Tag: easy craft ideas
easy craft ideas
Get some awesome summer senior activities. Including special arts and crafts, games, recipes, parties, plus making (and eating) foods and snacks!
Great for either outdoors or in, if it’s hot. These ideas can be added to anything you might be doing throughout the summer.
And if you want activities for the specific summer months, the links are listed further below.
Summer Month links…
And why not create your own special Day or Month commemoration and start your own tradition, especially meaningful to your group or campus.
General Summer Senior Activities
Themes — There are many themes you can use all season long for your summer senior activities – like parties, crafts, special meals, decorating, etc. Some that come to mind are: Butterflies and dragon flies, sunflowers, roses and other flowers, baseball, bees and honey, lady bugs, watermelon, sea shells, and fish of all kinds. Later on in the summer you can include apples and other fruit of your choice.
Be sure to take a look at our Easy Craft Ideas page, our “craft central,” to see what you can adapt for summer.
We also have a nice variety of outdoor elderly activities to choose from to take advantage of the nice weather!
By now whatever gardens you’ve planted are blooming and ready to enjoy. Time to do a little harvesting of herbs and veggies, if you planted any.
You may have taken a look at our Spring Senior Activities page where we discussed planning for a butterfly garden, attracting hummingbirds, and attracting song birds. Some of these steps might still be taken in June. So have a read and see if any of these will enhance what you already have. And give you ideas too for planning for next year.
Or have a field trip where you can pick some wildflowers to bring back and put in containers for the home or tables.
Summer senior activities can include some refreshing field trips, if your group is able. There are many possibilities…
A wonderful outing is visiting a Japanese garden, if you have one in the area. They are very serene and conducive to meditation and pondering.
Otherwise, would you and your group be interested in learning to set up a small, basic one? Research can be done online, or have an expert come in to help you learn and set it up. Some steps can be taken now, and the rest next spring. Features often include a small water feature, and pebble arrangements, as well as a small bridge.
Volunteers may also be willing to come in and help. This is a lovely idea for fund raising as well, and is something that can be enjoyed throughout the years after making it.
This is one of my favorites, and you’d have to see if it’s right for your group. If you prefer, one metal detector can be shared among a few people, taking turns. And it can be easily done by those in wheelchairs too.
We had an expert write a special page all about it and how fun it is for seniors especially. There are many kinds of detectors, some at quite a reasonable price too.
It’s a pastime that is exciting – you never know what you will find! Do it on your own grounds, or go to a park or beach. Especially after a holiday! See the interesting details at Treasure Hunting With Metal Detectors.
What do you have going on in your community? Or somewhat close to you? Lots of interesting learning can be done along with some of them. Some areas special in a specific crop or food item that they celebrate. Others are cultural or historical.
More Field Trip Ideas —
* Native American celebrations
* Heritage celebrations (i.e., Irish, Italian, German, Scandinavian, etc.)
* Historical re-enactment celebrations or state areas
* Carnival or park with an old-fashioned carousel or safe ferris wheel
* Visitor-friendly farms (some give hay rides)
* Antiquing and flea markets
* Baseball games
* Have a tailgate party at at sports event
* Zoos, arboretums and conservatories
* Renaissance fairs (as well as other local fairs)
* Visit the fire station and learn about their work and the most modern vehicles, (very popular here)
* Paddle boat or pontoon boat outing, any boat trip involving historical areas
* Specialty shows, such as antique cars, and air shows
* Music festivals and outdoor concerts
* Theater in the parks (Shakespeare is popular at this time)
* Art fairs
* Watch an evening meteor shower, or Northern Lights
* Berry picking, for those who are able
Parties and Food
Parties and food are a given to work into your summer senior activities. You probably already do picnics, barbeques, and so forth. We do have a specialty page all about party theme ideas as food for thought.
(We actually suggest these in winter too). And they are excellent to do indoors in summer when it’s raining). One of our readers submitted some great suggestions of to do – see Luau Ideas.
There is a variety of food and beverages to consider. Have you ever been to Hawaii or the South Pacific? Members may be interested in helping to plan this one! A bit of costuming can be encouraged, from floral shirts, to leis, to flowers in the hair, and sandals.
Gone Fishing Party
Several different summer senior activities can be involved in this one!
You have planning the party, making or getting unique decorations (that can be used many times), making certain easy food items (we provide recipes too), maybe even having a field trip to do some fishing, and of course having the party! Indoors or out, depending on how the weather turns out. We have lots of ideas at our fish party activities page.
You may be familiar with the standard brown chocolate and coconut haystacks. (Mine are totally no-bake — I don’t toast the coconut, but include it plain). But why not add a little color to them.
All you need is a bag of white chocolate chips, food coloring, spoons, shredded coconut, and perhaps sprinkles and a candy on top. And a platter with wax paper. There are many ways you could tint and decorate them for different occasions.
Melt about a cup of the chips in the microwave. Heat them for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Then heat for 15 seconds, remove and stir. Do this until only a few lumps remain. Let them melt naturally during the last stir (or you may over-cook). Add a drop of food coloring.
Add in coconut until you get a nice, thick consistency. Scoop spoonfuls onto a plate with wax paper. Add sprinkles and a candy on top while still soft. As they start to set, you can mold them with spoons (or CLEAN fingers) into the shapes that you want.
See how we also made these as summer senior activities for the 4th of July, decorated in red, white, and blue. See our 4th of July Crafts page.
Home-Made Ice Cream
Making ice cream can include two ideas for your summer senior activities — the actual making, and then eating it at a special event or meal.
This was one of my Dad’s favorite activities, even with fading eye sight. I would help him, of course. But he used to make it by himself into his 90s when he still lived in his home. It’s that easy.
On our page I include some of Dad’s own recipes. Many can be made with honey, so they’re super natural. And honey, too, is a summer product. So see what to do at how to make ice cream – the easy way.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
I love to make these so much that I mention them on lots of my pages. I’ve made hundreds, and part of the fun is decorating them. And there are several that would be great for using in summer senior activities.
Visit our page on how to make chocolate covered strawberries, and see techniques and tips from my experiences. And the different colors you can make too. Plus how to decorate them, from the easy basics for anyone, to such things as flowers and little creatures. They’re so versatile. You can think of things to make for just about any season or holiday!
Fruit Salad Characters
Lady bugs are an easy theme for summer senior activities, and so are salads. Why not combine the two and create a salad character.
They’ll bring a bit of whimsy to your events, parties, and special meals throughout the season.
And we have more ideas too – pear bunnies, leaping banana fish, even a string cheese octopus. See them and more about creative and simple fruit salad characters.
Butterflies are always popular themes for summer senior activities, and one of our readers submitted a wonderful craft on our Share page. Take a look and see what you would like to use them for when finished. Go to Large Silk Butterflies. And do feel free to use the template provided at the top of the page for other projects!
Sunflowers are one of the easiest flowers to draw or paint. Just a large circle for the middle, and many, many petals radiating out from it. Some sunflowers have 2 layers of petals as well. A favorite activity is using them in a painting, which can be done outdoors in the nice weather.
Materials you need are a few colors of acrylics or watercolors, paper or a canvas board to paint on, a plastic picnic type plate for a palette, a water container and rag, and a few brushes.
I am providing a simple photo of sunflowers below that you can use as an inspiration. You’d paint on the blue sky first as a background. Then just tall stems, flower center, lots of petals, and a few small leaves. Add a butterfly if you’d like! And further below are 2 templates you can use.
Here are a couple sunflower templates for your summer senior activities. One is basic, and you could also eliminate large circle in the middle if you just want a silhouette. The other has 2 layers of petals.
And of course sine I’ve recently been in a frenzy of making all manner of chocolate covered strawberries, I just had to make a sunflower.
Dip the berry in chocolate according to our instructions at How To Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries (the easy way). When the dark chocolate has hardened, make melt white chips and add a couple drops of yellow food coloring. Top it with a candy.
Make a sunflower shape (I also made another flower shape for the center) with the template above. Push a kabob skewer through the flower shapes and up into the strawberry.
Then just get a vase or mug, fill it with candies or other treats (perhaps sunflower seeds!) and it’s ready. These are colorful for desserts, gifts, prizes, etc.
Trash to Treasure
You may have seen programs like this on TV. Well why not do something yourself? Summer senior activities can combine both an outing and then a craft or party afterwards. In this case, a craft.
Your members can visit a flea market or several garage sales, and choose an item or two to convert. Then take them back to the activities area. Discuss what the items will become and what skills and materials you will need to accomplish this. Then the next session or two will be about making them. Lastly, they can be displayed or just taken home and used. Also great for gifts.
Shells of all kinds make wonderful themes for your summer senior activities. The one shown here was also submitted to our Share forum by a reader. As you can see, they are simple flowers. The middles may be painted, or not. Whatever you prefer.
The shell flowers could also be glued onto an art board with a painted background, collage style. Stems can be made of pipe cleaners or wire; or if a collage, use paint, yarn too.
Other shell crafts involve getting a larger sized flat shell, spreading in a bit of glue and then gluing a layer of sand (as in a beach), and then adding a couple of pearl beads and a small flameless tea light.
You may also find free coloring pages online with sea and shell motifs. And you can also use them, or segments of them, to transfer and incorporated into a painting (fun to to outdoors).
Easy Sea Themed Centerpiece
Make some centerpieces for your summer senior activities! This one couldn’t be easier.
All you need — is a tall vase (I like narrow), some blue glass stones (I got mine at the dollar store), small shells, raffia, a kabob skewer, and craft glue (glue gun works great).
First, glue 2 to 3 stones onto the top of the skewer, about an inch or two down from the point. Set aside to dry.
Next, simply fill the vase with a few blue stones. Then insert the skewer, and fill the vase around it with some more stones. (You could also use more shells as filler instead).
Top the point of the skewer with a small shell. Tuck a few strands of long raffia into the stones in the vase. Raffia is reminiscent of sea grass. Lastly, place a few stones in a design around the base of the vase, along with a shell or two. We have more centerpiece ideas on our affordable centerpiece page, including for summer.
Kindle Activities Book
Get tons more new ideas for summer senior activities in our Kindle book, plus lots collected from all over our site so you don’t have to hunt all over. (If you don’t have a device, just download it to your computer).
You’ll have ideas for all seasons and events at your fingertips. Get details at our link at:
Our Craft Book
Easy Crafts and Gifts – You don’t need to hunt all over our web site. We have lots of NEW crafts, and some of our favorites from here – over 120 projects. Plus, a FREE booklet of templates to use, including in summer senior activities.
Fun Elderly Activities — Especially for those who may need modifications or more help. You will several more that can be used as summer senior activities.
These strawberry desserts have your choice of topping and are also easy gifts you can make. Do it the super easy way or make chocolate covered strawberries. We explain both.
This is both a food and craft project so perfect for senior activities. The result will be an attractive centerpiece, door prize, or gift – sure to please. And satisfying to make and give.
If you’re planning elderly activities, be sure to consider these strawberries desserts – both plain or chocolate covered. The project is easy to modify and to give extra help to those who may need it. Simple items are used, and you may already have some around.
Bouquets & Strawberry Desserts
Candy Vase With Bouquet
You will need:
- 4 large strawberries
- Vase of your choice – tall and narrow work well
- Candies to fill vase – wrapped is always best if it’s for a non-family member
- 4 long kabob skewers
- Ribbon or raffia, and bow if you’re using one — or
- Colored feathers, or artificial flowers instead of a bow
- Curly reeds for bouquet (optional)
- Whipped cream, — or
- Dipping chocolate (in microwavable container), — or
- Small gumdrop for top of strawberry instead of whipped cream or chocolate dip
- 4 toothpicks if you are using gumdrops
- Plate with waxed paper, if using dipping chocolate
Make sure your vase is washed and clean.
Fill the vase half way with your candy. Put the skewer sticks and curly reeds in, arranging them as you desire. I put them in at slightly different levels so the berries wouldn’t bump into each other. Finish filling up the vase with candies.
Then wrap the ribbon or raffia around the vase several times. You can also separate the strands to give a spiral effect. Insert the feathers, flowers, or attach a bow.
If you are going to be presenting this right away and the recipient can eat the strawberries soon, then it’s very easy to use whipped cream for the tops of the berries.
However, if you’ll be giving it or eating it later, use gumdrops on the tops (sticking them on with toothpicks), or make chocolate covered strawberries (see below). First put a strawberry on each skewer. At this point, put on the whipped cream topping, or gumdrop, if not using chocolate dipped.
You can decorate strawberry bouquets for many holidays and occasions, like these super easy ghosts. They are white chocolate dipped, and the instructions are further below. The faces were made with edible food markers. Or use chocolate squirt frosting in a tube. Then place them in a vase of black and/or orange jelly beans.
Below is another version of a bouquet to use both as a centerpiece (either on a buffet, or perhaps one on each table that can later be used for your strawberry desserts. Just change out what you fill the vase with, and surround it at the bottom with real or artificial flowers.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
If you want to make chocolate covered strawberries, there’s a really easy way. Learn all about it and see our chocolate strawberry ideas, at: Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries.
They also look fabulous with a white chocolate coating. And colored berries make fabulous strawberry desserts in a bouquet type arrangement.
Learn the specifics of what to do at the link above. Then just stick a kabob skewer in each berry. Fill a teapot or vase half way with florist foam or styrofoam, and arrange the berry sticks in it. I also made and inserted a few long, thin leaves of colored paper to add to the look.
Chocolate Strawberry Flowers
For this whimsical bouquet, make chocolate covered strawberries according to instructions, in any color you like. Add a candy on top, if desired.
To make the petals, I like to use old rolls of wallpaper samples (from the thrift store) or colorful wrapping paper. You could also use doilies. Fold your paper in half (so it will be double sided), making a 3 to 4 inch square.
Trace or draw a simple flower shape on it and cut it out. Glue the two sides together.
When the glue is dry, pierce the flower centers with something sharp, like a needle, then insert kabob skewers as stems. Also insert the skewer ends into the strawberries. Make as many as you want.
Then arrange them as a bouquet in a vase filled with candies, nuts, etc. If you put one on each table, or several in a grouping, there will be enough flower strawberry desserts for everyone.
For Valentine’s Day, you could also make the petals out of red or pink paper, and cut them in the shape of hearts.
Below is a sunflower style using the same petal onto a stick principle. By doing several, you could create a bouquet.
Bouquet Strawberry Desserts, with Parfait
These strawberry desserts involve a different approach, using layers of a variety of items such as ice cream, strawberry sauce, coconut, fruit, etc., layered with fresh strawberries. The berry bouquets are made as usual. These desserts would need to be eaten right away.
You can also make these red, white and blue, so they’re great for the Fourth of July. Or use green mint ice cream and more green in your coloring, for Christmas.
I first put a layer of fresh strawberry cranberry relish sauce, which I made and which is very easy. You just add some chopped berries to the recipe. Then I layered coconut, fresh strawberries, strawberry ice cream, strawberry sauce, etc. Whatever you like. I topped it with a little whipped cream.
Lastly, I insert 3 skewers with chocolate strawberries of different colors. Even just one would suffice. Fun for parties!
As a little alternative to using strawberry desserts in a bouquet, try a towering kabob. Very simple, with fruits and candies that are easy to get. See our strawberry apple fruit kabob page.
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
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).
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
- 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 projects! Plus a FREE booklet of templates you can use for a variety of activities.
More Valentine ideas at: Festive Valentines Crafts
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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 Decoupage Ornament
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).
Ornament (best if it has a hanger on top)
Santa wrapping paper, or magazine image
Decoupage medium, or glue/water mixture
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.
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
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
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!
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
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!
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.
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.
Having several of these Santa crafts of different heights together in a display or centerpiece is very attractive. The secret is in the ribbon.
Cardboard tube (toilet tissue, paper towel, oatmeal box, etc.)
Styro ball for head
3 to 4 balls of cotton
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!