What to Do With Walnut Shells: Crafts and Other Activities for Children
What Crafts Can I Do With Walnut Shells?
Many people enjoy using walnuts for cooking or baking, especially for major holidays. While you can simply pitch the shells when you're finished in the kitchen, I'd suggest reusing or recycling them for other purposes. You can do a number of crafts and activities with children using the shells, and they are suitable for children of all ages. Some require minimal or no adult supervision, while others make fun family activities. Happy creating!
If you are interested in taking on a craft or project that calls for crushed or ground shells and you don't want to crush them yourself, you can purchase them in any number of places. Some sites market crushed shells for pet cages (i.e. reptiles) while others market them for craft projects. There are a wide variety of sizes available at a number of price points. Shop around to figure out what fits your needs the best.
There are numerous possibilities out there for walnut ornaments, including those with both whole and half shells. Half shells are a perfect shape for a number of animals, such as turtles, as well as animal faces. Get creative with the face and ears to transform your walnut. Additionally, there are lots of options for adding messages and/or including a hidden message inside a shell.
Walnut Mouse and Footprint Reindeer
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This post has ideas for turtle, ladybug, and bee ornaments.
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Mice are one of the classic options for walnut shell halves. There are lots of ways to decorate them. This blog post includes great ideas for the tail, face, and ears. Did you know that you can also race your mice? This family raced their mice by simply placing a marble under each mouse. This simple craft idea can provide hours of entertainment.
Make Walnut Writing Ink
For anyone who enjoys writing by hand, this is a great project. It's also a wonderful classroom option for a social studies unit and/or handwriting practice. The blog post linked below has simple, easy to follow directions for making your own ink. Always make sure to supervise children carefully when you are cooking at the stove.
Walnut shell halves are a perfect shape for baskets. The author drilled two holes in the shell from the inside out and then fashioned handles out of embroidery thread. You can use any type of thin, sturdy thread for the handles. The possibilities for imaginative play with these baskets is endless.
The most popular method for creating walnut shell boats that really float is to melt candle wax in a half shell. While the wax is still warm, stick a toothpick in it. Alternatively, you can use clay. Once you have your base, you can then attach an type of flag to the toothpick or any other small stick. In addition to paper, consider making flags out of fabric, leaves, or scrapbook paper.
Easter Egg Dyes
Walnut is just one of a handful of materials that makes a wonderful natural egg dye. Using different ingredients allows you to produce different colors.
I'm sure it's not a surprise that there a lot of miniature craft ideas out there that use walnuts. There are lots of details in this post about the materials that are used although there are no specific instructions. However, there's still lots of inspiration here and enough resources to get you started. The detail here is wonderful.
Once you construct this chair, you'll be hooked and always start searching for the next miniature project. This is a project that definitely requires a lot of adult assistance, but it is well worth the effort. You can easily adapt the chair for Playmobile people and other small figures.
Ground walnut shells make an ideal pincushion filler. For those who enjoy sewing, pincushions are an easy project and make wonderful gifts for just about any occasion. They sew up fairly quickly, so it's easy to put together a whole batch of them. For older kids, this is a great beginning sewing endeavor. There are many opportunities for younger children to help, from choosing fabrics to stuffing the cushions.
Soap did not show up in my initial research on this topic. I'm not sure what inspired me to look for it later, but I'm glad that I did. This is another great option for crushed or ground walnut shells. I have found a couple recipes that use it. Those of you who are more skilled at soap making will have the expertise for adding it to lots of other soap recipes as well.