Published 29 May 2016 ● Last Updated on 8 October 2020
I started a collection of wine corks some time back and it has reached a quantity (don’t judge me) that I find hard to defend when my parents visit. A sober-looking number of them usually prop up fake plants in a jar, but a large questionable pile lies in a bag in my closet, waiting for the day when inspiration strikes me!
Finally today, I decided to get on with the agenda of delivering something creative out of my oenophilia. The motivation comes from the looming summer holidays when the only way for me to sustain my mental stability has the side effect of generating many many corks for my collection 😉 (No mom, I’m just joking. The motivation is your grandkids who will need to busy their hands and minds, really!)
So here are some awesome craft activities that I am planning for this holiday season. They require little supervision, and as a bonus – will be fun even as repeat activities. Did I hear cheers?
1. Cork Figurines / Games
Love Inspiration has no language. I got this idea from an Italian blog I stumbled into, and it looked easy enough that I didn’t bother to find the instructions! [But to give appropriate credit to the inventor, I found the original creator here – Mollymoo – salute!]. I started with the awesome Superman sculpture, and then I was unstoppable – seriously, this is an addictive DIY!- and ended up creating a good bundle of miniature cork people. Since I have created way too many, I am planning to use it as a mobile skittle set for my children when we travel out of Singapore next month!
Like me, you can probably guess the instructions from the picture above. Still, here are some handy tips that I discovered during my trial and errors and (way too much) experimentation:
a. For an easy handhold while you work on the cork – skewer a toothpick through the cork’s base. If you have enough corks, you can even use the extras to create a stand for drying. It helps avoid dirtying your hands and your workspace, plus you won’t end up smudging the paint. [See pic below.]
b. You will need to use acrylic paints. Do not use kiddy water-based poster paints as they take a looooong time to dry on cork, and worse, lose their strength when they finally lose the wetness. Sadly, I ran out of yellow acrylic when I wanted to do the minions so found a loophole – use the white acrylic paint as a primer for the cork. Two coats of it, and then 1 coat of the kiddy poster paint – and it worked! Acrylic would still be better, but if you are impatient (like me!), this is an alternative.
c. Raid your child’s bits-and-bobs for inspiration: googly eyes, paper with prints, sharpies / sketch pens…. these will be your raw materials to coax a figure out of the corks!
d. This is an obvious one – Use only those corks that have balance 🙂
e. Pretend play is always fun. In addition, you could use these figurines as counters in Snakes and Ladders and other board games!
2. RaftboatSmall + Friendly blog. My 4-year-old twins could create it themselves and ignored me for the next hour, so it was a no-brainer to include the craft here!
You will need: at least 3 corks, strong rubber bands (or old discards from your daughter’s haircare collection), paper to create a flagmast (reuse old paper if possible).
The picture says it all: just tie the bands to secure the corks in a straight line. For a 3-cork raft, a single rubber band is enough. For larger boats, use rubber bands to secure 2 corks at a time. Use a skewer or a toothpick to create the flag mast.
Tip: Drawing a pirate flag ? Use black paper and draw with a white color pencil (instead of a permanent marker) for a fuss free, sharp skull drawing!
The textured circular base of the cork makes for a great circular stamp / stencil. For young kids who are still working on their hand control, it is a useful tool. But even for older kids or adults who can make shapes with ease, the roughness of a stamp can be used to create quirky design. You can use it to liven up brown paper packaging, create greeting cards, or just as a tool for kids when they are painting!
4. Personalised Letters / Alphabets
Children love to personalise their rooms, and these days I’ve seen quite a few shops sell alphabet tiles – Spotlight, Typo, Art Friend to name a few. Well no need to go buy, just get your kids to DIY, it is as easy as A-B-C!
b. Use PVA glue to stick the wine corks on top – standing position. When I was on this step, I almost gave up the project – I had applied glue in a very careless manner and the sticky residue could be seen all over the alphabet. I’m glad I didn’t stop – PVA dries into transparency, so the end result was perfectly tidy despite my smudgy and messy application!
c. Paint the cork’s visible bases with acrylic paint. [Kiddy water-based poster paints will not look bright and take too long to dry.]
And that’s it! You can secure the result in an old picture frame / photo frame. Or hang it up the door/wall with double-sided tape [Blu-Tac may not be able to take the weight]. That’s it!