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Cleaning out the Cobwebs—Crafts from Around the World

Recently, the education department undertook an inventory of all supplies. We uncovered many exciting things including feather boas, costumes, yarn and tons of sparkles. In amongst all of these things were arts and crafts projects from around the world that we had done with day camps, school programs and exhibitions, many of which I had forgotten about. The crafts brought back warm memories of fun days with children and paints. Try a few out with your little ones or students or have a craft night with your friends! Whenever we make crafts, our goal is that students will create something their parents will be proud to display in their homes regardless of skill, age or cost.



A small yellow drum with black designs at the top and bottom sits in front of a brick wall.



  • Styrofoam or plastic cups (2 per drum) (You can get biodegradable “plastic” cups made out of corn for a more environmentally friendly version.)
  • Masking tape
  • Hot glue/glue gun
  • Shoe polish or brown paint (You may wish to stick to non-toxic tempra paint for small children. Although the shoe polish looks the best, it also smells, stains and can be toxic.)
  • Permanent markers
  • String


  • Hot glue two cups together at the narrow end.
  • Using masking tape, wrap the tape around the cups. Place several layers of overlapping tape over the opening to create the drum head. Keep the tape good and tight for a good sound. You can have either a one-headed or two-headed drum depending on your preference. Real Djembes only have one head.
  • Once the entire thing is covered in tape, put paint or shoe polish onto a rag (small amounts at a time) and rub it over the tape in thin layers to create a wood grain effect.
  • Let dry completely.
  • Using permanent markers (black shows up best, but any colour will do), decorate your drum with designs. Be creative!
  • If desired, tie a string around the middle of your drum and tie a loop so the drum can be hung up or worn around the neck or over the shoulder.
  • Play the drum! Experiment with different finger taps and listen to African music for groovy rhythms.

For more on Djembes and other West African drums, visit



A door hanger with colorfully painted drawings in the style of Egyptian hieroglyphics.



  • Canvas board
  • Beige, orange and/or yellow paint
  • Permanent markers
  • White glue or Podge medium
  • Paper colour-printed hieroglyph letters (many options available online)
  • Hot glue/glue gun
  • String


  • Paint canvas board to look like papyrus. A good way to do this is to put down a layer of beige paint followed by a dry brush (load a dry flat brush with a small amount of paint and wipe excess onto a paper towel or scrap of paper until a scratchy appearance is achieved. Apply to canvas in broad, long strokes.) This will provide a reedy woven look.
  • Allow to fully dry.
  • Lay out your hieroglyphs to spell the desired words. Above says “Elisabeth.” You could also say “Jen’s Room” or “Keep Out.”
  • Glue the letters to the board.
  • Decorate the board with permanent marker designs of your choice. Look at ancient Egyptian artifacts for inspiration.
  • Apply a mixture of white glue with a small bit of water (to make it spreadable) or podge medium with an old, clean paintbrush to the entire surface to seal the hieroglyphs.
  • Allow to dry fully.
  • With hot glue, attach a string to the back of the canvas at the top two corners. Leave enough slack to hang your board in the desired location. We suggest over a door knob.

For more on hieroglyphs, see



We learned our lesson the hard way. White school glue can go bad…very bad. If you have glue that is more than a year old and is no longer sealed, check it out before you count on it for your next special project. You may get a not so special surprise.


What could you make?

Some of the craft supplies in our inventory that we had the most of: tape, white glue, paint, sparkles and gems, paper, string, and wood shapes/popsicle sticks. What world crafts would you make with these supplies?

To discover more creative world crafts, click here.