The Crafty Mom: Hair-Raising End-of-Summer Fun!

By Mary Lyon

Has the summer been hard on your hair? Pull it back into a ponytail and add some wild and creative pizzazz - and nobody will notice what the chlorine in the pool did to your ends!

I had almost too much fun with this project and a group of young teens. We made hair ornaments that were utterly glorious! Some were simple, others were highly embellished, and still more looked like everything from fireworks or lightning bolts to palm trees! You can't stop with just one, either. A single hair ornament takes mere minutes to put together, but you may want to hunker down and spend an afternoon making dozens of them! It costs next to nothing, it's a terrific party craft, and the little ones love this, too.

What You Need

  • Wooden chopsticks

  • Pipe cleaners in colors of your choice

  • Beads - Make sure the bead holes are big enough for a pipe cleaner to go through. The more variety of colors and shapes, the better!

  • Pull-tabs from soda cans

What You Do

1. Pull the chopsticks apart so you have singles. Scrape them against each other as you would before eating, to remove any ragged wooden edges.

2. Choose one, two, or three pipe cleaners in your favorite colors. Start wrapping it around one chopstick, starting about two inches from the top. Spiral it up to the end. You should have several inches of pipe cleaner remaining, that stick out.

3. Thread on some beads that you like. It can be just a few select ones, or you can fill the rest of the pipe cleaner with them.

4. Add a pull-tab at the end, and bend the tip of the pipe cleaner through it to hold it in place.

5. Now, bend the rest of your beaded pipe cleaner in a spiral or arch, to give it some interesting movement. Then, stick it in your ponytail!

This craft gives you hundreds of ways to go. Try using several pipe cleaners together in your school colors, in red-white-and-blue or colors that match a particular outfit. Experiment with different types of beads, sequins, jingle bells or charms. Use one pipe cleaner, or twist or even braid two or three together. Mix metallics and matte colors. Bend one pipe cleaner into a star to attach to one end (see "Patriotic Party Poppers" ). Use an old pendant or piece of costume jewelry on the end instead of a pull-tab. This is a great way to make use of one earring if you've lost the mate, or some cool little bauble you found at a summer garage sale!

In addition to being "The Crafty Mom," L.A. resident Mary Lyon is the author and illustrator of The Frazzled Working Woman's Practical Guide to Motherhood and former host of DIY Crafts TV show.

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