Easter Craft Projects
Let these old-fashioned craft ideas be your inspiration for Easter gift-giving.
While the original article title is a little misleading–I wouldn’t exactly call a flatiron a “toy” and can hardly imagine the look on a child’s face to receive such a thing in their Easter basket (the equivalent of coal in a Christmas stocking, I’d say), they do illustrate how resourceful and crafty young people were encouraged to be over 100 years ago, and most likely these diy Easter gifts were intended to be given to parents and grandparents by children and young adults.
Be creative, many of these ideas can be made into modern Easter presents by adapting them to use what we have available today. Skip the cigar box and simply decoupage postage stamps to an unfinished wooden tray, and you’ll have a thoughtful and unique gift that retains the charm of these old-fashioned craft projects.
From Harper’s Young People, February 27, 1894
One of the prettiest customs of the year is the giving of Easter gifts. Unlike Christmas, these presents at Easter-time are never supposed to be expensive. They are rather a little reminder of the happy Easter-time, and a sign from the giver to the receiver that the one is thinking of the other.
Of course there are many different kinds of gifts, and perhaps the most conspicuous are those prepared in the shape of eggs. These are not the only gifts that you can appropriately make for this time of the year. The different presents described here are all easily made, with almost no expense, and very acceptable to those you decide to send them to, because they will be the result of your own labor and thought, and that is the best part of giving.
A handy trifle for the sewing-table, and a most friendly little article to take into the country for the summer outing, is a simple flatiron. Gild the upper part, but leave the face untouched. Wind the handle with a woollen strip covered by a ribbon, or bias strips of fancy silk. In one end of the bow-knot stitch a thimble case, in the other end a place to hold blunt scissors. Choose a heavy iron, and it will be always in use. It will have sewing pinned to the handle for swift running and hemming, or else it will be engaged in pressing sea-moss or flowers, or holding papers together. But very often it will have thimble, scissors, and needles removed, and it will be heated to smooth out ugly wrinkles in cloth, or to dry and pres a sponged spot. It will be absolutely renovate twisted whalebones by dry pressing the bodice or corsets on the wrong side. Use in tailor fashion–that is, bang down the iron firmly, and bear upon it.
To make a pretty bonbon-box get a small wire egg-boiler and a tall round box with a flat circular lid. This box must fit inside the opening of the egg-boiler, reaching from the bottom to the top, so that the box lid lies level with the top of the wire opening. Before placing the box inside, take a sheet of pale green crimped tissue-paper, cut in in half lengthwise, and tie the strips into the form of a Maltese cross. Fasten the tie to the centre of the bottom of the wire frame inside. Spread out the strips inside, pressing them against the wires lightly with cotton wool; in the centre of the wool put the box. Clip the ends of the tissue paper and paste them narrowly inside the box. Sew a pompom of the tissue-paper on the lid, and finish with a narrow hinge of ribbon. Fill the box with bonbons.
The box for stationery is made from a flat cigar box. Take off the lid and front part, fasten them both on in place of the lid, curve off the projecting corners, and sand-paper the box carefully. Set it up on its back, and put in a few lead moulds and sachet powder, covering them with a false bottom of silk-covered pasteboard. Ornament the box with pyrography, or a cluster of postage-stamps varnished, or tie three or four cigar ribbons around the box, fasten their ends with red sealing wax.
When postage stamps are pasted very smoothly, “crazy-quilt” fashion, and varnished, they make a fine enamel-like “all-over” decoration like those on the small try of china from the Young Women’s Christian Association Salesrooms. From the same pretty rooms came the postage-stamp pin-holder. A two-cent postage stamp of the Centennial issue is mounted on a small oblong of cardboard, covered with lavender silk; the front and back are alike. Black pins set off the tints very well.
Will you make another bonbon-box? Take a paper doll’s head and bust, and stitch on a strip of cardboard about five inches high, making the figure about eight inches in all. Cut in half a sheet of crimped tissue paper, gather the crimps together in the middle of each piece, and lay them over each shoulder, hanging even back and front. With a stout thread draw the drapery in like a girdle, just under where the arms belong, stuffing a morsel of cotton under the folds to give roundness. Paste the breadths of the skirt together, paste on the arms, catch the skirt lightly to the fingers, and in a fold or two around the front. The candy box is fastened to the pasteboard strip at the back.
A new holder for safety-pins is a china doll with two strips of flannel hanging from its waist, stuck with pins; a satin ribbon covers these strips, suggesting an infant’s robe.
For stick-pins and hat-pins a cushion may be ornamented by a china doll fastened to a circular piece of pasteboard. Around the “sitting down” doll is a soft ring of curled hair, and this is placed in the centre of a piece of soft gay-colored silk. The silk is then drawn up lightly and gathered like a Loie Fuller gown around Miss Dolly’s breast.
The iron-work which is now in such favor is really artistic and durable. The big toy-shops and sporting goods shops keep outfits for this fancy work. These patterns are not elaborate. Do not let the curves degenerate into circular curves; keep them “catenary” curves, and you can easily make an inkstand such as is represented in the illustration.