wine glasses, vases, jars, anything! Or for holidays, like in winter or Christmas. Perfect for gifts.
Easy Make A Gift Basket Ideas — It’s easy to make a gift basket, and a very satisfying project for old or young. Our easy, imaginative ideas will make it simple. Many possibilities, whether making money or helping others. Use these easy craft ideas and activities for your event, party or gift. An excellent way for elderly to give and help others.
Painting Clay Pots — Painting terra cotta clay pots is easy, colorful, very versatile. And you can do the same project with plastic pots.

Angel Crafts

Perfect not only for holiday and winter crafts for seniors, but also for Easter crafts and special occasions.

Fun and Fabulous Craft Angels — Angels are a popular topic! This is our main angel craft page with projects and links to others, for big variety.
Feather Angel Craft
— Our fluffy feather angel craft is easy for anyone to make, and they’re great to do for elderly activities. These very easy craft ideas have many possibilities – tree ornaments, mobiles, or hanging from lights, attach to gifts with ribbons, and more
Elegant Glass Angel Craft — This glass angel craft is elegant and easy to do. You can make it from everyday items you may already have. Or use plastic items instead of glass. Excellent for centerpieces at home or at an event. Or as a candle holder or a gift.
Angel Cornhusk Doll — The cornhusk doll is a traditional craft from Native Americans dating back hundreds of years. Our angel has a little bit of a different twist on the tradition. 

Mouse Crafts

Mouse Bookmark Craft — Our mouse bookmark craft is cute and created with large beads. It peeps out of the top of the book when it’s closed, and is very easy to make. Find out how here.
Mini Mouse Crafts – Amusing and Easy — Mouse crafts and mice themes are always popular. We show several different mouse crafts on this page. And ours alsoinclude food crafts: crafts with candy and chocolate.
Hershey Kiss Mouse Chocolate Crafts
— Mouse chocolate crafts made with Hershey Kisses are simple, and can be made in minutes. Besides ornaments, we have other ideas for gifts and even a centerpiece.
Whimsical Wood Mouse Crafts — These wood mouse crafts made with a honey stick are fun for both men and women to do. And you can actually use the honey stick later too, if you make them a certain way.

Crafts with Food:

Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries — We show different easy ways! Plus fun colors and decorating for holidays and seasons.
Easy Dipping Chocolate
— Dipping chocolates are more fun and yummy easy craft ideas – that you can eat! Very easy for elderly to do. Decorating ideas too.
Creative and Simple Fruit Salad Characters — Simple fruit salads with unique, whimsical characters – like making a craft with food. (Plus great fruit salad dressing)!
Strawberry Bouquets — Both a craft and a food project. They have a choice of topping and are fabulous bouquet gifts you can make.
Halloween Treats for Seniors — Creative, crafty projects and characters – to eat!

Holiday Crafts

(Also see the Angel Crafts, listed above).
Senior crafts for winter, spring, summer, fall…

Festive Valentines Crafts — These easy craft ideas are unique ways to give valentines, gifts, or to use as a centerpiece, place setting, or give-aways.
Lollipop Valentine Centerpiece — This fun lollipop valentine centerpiece is really two crafts in one. You can paint its clay pot too!
Apple Valentine Centerpiece — A couple of truly unique apple valentine centerpieces that include hand-painted apples that may look fancy, but are easy craft ideas.
Angel Valentine & Candy Holder — This cute angel valentine craft has so many possibilities. Use it to hold candy, give a valentine or gift, or as a centerpiece.
Cork Leprechaun Craft — This little leprechaun craft is made of corks! (And perhaps the leprechauns are from Cork County itself). I used two different types of corks.
4th of July and Patriotic — Our patriotic and 4th of July crafts are now all on one easy page. Use these for Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, or any patriotic event. 

Easy Halloween Crafts –  And easy to change out the colors and themes for other seasons and holidays. Lots of ideas!
Creative Halloween Treats for Seniors – Make whimsical food crafts to eat!
Fall Crafts For The Elderly — Lots of unique things to do in the fall, both elegant and whimsical, and all of them are easy. Use items from nature and things that you already have around your home.
Easy Pinecone Crafts — Pinecones come in many shapes and sizes, and we have lots of projects for them. Perfect for fall, even Halloween.
Gourd Craft Ideas – Gifts, Ghouls & Grannies –  You can almost always get some kind of gourd at the grocery store, especially fall. These funny characters are so easy, and decorated with odds and ends.
Painting Pumpkins and Gourds — Painting pumpkins and small (smooth) gourds is a great alternative to carving, and they’re quite colorful! Wonderful for centerpieces and all sorts of decorations.
Make Fun and Affordable Centerpieces — Nice variety of really easy centerpieces  for different seasons and festivities.
Simple Christmas Crafts For Seniors — Our Christmas craft central!
Snowman Crafts — From golf balls to ornaments, get a fun variety!
Christmas Elf and Santa Crafts — Very easy crafts ideas with ways to make them into whatever you’d like.

Our Craft Books!

200 Template Drawings
We have loads of templates for other easy craft ideas — our handy e-book full of nature patterns and templates.

Over 200 line drawings of all kinds of subjects, perfect for your projects. From simple to detailed.
Get a Sneak Peek of the pictures at the link above!

Easy Crafts and Gifts
Besides many of the easy craft ideas from our web site (nice and organized and in one place), in this e-book you’ll get dozens of absolutely new projects!

Over 120 projects. Plus, a FREE booklet of over 30 templates. So you get Two books for one!
Click the link above for a Sneak Peek.

About Craft Supplies…

It’s a good idea to have a craft supply box (or boxes!) on hand. And ways to get inexpensive or free arts and crafts supplies. Just have family, friends, your group, or staff bring in items that may have around home. Or get them cheap at garage sales, thrift stores and dollar stores.

We’re into recycled crafts, using lots of things that you don’t need to buy new. We often give suggestions for other materials to use too. For a good list of supplies to have on hand or ask for, see Recycled Crafts and Supplies.

Also see:
Share Your Craft Forum
— Ideas from our readers, and share your own!


Home Page

Making nice things, like a lavender pillow, that can be used, or given as gifts are favorite senior activities. And this also makes a great craft for the elderly who may have some limitations too, with a little extra help.

A pillow filled with lavender is a popular aromatherapy project, and really easy to make. Plus, working with the lavender smells wonderful!

This project does take a little sewing, so some elderly may need a little help. But along with fabric glue, you can sew by hand if you’d like. (Using fabric glue, too, ensures that the seams will be tight so the flax seeds do not seep out).

Use small pillows for drawers as a sachet, or put them over your eyes for soothing relaxation, or lay one next to your pillow at night or when napping. Larger pillows are great for warming hands and your lap, or holding against your chest. For those who have issues pertaining to sleep, relaxation or warmth, a lavender pillow is very comforting.You can also chill them, to use when you need to cool off.

These are one of our favorite easy craft ideas, and also great gifts. Decorate it with artificial flowers, and/or sew or tie a little ribbon around it, then slip into a gift bag.

(If you are going to use these warmed up, I recommend testing artificial flowers and ribbon in a microwave first, to make sure they won’t get ruined. You want something sturdy enough, not too delicate, and nothing with metal, such as wiring).

If you are looking for elderly activities for older seniors, these are fun to make for those who have finger dexterity.

You Will Need:

  • A piece of strong fabric (cotton print, light terry cloth, and flannel are favorites). Cut it twice the size that you want your pouch to be.
  • Flax seed in bulk (health food store) – to fill the size of your pillow.
  • Lavender oil (more aromatic) – buy at health food stores. A bottle can cost $8 to $12 but goes a long ways. NOTE: Make sure you are not allergic.
  • Dried lavender — buy it in a bag at a craft store or sometimes farmer’s market. (Use both the lavender oil and dried lavender for maximum aroma in your lavender pillow).

To Make the Lavender Pillow:

  • Turn the fabric inside out.
  • Sew tightly around all sides, leaving one side open, to make a pouch. Or you can use both fabric glue, plus stitching to make it extra tight. (This is the best way).
  • Turn the pouch right side out.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • Flax seeds, dried lavender.
  • Sprinkle several drops of lavender oil in various places. Mix everything together well.
  • Pour the flax seed mixture into the pouch so it is only about three-fourths full. This allows the pouch to be flexible during use.
  • Then sew up the open end of the pillow (or ideally, use fabric glue plus stitching).

You can heat the pillows in the microwave. Test the time frame for your pillow size, by setting the timer for 30-second, then 15-second intervals, until you arrive at the amount of minutes you need. The pillow should be warm but not hot — very cozy on a chilly day.

They can also be put in the freezer for cooling off! Also see more activities for those who may have limitations, on our page for Elderly Activities.

Also check out:
Easy Crafts and Gifts You Can Make, and find out about lots more easy yet quality craft ideas for many seasons, reasons, ages and ability levels; plus free templates you can use for a variety of projects.

to Senior Activity Ideas