Posts Tagged ‘MOPS creative activities’

Our final MOPS creative activity of the year was these concrete garden stones.  I can’t say yet for sure how they all turned out, since I can’t take off the frames and until Friday.  But I think they should be great!

Update- they DID turn out great!


The concept for this is taken from a “Sunset” Book called “Decorative Concrete” for a reverse pebble mosaic.  This is a good intro to basic concepts of concrete without having to worry about finishing the concrete surface or hurrying to get your designs in place.

You will need a form, sand, pebbles/marbles/shells/other embeddable objects, and bagged concrete mix (Get the 5000 lb mix), plus water, a bucket to mix in, and a container for measuring (mine is a 3 cup cottage cheese container).

It’s ideal to make these outside or in an unfinished area, just because concrete can be messy.  But if you’re careful, it can easily be done indoors.  We ended up inside on carpet with 13 women making 2 a piece this morning, and I had almost nothing to clean off the floor (thank you for being neat, ladies!).  If outdoors and there’s a threat of rain while it’s curing, you can cover your concrete with plastic.  If it’s freezing, or going to freeze overnight, make it inside.

The first step is to make your form.  I’ve chosen to make 12″ square garden stones, so there are 2 pieces of wood 12″ long and 2 pieces 13 1/2″ long.  These are ripped from 2×4 stock.  The dimensions of the ripped profile is 3/4″ by 1 1/2″.

All volumes that I give for materials will be measured for filling this size form.  If you alter the dimensions, realize the volume of the form will change, so amounts of sand, concrete, and water will also change.

Because of the small size of the wood, it is best to pre-drill a pilot hole for screws to go in to prevent splitting.  The bonus is that this will be a re-usable form.  The alternative is to nail together with finish nails (regular nails will also likely cause the wood to split).  So- pre-drill a hole slightly smaller in diameter than your screws will be in both ends of the longer pieces of wood.  I used a 3/32 drill bit.  Or skip the pilot holes and chance it 😉

Once the holes are drilled, assemble the frame.  The long pieces overlap the short pieces.  Then insert screws to secure it.  You can “start” the screws so they’re most of the way through the pilot holes before you attach it to the shorter piece for easier assembly.

My screws are a little over an inch to 1 1/2″ long.

The Second Step is to prepare the form.  (Or MOPS CA starts here- I had forms already made and instructions written on a dry erase board for easy reference.) Place it on a scrap of plastic that is larger than the form.  It should be resting on a flat surface (floor, sturdy table, etc).  Then put a layer of sand in the bottom of the form.  This should be a thin layer, evenly spread to cover the entire bottom (plastic) of the form.  I used a 24 oz cottage cheese container for measuring- it holds 3 cups.  I used about 3/4 of a container of sand, or roughly 2 1/2 cups.  You will be pressing the decorative mosaic elements into this sand, and they will stick above the finished concrete as far as they’re pushed into the sand.


The Third Step is to make your mosaic.  Gather your embeddable objects The thinner the object, the less likely it will adhere properly in the end.  Insert whatever decorative elements you want to be visible on the stone into the sand.  I used a rough figure of  one 1-2 pound bag of stones/marbles for every 2 garden blocks.  Your mileage will vary.

Large pieces will have to be worked down into the sand and the sand re-smoothed before continuing (do these first if using).   Gently press your objects into the sand in a design of your choosing.  Remember that the further they are pressed into the sand, the further they will stick out of the finished block.


A few things to remember: 1)  Your image will be reversed.  If you’re making a monogram, or word, keep this in mind- the letter must be mirror image and the word needs to be written right to left, not left to right.  2) The surface you will see when done must go into the sand- do not put the side you want to see towards you, or it will be encased in concrete.  3) The sand around the objects cannot be “banked” up or over the edges of the objects inserted.

Anywhere the sand is, the concrete will NOT be when finished.  You want your objects to be securely adhered to the concrete.  If the sand was smoothed up to the back surface of my tile in the above picture, it would make a channel in the concrete when finished. You don’t want a gap or channel next to these objects.  That gap would create a place for water to get in and freeze (f you’re in cooler climates like me), then expand, and the freeze/thaw cycle will damage your finished stone, eventually destroying it.

Once you have your mosaic completed, it’s time for step number Four.

In Step Number Four you will be mixing your concrete and putting it in the form.

Detail note if you’re seeing a discrepancy in the picture:  The concrete I used for this example was 4000 lb.  mix.  It was difficult to get the concrete to be flow-able enough without adding too much water.  For our CA we ended up using 4 scoops of concrete mix plus a scoop of sand/portland blend (50/50).  The easier thing to do would be to get 5000 lb concrete mix (stronger concrete- it already has more portland in it), use 4 scoops of concrete mix plus 1 scoop of sand.  A sand based bagged concrete mix is also available, but hubby says it’s not strong enough… ::)

Again using my cottage cheese container, I measured out 4 (full) scoops (12 cups) of dry concrete mix into a bucket.  Then I added 1 (full) scoop (3 cups) of sand and 1 (full) scoop (3 cups) of water to the dry mix.  (One 80 lb bag of concrete mix should make about 7 stones).  I used a gloved hand or a trowel to mix the concrete.  Mix until thoroughly combined- check the corners for dry bits.  It should be fairly firm- easy to get clumps of concrete in your hand.  If it’s really too dry, you can add a small amount more water.  You do NOT want too much water and a soupy concrete mix.  Too much water weakens the concrete, and could possibly cause problems with the sand where the objects have been placed.

Add your clumps of concrete by handfuls to your form.  CAREFULLY set the concrete on top of your mosaic design so it doesn’t shift.  Cover designs first, then fill in any gaps.


Once there’s a layer of concrete on everything and your form is mostly filled, you can pat the surface. This vibrates the mixture and allows it to settle into the holes, cracks, and crevices to ensure there won’t be gaps in your final surface.

Keep patting and gently pushing the high spots of the concrete around with your hands.  Make sure the concrete is well worked into the corners and along the edges of the form.  It’s fine to do this in stages- put a little in, work it down, repeat.  If you don’t get it worked in well, you’ll have this happen:

The edge is rounded over and lumpy.  Still okay, but not as nice as it could have been, because the concrete did not get down into the edge of the form next to the sand.

It’s also fine to use a hammer to pound a bit on the top edge of the wooden form.  This helps to vibrate the concrete and get it worked down into those edges.  A palm sander does the same trick, only even nicer.

The Final Step is to even off this top (someday bottom) surface of the concrete.  You should have it already fairly even form the patting with your hands.  Now we’ll take a stick to “screed” off the surface to make sure it’s even and basically smooth.  The screed stick rests on both sides of the wooden form.  It is slid back and forth across the surface of the concrete, still resting on the side pieces of wood on the form.  At the same time, it’s slowly drawn across to the other side of the form.  So- “saw” the stick back and forth and SLOWLY pull it across the surface.  All that jiggling from the “sawing” motion allows the surface to be smoothed s you pull the extra concrete off of it.

If you get a gap where the screed has passed by (1st pic), take a bit from the extra in front of the screed, fill in the hole (pic 2), back up, and re-screed that area.


Continue across the entire surface of the concrete, scraping the extra off the edge of the form.

Dispose of the extra.  It will harden and cannot be re-used (unless it is used for another purpose right away).

Now for clean up.  Wash off/out anything you want to re-use.  Extra concrete can be scraped out of buckets and thrown in the garbage or outside (depending on where you live… Water it down if you throw it outside for less permanent mess).  The wash/rinse water from your clean up can be thrown outside.

Go put some lotion on your hands- concrete is pretty rough on them.  The solid lotion bars we made on Spa day work wonderfully for this!

You must be PATIENT and wait for your concrete to set up.  It will be solid within the day, but it is still very fragile and “green”- do NOT remove the forms yet.  Also know that if yo touch the surface of the concrete as it cures, it may feel warm- that’s a chemical reaction thing in the concrete- no worries.  Wait 48 hours before taking out the screws that hold the form together.

Once the screws are removed, the wood pieces can be pulled away from the block and the block can be flipped over.


Brush off the extra sand and see what you made!


The block should not be put outside in the weather for a week and if it will be used for weight bearing (sidewalk blocks, etc), it should be allowed to fully cure for 28 days.  A sealer can be applied if desired after the 28 days.  The stone below is one I made about a year ago and we sprayed part of it with a sealer to see how it would look.  These stones were not polished like the ones above, but with the sealer, they look just as nice- so they’re free instead of paying $1 a bag.

For our MOPS CA, they’re staying at the church until cured.  I’ll take the forms off and they’ll get to take the stones, forms, and screeding sticks home at the next meeting.

Need a print-able for a group project?  Try this:  concrete garden stones take-home sheet


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Our MOPS Creative Activity for April.  Our kids joined us for our MOPS meeting this past Wednesday.  We were doing a MOPS “swap” day- bring your kids stuff (toys, clothes, books, equipment) they’ve outgrown and maternity clothes and take home what you can use.

Before we swapped, we had a trail mix line for a snack- dip a bit of several different snacks out of a bowl and put it in a bag for each kid.  We enjoyed some chat time while the kids snacked and played.

Then we worked together on our Creative Activity- Summer bucket lists.   I got the idea over here at thefoleyfam.

I got sand buckets for a dollar at Michaels and made a simple wrap from paper for them- about half a sheet of paper that slightly curves.  (Your pattern will vary based on your bucket.  Just remember you can’t get the cool castle shaped buckets if you’re putting a wrapper on 😦 )  Everyone decorated the wrap pieces.  Some colored right on the wrapper, some had kids color on paper and cut out shapes to glue on the wrapper. Stickers or paper punch shapes would probably have worked equally well.  (We’ve got part of a sandcastle, a campfire, a wildflower, a book, a kite, a berry, and an ice cream cone here.  I-Spy, anyone?  Colored paper for either the wrapper or the shapes would have been helpful for visibility.)

The wrapper tapes onto the bucket.  You can try glue, but I don’t think it will work well.  (Not that you can see the tape here, but you get a detail of our sandcastle and some random squares/circles)

Then, the list.  The idea is to make a list of things you’d like to do as a family this summer. Go camping, roast marshmallows, catch fireflies, read books, go to the zoo, blow bubbles, go swimming, pick berries, etc. etc.  Some moms wanted to take their list home to consult with their husband and make it a full family decision.  (Great idea!  They just took clothespins with them.  I don’t always think of these things when I trial these crafts at home…)

Once the list is made, write each goal on a clothespin and clip it on the edge of the bucket.  I used a pen to get more letters on, but a sharpie would be suitable as well.  Shorten your phrases and write small.  Remember there’s 2 sides if needed for more detailed goals…


As you complete each activity over the summer, pull the clothespin off and throw it in the bucket.  Fun!

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For MOPS spa day we made these:

I love this stuff!  To use, rub on hands or body.  Also good as a chapstick.  It’s done a good job for me of keeping some eczema at bay that I developed in the past year on my thumb and eyelids (Odd locations- who knows why?!).  I don’t have to worry about continued exposure and potential side effects to the prescribed steroid ointment, and I can use it on my face, unlike the ointment.  I’ve also used it effectively on my kids for diaper/wet underwear overnight rashes.

I gave some for late Christmas presents, and even had some takers when I offered it to my rough working uncles, dad, and grandpa.  I think they’ll really use it for burns from welding and other rough on the skin work- they weren’t just taking it to be nice 😉

Instructions based on a recipe found here at Crunchy Betty.

Very simple, 3 ingredients- beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter.

There’s a recipe at Little House in the Suburbs that I haven’t tried, but it does contain more common ingredients- namely, shortening and vegetable oil instead of coconut oil and shea butter.  Both use beeswax.  I’m not sure how solid the other version would be, or how greasy it may feel.

I used an electric fry pan with water to function as my double boiler for this group craft.  I set it to about 250.  You can also do this in a pan of water on the stovetop or in a (microwave safe) container in the microwave.

The can is a mushroom can- any similar small clean can would work- I wouldn’t recommend glass for this due to temperature change, though.  You can use glass if you’re going to do this in the microwave instead of a double boiler.  I did have to add water over the course of our time at spa day, since the water evaporated relatively fast.  Just don’t add too much, or your cans may tip over!

The stir stick is just a popsicle stick.

I had no trouble lifting the can without a hot mitt, and we had no trouble at our Spa day.  But use caution, your can MAY heat up and could cause a burn if left too long or if the water is particularly hot.


1/4 cup lightly packed grated beeswax.  Mine is straight from the bee keeper, but any kind should work.  I used a peeler to grate off thin pieces of wax, then lightly pressed in a baggie lined measuring cup.


1/4 cup coconut oil.  The “solid at room temperature” oil contributes to the firmness of the final product.  Liquid oils make a very slimy, melty bar.  I did heat the oil in the jar so it was liquid to make it easier to scoop out 1/4 cup for our spa day.  It will still need to be re-melted after adding it to the beeswax since it has such a lower melting temperature.

1/4 cup shea butter.  Mine is natural, unrefined.  This is the only thing I had to buy online- I couldn’t find it at any stores locally.  This scooped beautifully with a trigger icecream scoop into a baggie- the scoop holds 1/4 cup.

Melt the beeswax.  Add the coconut oil and allow all to heat/melt again.  Last, add the shea butter last and keep on heat just until melted.  I’ve run across info that it can get “grainy” if heated too much and too long, but I didn’t experience it myself.  Stir occasionally after each addition.


I took the can off the heat to add items- less chance of dropping extra bits in your water, and it will help with space for a group craft.

Immediately pour into forms- we’re using ice cube trays form the dollar store.  This recipe just fills the silicone one with possibly a touch extra or a touch less.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have them anymore when I went to buy trays, so I just got regular ones, and it didn’t fill the whole tray.  We put names on with a sharpie marker. Let it cool when you’re done.  I put mine in the fridge because I’m impatient.  We had fridge space and did the same for our MOPS spa day.  It doesn’t take that long for them to set up.


Pop them out of the molds once they’re firm.  They pull away from the sides of the molds a bit once they’re fully set.  store in a baggie or wrapped in wax paper.

I didn’t add scent- I love the smell of the beeswax.  But you can if you want to.  Add your scent after everything is melted together before you pour it into the molds, and make sure it’s skin safe.

Here’s what I used as a directions printout for our ladies for spa day:

Lotion bar directions:

Put 1/4 cup (1 baggie) beeswax in can.  Place in hot water bath until melted.  stir occasionally with a popsicle stick.

Remove from heat.  Add 1/4 cup coconut oil.  Return to heat, melt, stir occasionally.

Remove from heat.  Add 1/4 cup (1 baggie) shea butter.  Return to heat JUST until melted, the last bits don’t have to be completely melted on the heat. (You don’t want to overheat the shea butter.)

Remove from heat.  Stir until the last of the shea butter is melted.

Pour into ice cube trays and set aside to firm up.  Can be put in the fridge to speed up the firming process.

Pop out of the ice cube tray and store in a baggie or wrap in wax paper to transport.  Don’t carry it around in your pocket or leave it in your hot car!

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Our February MOPS creative activity was coating/decorating truffles.  We made a bag for ourselves and a bag to give as a gift.  Each bag had 10-2 of each flavor.  Our steering team each made 6 dozen balls and brought them frozen to our meeting.  Then we handed them out on wax papered trays and everyone started decorating- all we had to do was melt the chocolate coatings in the microwave.  Then we waited for the chocolate to set up and bagged them.  Bags were donated from a local flower and candy shop, but I think there were decent valentines themed ones at the dollar store (= inexpensive!)

If you have a particularly soft or sticky truffle, get those done first before they have much time to thaw.  Also, if you’re using the powdered sugar or sweetened cocoa as a cover, be aware they then squish in your bags… Maybe put them in a separate bag?  I think that was the big fail of this project.  And make sure your candy bags are big enough to comfortably hold all those truffles!

Here’s how they turned out- thanks Rachel for sharing the pics!


The following is copied and pasted from my handout.  I spread it into 2 pages-  a directions page and a recipe page.

Coating options:

Powdered sugar or sweetened cocoa– roll truffle in the bowl to coat

Almond bark or candy melts– melt at short intervals in the microwave (or double boiler), stirring as it melts.  Use a fork or toothpick to dip the balls into the chocolate to cover.  Shake off excess/let it drip off, then put it on a piece of wax paper to let the coating set.  It can go in the fridge or freezer to set more quickly.

Leave the toothpick IN for less mess.  remove it after the chocolate sets up.  You can also use a spoon or try 2 popsicle sticks.  Whatever works best for you.

*you can also use chocolate/white chips and add a bit of shortening to help it “flow”.  DON’T add water- it can cause the chocolate to “seize”

Add garnishes before the chocolate sets.  Sprinkles, colored sugar, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, orange zest, etc

“Pipe” on swirls, flowers, leaves, dots, etc. of melted chocolate/almond bark With cake decorating bags or squeeze bottles.  Put melted chocolate in the bags as you would frosting/icing.  If it cools and needs to be re-melted, make sure to take off any metal tips before putting it in the microwave, and heat carefully/slowly to prevent overheating the bag or container.  You can also use a baggie and cut off the corner if you don’t have cake decorating supplies, or just drizzle another color chocolate with a spoon.

Recipes:  Here’s the quick version of each, a few have some modifications.  Follow the link for complete/original recipes.

Cookie dough trufflescream 1/2 c softened butter and 3/4 c packed brown sugar until light and fluffy.  add 1 t vanilla.  gradually add 2 c flour and 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk- alternating and beating well after each addition.  Stir in 1/2 c mini chocolate chips and 1/2 c chopped walnuts.  Shape into 1″ balls and freeze.  Coat.  5 1/2 dozen

Cake balls bake a cake mix as usual.  After cooling about 10 min, dump cake into large bowl, break up into chunks to cool.  after 1/2 hr, dump in 1 can of frosting (any flavor).  Mix completely, cover and cool 2-3 hrs or overnight.  Roll into 1″ balls, chill several hours.   Coat.

Lemon White chocolate truffles– makes about 2 dozen

Melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 c white chocolate, and 3 Tablespoons of heavy cream in the microwave or in a double boiler.  Stir until smooth.  Add a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of lemon extract.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.  It should be handle-able then.  Form it into 1 inch balls and freeze.  Coat.

Peppermint patties– one batch of this recipe should make the 6 dozen.  A can of sweetened condensed milk, 1 Tablespoon of peppermint flavoring, and 6 cups of powdered sugar, mix/knead it, then roll it into balls and pop it in the freezer.  Coat.

Oreo balls– 1 package of double stuffed ores (or fakes) and 4 to 8 oz of cream cheese.  Chop of the oreos fine- a food processor makes quick work of it.  Mash the softened cream cheese and oreos until well combined.  Roll into 1″ balls and freeze.  3 dozen (I think)

Some bonus recipes (we only made the first 5 for our decorating day)

chocolate cream cheese balls– this recipe makes 36.  These are a tad messier to roll.  I kept a light coating of oil on my hands and that worked for me to form them.  It’s just 8 oz of cream cheese, softened, and then you add 8 oz of melted chocolate chips.  Chill in the fridge for an hour or so, then form into balls and freeze.  Coat

chocolate orange truffles 2 c crushed vanilla wafer cookies, 2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 c cornstarch, 1/2 c butter (melted and cooled), 1/2 c orange juice concentrate, thawed, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and a dash of ginger (not a big deal if you don’t have it- just skip).  Mix it all, chill an hour, roll into 1″ balls and freezer.  It’s supposed to make 4-5 dozen.

Butterfinger balls– 1 pound of candy corn melted in the microwave and add 1 c peanut butter.  When it’s cool enough to handle, form it into balls and pop it in the freezer.  Not certain how many balls this would make… I’m sure at least 2 dozen, maybe 3… I’ve never actually made them into balls, just bars.

More to try at our pinterest “candy” board if you’re looking for ideas!

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Our MOPS 4th Wednesday activity today was make ahead meals.  We make one for that evening’s meal and one to put in the freezer (or fridge) and use another day.  There’s more recipes of meals we’ve made in the past for this in the recipes tab.

The meal for tonight’s use is a broccoli, chicken, and cheese braid in crescent roll dough.  Everyone made two braids to take home.  One braid will just barely feed 4 with a side of salad. Note:  I don’t know if this dish will freeze well.  I’m trying it with an extra braid and will report back if it worked or didn’t work later!

ETA:  We pulled it out of the freezer and baked it up.  It worked fine and tasted about the same to me.

The freezer meal is Tatertot casserole.

Recipes are below.

A few details.  For group logistics:  We have no childcare on 4th wednesdays.  We break into 2 groups, half do meals while the other half watches kids and we switch part way through.  We figure the same time frame and day of the week as we usually meet for MOPS, since everyone should be free then.

We cook the meat ahead of time, since that takes a long time to do.  We have a sign up list so we know how much to purchase for ingredients, and we ask for money to reimburse the cost of ingredients.  We’ve done $10 for the two meals and that mostly covers it.

I printed off the recipes for everyone to follow and take home.

An explanation on the braids:  There’s (at least) two ways to do this.  Pics of the two methods are here, since this can be the confusing part from just written directions.  NEITHER way will completely cover the filling.  It will ooze a bit in baking.

Method 1:  Lay the crescent roll dough as pictured.  After the filling is in, pull the corners of the crescent rolls up over the filling.  Overlap so they stick to each other.


Method 2:  Lay the crescent rolls on your baking sheet as shown.  Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to flatten and blend the edges of the crescent rolls together.  I spread mine to fit my baking sheet (Note this is a smaller baking sheet, not a huge one!  The rolls are straight from the tube in the first photo, so there’s not a huge distance for them to stretch.)  Put your filling in the center as above, then cut slits in the edge  of the dough.  The paper has lines drawn in the same way that I cut slits in the dough.  It’s the same way I do my Stromboli.  Then fold them across the filling.  Overlap so they stick to each other.


Substitutions: you can use bread dough instead of crescent rolls, corn instead of green beans, cream of celery soup instead of cream of mushroom, or mashed potatoes in place of tater tots.  Make it flex to your tastes and ingredients.

Here’s the recipes- copy and paste to make your own printouts.

Chicken, broccoli, and cheese braid

1 8 oz tube crescent rolls-

4 oz velveeta/processed cheese, cubed

1 c cooked cubed chicken

2 c cooked broccoli

You are going to make 2 of these.  Each braid gets the above ingredients.

Put a piece of foil on the cookie sheet.

Spread one tube of crescent rolls out on the foil.  Flatten, stretch, and “fix” the seams.  Place on the center line of the dough the cooked chicken, broccoli, and cubed cheese.  Cut strips in the crescent roll base from both sides.  Pull strips of crescent roll over the top of the filling- it will NOT fully enclose it.

Pull the braid off the sheet with the foil, repeat with a second braid.

Baking:  375 for 15-20 minutes- ’til golden brown crust and heated through.

Tatertot Casserole

Layer in a 9×13 pan:

1 lb cooked ground beef (approx. 3 cups)

1 can of green beans, drained

1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted.  spread this over the top of the other ingredients, and use a bit of water to rinse the can, if desired.

onions/onion flakes if desired

6 pieces of sliced cheese, or sprinkle with shredded cheddar, your choice.

Top with 1 1/2 lb of tater tots (3/4 of a 2 lb bag)

Baking:  350 until heated through.

This dish is freezer friendly and can go directly from the freezer to the oven!

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Colder weather is here, and scarves are gaining some appeal to me.  Here’s a collection of 8 variations of T-shirt scarves, all are NO SEW for those of you that don’t get along with sewing machines!  Some are tutorials I found and tried, others are tutorials I made up for you.  The pictures below include my trial of the scarf as well as a picture from the source for each.  Enjoy!

ETA- HERE  is my collection of no sew T-shirt flowers to go with your scarf!

Note:  Most of these work best with a seamless T-shirt tube.  Look to see if there is a seam between the armpit and the bottom of the shirt at the side.  You want the kind without that seam.  The others can work, but you need to monkey a little more to hide the seam or it doesn’t look as good.  The best way I’ve found to hide the seam is to glue the two exposed edges together making the seam hide inside the tube.  THis works okay for the braids and the big loops, but anything requiring a bunch of skinny loops is going to take a lot of fussing to do it this way.

I tried the first 5 from tutorials found elsewhere (click on links for more details):

Variation 1:  plate swirl- so quick and easy, and cute!  The tutorial I followed is here, the picture below is hers.  I walked into our MOPS steering meeting with mine on and found our “not crafty” fearless leader showing some of our other steering members the one she had made- no phone calls to coordinate it!  I used a smaller plate and wished it had been a bigger one.  Mine was also only 6 circles.  A few more look nicer to me, but it’s personal preference.  ETA- I tried the longer length and surprised myself my NOT liking it as well.  I salvaged the longer strips with my updated option below, which also allows you to use a smaller shirt.


My only modification was a band to hold all the spiral strips together in the back.  Just a 4×6 or so scrap of T-shirt.  Begin to wrap the scrap around the strips.  Use a fabric glue or glue gun to start securing it.  Roll the scrap the rest of the way around.  Glue 1 more time while wrapping, then secure the edge of the scrap with a final bit of glue.

ETA:  Here’s a few more pictures of the process.  It was brought to my attention that it might be difficult to understand some of the steps in the tutorial above for some people.

You put a plate on the shirt and trace around it.  Then you cut the circle out and cut the circle into a spiral.  I drew lines on this circle with chalk so you could see.  You don’t have to draw the line on, but if it helps you, do it!


My salvage/smaller shirt option: This scarf used only one ladies size large casual T-shirt.  It is 3 plate circles that were thinly spiraled and cut in half (equals 6 spiral strips total).  More ideally, I would have used 4-6 smaller plates cut out and spiraled.  Rather than wrapping all the strips around my neck and tying, I made a collar strip from the T-shirt.  It was about 4″ wide and as long as the T-shirt from side seam to side seam.  I glued the two short ends together and knotted the spiral strips over this glued seam to cover it.  


Variation 2:  Simple loop with flower.  The tutorial, including how to ombre dye it is here.  Super simple.  Just a chunk of T-shirt- the portion between the armpits and the bottom seam.  Take that big loop and stretch it.  The more you can stretch, the longer it gets.  I stretched an XL and thought it was too long, so I had to pull the fabric the other way a bit to take out some of the length.  A flower makes this one cute.  I’ll try to get a post up soon of the T-shirt flowers I tried.


Variation 3:  infinity ringlets- easy, but a bit more time consuming.  The tutorial and pics of several other versions is here.  Using that tube section between the armpits and the bottom seam, cut long, skinny loops.  Stretch them to make the fabric edges curl, then loop them around your hand several times.  The more you loop, the shorter and “chunkier” the scarf links will be.  Mine are looped 6 times, and I used 16 loops.  You set the loops aside neatly (and separated, don’t try to stack them, or you’ll get a confused jumble of loops!)  use some scrap of the shirt you have left to cut little ties.  Roughly 1/2″ wide and 4 inches long, and stretch.  Tie the ringlets together with a square not (right over left, left over right).  If you use a granny knot, it will pull apart under stress.  You can use different colors and leave the end open or connect them all.  There’s pics of lots of variations at the site I found this, including the next one.  I thought I could get away with some printing on the fabric, but I was wrong.  If you have a print, make sure you’re okay with it showing- not a class T-shirt from the next town over with names you don’t know.


Variation 4:  “mane” version- has a chain of ringlets like above, but then has extra strips added. The description is here.  My color combo is a bit bizarre- it’s what scraps I had to work with at the time.  My husband also said he would NOT be seen in public with me if I wore it, and it was something that should be given to our girls for dress up.  However, if you’ve got a more daring sense of fashion, it could be neat.


Variation 5:  fringe- get that chunk between the armpit and the bottom seam again, and cut the bottom half or so into fringe.  The idea came from here.  Choose a shirt size that you will like the total length if it will be one ring, or plan to tie off part of it (with an odd, overgrown rolled flower that looks like a lollipop…).  Again, odd color shirt, and that fringe look, and hubby said he wouldn’t be seen with me in it 😛


I made up the next two based on pictures.  The braid and loop has a few tutorials, including the one here and here, but they require sewing, and I wanted a no-sew version for my lovely MOPS ladies to try (most of them are, I think, deathly afraid of a sewing machine, and not very interested in a needle and thread, either)

Variation 6:  Braids and big loop


This is done in 3 parts.  You will likely need at least 2 shirts, maybe 3, or at least some scraps from another shirt.  Try to make sure they are similar sizes.  There is some stretch forgiveness, and there is some shortening that occurs with the braiding.  You just don’t want to start out with drastically different sized shirts!  Same colors or mix them up, your choice.

Part 1:  On the first shirt:  cut the tube between the armpit and the bottom seam.  stretch. This is your loop section of the scarf.

Part 2:  On a second shirt:  Cut the tube section  below the armpit, then cut the tube into 3 even sized loops.  Stretch.  Put the loops together, step on one end of the loops with your foot.

Then hold the other 3 in your hands, stretching the loops.  Braid- the loops sit on your hands and you pass them back and forth.  It causes both sides of the loops to braid together at the same time.

Don’t worry that the bottom isn’t a tight braid, but do pull the loops out to the sides as you go to snug up the braids.

Continue until your braids meet at your hands.

Slip a scrap from the t-shirt between the loops- 2 loops above the scrap, 1 below.

Tie the scrap around the 2 loops with a square knot (right over left, left over right) so it won’t slip.

Weave the ends of the scrap into the braid so it’s hidden.  Can you see where it’s tied off?  More noticeable is the big bumps from my “fixed” seams, since I didn’t use a seamless T-shirt.  The tie off and weave in is to the right of the big bumps.

Switch the loop/braid around so that you step on the scrap you just put in.  Finish the braid on the now top side and repeat the scrap to tie off the braid and weave in the ends.  Section 2 done!  Whew!

Part 3:  from a 3rd shirt, or scraps from the above shirts, cut 3 narrower loops and repeat the braiding from part 2 for a slender braid.

Now, gather all 3 parts, cut another scrap of T-shirt, approx. 4″x6″.  Begin to wrap the scrap around the 3 parts.  Put in a line of glue to hold the scrap on.  Continue to wrap around, tightly, to secure all 3 together with a smooth band.  Glue 1-2 more times to get it to lay flat as you wrap and secure the end.

It’s long.  There will likely be a bit of variation in the lengths of your 3 loops/braids.  It’s okay, as long as it’s not drastic.  Now just wrap to wear.

ETA:  I realized in searching for many T-shirts for a group project that it’s hard to come up with large quantities of XL or larger T-shirts that don’t have side seams.  I did run across a bunch that where Mediums and Smalls.  So here’s a picture of one I made that is a single loop and is worn a bit longer,  made from the medium size shirts in the same method as the one above.  It still could double around my neck, but felt about like a snug turtleneck (too tight for me, but some might like it).  Of course, you could make it even shorter using size small our youth size t-shirts, and if you want it to be chunkier, you can add some more layers of braids or loops.  

Variation 7:  Half braid with loops.  I saw it on pinterest, (no tutorial, it was on Etsy and now it’s gone), and wanted to make a no sew version.  Like Part 2 of the braid and loop above- cut the tube into 3 even sections.  Repeat the braid, but only on one side- don’t flip it over to complete the braid.  Tie off where the braid meets and weave in the ends.  TIghten your braid to desired look, secure the end with another small scrap and weave in the ends. You can cut one, two, or all three of the unbraided section into smaller loops.  I cut two of them into 7 strands each. Stretch to curl the edges.  Cut carefully.  They could be cut at the beginning, but then you have to braid with all those little strands.  Pick your poison.


And this one’s my own creation- at least I haven’t knowingly seen anything like it out there yet.

Variation 8:  Faux braids:  This looks a lot like a braid, but is a series of slits cut and connected to each other in a chain stitch.

It reminds me of crochet, and if you have a crochet hook, it will help make small chains go quicker and easier.  Bigger chains are made by using wider spaced slits.  Just be aware that wider spaced slits also gather the fabric more quickly.  So that size large T-shirt loop ends up fitting closely around your neck.  To keep it looser, either pick a bigger T-shirt loop or make smaller chains.  THe length of the slit also affects how much the chain gathers.  You need it long enough to complete the chain pull through process, but if they’re too long, you get gaping holes.  I cut a few on the short side and see how they work, then adjust larger as necessary.  You can also lengthen after the chain is done if necessary, but it’s a little more difficult.  I did this with the top chain since it was a bit too snug, and it loosened just enough to be comfortable.

(Somehow I overlooked adding the pics of the steps below before, so here they are now.)

So, I cut wide placed slits (approx 1 1/2-2 inches apart, same slot length) in my tube.  I repeated this step in 2 rows- one was centered, the other was at the top edge.  Start with one “tab”.  Pull it over the next tab.  lift the next tab from under the first tab.  Now pull it overtop of the first tab and over the 3rd tab in line.  Pull the 3rd tab over the second tab.  Repeat all the way around the tube.


The last tab is snipped in the center (pic 1) and only one half of the tab goes through the first tab (pic 2).  Tie the two halves in a square knot- right over left, left over right- so it won’t slip out (pic 3).  Repeat for the other large chain.  Check your fit as you progress to see if you need to cut slits longer to loosen the chain or lengthen the finished product a bit.


The bottom edge I did small slits closely placed (approx. 3/8″ wide with 3/4″ slit length).  I did an asymmetrical edge.  You could do a simple straight bottom edge.  This is where the crochet hook comes in especially handy.   Repeat what was done for the large chains, but use the hook for lifting the tabs.

We’ll be making scarves from these options for our next MOPS meeting, so any of my MOPS moms, enjoy the sneak peak!

And for those of you wondering about my model, she’s my double, made with a close friend and some sticky back packing tape.  Here’s directions on how to make your own.

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I’m behind the ball as usual, but I’ll post it in case anyone else can gather some inspiration from it.

We made lanyards out of ribbon, a round key chain, and a clip.  Our ribbon length is 30″ and a small safety pin secures it in the lanyard shape.  I had needle and thread for anyone who wanted to stitch theirs, but only had one of 15 take that option.

I picked up plastic sleeves to hold the name tag at Office Max.  I cut 3×4 pieces of scrapbook paper in a variety of prints to glue the puzzle pieces onto.

I used 2 puzzles.  It’s fine if pieces are missing!  The puzzle with larger pieces I glued together for our ladies full names.  I put mine together and glued every other seam together.

I painted the backs in 3 colors for choice/personalization.  Painting on the front and on the glue doesn’t work well.  The smaller puzzle pieces I painted blue and pink on the back.  These we wrote our children’s first names on- blue for boys, pink for girls.

We wrote names on with sharpies then glued to the scrapbook paper, letting it dry while we made the lanyard part.

Slide the keychain ring onto the ribbon, but keep it close to one end.  The only trick for the lanyard- lay the ribbon flat and bring the two ends together.  Just before attaching (with pin or sewing), flip one end of the ribbon over so wrong sides meet.  This allows the lanyard to rest flat in the front and see the print of the ribbon on both sides rather than the backside of the ribbon showing.

Assemble once the pieces are dry- paper with puzzle pieces into the plastic sleeve, then clip onto the lanyard.

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