Sometimes the simplest projects can be the most rewarding. Such is the case with this month's craft project. Using such simple supplies as two sticks and colored yarn, your child can create a classic camp craft—a mandala. This colorful project makes a wonderful window decoration or can be proudly displayed wherever you show off your child's creations.
To make this whimsical project with your child, you will need to assemble the following materials.
For the first step of the project, you may want to provide some adult help in aligning and securing the sticks properly. Cross the two sticks at the center, forming an "X". Using the first color of yarn you intend to use for the mandala, secure the two sticks by wrapping the yarn in one direction and then crossing over in the other. Note: If you are using frozen treat sticks, you can opt to glue the sticks together with a bit of craft glue placed in the center. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly. Tighten the yarn and make sure the sticks form an "X" before tying a knot in the yarn to secure the sticks to one another. Do not cut the yarn—your first color is secured to the form and it will be used to begin the weaving that will create the mandala's design.
Weaving the mandala is done by repeatedly wrapping the yarn, placing each successive pass of yarn next to, not on top of, the previous pass.
1. Cross the sticks in the shape of an "X".
2. Number the ends of the sticks beginning with "1" (upper right) and working counterclockwise with "2" (upper left), "3" (lower left), and "4" (lower right).
3. Wrap the yarn diagonally over the front of stick #1, behind the back of stick #1, and then to the front of stick #1.
4. Turn the "X" one clockwise turn to stick #2 and repeat step three, wrapping the yarn over the front of stick #2, behind the back of stick #2, and returning to the front of stick #2.
5. Continue on to stick #3 and then stick #4. As you wrap the yarn, make sure each row of yarn lies side by side, and not on top of the row next to it. Continue to wrap the yarn until you see an "eye" forming at the center.
6. Continue wrapping the yarn over and under, over and under. If each pass of yarn is placed beside the previous pass, you will soon create a colored square of yarn. At any point in the process your child can change to another color of yarn. Simply use safety scissors to cut the yarn he or she is working with, leaving about 3" of yarn to allow a knot to be tied to the color that will follow. Choose the next yarn color and tie the end of that yarn to the loose end of the previous color. Make sure the knot is secure. Clip any stray yarn end and the knot will disappear into your design. Continue weaving and wrapping yarn in the "X" pattern, always remembering to make sure each pass is placed next to the previous pass and not on top of the previous pass.
Your child can change colors as often as he or she wishes. Continue weaving until the design is about 1/2" from the end of the sticks. When the design is complete, cut the yarn leaving a 6" piece of yarn. Move the end piece of yarn to the backside of the mandala and tie it securely in a knot so the design does not unravel.
Now make a hanger so you can hang the mandala for display. Cut a piece of yarn about 6" in length. Make a loop in one end (about 1" down) and tie a knot. On the backside of the mandala place a drop of craft glue on the end of the stick and gently glue the end of the yarn in place, leaving the loop free to hang. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before hanging. Decorative accessories such as feathers, bells, or crystals can be glued to the ends of the sticks as well to add more creative options.
That's all there is to it! With a little patience and time, your child can make a colorful and interesting decorative piece perfect for hanging in a window or outside on a porch or awning.
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