If one of your New Year's resolutions is to be more creative, then there's no better time than New Year's Eve to get started.
You could head to the store to pick up ready-made blowers, noisemakers and hats. Or, you could spend some quality time with your kids as you - and they - ring in the new year with these nifty DIY creations.
BREEZY PARTY BLOWERS
To make your own party blowers, you need cardboard tubes, crepe paper streamers, paint, a pair of scissors, and a stapler.
Now, since you and your kids will be blowing into these, I would recommend using paper towel or wrapping paper tubes - rather than toilet paper tubes - for obvious reasons. Also, I happened to have party streamers kicking around since my daughter celebrated her birthday just a few weeks ago. But, you can use tissue paper instead. Just cut it into strips, about 5cm (2") wide and 20cm (8") long.
First, cut the tubes into 15cm (6") lengths. Then, paint them.
If paint is not an option, you might use colourful tape instead. Or you could wrap and glue construction paper or tissue paper around the roll.
Once dry, pinch the roll flat at one end and lay two to three strips of crepe paper or tissue paper inside. Then add two staples to hold the paper in place, leaving space in the middle for air to travel through.
And... blow! As an added bonus, these babies also make noise. Whee!
If your blowers don't blow, it probably means that you don't have enough space for the air to travel through. Simply open the area (but only a wee little bit) between the staples to fix the problem.
SHAKY SHAKY NOISEMAKERS
There are a billion ways to make noise. But for these noisemakers, you will need raisin boxes and wooden craft sticks.
To begin with, put a few beads (or rice, or lentils) into each box. Then, glue the boxes shut, but not before shoving a stick inside.
Once the glue is dry, paint the boxes and unfinished sticks. (I used cotton swabs to make the dots).
I love raisin box noisemakers because they are just the right size for little hands.
However, you could use lots of other items from around the house instead. Cracker or cereal boxes, paper cups (taped together) or paper plates folded in half (and stapled) would work beautifully. Really the idea is to use what you have on hand.
For example, an empty water bottle or parmesan cheese container with beads inside and some ribbon tied around the top makes an excellent (and instant) New Year's Eve noisemaker.
GO-BIG-OR-GO-HOME PARTY HAT
For this type of hat, you will need some heavy paper (poster board from the dollar store is perfect), one or two pipe cleaners, a pencil, a pair of scissors and some decorating items like paint (or markers) and glitter glue.
If you want a really tall hat, twist two pipe cleaners together. If you want a shorter hat, just use one pipe cleaner. Either way, you will want to securely attach one the pipe cleaners to the end of your pencil.
Then, standing over the paper, hold one end of the pipe cleaner(s) at the corner and pull tightly on the pencil as you draw an arc on your paper. Special thanks to my mummy for demonstrating this technique.
When you cut out the shape, it should look like this.
Next, measure how big your hat needs to be by placing it on the party-goer's head. You will need to twist the paper a bit to get the right size.
Once you have the right size, throw a staple in the end to keep things together.
After that you will need to secure the edges of the hat together. You can do this with tape or a really big stapler, but I used craft glue (which was held together by rolling elastics onto the cone).
Oh and don't panic if the top of your cone has a little opening. Since you will be adding decorations up there, there's no need to stress out.
Once the glue has dried, it's time to decorate using whatever you have at your disposal.
For my hat, I began by painting blobs of colour all over the cone. Then, I grabbed my daughter's glitter glue and made circles where it looked like it needed them. To finish off, I stuck a bunch of pipe cleaners into the top of the cone and stapled a piece of glitzy garland (which I snatched from our Christmas tree) around the bottom edge.
Note that it's a good idea to tape over any staples on the inside of the hat so they don't get caught on your hair. Also, you may need to staple two pieces of yarn to the bottom of the hat so you can tie it under the chin.
Yes, it is GIANT, but a big celebration calls for a big hat, don't you think?
Happy New Year everyone! Now go ahead and get creative!