When the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, pick up a few bags of dried beans at the grocery store. Beans are good for rib-sticking soups and stews -- and excellent for crafting!
For best results, buy a variety of dried beans and seeds in different sizes and colors: red kidneys, green split peas, orange lentils, pink speckled pinto beans, yellow popcorn, striped sunflower seeds, black-eyed peas, black turtle beans and white cannellini. When crafting with beans, separate them in a muffin tin.
- Take a favorite close-up photo of a person, place or thing. Copy or scan it onto 8-by-10 paper. Glue the photocopy to a piece of heavy cardboard. Use white craft glue to embellish the photocopy with beans and seeds. For smaller beans/seeds, spread the glue thickly with a small paintbrush, spread on the seeds and shake off any excess. Larger beans can be glued individually flat or standing up. Tweezers come in handy for detail work. Be sure to let the bean artwork dry completely before displaying! If desired, cover with decoupage finish to give it a glossy protective coating.
- Older kids will enjoy making seed and bean necklaces. The secret is to soak the beans and seeds in water first. Hard ones (like Indian corn and dried beans) should be soaked overnight. Softer seeds and beans (such as sunflower and pumpkin) can be softened in hot water for about 15 minutes. Pat dry before using. Thread about two feet of dental floss onto a sharp embroidery needle, tie a knot at one end, pierce the beans/seeds on a hard flat surface (an adult may want to help with this), then string them on. Knot the ends together, and let dry a day or two before wearing.