Category Archives: Cultural Crafting and Gifts

Everything from decorating your house, unique ways to use your photos, and plenty of craft ideas with an international theme

Hennaed

On Tuesday night a group of students got together to talk study abroad. One of the students had recently returned from India and asked me if I would be willing to help do henna at the gathering.

DISCLOSURE: I have NEVER been hennaed, let alone used henna.

But I was willing to give it a shot. In the end, it was much like piping a cake. We looked up designs online and in an hour I tattooed five of the students. Overall, I was pretty excited about how they turned out. We all decided this would be a great activity for a birthday party or ladies night. I just need a bit more practice!

Uganda Beads

I received my own first set of Uganda beads a few years ago from a dear friend. She was in law school at the time and as part of an international law project, she was able to go to Uganda to meet the women and children in the internally displaced people camps outside of Kampala. Several non-for-profit organizations work within these camps and teach the women how to make beads and sell them fair trade. While meeting these women, my friend was able to buy my beads direct from the artisans who made them.

If you can’t go to Uganda yourself, Beads for Life provides a great opportunity to get your own Uganda beads. Beads for Life is one of the organizations that work with the Ugandan women to sell their beads at fair trade prices. To share their goods, they’ve started a Bead Party program. To host your own Bead Party, you register with Beads for Life and they send you a full supply of Ugandan bead necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.  With reasonable prices and beautiful jewelry, the Bead Party is a perfect event to socialize with friends while helping a great cause. I went to a Bead Party a few years ago and it was a great event. Not only did I get most of my Christmas shopping done but it was also a perfect way to talk about what is going on in the world amongst friends.

And if you’re real brave, you can also try out the Ugandan-style bead making yourself with just a little wrapping paper and glue. Here is a great tutorial if you want to try your hand at your own Uganda beads. After attempting making my own beads, I think I’ve decided it may be better to just host a party. 🙂

Say Queso!

While in Minnesota with family and friends, I was in charge of bringing a craft for the kids. Ranging between the ages of 2 and 9, I wanted to come up with a fun idea that incorporated culture but that everyone could participate. So after a trip to Michael’s, I decided to do a photo booth but the kids would make their own props. I came prepared with Venetian masks, Mexican sombreros, and word bubbles with international greetings for the kids to decorate. In the end, both the adults and the kids enjoyed our international craft time.

If you want to host your own internationally themed photo both, here’s what you need:

  • Black plastic masks
  • Feathers
  • Pom-poms
  • Glitter glue
  • Decorative duct tape
  • Construction paper
  • Wooden dowels
  • Headbands
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • White sheet for back drop
  • Camera

DIY Adinkra Coasters

Living in corporate housing definitely lacks character. Everything is brown and bland so I decided I needed to spice things up a bit and turn the corporate coasters into cultural art.

Adinkra symbols come from West Africa and as far as we know, date back to the early 1800s to the Akan of Ghana. The symbols convey traditional wisdom and life and are frequently used to decorate fabrics, pottery, and architecture. They are beautiful yet easy to replicate.

Here are few symbols and more can be found at the Adinkra Symbol Index

Coaster Directions

1. Chose your symbol

I chose the commitment & perseverance symbol. Which is also called “I shall marry you.”

2. Gather your materials: a paper bag, a sheet of foam, scissors, packing tape, stamping ink, a small piece of cardboard, and your cardboard coasters.

Here is all you need!

3. Draw out your pattern on the foam sheet.

I used a variety of household items to draw my shape.

4. Cut out your shape and stick it to a piece of card board about the same size.

I had the self-adhesive foam which made it super easy.

5. Dip your homemade stamp in ink and place it on the piece of the cut-up paper bag.

I cut the paper bag to be about the size of the coaster.

6. Trace the coaster to the paper bag and cover enter front with packing tape to make a waterproof surface. And shazam! I’ve got coasters that I don’t loath.

These are so much better!

Hometown Cards

 

 

When I travel I love to buy postcards and send them to our family. When we were in Mexico, I even got Hubby to send a postcard to his parents.

While I am fairly consistent about sending postcards from abroad, I’ve never really thought about sending postcards from home. In all of my places of residence (Ohio, South Carolina, New York, and California), I’ve never once sent Mom and Dad a postcard from my hometown. So I’ve decided to break that trend now that we are in Oklahoma and bring a global habit home with me.

Unfortunately in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, postcards are not easily found so I had to make my own. With a stack of Oklahoma brochures I picked up at our hotel from when we first arrived, some blank cards, scissors, and clear packing tape, I made some notes worthy of my new city.

The goal was to use what I had…glue stick would be fine too

I cut out pictures from the brochures that represented OKC

Then I placed the pictures where I wanted them and used the packing tape to secure them in place

This one is m favorite – love the wind mills

Fun and free Oklahoma cards to send home!

 

Easy and Budget Friendly Origami

My first experience with origami was actually in Japan 4 years ago while leading a study abroad program. We took our group to a university in Osaka and the local students taught us how to make cranes. So when I went to the local craft store yesterday and saw 6″x6″ paper in the  $1 bins, I decided origami would be a great Global from Home project. These three animals are easy and would be a great project for older kids too.

12 pieces of 6″x6″ for $1

These are the real origami packs that were just a few aisles away…and $6 a pack.

Owl Origami

All that is needed for this cute owl is 1 piece of 6″x6″ paper and a pair of scissors

Wombat Origami

Wombie the Wombat only requires one piece of paper and a black pen

Puppy Origami

The puppy needs two pieces of 6″x6″ paper, a black pen, and tape.

Origami Menagerie

 

Mexican Crafts to Make at Home

Although I am actually in Mexico right now, it is super easy to explore Mexico from home too. For all you crafters, I’ve found some fun projects to recreate Mexican crafts. Check out these bloggers’ how-tos:

Sugar Skull Heat n Bond Applique by Diary of a Mad Crafter

DIY Festive Mexican Paper Flowers by 100 Layer Cake

Luchador Mask Necklace by Den of a Thoughtful Rabbit

Mexican Blanket Jacket from Sprinkles in Springs

Mexican Hot Chocolate from Prairiesummers

DIY Mexican Talavera Pottery from Juan of Words

Mini Piñatas by Oh Happy Day

Have fun crafting Mexican style!