Anyone following me over on Instagram will know that it is raining walnuts in our garden these days. Every few seconds, if you are out in the garden, you’ll hear a plonk as a walnut lands on the patio or there’ll be a mouse-like rustle from the rosebush announcing that a walnut or two have dropped down into it.
Before moving to this house I rarely ate walnuts. I wasn’t fussed about them one way or the other. Now, with 30 to 40 kilos of them per year to deal with, I have found that I quite like them. They can be found in pesto, granola, carrot cake, walnut bread, scones or simply in bowls around the house as a snack or decoration. They make a lovely gift too, filled into a paper bag and tied with pretty string.
While the nuts are delicious to eat, the shells can be used in all sorts of ways too. One of my favourites is to make walnut ladybirds. I have seen these in various forms over the years but only tried making them recently. They were very easy and didn’t take longer than 5 minutes each.
These cuties are a great little craft for preschoolers. You don’t need much equipment or preparation, you can’t go too far wrong and at the end of the craft session, you have a little toy to play with.
Here is what you will need to make walnut ladybirds.
One half walnut shell per ladybird
A black felt tip pen
Newspaper to protect your table / floor / work surface
A small container of water
Red paint – I used acrylic but poster paint would work too
White paint or correction fluid
My initial idea was to paint the shell red first and add the black markings later but when it came down to it, I decided to try out beginning with the black felt tip pen. It worked very well.
Begin by drawing a line with black felt tip pen down the length of the shell. Then colour in the front of the walnut shell. I colured in at the narrower end. Leave for a moment for the colour to dry while you draw on the next shell.
Take the red paint and use it to paint the shell on either side of the remainder of the black line. Leave the paint to dry and move on to the next shell.
Using the white paint or correction fluid, dab two small white circles onto the black face of the ladybird to create eyes. Leave to dry.
Using the black felt tip pen, draw black dots onto the red area of the ladybird and add a black spot to each of the eyes. Your ladybird is now finshed.
We drew some leaves onto a piece of paper and arranged the ladybirds on it. Other ideas are:
– Glue a ladybird shell onto a blank card to make your own birthday, good luck or thank you card.
– Arrange some leaves and branches on a windowsill or in a basket and dot the ladybirds around it.
– Cut out leaf shapes from green paper and glue the ladybirds to them.
– Use the ladybirds as a decoration on gifts which you have wrapped in brown paper or newspaper.