Groovy Gum Wrapper Bracelet

Click to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


The 1960s and 70s brought forth a counterculture movement.  American youth rejected the lifestyle and rules of their parents and other authority figures.  Kids were concerned about the planet and the use of its resources.  Recycling became a theme of this generation.  Materials that could be reused, were reused.  People turned used soda cans into hats, purses, Christmas trees, candle holders, and other items.  Clothing could never be too worn out.  If there were holes in your clothes, they were patched with colorful fabrics. 

One of the recycled crafts I can remember making in the 1970s was gum wrapper bracelets.  When I was a kid, each gum wrapper was a printed label.  We would save each wrapper and fold it into a small rectangular “bead.”  We slid each bead into another bead to create interlocking links.  When we had a chain that was long enough to fit around our wrist, we looped a bead final through the two ends to make a circle that we could wear as a bracelet.

This GUM WRAPPER BRACELET craft uses paper rectangles that can be folded and assembled to make a linked chain bracelet.  Each rectangle contains a verse or word that was used in the 1960s and 70s.  Most have disappeared from our vocabularies, but your students will get a kick out of the “groovy” language of the past.

Cubist Cube

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The Spanish painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso is viewed by many as the greatest artist of the 20th century.  His unique use of color, form, and style made him one of the most innovative artists of all time.  Early on, Picasso painted a series of portraits in shades of blue.  The “Blue Period” paintings, 1900-1902, featured human misery.  From 1904-1905, he painted a series of happier paintings in shades of red and pink.  Many of the subjects were circus performers.   This was known as his “Rose Period.”  In 1908, Picasso and fellow artist Georges Braque began to paint landscapes that appeared to be made of little cubes.  That’s how the term “cubism” came to be.  The early cubist paintings were monochromatic (different shades of one color).  His later works became very colorful.

One of Picasso’s most famous monochromatic paintings, “Guernica,” makes a statement about the horrors of war.  He painted it shortly after German planes bombed the Spanish town of Guernica.  The painting doesn’t show the event.  It portrays the outrage of the event.

In his lifetime, Picasso created over 20,000 art pieces.

This CUBIST CUBE craft is a collage of several famous Picasso paintings.  Your students can make it monochromatic, or very colorful.  For inspiration, show them a variety of Picasso’s paintings before they color their cube.

Pointillist Pin

George Seurat - Pointillist Pin Craft
Click the image above to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


The Impressionist painters attempted to capture a moment in time by painting quickly with large brush strokes and dabs of color.  While the Impressionists were making an impression in France, another French artist, George Seurat, took the painting style to a new level.  In his early career, he became interested in the science of color; how the eye saw color and the brain processed it.  Instead of mixing colors on his paint pallet, Seurat put tiny dots of pure color next to one another on the white canvas.  His technique allowed the human eye to blend the colors.  Seurat used his pointillist style to create 6 large paintings.  His most famous work “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

This pointillism pin art project will give your students an idea of how time consuming it is to “paint” with dots.  You can tell them that Seurat’s painting, “Sunday Afternoon…” is about 7 X 10 feet in size.  It took him over 2 years to paint it.  They will also observe how the dots they use to color their pin will blend to make new colors.  It’s a lot like newspaper comics.  Take a closer look and you’ll see that they are printed using tiny dots of pure color.

*If you don’t want to attach a safety pin to the back, for safety reasons, you can make a pointillist magnet by gluing a magnet to the back of each student’s pin.

Powder Horn

Paper powder horn craft
Click the image above to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


The soldiers of the Revolutionary War carried a gun called a musket.  The musket had to be loaded with gunpowder and a lead ball each time it was fired.  A musket was not very accurate.  It couldn’t hit a target that was further than 100 yards away.  When the soldiers came upon enemy soldiers, they would form several rows of long lines.  The first row would fire at the enemy.  The enemy soldiers, standing in the same formation, would fire back.  The survivors would go to the back to reload their muskets while the next row of soldiers took a shot at the enemy.  Each soldier carried a powder horn to hold their gunpowder.  The powder horn was usually made from the horn of a cow, buffalo, or ox.  When soldiers rested at camp, they carved their name, designs, and patriotic sayings into their powder horn.

Your students can create their own paper powder horn.  Since the Revolutionary War was a brutal battle that eventually led to America’s independence from British rule, this project will remind students of all of the brave citizens who risked their lives for freedom.  We never want to lose our freedoms, because it’s hard to get them back.

Waste Not Quilt

Make a Colonial American quilt using old paper scraps.
Click the image to view or print the template and instructions for this craft.


Colonial American women didn’t invent quilts, but they certainly made a lot of them.   Quilts were used on beds to keep family members warm.  They were also used to cover windows and doors during the cold winter months.  Because there were no stores, quilters had to be innovative with their materials.  Old clothes and other textiles (like curtains and bedspreads) were used to make patchwork quilts.  A patchwork quilt was made by stitching small scraps of fabric together to make a large piece of fabric.  The large patched together piece was used as the front of the quilt.  Then padding (possibly an old bedspread) and a backing were added.  Nothing went to waste.  There were no garbage cans in Colonial times.  People used their resources wisely.

When you make this craft with a group of students, you can request that each student bring in a paper product they had planned to throw away or recycle.  Students can sit on the floor in a circle with the paper scraps in the center of the circle.  Each student should have a copy of the quilt grid, a scissors, a ruler, a pencil, and a glue stick. 

After everyone completes their piece of the quilt, you can attach them to a bulletin board to make a large classroom quilt.

There will be students who complain about the amount of wasted paper scraps that weren’t used in the quilt.  To make sure you waste nothing, make handmade paper with the remaining scraps. 

Printing Press Portrait


Click the image above to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.

The movable printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1456.  The printing press made it possible to print thousands of pages per day.  The old way of printing could only produce 40 or 50 pages per day.  Books became available to much of the population.  Many people learned to read. 

Wealthy people supported the arts.  They had their portraits painted. 

This activity combines the concept of the printing press with portrait painting.  You’ll create a body template (or a few different body templates).  Your students will “ink” the template.  Lay paper over the template.  And “press” with a rolling pin to make a copy of the template.  We used tempera paint, which dries quickly, to make our prints.  After students have created a print, give each one a paper plate “palate” with a blob of red, yellow, blue, black, and white tempera paint, a paint brush, and a cup of water, and a napkin.  Show them how to mix paints on their palate to make more colors.  Show them how to rinse and wipe their brush before using a new color.

Click PRINTING PRESS PORTRAIT to view or print the pattern and instructions for this craft.


Stained Glass Ornament

Colorful Light

The stained glass windows in Gothic cathedrals were created to tell religious stories.  Each window was a scene of the life of a saint.  The colorful glass windows were lit up by the sun, which made the scene glow inside the cathedral.

A rose window is a round stained glass window used in Gothic architecture.   The glass pattern is repeated to make a symmetrical design.

The rose window was the inspiration for this stained glass ornament craft.  Click “stained glass ornament” to get the pattern.

*If you want to make this craft with younger students,  use only 2 of the circles and one piece of tissue paper to make a flat ornament.


Spinning Top Toy

Middle Ages Spinning Top Toy Craft
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From excavations of Medieval sites and from picture evidence, we know that the children of the Middle Ages liked to play with toys, just like kids today.  They played with tops, balls, hoops, and kites.  Small animal or human shaped toys were carved out of wood.  Kids walked on stilts.  They played tug o’ war.

Girls had dolls and dishes.  Boys had military toys and small toy knights made of metal.

The spinning top toys of the Middle Ages were carved out of wood.  This spinning top craft can be made with one wooden toothpick and strips of paper.  You just keep wrapping the strips around the toothpick to make a large cylinder.  When you have wrapped the last strip, glue the loose end to keep the cylinder tight.  Then you can spin your top.  Click to get the pattern and instructions for Middle Ages Top Toy.

Mosaic Bowl

Mosaic Bowl Craft


The art of gluing pieces of stone or glass onto a surface to make beautiful mosaics was very popular during this period of time.  The famous building, Hagia Sophia, was built during the reign of Emperor Justinian.  Giant mosaics were created on the walls of the ancient church.  The mosaics had religious themes.  They were designed to give the viewer a look into the spiritual world.

Make your own Byzantine mosaic bowl.  Click MOSAIC BOWL to get the pattern and instructions for this craft.  Older students can attempt to make a picture on their bowl.  The process takes a lot of time, but it will give the students an idea of how difficult it would be to cut small pieces of glass to make a mosaic.  Younger students can randomly glue colored paper squares onto the bowl pattern.

Laurel Wreath

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A laurel wreath is a crown made of branches and leaves.  In Ancient Greece, it was given to people who won various competitions in sports or writing.  The wreaths were also worn by important people, like Roman Emperors. 

When you hear the old phrase, “resting on one’s laurels,” it means that someone has done something amazing in their past (something wreath-worthy), and is relying on those accomplishments to represent them in the present.

Make your own laurel wreath crown.  Click LAUREL WREATH to get the pattern and instructions for this craft.

*We used BIC permanent markers to color the laurel wreath in the picture.  If you want to make a silver or gold wreath, you could use spray paint.

Click this link to go to Zing-Zoom Magical History Tour – Ancient Greek and Roman history. You’ll find more information, crafts, and games.