Kids Get Crafty: Chestnut Crafts (Pencil Toppers) - Red Ted Art's Blog : Red Ted Art's Blog

Kids Get Crafty: Chestnut Crafts (Pencil Toppers)

| September 21, 2011 | 44 Comments

autumn crafts Welcome to this week’s Kids Crafts – this week we share with your our horse chestnut craft – Chestnut Pencil Toppers. Crafting with chestnuts, acorns, leaves and bits and pieces is something that I remember well from early childhood.. mainly we would make little animals, similar to the acorn critters from last week.

Chestnuts are slightly trickier to craft with, as they tend to be harder than acorns. So many Germans have a special chestnut tool! But we managed with a sharp pair of kitchen scissors (used by me only) and tooth picks. I do remember this being slightly frustrating and yet strangely rewarding as a child! So do help them, where you can!

Basteln mit KastanienI am also, always on the look out for new chestnut crafts (we made plenty of chestnut creatures) and loved the idea of making pencil toppers, that I found here. I thought they were rather adorable. But we didn’t have “all the bits” and I was worried about the longevity of them. So here are our own.. simpler ones!


Our Book

The summer holidays are over. Red Ted is back at nursery school and there is a fresh bite in the air. The skies are blue. The parks are littered with chestnuts and acorns. There is definitely a bit of Autumn in the air!

Oddly, we don’t have that many autumn books to choose from – though we are going to library again next week and see what I can dig up. One sweet little book that I have reviewed before is –

Leaf Trouble Leaf Trouble, Jonathan Emmett. This book tells the story of a little squirrel called Pip (perfect for our Pip Squeak!). Pip wakes one day to find that things are different: the leaves are changing colour and falling off the tree. Surely this isn’t right?! What is happening. His mum comes and explains why it is happening and that the leaves will come back again – a little like how the sun sets and comes back again the next day. I love the ending, where Pip compares the beautiful autumn colours to the setting sun. Very pretty.

The Craft

We made lots and lots of things in one session… doesn’t a bowl full of Autumn findings just look gorgeous?

Autumn Crafts

Materials: Chestnuts, Toothpicks, a pen, glue, scissors, funky foam/ card (optional), googly eyes (optional)

Our focus was on the chestnuts, as mentioned above, some people use a little chestnut tool to work with. We found, that tooth picks worked on some fresher and softer chestnuts and were not, our kitchen scissors came into good use. I would prick a hole and the children would add the tooth picks.. or instruct me as to where they wanted things to go.

Kastanien Basteln Autumn Crafts

Red Ted LOVED the fact that the Chestnuts have “natural faces” and for once preferred drawing on eyes to using googley eyes.

Kastanien Basteln Kastanien Basteln

We made a lion (that we also found here) a giraffe, some hedgehogs, a piggy and a boy (with drawn on face and belly button – we used some of those “flat chestnuts” as feet, so that it can stand up without toppling).

Kastanien bastlen Kastanien basteln

I then made some pencil toppers for the children – cutting out some foam shapes for ears and features, drawing on faces. Above you can see, that I cut some slits for the ears and then glued them in… We loved using natural features – such as the markings of the chestnut for the nose of the bear… And with the scissors I carved out a hole big enough for the pencil.

Kastanien Basteln Kastanien Basteln

[Mermaid just suggested in the comments to use a hot glue gun… yes, I believe that would make all the difference]. The Teddy was the most “durable” – as the inserted ears glue well. We discovered that the funky foam and the “shiny” part of chestnut doesn’t stick too well… I had to go back and sneak on some super glue. So.. design you chestnuts with “insertions” or try out what glue sticks best…. OR just keep the pencil toppers at home – they are fine in use at home, just not in a pencil case where they get knocked about!

For more Kid’s Craft ideas, click here for a full list. If you have been crafty with your kid’s be it at home, in the kitchen or outdoors, I would love for you to link up:

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Category: Autumn, Kids Craft, Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. Red Ted Art says:

    Linky now fixed and have added you!

  2. mermaid says:

    The pencil toppers are so cute :) You can use them as little puppets to play with in the table top puppet theatre. (I actually thought they are puppets when I first saw them :) )

    Don`t you use the glue gun?

  3. Red Ted Art says:

    Oh yes, a little theater would be great too :-) and yes yes yes a glue gun would do the trick… I confess.. I don’t own one! Time to invest I think 😉

  4. Fab idea. Need to do something with all our conkers

  5. mermaid says:

    I bought my glue gun yesterday.. also didn`t have it before :)

  6. se7en says:

    Oh I wish we had chestnuts here!!! But no…. none of that in sunny South Africa. Our neighbor had a tree that bore about three chestnuts a year, but so many childhood books had “hands warmed by chestnuts in them!!!” Meanwhile can you tell me why link tools thinks my links are invalid… – how do you link my links without it gagging? Its killing me not to be able to link up!!! Here is this weeks rainy day link up:…

  7. I love the pencil toppers! What a great idea. I still have my stash of acorns to do something with. xx

  8. Thanks for hosting Maggy. I hope you don’t mind the old post being linked up. xx

  9. Red Ted Art says:

    Se7en – I really don’t mind linking for you 😉 just keep leaving it in the comments!!!

    And oh no.. no chestnuts!??!?!? Aaaargh… can you find a replacement something?

    ScienceSparks – go get your acorn critters made!!

  10. oh, these are simply fabulous! I really do miss being able to collect all these fall items! I must send word to mr friends & family up North to collect some goodies for us & send them our way!


  11. Esther says:

    Love the pencil toppers! and the book sounds interesting too!

  12. Kerri says:

    Super craft! Elle would love the pig!

    I also love the onesie sachets that you recently posted. What a wonderful use for them!! Great gift idea for grandmothers.

    Thanks for hosting!

  13. mindie says:

    so cute love the piggy. Would love for you to share these at bacon time. Linky is fri-mon, come strut your stuff

  14. artsy_momma says:

    The book looks so cute and the chestnuts turned out awesome! You are so creative all the time :)

  15. Isil says:

    oh, these are lovely. I love your autumn crafts :)

  16. Red Ted Art says:

    We love Autumn Crafts too! Such a fabulous time of year with a great set of natureal of resources :-)

    Happy Chestnut Crafting everyone and thank you for your lovely comments!

  17. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the chestnut toppers – so cute and a FAB idea!!! As ever, lovely and ingenious!! Jenxx

  18. Red Ted Art says:

    Mindi! Heading your way 😉

    And Jen, THANK YOU! You leave such kind comments!

  19. Janelle says:

    That picture of your autumn find assortment is so pretty. Neat way to use a chestnut.

  20. Tracey M says:

    What a cute book! We just found a great book even though it was a bit technical, he loved learning about what’s inside the leaves that is making them change color (Why Do Leaves Change Color by Betsy Maestro). We had fun in our farm unit this week and did a simple craft of potato stamping, since farmers grow potatoes. Love how you are using all these fun fall things from nature for your craft.

  21. Red Ted Art says:

    Ooh I do like the sound of that book though!!!

  22. adorable! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  23. Ally says:

    Love the pencil toppers! Now I know what to do with all the chestnuts that come into our house in boys’ pockets!

  24. These are adorable! I can’t wait to do some hunting for fall items, right now it feels like spring where I live, it’s been raining for over a week, ugh!
    Thanks for linking up to Flutter By Friday!

  25. So many fun crafts here! I don’t have one to link, but I’m sharing this on a We Teach Children to Read facebook page and on twitter. Many families and teachers are finding fun ideas and books here!

  26. Red Ted Art says:

    Ooh thank you Michelle! That really means a lot to me!! Love it when people spread the word :-)

  27. Aimee says:

    Those are just so much fun- I love this time of the year! Thank you so much for linking up to The Sunday Showcase.

  28. Ally says:

    Thanks for the link – these are adorable!! I was admiring them on your blog last week!

  29. Pattie Nanda says:

    Horse chestnut tastes really great, sometimes i use it ony my meals.”

    Our blog

  30. Lora Cotton says:

    These “chestnuts” look suspiciously like what we Ohioans call Buckeyes. LOL!

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