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3D Paper Crafts for Kids: An Interview with Helen Drew

I love the concept of this book: making various papercraft and following the alphabet as a structure for the projects. How did the idea come to you?

Thank you! The idea of organising the paper crafts into an A-Z collection was influenced by the way my audience use the projects I create for my blog and membership site. Educators and parents often weave a craft activity into their alphabet lessons, which is a great way to reinforce their learning objectives. To further blend creativity with learning, I felt a complete A-Z of paper crafts would be helpful and really fun for children to work through.

Have you been a crafter - particularly a paper crafter! - for a long time, or are you a more general crafter who found that this was something you wanted to try?

As an adult, my crafting journey began with the birth of my first child 12 years ago. Initially we dabbled with all the usual craft materials (paper rolls, plates, cardboard boxes), however we had the most fun simply cutting and sticking paper pieces. My children’s natural inclination to cut, build, layer and find ways to make their crafts “pop” from the page, inspired me to design crafts that offered as sense of perspective and were interesting to make.

How long did it take you to experiment with each of the projects before you felt that they were right for the book?

Craft ideas tend to rattle around in my head for some time before making it onto paper and once an idea takes hold, I have to play and experiment until it’s right. For the new crafts within the book, this process took a matter of minutes for some and days for others ( the Ducks and Queen).

Doing papercraft as an adult must be very different to doing it as a child. Did you have any young people trying theprojects as you went along?

Yes, I have three children under the age of 12 and my 8 year old in particular loves to test the projects. She was involved throughout the design process of the paper crafts and had an opinion about everything, from how they’re made to their final presentation. In fact, the galaxy unicorn’s was entirely her idea!

I also had the benefit of seeing the crafts applied in many “real life” settings. Some of the featured crafts have been in circulation for a while via my website. Based on their popularity and the many pictures I have seen of children recreating the crafts at home or within the classroom, I knew they were hitting the mark and were perfect for the book.

I imagine you working in a studio filled with various crafting materials and ideas everywhere. Is this the case? Do you have to be very organised to work as a crafter and author?

You’re spot on! My craft room is such a happy place, with paper and paint organised in rainbow order. Painted jars store brushes, pens and straws, and as much as possible, I like to materials to be on show and accessible. I do try to keep an orderly space, however in the throws of creativity, materials can find themselves spread all over the place. My children love it and it’s a space of fun for our family.

Do you like to ensure that your projects use materials that children will have to hand at home, to make them eco and wallet friendly?

Absolutely and this is why paper crafting is a fantastic option from both a budget and eco perspective. Paper is inexpensive, often made from recycled sources or is recyclable, you can buy it from almost anywhere and with a dab of colour, a pair of scissors and some glue, the craft options are limitless.

As a child yourself, were you always the one making things, constantly experimenting?

Always. I grew up in a very creative household. My childhood was filled with painting, drawing, attending craft shows etc. My mum and grandmother used to paint these incredible images and murals within their homes, furniture and on one occasion, a narrow boat. Crafting felt like the most natural thing in the world to me as a child and as an adult, it’s definitely the driving force behind the projects I do with my own children and the blog.

If you could have any craft material, what would you choose to have in your collection? What is the one thing that for you is indispensable?

Well, it has to be paper! All of my crafts begin and end with paper, and if you have nothing else in the craft box, it’s definitely paper to the rescue.

What is your own favourite crafting medium?

I love working with paint and I encourage children to use paint within many of my craft projects for it adds another level of creativity - through the process of colour mixing, play and experimentation, children can make the projects their own.

book is about 3D crafts. Do you make any other types and can you tell us what your latest project is?

My website covers all sorts of art and craft projects for a variety of ages, where you can find directed art projects, process art ideas, crafts made from paper rolls, paper plates, natural materials and lots of paper crafts.

Recently, I worked with Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art to co-create the Best Makes Ever series on Sky Kids. There are 6 series in total, featuring lots of original children’s art and craft ideas for general crafting, special occasions and holidays.

As for right now, I’m currently working on a How to Draw mindfulness series, with a view to encourage children to draw using simple, natural forming lines and shapes. I’m keen to remove the barriers of perfectionism in drawing and give kids’ the tools to embrace their natural flow in art. I’m really excited about this new project and have been delighted by the response so far.

Any tips that you would like to share with budding crafters?

Don’t compare your work to others. Enjoy the act of crafting, be immersed and experiment. You don’t need a craft room or lots of special materials, work with what you have, regularly raid the recycling bin and see what happens.

3D Paper Crafts for Kids by Helen Drew is published by Fox Chapel Publishers. ISBN 9781641241175, rrp £12.99


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