I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS PROJECT THAT I COULD WRITE THIS ENTIRE POST IN CAPS TO EXPRESS MY EMOTION. But I will spare you. What is making me this excited about little houses made out of paper bags, you ask? It’s because there is so much scope for imagination! (Shout out to my fellow Anne of Green Gables fans!!!) Most craft projects take you step by step through a process to get to a final product. And that is great, but it does at times limit the most important element in any craft…IMAGINATION!…which is exactly the element that this paper bag village craft needs most. (For you type A peeps, hold to the end, and I will give you what you need to sleep tonight.) If your child wants to scribble all over his paper bag, then cover it in wiggly eyes and pompoms, LET HIM! (Actually, that sounds like a very cool monster house…he may have something there…you should definitely put that on Pinterest!)
When my boys were little they would build little towns out of all kinds of household items and then play out elaborate scenarios. They would use shoe boxes, blocks, pots and pans, whatever. Then all of their stuffed animals would become characters in their stories. Of course, when my oldest was very little he didn’t need stuffed animals because he had little imaginary friends that were regulars in our house. Did you know that Wayne Gretzky is only 3 inches tall, can be held in the palm of your hand and will show up uninvited any time you take a car trip with your kids? And he’s not the only one…there were several well known football players, random celebrities and baseball players. These were my son’s imaginary friends. They would have loved this village! 🙂
The best crafts are ones that are simple, invoke creativity and can be used for an opportunity to play when they are finished. They let the child research life and find the answers out for themselves. They will have decisions to make and problems to solve. LET THEM! These decorated paper bags are the craft that keep on giving too. I guarantee that before these finally met their eventual tragic end (like the dog deciding that it is super fun to treat it like a chew toy…or whatever the chaos is at your house), they will be used for hours and hours of interactive play. Stick around to the end for more ideas on adding elements to your village in order to bring it to life.
SUPPLIES FROM THE BAG
- Everything in the f*%#ing bag (yes, EVERYTHING)
Here is all you really need to know to get started, it is easier to decorate the bags flat. So, just fold over the top of the bag (don’t tape it yet) and have your child make the front look however they want. When the adorning is complete, open up the bag to its full size and tape down the top flap. Once it is set up, they can decorate the sides and back if they so choose.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE REST OF YOU
For those of you that are so type A that you will just lose your S%$# if you aren’t told exactly how I did every step, let me walk you through it. But PLEASE do not follow those steps. I IMPLORE YOU! Let your kids go wild with this one.
- First, fold the top of the bag (do not tape in place yet)
- Vary how much is folded over from bag to bag so that buildings in the village will be different heights
- Pull out the glue stick and a set of tissue paper squares
- Glue rows of tissue paper squares beginning at the top of the paper bag until you have a roof that is your desired size (approximately 3-4 rows)
- Take from your supplies a piece of construction paper (color of your choice), scissors and a glue stick
- Next, fold the piece of construction paper in half
- Cutting away from the fold, cut out a rectangle for the door of the building (approximately 2″ wide by 3-4″ high)
- Glue the door in place
- Take the black sharpie marker from your supplies
- Draw on details, such as doorknob, windows, etc. as desired
- From the bag, get out a favorite paint color and a q-tip
- Add a little color to the project, such as curtains on the windows, shutters, a porch light, etc.
- Allow the paint time to dry (this should be pretty quick)
- Get the sharpie back out and add details over the paint as desired
- Grab a couple of scraps of construction paper, scissors, some green pompoms, Elmer’s glue and the glue stick from the bag
- From the scraps of paper cut 2 matching pot shapes (keep it simple, people)
- Glue the pots in place on either side of the door using the glue stick
- Now use the Elmer’s glue to make mini topiary out of the green pompoms. I chose to make a triangle pattern, but please use your imagination on this one.
- Open the bag to its full size
- Fold the top back over and tape closed
- You do not need to put anything in the bag, but if you want a little more weight to it, you can fill it with some crumpled up paper bags (or whatever you have on hand, like small stones, beans, rice…)
- Allow the glue to dry
- And finally, PLAY!!!
As promised, here are some other ideas that have been swirling around in my head while working on this project…
To add some life to this village, here are some ideas of toys to incorporate with this craft:
- Lego mini figs
- Old fashioned miniature cowboys and Indians (but let’s keep it PC please)
- Army guys
- Polly Pockets (those are still a thing, aren’t they?)
- Any of the Safari Limited sets (like these FAIRIES & DRAGONS or these PIRATES)
- Finger puppets
- Current cartoon miniatures like THESE Paw Patrol figures
Here is an even better idea…keep the creativity going by having your kiddo make his own characters. This can be done with items that are in the bag. I came across this great post for popsicle stick people, pirates, birds, cats, dogs and more HERE at Molly Moo Crafts. You can keep these popsicle stick figures in place by using a little bit of play dough at the base. They can easily be removed from the play dough for acting out scenes. Here is my version of some of these dolls. Aren’t they cute? I would love to see your version.
You can also add other elements to your village. Here are a few ideas:
- Lamp posts drawn or painted onto popsicle sticks
- Penants like the one seen in the picture above…place pieces of washi tape over a piece of string and cut into whatever banner shape you would like (triangle, etc.)
- Trees or bushes
- Snow by pulling cotton balls apart and gluing in place
- Fall leaves on the ground by snipping up pieces of Autum colored construction paper
- 3D awnings on the buildings using construction paper folded and glued to stick out
- Try this one using an old (or recent) photo that you cut into a silhouette. Make a surprise interactive element out of a door or window.
I cannot wait to see all of the creative choices that your kiddos make, and I would love to share them with the “In the Bag” family. Just email me your finished projects, and I will feature them (along with proper credit given, of course) in our gallery. Now, get out there, and get crafting!