My own personal rule is that when I’m out shopping with my girlies and they desperately desire something I don’t want to buy them–it’s too expensive, it has too much plastic or packaging, the ingredients contain anything high-fructose or partially-hydrogenated, etc.–when we’re back home, we figure out a DIY approximation of the coveted item.
We’ve had some hits (agar agar gelatin is even tastier than Jello, and homemade plaster of Paris figurines are just as much fun to paint as the over-priced store-bought version) and some misses (if no substitutions are good enough and a child still covets that Playmobil Egyptian pyramid set a whopping 18 months later, then it turns out that it makes an AWESOME birthday present), but overall the method works quite well if you can figure out what exactly about the store-bought item is so appealing to the child, so you know what aspects to replicate.
For instance, my girls go googly-eyed every time they see those tacky plastic suncatchers that you paint with the translucent paint and then hang in your window–barf. Trust me, my kids have PLENTY of things to paint, but what really appealed to them about these suncatchers is the translucent aspect of them, how pretty they look back-lit by the afternoon sun. So even though these kite paper window stars are quite different, they thrill the girls even more because they’re bigger, and more colorful, and because they made every part of them all by themselves. Here’s how to make your own kite paper window stars:
While you can make a window star with tissue paper, tissue paper is less sturdy, and thus harder for little hands to work with, and it’s not nearly as color-fast as kite paper, so it will quickly fade in the sunlight. Authentic kite paper can be hard to come by, so you may need to special-order it through your local indie arts and crafts store, or buy it online, but since it’s really just colored wax paper, it’s food-safe and amenable to a variety of uses, and it is the traditional material used by Waldorf practitioners to make these window stars.
Begin with a square of kite paper, and fold it in half length-wise and width-wise to crease it. When you unfold the paper completely, you will see four identical squares creased into your paper.
Next >> Step 2