Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Christmas Tree Garland Idea:

Paper Chain - Chain - Chain!
Most of us haven't thought about making a paper chain Christmas tree garland since kindergarten -- when a whole lot of effort ended with very unsatisfactory results. 

First, there were the terrible colors available in the large sheets of construction paper.  Usually all the "good" colors had been used up (making autumn leaves), leaving faded black, faded brown and faded purple.  YUCK!

Next was the tedious chore of cutting strips by hand.  It was hard to follow a pencil line on dark colors, let alone get a nice smooth edge from those blunt-nosed silver safety sisscors that tore more often than they cut.

If that wasn't hard enough, then there was the mind-numbing task if holding paper circles together until the paste/glue dried.  Under the best of circumstances you could only get four or five links completed in an hour.

And, finally, the limp construction paper didn't make nice stiff links but loopy ovals that in a few days time would unglue themselves.  No wonder making a paper chain Christmas tree garland left a sour taste in your mouth.

But guess what?  You're not in kindergarten anymore!  Times have changed.  Paper has changed.  Glue has changed.  Little kid scissors have changed.  You're old enough to be trusted with a stapler and a whole roll of scotch tape. And many homes house crafters, scrapbookers and home offices where people have their very own paper cutters or slicers.
All of this not only means making a paper chain Christmas tree garland easy-peasy, but a fun activity to do with the kids.

Round up Your Materials: card stock, scissors, a paper cutter or paper slicer if you've got one, ruler, pencil, clear tape or one of those little red staplers in the school supply aisle.  You could also use an office stapler, but that makes bigger links and you'll have to adust your size.

1)  Cut the long way on your piece of card stock.  Each strip will get you two links with no waste.  I used strips that were 1/2" wide. 

2)  Then cut the long strips in half.

Finally, build your chain.  If you have opted to use tape, I found it easier to go around the strip, instead of taping an end.  That way you can use any width of tape.  I also found it easier to link one paper chain into another, rather than making a bunch of links then linking on to another by making a new link.  It's also helpful if you let them puddle up in a bowl or a bucket.  Paper chain Christmas tree garlands will squash if you step on them.   

 And paper chain garlands can be used as an inexpensive decoration for Halloween, Easter and 4th of July, as well as birthdays.  I'm 56 and I still think they're fun to make. So give it a try ... it'll make you feel like a kid again. 

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