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Decorophobia: Fear of failing at arts and crafts

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I'm a non-crafty mom, and learning that my grasp of basic shapes, although practical, isn’t enough to carry me through year after year of seasonal handicrafts. My paper snowflakes are nothing more than giant confetti- uniformly round. Valentines hearts are triangular, Thanksgiving turkeys are box shaped and whenever I try to add shading it just looks like I’ve coated everything with a fine pelt of hair.

I watched as my children’s creative expression blossomed into glorious fireworks while mine remains stuck in a dark mineshaft with its hands accidentally glued together. To make matters worse, my daughter (now 14) actively seeks out craft-making opportunities with me, because it gives her the chance to practice the tone of voice she’ll use when I’m elderly and she finds me lost in a forest suffering from hypothermia and fox bites, wearing nothing but my slippers.

Last week it was pastels. She patted my head approvingly. “Wow Mom- what are we making here? I see some nice use of green. Do we like green? Hm-m-m? I like your majestic rainforest tree or…bush thingy?” I glanced at her rendering of a perfectly recognizable octopus perched on a bed of kelp that looked as real as a photograph, and felt shame. “It’s a tractor.” She peered closer. “A John Deere.” I added helpfully. She tapped her finger on the tangle of thick brown lines beside what appeared to be a mossy boulder. “So, those aren't branches?” “No, that’s smoke.From the radiator.” She stared at me blankly, not comprehending a world where one could have the vision of something as commonplace as smoke, but somewhere between the brain and the paper lose the very essence of the thing, right down to its color and behavioral characteristics. (Note to self: Smoke “rises”. It does not curl up on the ground like a fat, tired snake.)

Enter Halloween, a seasonal holiday of which DIY decorations are practically required. The internet is plagued with websites like “Crafting with your Toddler!” and “Top 15 decorations made by Pets” which  contain projects far too advanced for me, but luckily- not for you! Don't let me down! :)



I love this idea, and it comes with a template! In a culture where inflatable plastic is the norm, the simplicity of these black paper bats is reassuring and in short time you can churn out a whole bat colony. (that sounded less creepy in my head) *source*



One word- CUTE! If it were me (and we know it won't be) I’d trace around the teeth before I cut the mouth, because craft free-styling only leads to heartbreak *source*



This wreath is both creepy and classy. Made with a stiff black ribbon, but I’m curious to see what the result would be mixing up the shades, textures and so on!  (Translation: That was a hint for someone else to try it and send me a picture, or better yet, a completed *source*



SO EASY. Wash and rinse some milk jugs, draw the faces, cut a hole in the bottom for the l.e.d. light- BLAM, you have a bunch of ghosts! Or one ghost, depending on how much milk you consume. *source*



The idea is to glue and wrap the gauze as you go, making sure to add a layer after you affix the eyes so they peer out in a psychotic manner befitting a mummy. *source*

BONUS DIY PROJECT for the talented, keen and patient.


I know, right- GHOSTS! See the full tutorial here--> *source*

Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Jeni Gunn

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