Posts Tagged 'DIY'



Thoughtful Thursdays: DIY Green Holiday Decorations

From the mesmerizing experience of watching “Polar Express” in 4D to staff celebrations and special holiday enrichment activities for the animals, the holiday season is always an exciting time for us at National Aquarium.

Part of that excitement includes decorating! As part of our conservation mission, we are always on the look out for ways to use recycled and eco-friendly materials to create one-of-a-kind holiday decorations!

We’ve included the steps for some of our DIY favorites below:

Recycled Magazine Holiday Tree 

Materials: 

Old magazines
Glue (optional)
Glitter (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Fold the page of the magazine down to create a triangular crease

  2. Fold the triangle down again and then fold the tip of that page up so that it’s even with the bottom of the magazine
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until every page of the magazine is folded in
  4. If desired, use glue and glitter to decorate your magazine trees!

Paper Bows

Materials: 

Recycled paper (printer paper and old magazine/newspaper works best)
Double-sided tape
Stapler

Directions: 

  1. Cut your paper into eight approximately one-inch wide strips (leaving one to the side)
  2. Loop the top half of the strip and secure to the middle of the strip with tape, loop the bottom half of the strip so to complete the “figure eight” shape
  3. Repeat step two for the remainder your strips
  4. Arrange the “figure eights” into a bow shape and secure together with a stapler.
  5. Loop the final strip (set aside earlier) and tape it in the center of the bow to cover the staple

3D Paper Snowflake 

Materials: 

Recycled paper cut into six squares (again printer paper and old magazine/newspaper work best)
Scissors
Tape
Stapler
Old ribbon or string (optional, for hanging)

Directions: 

  1. Gather your six square sheets of paper and fold each diagonally into a triangle
  2. Cut three lines in the triangle by positioning the scissors along the bottom fold, these cuts should be parallel to the top edges of the triangle and should leave some distance in the middle of the triangle (do not cut the paper all the way through)
  3. Once you’ve cut lines into each piece of paper, unfold them so that one of the points of the square faces you
  4. Roll the first two innermost paper lines together to form a tube. Place these two pieces together. You should see triangle shapes on either side of the role
  5. Turn the diamond over, take the next two paper lines and pull them together on the opposite side of the tube and tape together as before. This will be a more rounded shape than the first tube.
  6. Completing that pattern, join all the paper lines together on alternating sides until every “arm” of the snowflake has been completed
  7. Staple together the tops of three of the completed snowflake “arms”
  8. Staple the other three tops together
  9. Join the two halves of the snowflake by stapling together the tops of the snowflake
  10. Staple together where the “arms” of the snowflake meet each other, ensuring that the snowflake shape will stay in place
  11. If desired, loop a piece of ribbon or string through one of the snowflake “arms” and hang your snowflakes on doors, banners or windows!

Want to learn some other exciting eco-friendly holiday crafts? Join us for our holiday events, including our World Holiday Traditions celebration next Friday, December 7. We’ll be using recycled holiday cards to make notes to send to service members! 

Do you have a favorite eco-friendly holiday craft or decoration? Share them with us in the comments! 

Thoughtful Thursdays: Green DIY Halloween Decor

In the spirit of this upcoming weekend full of Hallowmarine fun, we’re sharing some of our team’s favorite eco-friendly, decoration ideas! Not only are these decorations a great way to use recyclable materials, they are also more cost-effective than buying traditional decorations AND the steps are simple, making this a great project for families to do together!

Floating Ghost

Materials:

  • cheesecloth or old fabric cut into a 12″ x 12″ square
  • an old tree ornament (preferably a clear globe)
  • string
  • a glow stick (optional)**
  • a permanent marker

Directions:

1. Draw two large oval eyes on the ornament with permanent marker.

2. If using a glowstick, activate it and place it inside the ornament. We used a shorter, thicker glow stick like this one, but the thinner variety work as well!

3. Cover the lit ornament with your fabric, if you are using an old sheet, make sure it has a small hole cut in the center of the square to fasten the string to the ornament.

4. Attach string to the ornament’s top hook and hang your ghost! These make great outdoor ornaments for trees and look great on banisters or doorways.

**Stick your activated glow sticks in the freezer to keep them glowing longer! 

Box Mummies

Materials:

  • a cracker or cereal box**
  • old white fabric such as sheets or pillowcases
  • googly eyes or eyes drawn onto scrap paper
  • tape and/or hot glue

Directions:

1. Tear the fabric into strips approximately three inches wide

2. Wrap the strips around the box, securing with tape or tying them together (as seen above), until the entire box is completely covered!

3.  Attach the eyes to the top half of your box mummy!

**If you use an empty box, you’ll want to put something in the bottom as a weight so your mummies don’t tip over!

Milk Gallon Ghost

Materials:

  • Plastic milk jugs (washed out)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent Marker
  • A glowstick (optional)

Directions:

1. Make sure your gallon is washed out and completely dry

2. Cut off the top of the milk jug, making an approximate six inch hole

3. Draw a ghoulish face on the front facet of the milk jug, opposite sides of the handle

4. Activate the glow stick and drop it in!

Join us this weekend for more exciting crafting at our Hallowmarine events in DC and Baltimore!  

Thoughtful Thursday: Giant Kelp, the World’s Fastest-Growing Species

The fastest-growing species in the world actually makes its home in the ocean: giant kelp!

The Kelp Forest exhibit at our Baltimore venue

Forests of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) are spread out along the Pacific coast from Alaska to the Southern Channel Islands; Baja, California; South America; South Africa; and Australia. Tiered like terrestrial rain forests, expansive mazes of giant kelp provide food and shelter to some of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems.

Individual strands of kelp can grow up to 2 feet per day, ultimately reaching heights of 148 feet, according to NOAA. The tops of these strands fuse together to create floating canopy beds, making an ideal home for animals like seals, sea lions, sea otters, gulls, terns, snowy egrets, and great blue herons. Underwater, kelp forests provide a great array of habitats, from the holdfasts to the surface mats, supporting thousands of invertebrate species like shrimp, crab, and brittle stars.

Much like their above-ground cousins, these rain forests of the ocean are gravely threatened by climate change. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia reports that in some cases off the coast of Tasmania, giant kelp forests, similar to those off the coast of California, have shrunk more than 95%. The threats to these ecological communities are so severe, they’ve now been categorized as endangered.

The biggest threats to these forests? Warming sea surface temperatures, invasive species, and biodiversity loss due to runoff and sedimentation. Although these magnificent underwater forests grow at extremely fast rates, they are swiftly being taken down by human impacts on the environment.

There are a few easy things you can do to help protect this amazing species!

  • Make yourself aware of what chemicals you use in your everyday life. Check for dangerous and/or harmful ingredients and, whenever possible, do not use pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that can be harmful to the environment.
  • Plant a native garden and practice sustainable gardening techniques. Click here to find out more.
  • Get involved! And inspire others to follow your lead.
    Click here to find out more about the Thoughtful Choices you can practice at home.

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