While carving pumpkins with my 3 year old son this year, he requested bat wings for his design. Luckily for him, momma is a quick thinker and is fairly resourceful. I really hope that’s something he inherits from me, haha! I took a look at what we had available around us and quickly threw together some bat wings made out of pipe cleaners, a plastic shopping bag, and hot glue. Sure, they’re not cosplay quality, but for decorating a pumpkin to last just a week, beggars can’t be choosers. Here’s a quick and easy run down of how I did it. I’d love to see or hear about your changes and additions, so please leave me some comments below!
First, using pipe cleaners (this is what I used out of convenience), straws, popsicle sticks, wooden skewers, or any other light, strong material, form the “bones” of your wings. Check out images #4, 5, and 6 below for a visual example of how we shaped our pipe cleaner wing bones.
Flatten out a plastic grocery bag.
Cut handles off of plastic bag.
Cut down sides and seams of bag and separate into two pieces. This allows you to flatten out the whole grocery bag. Cutting it into two pieces is convenient if you are making two wings.
Glue your “bones” to the flattened plastic bags. Hot glue is probably the easiest and fastest method but I’m sure you could use others. But other, more liquid types of glue might not hold as strongly.
Using a permanent marker, draw cut lines for the material between the wing “bones.”
Cut along those lines or past them to achieve a cleaner look with no marker lines on your finished product. Cut the overhanging bag material off from around the “outside” of the wing bones so that the material only shows between the “fingers” of the wings.
Sure, this is a cheap craft and isn’t really something that will last long, but it is a good example of how you can use materials from around the house to enhance something else. A lot of us have these pesky plastic bags floating around the house with very few ways to re-use them.
I strive to find ways to re-use materials in my house, even if it’s not a long-term solution. At least these materials can find a temporary re-purpose and brighten a day and make memories. My son was so excited when I could just dive into the recycling bin and pantry and make him some pumpkin enhancers. It was a fun way to show my kids how you can use your imagination and resourcefulness to lessen your burden on the environment even in the smallest ways.
I’m also hoping to use the things that I learned from trying this simple craft to apply to larger and more intricate crafts later on. There are a lot of possible applications in cosplay or future Halloween costumes here, and I learned what some of the hangups could be in those applications. Share with me what you’ve learned or how you used this craft below in the comments section. I look forward to hearing from you!
In our house we do our best to recycle our paper, glass, and plastic. We also love upcycling whenever we can. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term that sounds like a word for a hipster bicycle, “upcycling” is when you take something that would otherwise be discarded (like boxes, food packaging, or lightbulbs, as a few examples) and turn it into something new. It’s a simple practice that many of us have just been calling “crafting” or “junking.” Well, now there’s a new, fun term for it and thousands of great ideas from people like you and me who are inspired to use the things they see in front of them to make something brand new.
In this tutorial, I will show you how I took a simple baby snack food container and turned it into a set of fun outdoor toys for my kids. Because these baby snacks are something we use frequently at our house, we didn’t spend any more money than we normally would have for this craft. But if you’re looking for a ballpark cost for this craft, it cost me about $2 for each container and I made 6 bowling pins in total. The other materials I had on hand, so it was mainly the cost of the containers, which would total around $12. Not bad for hours of toddler entertainment!
Baby snack food containers (I made 6 total so we could arrange them in a pyramid formation for bowling)
Red permanent marker
Hot glue and glue gun
Play sand or dirt
Empty your snack food container by feeding your baby, your toddler, your dog, or your neighborhood birds. No need to waste the contents just for the craft!
Cut off and completely remove the outer label.
Use a red permanent marker to add line designs to the outside of the “bowling pin.” Our particular containers had extremely convenient lines imprinted in the plastic that I just used as guides. You can look up different bowling pin designs online for inspiration or just make it up as you go along! Toddlers are easily impressed.
Temporarily remove lids and add play sand or heavy dirt to the bowling pins.
Make sure to fill the pins only partially to give them a weighted bottom. This will allow them to stand up but make them slightly more challenging to knock over. In picture 5, I am using my fingers to show the level to which I filled the pin with play sand. I tested it a few times, and this seemed to be a good fill point. Any more and the pins would have been too heavy and too difficult for my toddler to knock over with his bouncy ball. Any less and they would have been knocked over by a stiff breeze.
Next, use your glue gun to add glue around the entire lip of the container and quickly replace the lid before the glue cools and dries. Try to add enough glue to ensure a good seal. That way you don’t accidentally have sand or gravel flung around your living room or yard, depending on where you choose to play.
Go forth and enjoy your creation! Upcycling is cheap, easy fun. We use these bowling pins outside AND inside the house. My son not only loves to kick his bouncy ball at them and knock them over, but he also loves to use them for stacking and knocking them down, shaking them for musical instruments, and stacking them like logs in the back of his large toy dump truck.
Leave a comment below about how your family has used this craft at home. I would love to hear how you have used your imaginations to find new ways to see something old. Have fun!