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Get creative with forest-inspired crafts

Get creative with forest-inspired crafts
Spending time making nature-themed crafts can be fun for the whole family and crafters of any age. Simple origami trees made of different colored paper can brighten any table.

Need a creativity boost? Take a look around the house—and even outside the house—for a little inspiration. With the following winter craft ideas, simple items like popsicle sticks, recycled paper, pine cones and twigs can be transformed into beautiful, often purposeful crafts. Half the fun is collecting the ingredients for your project.

One of the simplest projects is a festive origami conifer tree, made from your favorite paper by following along with these instructions at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/OrigamiTemplateInstructions_606330_7.pdf or in this video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af_MSlnuIkU&feature=youtu.be.

Make one as a splendid standalone centerpiece or go wild and create a whole forest of different sizes and hues.

Pine cone projects

When it comes to nature-related crafts, pine cones show up in all sorts of decorative items. Two popular ones—a bird feeder and an ornament—are quick and fun to make. Bird feeder: Welcome feathered friends with a pine cone bird feeder. Start by using a spatula to cover the cone in natural peanut butter (no sugar or additives for wild birds, please!), and then roll it in bird seed. Hang it outside and watch the chickadees, nuthatches and sparrows flock to this tasty treat.

Ornament: Begin by first baking gathered pine cones on a sheet of foil in a 250-degree oven for 30 minutes; make sure they don’t burn. This helps to dry the pine cones and remove any critters that could be hiding within. Once they’re cool, it’s time to get creative! Paint the cones with acrylic paints, glue on small beads or stones, or decorate with glitter glue. You can hang the decorated pine cones on trees, add them to a holiday wreath, string them on a twine garland or use them as a rustic alternative to a gift bow.

Want to bring more chickadees, sparrows and other feathered friends to your yard? Grab a few pine cones, cover them with peanut butter and bird seed, and then hang them up! 

Sticks and stones

Did you know that popsicle craft sticks are primarily made from fast-growing, sustainably managed birch and aspen forests? That makes them a good option for craft projects, like winter snowflakes (though small twigs from the backyard work great, too).

Snowflake ornament: First, cross three sticks together and firmly tie them in the center with yarn or twine. Then, color them with markers or paint and decorate with wooden beads, small stones or shells. Add a string or ribbon to hang them where they can be admired. Want to go big? Make this project using paint stirrers or branches.

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