The Great Lakes Mall in Spirit Lake hosts an annual Festival of Trees in which local businesses and non-profits can decorate a tree for a chance to be voted to win the top prize.

This year, the theme is about our local food pantry through Upper Des Moines Opportunity, and each organization that decorates a tree is to pick a food pantry theme. We chose dried pasta and are encouraging people to bring dried pasta to donate while looking at the fun trees in the mall Dec. 1-24.

We have started putting together our nature-related pasta ornaments, and it has been so much fun we thought we would encourage you to try your own!

Supplies will depend on what kind of ornament you want to make, but for the three we have created today --- a bee, a turtle and a flower --- you'll need:
Dried pasta (large shells, jumbo shells, rotini)
Acrylic paint
Googly eyes
Hot glue
Black pipe cleaner

Begin by painting your pasta.

We painted jumbo shells green and yellow, and after they dried we added on shell details with brown and bee stripes with black. We painted the rotini bright green for the plant stem and purple and pink for the flower. We also painted large shells green for the plant stem and for the turtle head and feet.

(Five facts you probably didn't know about painted turtles)

Photo of painted pasta

Let the pasta dry.

Glue the pieces together to create your flower, insect or animal. Add googly eyes and details, such as the bee antenna.

Photo of pasta turtle

If you want to make them into ornaments, glue a piece of wire or a circle of twine to the top to hang with.

In December, come to the Great Lakes Mall in Spirit Lake, bring a food pantry donation and vote for our tree! If we get the most votes, the Dickinson County Nature Center will receive a $200 donation!

Photo of pasta flower

Want another craft to try? Check out our turtle thumbprints activity!

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