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Fun with Festive Swab Garland

Our featured author MaryAnn Kohl is sharing with us today from her book Art with Anything: 52 Weeks of Fun Using Everyday Stuff. MaryAnn enjoys sharing fun and easy festive art ideas for you and your child to create together.


Festive Swab Garland

This is a great project for a child to do alone or for the entire family/childcare group to do together. The garland is a bright, fun decoration to drape over a window, hang on a Christmas tree, or drape around an entire room! Children have come up with a variety of creative names for the cotton swab design, including “stars,” “snowflakes,” and “crosses.” One creative thinker even called them “fireworks"! What names can your kids come up with?

Festive Swab Garland

What you need:

  • Cotton swabs (Note: discount varieties often come in pastel colors.)
  • Liquid watercolors, tempera paints, or food coloring mixed with water
  • Jar lids or paper plates for puddles of paint
  • Newspaper drying area
  • Yarn
  • Scissors

To do:

  1. First dip cotton swab ends into paint or food coloring to color the white tips. Be prepared to use a lot of cotton swabs! (Kids can also stain the sticks with color if made from paper; the plastic sticks won’t accept color well.) Consider leaving some swabs white for contrast. Dry swabs on newspaper.
  2. While swabs are drying, cut yarn into 6”-12” lengths. Use one color or many colors.
  3. To create “stars”, cross two colored swabs like an X. Tie the center where they cross with a strand of yarn. Having plenty of extra yarn hanging from each star is good for joining them later. Repeat this process, making as many swab stars as you wish.
  4. To make the garland of stars, tie one to the next with the yarn strands until you have a continuous garland of colorful swabstars!

Variation Challenge: Use 6 or more swabs per star!

This post was contributed by MaryAnn F. Kohl. MaryAnn is the renowned author of more than 20 books about art for children. Her books are published both by Gryphon House and by her own company, Bright Ring Publishing

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