© 2003–2024 The Redmond Family. All rights reserved.



First prepare a jar. Set oven to 180C for 10 minutes. Wash jar and dry it. Put jar into oven and turn it off. Leave jar in oven for 1/2 hour then take it out to cool on wooden board. When cool enough to handle, pack in bath crystals.

  • 1 cup coarse rock salt
  • 10 drops essential oil
  • 30 drops food colouring
  1. Mix all together.
  2. Try making 2 separate batches in different colours.
  3. Spoon coloured salts into jar.
  4. Alternate layers in jar.
  5. Seal jar and tie ribbon round top.
  • 1 and 1/2 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • Sieve together till fine powder and well combined.
  • Mix in
  • 1/2 teasp. oil (sweet almond oil if possible)
  • 6 drops of essential oil (perfumed)
  • 10 to 15 drops of food colouring
  1. Mix with fingers until powder stays compressed together.
  2. Oil 4 container moulds and pack powder into moulds with a spoon. Press powder down firmly as it is packed in a little at a time. Neaten top edges. Turn mould over and bang it firmly on a flat surface and slip out bath fizzer.
  3. Let it set for 24 hours. Wrap it in tissue paper and store in small box in cool, dark place.
  4. Do not keep left-over powder in a jar - as it may explode the jar.

Can be transported in the back of a station wagon, easily stored, set up in a few minutes. The cow can jump over the moon.

The witch can fly in on a broom. A cow can jump over the moon. Objects can be moved by the wave of a magic wand. You wear a black glove over your hand.

The audience only sees what is in the beam of light. Can also be used for puppet shows by placing a board across the stage.

Suits children age 9 to 12 best.

Helps children to - Gain dexterity, stabilise actions, improve self-control, perform, use imagination, and gain self-confidence.

Helps Parents to - become involved with children at home and school.

When to do it - It needs to be done when it is dark, so evenings in the winter are best. What is needed to start it? - Four children with a parent each willing to be involved.

  • Large box, blackboard paint & brush trim knife, hot melt glue & gun
  • Black cloth, black mesh or stocking, small curtain.
  • 12cm wide length of wood 2cm thick for stage.
  • Two desk lamps, extension lead.
  • My Black Box is - 1000mm wide, 740mm high, 330mm deep

Performances are best done at night or in a blacked out room, for black box.. Puppets can be done during the day.

Sock puppets are easy to make. Hand puppets can be made in a variety of ways, the easiest I find is to use a handy roll former, and build up the features with plaster.

Well! Puppets you would know about, and Black Box Theatre you probably would not know about. I make my own puppets mostly Glove Puppets or Sock Puppets. The heads of the glove puppets are usually made using a Handy tissue former, toilet roll formers are not long enough, then I Build up the features with Plaster, and add eyes and hair. The costume is held on with a rubber band and a ridge is formed around the neck to prevent it slipping off.

The puppet theatre and black box theatre are one and the same, but a stage is added when used for puppets. The box can be made from a discarded fridge or washing/drying machine box, you can get them for nothing at your local appliance shop, choose a thick walled one. The box is cut in half lengthwise and a slit is cut in each end for the black box, and the inside painted matt black. Two wings are added both sides, each side of the slit.

Black Box Theatre This is magic, a desk lamp is beamed through the slot each side of the theatre. The wings direct the beam across the stage everything behind the beam is black, the puppeteers have black gloves on, the back of the theatre has been cut out and covered in black see through mesh. Objects can be suspended in the beam of light and moved in any direction. The cow can jump over the moon, the plate run away with the spoon, and the witch fly around on her broom. The only limit to black box theatre is your imagination.

The advantage of using a box as a theatre is it can be transported in a station wagon or back of a car, it is all set up ready, and the puppeteers can see what they are doing and see the audience, and it looks like a real theatre in miniature.

The box is also fitted with a curtain across the top and side curtains that pull across. A large piece of black material fitted to the back top of the box to go over the puppeteers. A fold out piece of cardboard behind the slits to prevent stray light from getting behind the box.


For craft ideas try stretching your mind by looking at what you normally throw away and thinking how could I use this? For instance - a cardboard milk carton can be made into a:

  1. Puppet
  2. Decorated box
  3. Gift box for popcorn
  4. Scented birdhouse
  5. Birdfeeder
  6. Fire log - to burn

Puppet - is 10cm high but you will have to cut at 17cm so that you can fold over the top and glue it. Glue a 10cm strip of paper round the front and sides and cut through the carton at 2 and a half cm front and sides for the mouth. Colour the paper, stick on eyes and a small bottle cap for a nose, put three holes in the back for your thumb and two fingers to operate the mouth, and sheepskin or something for the hair.

Popcorn Gift Box - Cover with gift-wrap, fill with popcorn, slit top with a snap off blade knife, push ribbon through and tie in a bow.

Birdhouse - 10cm high at centre, 7cm high at walls but need to be cut another 6 cm higher for roof. Roof top is 12cm by 9cm. Cut a few windows with snap off blade knife, paint it and push a twig in below the front entrance for the bird perch, buy or make a bird. The fence has no posts, just sticks hot glued one above the other. Insert Potpourri for nice smell.

Birdfeeder - Cut out a section of the side at the bottom. Glue on a plastic plate, fill with bird food, push hole into the top join, and suspend from a tree.

Fire log - Fill with envelopes, bills, tissues, etc. Good for fire lighting.


Paint bottom half of a smooth stone black and leave to dry. Paint top half of stone with colours and leave to dry. Stick on eyes.


Cut fish from coloured felt or card. Stick to pale blue paper. Decorate with pieces of lace or paper doilies, and sequins.


Tear newspaper into strips and soak in wallpaper paste, without chemicals or fungicide in it, until completely wet. Layer strips over selected base, such as a balloon or cardboard box. Make 3 or 4 layers depending on the strength required of the finished item. It will take 3 or 4 days to dry before it can be painted or varnished.

Alternative method is to make a pulp. Tear newspaper into pieces and soak in wallpaper paste. Beat until paper is pulped. Drain off any excess paste to leave a thick, not watery, mixture which can be moulded on to a base. This will take a week to dry before being painted.

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups salt
  • 6 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil
  • food colouring optional

Mix all ingredients in large saucepan. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball. Turn out and knead. Dough will keep indefinitely if stored in airtight container in fridge.

Playdough may be cooked in microwave on 100% for 2 minutes, then stir. Microwave a further 1 minute and stir. Another 30 seconds or so may be necessary. Then knead.

The same recipe may be used without cooking it, but use boiling water instead of cold water to mix it.

  • 3/4 cup cornflour
  • 1 and 1/2 cups salt
  • 1 cup water
  • food colouring optional

Mix all together in saucepan and cook over low heat stirring frequently until it becomes solid. Turn out and knead immediately. Form into shapes required and leave 2 days to harden. Make any holes needed for hanging up, before dough hardens. Once hardened it can be painted and decorated.


Build a mountain shape in a sandpit and hollow out top to sit an empty yoghurt pot in it. Half fill pot with vinegar. Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp baking soda and watch the eruption. For coloured lava add powder paint or food colouring to the vinegar.

  • 1 cup soap flakes
  • 4 cups hot water
  • food colouring optional

Dissolve soap flakes in very hot water adding colour if required, green is good, and leave to stand at least an hour. Beat liquid till frothy. This is very slimey to the touch and keeps well in a jar.

  • 2 cups cornflour
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 4 to 5 cups very hot water
  • 1/4 cup soapflakes optional
  • food colouring optional

Mix cornflour and cold water in bowl. Heat other water in saucepan till very hot. Take off the heat and stir in cornflour mixture. Return to the heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and is smooth. Add soap flakes and colour if desired, or pour into 4 cups and colour each differently. More water may be added if mixture is too thick. Use fingerpaint on a washable table, or plastic cloth. Have soapy water and towels handy.

  • 1 cup soap flakes
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • food colouring, paint or dye

Mix ingredients together to form a thick paste. This takes time. Press mixture into moulds such as ice cube trays, or form into small 'sausages'. Leave to set 2 days. Use the crayons in the bath.


Dissolve 1 Tbsp sugar in 3 Tbsp boiling water and add 9 Tbsp liquid detergent. Store 3 days before using to 'cure' mixture. Use wire or twisty ties bent into a loop shape to blow bubbles through. Bubbles float better on a cloudy day rather than a hot, sunny day.


Mix bird seed, dried fruit, rolled oats or wheat into about 250g dripping which has been softened. Press into empty yoghurt containers or cups. Leave in fridge to set. Remove from cups by running hot water quickly over outside of cup and scooping out fat with a knife. Transfer fat to a mesh bag or other container which can be hung up out of reach of cats.


Mix a thin solution of water and icing sugar. Paint it over paper covering it completely. Before it can dry paint a pattern on the paper with coloured paints. This will give a marbled effect on the paper.


Mix 1 teaspoon of powder paint with 2 cups of water and a teaspoon of dishwash liquid. Pour it into a sponge-roll tin or meat dish. Blow bubbles into it with an empty squeezy bottle or drinking straw. Place a piece of paper on top of the bubbles and when removed it will have a marbled pattern on it. Use different colours of paint in different trays for a better effect.


Mix powder paint to a paste with methylated spirits. Half fill a large meat dish or tray with water. Tap a little paint on to the surface of the water. Use different colours for better effect. Gently swirl the colours to create patterns. Place a piece of paper gently on top of the water and remove immediately. Dry on flat surface.


Fold a piece of paper in half, then in half again. Make a curved slit on the inside then pull out the 'beak' to fold the other way and stand out. Paint a face around the 'beak'. Paint the paper under the head so the inside of the mouth shows through as a different colour.

This idea can be adapted for all kinds of animals and people.


Plait raffia or wool to a length of about 30cm. Write quotes and sayings on coloured card. Make a hole in the corner and tie quotes to raffia with ribbon. Hang on a wall.


We are a family of light eaters - when it gets light, we start eating.

This is a self-cleaning kitchen - clean up after yourself.

If Mum ain't happy - ain't nobody happy!

In the morning, somtimes I wake up grumpy - and sometimes I let him sleep in!

It takes as much time to wish as to plan.

Cherish yesterday. Dream tomorrow. Live today

Live well. Laugh often. Love much

Many more quotes will be found in the section Quotes and Quips.


Cover the outside of the shoebox with coloured paper. Choose a suitable picture from a magazine for a 'background' for the inside of the shoebox. Cut slits at the sides of the box. Stick figures cut from magazines, on to straws. Poke the straws through the holes in the box sides and make the people move about on the 'stage.'


Same as above but a fish scene and seaweed in the background and fish on the straws.

  1. Purchase from a stationary or craft shop a 'Craft Pad' or construction pad which has A4 sheets or A3 sheets similar to Copy paper with the value colours. The 'Memo Cubes' 100mm square are easier if you are making a lot of Stars, but you may have to hunt around to get the right colours
    • black
    • white
    • light blue
    • red
    • green
    • orange
    • yellow
    • purple
  2. Cut the paper into 8 squares (A4 cut in half makes 4 - 105mm squares - It is easiest to use a craft knife with snap off blades, and a metal rule).
  3. With the colours in the order above, fold each square in half, and open out again. fold the left hand corners into the centre forming a point.
  4. Fold paper in half again, and with the long side at the top make a fold from half way along the top bringing the top right corner down to the bottom angle and fold. Straighten up the last fold , open the centre fold, and push the right half of the centre fold inward and crease. Your paper should look this shape.
  5. Fold the rest of the squares
  6. With the colours in the correct order, and placed as in the diagram, pick up the Black in your left hand, and the White in your right hand, and insert side b of White into side a of Black between points c and fold in the points of Black over the sides of White and crease. Slide the White to the right as far as it goes, and insert side b of Blue into side a of White and fold in the points.
  7. Proceed with the other colours, and when you join the Purple onto the Black make sure you don't fold the tips over the White which will be in the middle of the Black.
  8. Write in the Values on the appropriate colour around the octagon keeping below the angle, push the sides in to get rid of the hole in the centre and write the Values on the star projections. Stick a label onto the black and write in 'Young women Values'. The First Article of Faith or a favourite scripture can be written on the back.

-- David Redmond - Te Awamutu

© 2003–2024 The Redmond Family. All rights reserved.