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xo emily

circle garland tutorial

I came up with this project because I was looking for a do-it-together-in-stages project that would be satisfying for both me and my four year old daughter. This project took us a few days because we wanted to take it easy and have fun. Tiny toddlers and pre-schoolers love it because there is lots of random ripping, sorting by color, and borderless gluing. And, it is super satisfying for older kids and grown-ups because it produces a tidy, happy, circle string that will add color to wherever it is hung. Oh, and this is a re-make project since all of the paper (even the card stock) was from the recycle bin.

Chick loved every stage of this project, and couldn't wait to collage a yellow circle so she could use the picture of the "queen," who is really an Egyptian carsophagus (see yellow circle below). But, honestly, her yellow circle is magnificent and beautiful and completely hers (aside from the trimming). And, I love that her collage circles will be intertwined in a chain with mine.

Here is a little tutorial.

You will need:
assorted scrap paper
card stock
Mod Podge
hole punch
small sponge brush
jars for sorting scraps (optional)

Step one: Collect magazines, flyers, newspapers, old boxes, etc. from the paper recycling bin. Once you have a nice big pile, everyone should rip, rip, rip, and tear, and rip. Once you have a big pile of torn paper, put it in a little bin.

Step two: If you want each circle to be its own single color then sort the torn pieces of paper by color. We used little jam jars. We didn't sort all of the paper bits - just enough for a few circles of each color.

Step three: Use a cup to trace circles onto card stock and then cut them out. Don't worry if your card stock has markings since you will be covering it with lots of bits of paper. Our circles were just under 3 1/2 inches. You can do as many or as few circles as you wish, which will determine the length of your string.

Step four: Use a collage medium, like Mod Podge, to coat the circles. Then use one color of paper bits to cover the circle. Be generous with the Mod Podge, and continue to apply as you put down each layer of paper bits. The best part about this step is that you do not have to be precise about the edges. Let your kids and yourself collage right off of the edge of the circle because you will trim it once it is dry.

Here, Chick applies the "queen" to her yellow circle. Tom and I agree that her yellow circle just might be the best of the bunch.

Step five: Let your circles dry. Once dry, flip them over and trim around the circle, trimming off the extra collage material. You should be left with almost perfect, firm, little circles.

Here are some of our trimmed, happy circles splayed out on our kitchen table.

Step six: Punch two holes in the top of each circle. It is best if you punch the holes at the top and not in the middle since this will allow the circles to drape nicely.

Step seven: Find some yarn from your stash (or ask your favorite knitter if she wouldn't mind sharing) and weave a long strand through the holes being sure to weave behind each circle. The yarn does a fine job keeping the circles in place, but if you feel antsy about your circles shifting around, you can put tiny dots of glue on the back to keep them in place.

Step eight: Find a place in your home that needs color, light, and unity, and hang your string there.

xo emily