Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tea Light Snowflakes

The new year is always a time of beginnings and resolutions. I have been becoming increasingly aware of the impact we have on the environment and the amount of waste we generate. In 2007 I began to use recycled materials almost exclusively in the bookmaking workshops I teach in schools and libraries. Since I have become more aware of the creative uses for things that were headed for the trash or the recycling bin, I find myself looking at things with fresh eyes to see what else they can become. In 2008 I am extending my creative use of household waste in new directions.

When I went to replace the burnt candles on the Christmas mantle, I was struck by a discouraging thought. These candles are wasteful. For that little bit of wax, I have a small metal container to dispose of. Before I even had a chance to see if they would be able to go in our recycling bin, I had an inspiration. Snow has been on my mind as of late as we have had lots this winter. The metal containers would make wonderful snowflakes!

Because snowflakes are hexagonal, cut the sides into six equal parts. I find it easiest to use one pair of opposing dots to determine where to make the first two cuts. Then I just judge by eye to cut each half into thirds.
The next cuts you make will start to design your snowflake. Snip a triangle or other shape away from the edge of each of the six parts.
Continue snipping away shapes until you have a snowflake you like.

1. I do not recommend this as a project for children.
2. The edges of the snowflake are not particularly sharp, but the little bits of metal pieces can be. I did my snipping over a cardboard box so that the little pieces wouldn't go on the floor but a sweep or vacuum after is a good idea.
3. Because the metal is thin, it is easy to cut but not particularly sturdy so the finished snowflakes should be handled with care.

Because I spend much of time teaching and creating projects for making books with children, my first thought was to make a snowflake accordion book.You can find out how to make one on my Making Books with Children blog. Since I only wanted to make one book and I had lots more candles, I needed more ideas.

The vase has a cuttings from the red twig dogwood mixed in with pieris. The snowflakes are tucked in among the leaves. They could also be hung with wire.

The snowflake is on a purple square cut from a gift box on a square cut from a Lindt chocolate wrapper on a square of cardboard wrapped with a mesh bag that contained red potatoes. I attached the snowflake through all the layers with wire and a push pin at the end. It was a little tricky but I felt it would be more secure than if I had used glue.

The snowflakes were strung on thread and hung in the window.

1 comment:

J├│lafer├░alangur said...

Hi Susan!

New Year's Greetings from Iceland. Just wanted to thank you for your newsletter that I get regulary. I relly like your ideas. And I bought one of your e-books from which I've used your ideas for the younger kids (primary school) I teach here in Reykjavik.
All the best and looking forward to getting more great ideas from you.