Treasure Heads.

Treasure Heads

My Mom has a special sort of Homeschool-Mom-Genius-Gene that I really, really hope I inherited.  She was able to expertly turn everything into a learning experience, yet somehow make it extraordinarily fun at the same time.

(Okay, most things were fun.  Finding my little brother’s dissected frogs in brown paper bags in the fridge was decisively NOT fun.)

One of the avenues in which she perfected this gift of FunLearning was through our many entrepreneurial activities throughout the years.  My absolute favorite one of those forays into capitalism was our Christmas Treasure Heads project, with which we earned money to buy Christmas presents for our friends and family.

Treasure heads are crepe paper wrapped hand-painted heads with toys inside.  They make fun Christmas decorations and stocking stuffers, and then can be ripped open and unwrapped to find toys hidden inside.

(What?? Encouraging kids to rip the face off of an angel or reindeer just to find a bunch of toys inside is perfectly healthy!!)

For many years, we made hundreds of these and sold them at all of the local craft fairs, including the King of all Craft Shows, Christmas Village.

Mom would let us each make as many as we wanted, while she kept up with our production numbers and paid us accordingly.

Being that I’ve been a geeky accountant since birth, my favorite part of the whole process (besides making sure that I made more than my brothers) was figuring out how many heads we had to sell to break even, and then how much profit I personally made per head, and how much money I was raking in.  Starting at the age of four.

This year, it hit me that Ali was four – nay, almost five.

I was falling behind!!

So last week, I spontaneously decided that it was time to pick back up the family tradition and recreate this experience for her, except this time without all of the craft fairs, but instead with the help of Etsy and Shop Birmingham.

I called Mom and somehow managed to twist her arm into joining our project, then set out (with Ali’s help) in an obsessive journey of picking and ordering toys, crepe paper, deciding what kind of faces we would make, and, of course, figuring out our profit and loss margins.

Boxes of fantastic toys began to arrive on our doorstep, and Ali was thrilled with the treasures that were enclosed.  We immediately started work, wrapping our treasure heads.

Ali loved picking out the specific toys she wanted to go into each head, then meticulously matching her crepe paper to the toy color.

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It took her a little while to figure out the coordination of holding onto the toy AND wrapping it up all at once, but she got it…eventually.

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She also helped with many other tasks involved, like measuring out the hair for the angels, tongue out and all.

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I wrapped the outer layers and prepared the faces for painting,

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And Mom came over and helped us paint our characters.

We updated classics from my childhood such as reindeer and angels,

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But our favorites were our modern addition to the Treasure Head Enterprise: Angry Birds.

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Each Treasure Head has seven toys inside, somewhat akin to these,

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And Ali is eagerly selling them here and here, if you’re so inclined to buy THE BEST STOCKING STUFFERS EVER.

But if not, I’m sure she’ll just as eagerly rip the faces off of each and every one of them, keeping every single magnificent treasure all for herself.

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Comments

  1. I love this idea of combining holiday crafts with lessons in entrepreneurship! How totally clever and awesome.

  2. Not to be a spoil-sport but are there any copyright infringements with making Angry Birds? I think the treasure heads idea is excellent and I hope you sell many items.

    • The way I understand it, as long as you’re doing a small craft (a child making a few dozen Christmas items to sell), it’s fine. If you go on Pinterest or Etsy or anywhere and type in “Angry Birds”, you’ll find thousands of small craft items that people have made and are selling. The same is true for Dora, Mickey Mouse, and every other character out there. Obviously, if you’re doing a gigantic business, that’s a problem, but that’s definitely not the case here.

      Granted, this is my first foray into the world of crafting since I was 10, so I could be completely wrong.

  3. Those are absolutely precious!! I love the customizable angels – those would be perfect gifts for any little girls! What a great way to teach Ali about making money.

  4. Eleanorjane says:

    Very impressive! They look great and a useful learning experience too! :)

  5. Wow, I have never heard of anything like these. I am very impressed with the Angry Birds characters! Did you freehand those?? They look just like the real things. What a fun thing to do together!

  6. I need more direction on how to make these! That’d be fun to do with our playroup!

    • Sure! Just get seven or so small toys and seven different colors of crepe paper streamer rolls. Try to get a bigger, roundish toy to go in the center. Wrap each toy in a clock-like motion with a different color of crepe paper. Wrap the bumpy toys all on one side so that you have a flat side to paint the face. The outside is wrapped with cut crepe paper sheets, not rolls – they stretch more smoothly. Paint the face with mod podge to get it smooth and shiny, then paint your face on, then repaint the face with mod podge. Then add the embellishments with foam, pipe cleaners, or whatever!

      Hope that helps – let me know if you need any further instructions!

  7. You guys are so clever! These are cute! :)
    Do you ship to chiner?! :)

  8. How cute! And I need to purchase an Angry Birds one as a great gift for an adult I know! Can you bring it when I see you next?

  9. What a cool idea! Your mom never ceases to amaze me!
    The angry birds are my favorite :)

  10. polymathamy says:

    “Surprise Balls” have been on my to-make list since Not Martha wrote about them in 2008:
    http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/surpriseballs/
    I love your idea of decorating them with faces!

  11. When I saw your post today (Christmas cards), it for some reason made me think back to this post. I thought it was such a cute idea. Did Ali have any luck selling them? I hope so!

    • Actually, we didn’t sell too many at all!! I think the labor put into them outweighs the price these days. Plus, they’re so much cuter if you can touch them in person! But I did it for Ali to have fun with and have the experience of creating something to sell, and she loved it. So that’s all that matters!!

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