I go through phases and when I discover a new material I get slightly obsessed and try and create new ideas for them. I have been through a wooden disk, wood cookie, plastic lids, felt and now it is a craft stick phase.
I love them as they are cheap, natural or look natural (at least I think they are) and have proven to be versatile. After some research I have learnt that there are Popsicle sticks and then there are craft sticks and technically I am obsessed with CRAFT STICKS. Both are made from Baltic birch but a craft stick may have colour which is less safe than a Popsicle stick.
I first started using them to increase letter and number awareness in my story baskets. I used an ink pad and stamps and stamped the alphabet and numbers. I also typed the word blast off for my space story baskets. It is a good idea to seal them with a non-toxic spray or mod podge ( I prefer matt).
From here it grew as I had seen some houses made for children to draw their family in and also for the story the 3 little pigs and so I created some of these. I grabbed two different sized Popsicle sticks, a glue gun and went for it!
From this I tried a wharenui (Māori meeting house) and was smitten.
I had a story basket for Māori language week and it needed one BUT I wanted to add some detail and a teacher friend sent me a find she made at a ‘cheap’ shop and I thought, yes I could draw or transfer kowhawhai / carving images on the wharenui.
This technique is easy, you print your image on an inkjet printer, add generous layer of mod podge on the paper image, then place on the wood and leave 24 hours to dry. Then you place a damp cloth on the paper and leave it for 5 minutes and the rub the paper off. Easy! If the glue is not thick enough the image may come off a little. If you are not a perfectionist then you will love this method.
Here is the wharenui in a story basket.
Next I wanted to add Farm and Zoo structures to books I had got for story baskets and this is what I came up with. I added numbers for the gate at the farm and the word zoo. These craft sticks with a circle are from Kmart. The structures made story telling richer and the children loved them. Looks like I will be getting more Popsicle sticks so they can make their own!
In the blog where the image for the wharenui came from, they made a 3D wharenui and that may be my next challenge! Although a new material has caught my eye….. the cork!