Sunday, October 17, 2010

Halloween Craft: Cuddly Spiders made from Pom Poms

Help! We've been over-run by these furry eight-legged critters! They seem to favor the house plants but I've found them in the laundry basket, on my bed and even in the fridge! My son loves to hide them around the place to try to "make you jump", as he puts it, and sometimes it works!

Truth be told, I'm not a fan of spiders normally, but these ones make me just want to reach out and hug. Continuing on the theme of quick Halloween crafts they are easy to make, use few materials and are inexpensive. Here's the how to for...

1 small cardboard box

A cutting compass (or something to cut a circle with)
4 Pipe Cleaners
Googly stick on eyes (with adhesive backs)

Ok, so first you need to create the spider's body. This is made from a pom pom. Here's how you make one...

Take the box and cut two circles (exactly the same size) out of the cardboard panels. I made mine 8cm in diameter, but the size is really up to you. The larger the diameter, the bigger the spider will be.

I used a cutting compass to cut them out but, if you don't have one, you could just cut a rough circle out with scissors. It does not have to be perfect.

Take your two circles and cut another circle inside of each one. I made this one have a diameter of 3 cm.

You should end up with two doughnut shaped pieces of cardboard (see pic on left).

Hold these two circles of cardboard back to back. Now you can begin with the yarn.

The idea is to wind the yarn around the cardboard circles until the whole thing is covered.

Hold one end of the yarn against the cardboard and then wind the other end through the middle of the circle, then out around the outside and back in through the middle.

Make sure you are pulling the yarn taunt so it lies tightly flat on the cardboard (without crushing it).

If your yarn runs out before you cover the whole circle, simply use another piece and continue to wrap it around. You don't have to worry about trying to tie it to the first piece of yarn. Just wrap it.

A little trick to make things easier is (when you start) to roll up a little ball of the yarn (small enough to fit through the center of the circle) and work with that instead of a long, long piece of yarn.

When you're finished it should look like this (below):
Take your scissor and snip a little hole into the edge of the circle, along the circumference.
Gently ease the scissors BETWEEN the two cardboard circles inside and continue to cut all the way along the circumference with the scissors, until you have opened up the circle. Be sure to hold the yarn while you cut to make sure it doesn't fall through the center of your circle.
Now take another single long length of the yarn (approx 15cm). Open the cardboard circles up slowly and tie this new piece of yarn around the bundle, in the middle of the two cardboard circles. Tie it up very tight and double knot it. This piece of yarn will hold everything together. Do not cut it as it will come in use later.
Ease the two cardboard circles off and you should be left with a pom pom! It may need a little rolling around in your hands to make it even, but hopefully it should end up looking like this (see below):
Set this aside for the moment because it's time to work on some crazy spider legs!
Grab your pipe cleaners (I chose these stripey ones to add a little fun to the design). Lay one pipe cleaner down horizontally. Then put the other three pipe cleaners across it vertically, positioning them in the middle. Fold the horizontal pipe cleaner over so that it crosses the vertical ones wrapping and holding them in place. Now fold over each of the other pipe cleaners so that they wrap in the middle too. You should be left with something like this (below):
Bend the pipe cleaners so that you make knee joints for the spiders legs and ankle joints for his feet.
Turn this leg base upside down and tie your pom pom (with the loose long yarn that is still attached to your pom pom) onto the spider legs. Wrap the long length of yarn around the middle of the leg base and tie it off underneath.
Turn it the right way up, add some googly eyes and hey presto!... a cuddly creepy crawly!
You can either cut the long length of yarn so that the spider is free-standing, or wrap it over the top of spider's head and knot it again tightly around the center, leaving the yarn hanging from his head. This way he can be hung up from his web.

Just a couple of safety tips...
Due to the number of small parts (googly eyes, bits of yarn and spiky pipe cleaner legs) I would not recommend this project for very young children who could potentially put these items in their mouths. Also, the wire ends of the pipe cleaner can be pretty sharp, so be sure to either turn those under or, if you have them, add beads to the end of the feet. Remember play safe, and keep it fun.
I plan to try to make a few more of these cute buggies before Halloween is up. I want to try some different colors and also maybe figure out some other creepy crawly shapes. I think three small pom poms held together with some more pipe cleaner legs could make a cool centipede.

If you try this one out yourself please let me know. Would love to see what you come up with.

More Halloween craft coming soon.

My Submarine To The Future

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