American Girl Hair Salon

AG hair styles front

The most popular activity at American Girl camp last week was the hair salon station. We had a hair salon set up every day. We gave instructions on how to properly brush and care for American Girl doll hair. The girls could visit the hair salon area any time they finished a camp activity. We had doll brushes, spray water bottles, and hair accessories available along with directions about a specific hair style each day.

On Caroline day, the campers learned how to put their doll’s hair in a bun. Caroline lived during the War of 1812. Ladies during the early 1800s might wear their hair with curls around their face and have a bun in the back.

Salon Secrets

  • Keep your doll still. Hold between your legs or use a doll chair.
  • Always use a wire doll hairbrush. Plastic bristled hairbrushes snag and frizz the doll hair.
  • For best styling results, lightly mist your doll’s hair with water. Cover the eyes and face with a small cloth or paper towel while misting. Protect the body from water too.
  • Take a small section of hair at the tip and brush gently. Work your way up the small section of hair.
  • Don’t pull the doll’s hair too hard when brushing. If possible, hold the doll’s neck as you work.
  • NEVER use a blow-dryer, hot rollers, curling iron, or straightening iron on your doll’s hair. The hair is made of plastic and will melt and burn.

AG doll hair supplies

Materials

  • American Girl Doll Hair Salon Kit w/Book (optional– we got a few styling ideas from the kit, and it came with a doll brush and spray water bottle)
  • wire doll hairbrush
  • styling spray water bottle (found spray bottles that will lightly mist in the soap making section at Michael’s crafts)
  • short bobby pins
  • classic hair pins (the kind that are wide)
  • small elastics (the kind that look like Rainbow Loom bands or rubber bands for braces)
  • paper towel, washrag, or some type of covering to protect the doll’s face and body when misting hair with the water

Classic Bun

  • Gather the hair at the back of the doll’s head and make a high ponytail. Tie with an elastic. Twist ponytail tightly; spritz it with water; wrap twisted ponytail around the elastic. Tuck the end of the ponytail under the bun and insert a hairpin to hold. Pin the rest of the bun in place, crisscrossing pins.
Classic Bun Step 1

Classic Bun Step 1

Classic Bun Finished

Classic Bun Finished

Messy Bun

  • Make a ponytail and tie with an elastic. Using small sections at a time, very loosely pin the ends of the ponytail around the elastic.
Messy Bun

Messy Bun Back View

Messy Bun Side View

Messy Bun Side View

Rope Braid

  • Brush all of the hair back into a high ponytail or pull a small section into a side ponytail. Tie off with an elastic. Separate the ponytail into 2 equal sections. Twist both sections of the hair clockwise. Tightly cross one section over the other counterclockwise until you reach the end of the ponytail. Tie off with another elastic.
AG rope twist

Rope Braid Step 1

Rope Braid Step 2

Rope Braid Step 2

Rope Braid Finished

Rope Braid Finished

Some campers visited the hair salon and did nothing but brush their doll’s hair. If you plan to host an American Girl camp, I think having a hair styling area is a must! I think this would also work well as an activity at an American Girl birthday party.

AG hair styles side

 

 

American Girl Camp

kaya tepee scene 2

The school where I teach runs American Girl camps in the summer. The history teacher in charge of AG camp is pregnant and had to go on bedrest at the end of the school year, so the school needed last minute subs to run the two camp sessions. Clearly, I am totally qualified to run this camp, but I was hesitant to accept the job. I immediately had visions of American Girl crafts run amok since I tend to think big and have difficulty prioritizing and gauging what is realistically possible for little hands. 20+ campers and overly complicated mini craft projects are not always a good combination. Nevertheless, I took on the challenge, and we just finished the last day of American Girl camp today.

I recycled many of my American Girl craft projects, but I also designed some new ones too. This past Monday was Kaya Day. With the help of my nieces who are still staying with me, we engineered tepees out of brown butcher paper, strung Nez Perce-like beaded necklaces, and wove mats for the tepee.

The Tepee

Materials

  • brown butcher paper (I used painter’s floor covering paper from Lowe’s)
  • wooden dowels– 1/4″ diameter, 24″ length (4-5 per tepee)
  • duct tape or masking tape
  • mini hair bands or Rainbow Loom bands

Directions

  • My oldest niece has the original Kaya tent. She traced the outline of the cloth tepee cover for me to use as a template. The tepee shape is basically a half circle. The diameter is 48″ with a small circle cut out at the center of the straight edge.

kaya tepee template

  • Using the template, we traced the shape onto the brown butcher paper and then cut out the shape.

kaya tepee full design

  • I added Native American looking patterns and symbols. I cut geometric shapes out of poster board for the campers to use as templates for designs on the paper.

kaya tepee designs

  • I also shared a handout with some Native American symbols.

Native American Symbols

  • After decorating, turn the tepee paper over and tape 4-5 dowels to the paper. Space the dowels evenly around the tepee shape, and the bottom of the dowel needs to be even with the bottom edge of the tepee.

kaya tepee dowels

  • Fold the paper in half and stand up. Pinch the first and third dowel together and wrap a rubber band around the top of the dowels. Pull the rest of the dowels together to make them look like the poles at the top of the tepee. Add another rubber band around all of the dowels. (We also wrapped some twine around the top to make it look more authentic).
  • Spread the part of the dowels that touch the floor out and fiddle with the paper to get the desired tepee shape.

kaya tepee scene back

Beaded Necklace

Materials

  • waxed cotton thread
  • plastic beads– various shapes (perler beads work well too)
  • lanyard clips (2 per necklace)

Directions

  • Cut 3 pieces of cotton thread in 3 different sizes– 14″, 13″, and 12″.
  • Line up the 3 pieces of thread so the ends are even. Keeping the ends even with each other on one side, tie a “granny knot” around the lanyard clip.

kaya necklace cord

  • Thread beads onto all 3 pieces of string. You can create any bead order and partially fill the string or fill the string full with beads. Leave space at the end to make it easy to tie the threads into a knot.
  • After adding beads, gather the loose ends of the strings and even them up. Tie them in a knot to a second clip making sure the ends are even with each other.

kaya beaded necklace

  • When the necklace is on the doll, the strings will hang at 3 different lengths in a similar way to the quill necklaces worn by the Nez Perce Indians.

Woven Mats

Materials

  • scrapbook paper
  • glue dots
  • scissors
  • rulers

Directions

  • Cut scrapbook paper into the mat size you would like. Our mats were 5″ x 5″.
  • Fold the mats in half with the design facing in.
  • On one side of the folded paper, draw guidelines for cutting. The lines begin at the folded end of the paper and stop about 1/2″ from the opposite edge (the open side of the folded paper). My lines are 1/2″ apart. You can adjust based on the mat size you use.

kaya woven mat sample

  • The campers made cuts along the lines being careful to stop when the line stopped. Then, kids opened up the paper flat and weaved strips of scrap paper over and under securing each end with a glue dot. My strips are about 1/2″ wide, and I used a paper cutter to make all of the strips.

kaya woven mat finished

  • The mats fit neatly inside the tepee, and if our American Girl doll had been living with Kaya in the mid 1700s, the mat would have helped keep rain out of the tepee.

For more DIY American Girl ideas, visit my other AG posts or check out my Crafts link in the menu bar to the right!

American Girl Food

American Girl Sweet Shop

American Girl School

American Girl Campout **includes directions for the campfire

American Girl Dress Shop

kaya tepee scene

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

ukrainian eggs

After the novelty of the petal bag sewing project wore off, I launched into the next crafty activity– Ukrainian Easter Eggs. I haven’t made them for a few years because on top of the incredible time suck to complete just one egg, they require a lot of counter space, and they are not that kid friendly. The egg dying process involves hot wax and fire, and until this year, I didn’t really want to supervise Miss Priss and Mr. Star Wars trying to make the eggs. I could have told them that they could not participate in the great Ukrainian egg decorating project and given them inferior PAAS dyes as a consolation, but that would be cruel.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs are decorated using layers of beeswax and dyes. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience. Sewing Sister can freehand hers, but I have to sketch guidelines with pencil to get better results. It can take several hours to make one egg, but the results are worth it (in this obsessive RoomMom’s opinion).

ukrainian egg sunflower

Materials

  • Ukrainian Dye Set (I order a complete set of 17 from the Ukrainian Gift Shop)
  • glass jars with wide mouths and lids for dyes (I use Mason jars)
  • distilled water
  • distilled white vinegar
  • 1 fine delrin kistka
  • 1 medium delrin kistka
  • 1 heavy delrin kistka (optional)
  • 1 cake of pure beeswax
  • regular candle in a candle holder
  • mechanical pencil with fine point
  • paper towel
  • Ukrainian Design Book (or search online)
  • white extra large eggs

Directions

  • Mix dyes according to dye packet instructions with boiled distilled water. You really need to order the Ukrainian egg dyes. The colors are much more vibrant than anything you find with the regular Easter supplies at WalMart or the grocery store, and they are made for adding one color over another. You want tall containers with lids like a wide mouth pint Mason jar. Let dyes cool overnight, and keep lids on the dyes when you are not using them.

ukrainian egg dye packets

  • Bring eggs that you will be decorating to room temperature. The eggs are uncooked and NOT blown out. Wipe the egg gently with a paper towel moistened with white vinegar. This helps the dye coat the egg more evenly.

ukrainian egg guidelines

  • Draw guidelines on your egg lightly with a fine mechanical pencil. I always use patterns from the Ukrainian design books I have, and it shows me how to divide the egg. Most eggs start with a basic division into 8 sections. Pencil in any other tricky parts of the design. Pencil mistakes can be erased by wiping the egg with a piece of paper towel moistened with white vinegar.
  • Any areas of the egg that will stay white get covered with wax first.

ukrainian egg heating kistka

  • Light the candle and let it burn while you work. Gently hold your kistka (the drawing tool) in the side of the candle flame. Do not hold the point of the kistka in the flame. Once the kistka is hot, dig the back of the “well” in the beeswax to fill. Begin tracing the first lines in the pattern with the kistka. Stop every few strokes to reheat the little tool in the flame and fill with more beeswax as necessary. It will be a little like writing with an ink pen that needs to be dipped in ink.

ukrainian egg layer one

  • After covering all of the white parts of the design with wax, dip the egg in the lightest color (usually yellow). After several minutes (even up to 30 minutes), remove the egg from the dye, dry, and begin the next section of the design in the next lightest color.

ukrainian egg layer three

ukrainian egg layer four

  • Repeat until the design is finished. Dip in the final color, which will be the background of the egg. With Ukrainian eggs, the last color is often royal blue or black.

ukrainian egg final  layer

  • Remove the egg from the dye, dry completely by rolling and patting with paper towel.

ukrainian egg removing wax

  • Carefully hold the egg near the flame of the candle and wait for the beeswax to begin to melt. When the wax looks glassy and melted, wipe the wax away with paper towel. Continue to clear small sections of wax until all wax has been removed from the egg. Adjust your piece of paper towel, so you are always wiping with a clean portion of the paper towel.

ukrainian egg final

Notes

  • After the egg is finished, you can drain it. I never do. The eggs are actually stronger if you leave them whole. Over time, the eggs dry out on their own if you keep them on a shelf out of drafts and movement. Do beware; if an egg cracks before it has completely dried out, you will come home to one stinky mess!
  • Do not retrace lines. You may think that beeswax is not covering the egg, but it is. When you retrace lines, it creates duplicate, sketchy looking lines and will not look as tidy when complete.
  • This process can be frustrating for kids (and beginners).

easter egg ram border

Petal Gift Bags

teacher appreciation gift bags

In my last post, I mentioned how I needed a crafty project to keep me busy on my spring break from school, and I started sewing petal pouches. “Crafty project” is really code for I-will-disappear-for-2-days-and-ignore-my-family-except-to-feed-them-while-I-get-lost-in-a-project.

Here is how it went down. I made two bags for a teacher appreciation gift I had in mind using materials I had on hand. Miss Priss and Mr. Star Wars wanted a bag too, so we bought some additional fabric and ribbon and made 2 of the large petal bags for them. I now had a small collection. The collection looked unfinished since I had not tried the smallest size bag possible in the pattern. I made two more bags in the mini size. Now, I had a set, but the set would be broken when I gave some of the bags away as gifts. I returned to Hobby Lobby for more material determined to make enough bags for a personal set and have some spares for gifts (and a giveaway??).

petal bag collection

Jump to today. Petal bags cover my dining room table. I do have enough for my own set and some for gifts, so I am starting to relax a little just in time for school to start again tomorrow. These are my plans for the bags…

teacher appreciation gift bag

Teacher Appreciation Gift: School Manicure Set

  • clear fingernail polish (so it can be used to stop a run in your tights, fix a fraying shoelace, or other classroom emergencies)
  • nail clippers (great for snagged nails during the day)
  • tweezers (just in case someone gets a splinter)
  • emery board

tween gift bag

Tween Gift: Trendy Manicure Set

  • fingernail polish in “ice cream” colors
  • nail clippers
  • emery board
  • nail art stickers
  • Emi-Jay-like hair ties (in the mini bag)

baby gift bag

Baby Gift: Diaper Bag Dopp Kit

  • pacifier
  • Aquaphor
  • travel Q-tips
  • baby nail clippers
  • travel baby wipes

dog treat gift bag

Pet Gift: Dog Treat Bag

  • dog treats

TheRoomDog’s best friend is on the injured list, and we haven’t been able to get the dogs together for vigorous playdates, which greatly reduce TheRoomDog’s need for other activity– like eating pencils. We are trying to deliver the get well gift before the treats are gone. (Bad dog, Birdie.)

dog treat gift bag birdie