texas girl
Don’t mess with this ornament.

I love making Christmas ornaments–it might be my favorite crafting activity to do. You might remember the 12 days of Christmas ornament project Juliet and I did last year. We crafted most of them out of items from our recycle box.

Like last year’s, these ones are cheap, easy, and as always, born from recycle box materials.

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We have a fondness for geography around this house and Juliet is particularly interested in learning the names of different states, so I thought we could make some state-shaped ornaments.

Here’s how we did it.

mod podgin' it
I found a piece of cardboard in our recycle box and let Juliet mod podge a piece of her art to it. (What would we do without Mod Podge?) I also worked on a piece.
waiting to dry
This project is a great way to use up all the random artwork you have posted on your fridge…
You don’t have to be too concerned with getting the painting smoothly adhered onto the cardboard–a little bit of wrinkles add to the overall effect once it dries.
trace it
Once it dries, just place your state template on top and secure it with some painter’s tape. I traced the outline of Texas from a placemat we have, but any atlas or poster would work just as well.
a hole the size of texas
Using my X-acto knife, I carefully cut it out. (This is the part for mom or dad.) If you find piece of cardboard thin enough, this is not too difficult. We experimented with several kinds and I will tell you, if it’s too thick, then you will be really tired of cutting at the end!)
texas ornament
I punched a hole through the top and Juliet attached an ornament hanger (found at the dollar store.)
don't mess with texas
And then we hung it on our tree.
these united states

Why stop at Texas? We cut out a whole bunch of different states. Juliet requested Alaska (her favorite), I chose California and Louisiana (because they have nice shapes), and we did a few squarish ones (NM and MT) just to see how they would turn out.
I will say that some states’ shapes look better than others for this project….the square states aren’t that interesting or easily identifiable as states on their own (You’ll get a lot of “What a nice square you have hanging on your tree…That’s not a square, that’s Wyoming…” sort of moments. )

You know how Texans are always talking about how everything is bigger and better in Texas? I’ve never been there, so I don’t really know if that is true, but when it comes to which state has the most interesting shape…well, I have to give it to them. Texas really is the best-looking one.

Of course, there is no need to limit this project to US states–any geographical shape will do or any shape in general! We made Africa…

africa

And Australia.
australia

Any shape you can stand to cut out with an Xacto knife would work–I think an owl or giraffe would be cute.
Good Night Hawaii (Good Night Our World series)
You know I love the Good Night Our World Book Series which features many U.S. states and cities in a child-friendly manner. But I just found a really wonderful book called Puzzle Maps U.S.A. by Nancy L. Clouse.
Puzzle Maps U. S. A. (An Owlet Book)
It focuses on the different shapes and then uses them to make different objects like a truck and a turtle. (Kentucky is the head, Oklahoma is the tail, etc…) Then it asks kids to identify the shapes by their names! It’s a lot of fun–which is always the best way to learn anything.

What shape would you make? I’d love to see pictures if you end up making these–upload them to our flickr group or leave a link below!

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