Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Tin Foil Mosaic

A common concern that keeps parents from crafting with their kids is a perceived lack of crafting materials. The price of crafts, and the space required to store them, can keep many adults from initiating projects. To paraphrase the award-winning photographer Chase Jarvis, the best art supplies are the ones that are with you. Simple household items, like tinfoil and sharpies, can transform into colorful mosaics and beautiful displays of pattern. This project works well with a glue gun, but if you don’t own one you can get similar results using yarn, pipe cleaners, twine or any thick string*.


One of the advantages of this craft is that it’s very flexible and works with simple forms as well as more intricate designs. Try to keep the forms large, however, as smaller details are harder to expose in the relief. For more complex images, increasing the size of your canvas will make it easier to color without ripping the foil.



Stiff cardboard or a cake bottom
Tin foil
Permanent markers
Glue gun OR yarn/pipe cleaners/twine


Remember to cover your work surface (and children!) when using permanent markers.

Sketch or have your child draw a design onto a piece of cardboard in your desired size.

Carefully outline your image with a glue gun. You’ll need several glue sticks, so have those readily available.

Wrap the canvas in tin foil, matte side up, carefully smoothing as you go, and lightly pressing into the exposed designs.

Hand over the sharpies and encourage the artist to leave the lifted portions uncolored. This will make the image pop.

*If using yarn, pipe cleaners, or twine, randomly make half-inch cuts along all four sides of your cardboard.  Begin by taping down the loose side of your string and then wrap the string around your canvas, making sure to slot it into your prepared cuts as you go. Continue until you are happy with your pattern. Cover with foil and continue as above.


Cardboard Tube Marionettes

Behold the cardboard tube; the tabula rasa of the craft community. There is a seemingly endless amount of adorable, low maintenance toilet paper roll crafts, but for this project I wanted the end result to be functional as well as cute – something that would keep little hands busy even after the creating fun was done. Don’t be afraid to experiment with various characters, animals or even abstract designs, these marionettes are completely customizable.


Flexible cardboard tubes such as toilet paper or paper towel rolls
String (use fishing wire for an invisible effect)
2 sticks for fashioning the marionette holder
Beads or natural elements for weighing down marionette limbs
A needle or small hole-puncher



Glue gun and glue sticks (makes drying time quicker)
Markers, crayons or paint
Decorative paper or tape
Pom poms, felt, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, etc. for spicing up your creation


General instructions:

Allow your artist to decorate the cardboard tubes, preparing enough cardboard for the marionette head and body.

Cut out additional features such as ears, noses or tails.

Tie or glue the sticks together to form a plus sign.


For horizontal characters:

Punch 4x (or more!) holes on the bottom part of the body tube for the legs.

Thread your strings through the leg holes, adding decorative pieces and weights to the feet. Knot at each end.

On the upper part of the body tube punch two additional holes.

Thread a long string through the back hole and tie/glue to the prepared sticks.

Thread the second string through the front hole, then run it through the head tube, adjusting the height of the head as needed. Tie/glue the end of the string to the opposite side of the prepared sticks.


For vertical characters:

Punch holes on the bottom of the body for feet; repeat on the sides for arms.

Thread your strings through the leg holes, adding decorative pieces and weights to the feet. Knot at each end.

Thread two long pieces of string through the armholes and tie on the inner part of the tube.

Add decorative pieces and weights to form hands, then tie the string end-pieces the prepared sticks.

On the upper part of the body tube punch two additional holes to attach the head.

Run a long string through both holes, then run both ends of the string through the head tube and secure to the prepared sticks.

Stand back and watch your little puppet master!


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