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Help Needed

by Lucine

Paper ball

Paper ball

Dear Susan

I volunteer at our state prison for women. Each year, we make holiday cards.

I'm a stamper. This year I was asked to have an ornament project for them. Did that - geode made from recycled cards. I'm already thinking about next year! We may not use scissors, pins, white tacky glue, paper cutter, glue gun, staples, spray products, etc. and of course, we have little money for this project.

There are about 30 women who participate. Any ideas? No rush with the reply. Thanks!



First of all, Lou, I just have to say that I think that you are doing a wonderful thing working with the prisoners. They must really appreciate you being willing to give your time and allowing them some time to be creative.

I would love to see a picture of the geodes you made with recycled cards.

I will be thinking about this and promise I will create some special ideas for you, but first:

The question I immediately had was, what tools CAN you use there? What kind of adhesive is allowed, if any? Can you pre-cut things to bring with you?

Also, how big are your classes, usually?

The first thing I thought of making was something using origami shapes. I have a few projects on PaperCraftCentral that use origami or no adhesive, such as the paper chains, paper ball, paper butterfly, paper flowers....

I also thought of the explosion box as it uses no adhesive at all and only requires a bit of cutting, which would be easy to prepare at home first.

Then I also thought of tearing projects. You can make such beautiful scenes with torn paper. Think landscapes with grass, hills, sky....and then draw or stamp in a few trees to focus the viewer. Maybe I could do a couple of cards for you to show you what I mean by that.

I have a number of cards that use a fold or two on them to add interest such as the stair step greeting card, the easel cards, and also the card spinners, which will be OK if they can use small pieces of dental floss.

Another thing I thought of was to encourage them to write their own verses for their cards or add their own journaling to a piece. One year a women's prison here published a whole book of poems written by the prisoners and I still have a copy of that book. You could work on an art journal/note book for each person, exploring
different stamping or art technique and allowing them time to reflect/express themselves? Journals are inexpensive and the covers can be wonderfully and personally altered.

I hope others will also offer ideas and suggestions and give you a number of projects to go on with for the coming year.

I'll check back to see what your answer to my questions are, Lou, (just click on the comments section under this reply, or feel free to start a whole new question), and I will put my thinking cap on in the meantime :)


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Dec 18, 2010
Curtain rings etc
by: Lucine Schiller

Susan - I look forward to seeing your curtain ring and cereal box ideas! Thanks. May the blessings of the season be yours!
XO Lou

Dec 18, 2010
Ornament Ideas
by: Susan

I have thought of two more Christmas decoration ideas that you may be able to use. One idea requires you to have some of those old fashioned wooden curtain rings you can get at second hand stores for very little money, and to make the other idea work, you might want to start saving cereal boxes!

I'll have some photos and instructions ready for you soon :)

I trust you are having a lovely pre-Christmas week!


Dec 08, 2010
by: Susan

Lucine, I have an idea for making some ornaments after finding some wooden curtain rings at a second hand store today. Will make what I have in mind and post it for you in the next few days!

And I will keep the thinking cap on, too :)


Dec 05, 2010
Crafting in Prison
by: Lucine

Susan - I've got card making covered. It was Christmas ornaments I was thinking of. I try to work with 8 of the 30 women at a time, but they become transported and don't want to leave. They may use any paper, styrofoam, foam, felt, glue sticks, double sided tape, things from nature (pine cones), punches. Can't make boxes -too much opportunity to pass stuff to each other. The origami butterly sounds good for our Chrysalis group! They do publish, in house, their own poetry and make beautiful Stations of the Cross with their own meditations which are taken to local churches. I love that your mind flew in so many posssible directions. Many have never experienced any kind of crafting. When they make something for family, they put a lot of love and care into it - a joy to watch! Thanks for your help.

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