Family: Crafty sessions to entertain the kids

On a cold, miserable weekend afternoon it can be hard to think of something to do with children. The teenagers can take themselves off to a film, but nine-year-old Ellen poses more of a problem.

Frankly, she'd be happy to slump in front of the Disney Channel, but it somehow doesn't feel right. So I decided to nurture her inner creativity by taking her down to Kiss the Fish in Stockbridge.

Inside this busy little shop/studio there are all sorts of craft presents which I could have just bought and been done with it.

Hide Ad

But there was time to kill, so she was led to the shelves laden with papier mache objects which she could decorate.

From letters of the alphabet, to Christmassy bits, little boxes and virtually every animal you can think of (including a stag's head which I quite fancied choosing myself), she plumped for a heart-shaped frame.

Ellen donned an apron, chose some pink rose-patterned paper and set to work doing what Kiss the Fish calls decopatch.

First, she painted the frame with a colour that matched the decorative paper and after this had dried she tore up the paper and glued the patches onto the frame.

To begin with I thought this seemed extremely odd and would have attempted to just cover the frame with a single sheet. However, as she progressed I could see method in this madness, and it started to look really quite interesting.

There were quite a few other girls of a similar age decorating other objects and I've never known such silence in a room full of tweenies. Apart from speaking up to request more paper or glue they were totally absorbed in their work.

Hide Ad

And it's not just for young girls at a loose end - increasing numbers of adults are booking up for evening sessions, bringing a bottle of wine to help them on their way. I imagine the alcohol might help produce some more "interesting" results.

Finally, when Ellen had covered the frame completely (which took over an hour) she handed it back to be varnished and we were told to return the following day to collect it.

Hide Ad

To be honest I was so impressed with the result that we plan to return and do a few more, but in the meantime I have a non-square-eyed daughter and granny's Christmas present is all wrapped up.

Kiss the Fish, 9 Dean Park Street, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131-332 8912 or visit to arrange sessions and parties. Workshops cost from 15 per person, including materials.

This article was first published in The Scotsman, 11 December, 2010