After a bottle of wine is opened, it seems a shame to throw out that perfectly good cork and rightly so. Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree grown primarily in Spain, Portugal, Italy and the south of France and it takes 20 years for the first cork to be harvested from a single tree. Thereafter, the bark can only be harvested once every 9 to 10 years. Cork is soft and buoyant, light weight and rot resistant. Save those wine bottle corks and make them into cork animals. Set aside some craft time with your kids. Gather around the kitchen table and create these charming jungle animals.
Glue two corks together end to end. Let the glue dry. Next set two single corks upright. Put a dab of glue on the top of each cork and lay the two glued together corks horizontally across both vertical corks. Let the glue dry.
Wind yellow yarn around the index finger and the middle finger held parallel to each other. Do this on the non-dominant hand. Wind the yarn around about five times. Slip the yarn off the fingers. Take a separate strand and tie it around the wrapped yarn at the very center. Tie a tight knot. Clip away excess length. Fan the tied, wrapped yarn out so it makes a full circle made up of yarn loops.
Glue the yellow yarn which is the mane of the tiger to the top edge of one of the glued together horizontal corks. Cut 1/2-inch off another cork. This is the head and face of the lion. Cut ears from the leftover cork and a nose. Glue them on the lions head along with two seed beads for the lion's eyes.
Glue the head to the yarn mane. Glue a yarn tail on to the back of the cork lion.
Take one cork and cut it in half width-wise. Glue each half to the top and bottom of a single full wine cork. Set it aside to dry. This forms the front legs and long neck of the giraffe.
Cut another cork in half width-wise. Use one of the halves as the back legs of the giraffe. Set one end of a full wine cork on top of this half piece of cork to form the giraffes back and glue. Let the glue dry.
Set the glued together corks from Step 1 on end. Put glue on the end of the horizontal cork forming the giraffe's back from Step 2, the end that is not glued to the half cork. Glue the horizontal cork to the stack of corks sitting on end forming the legs and neck. Set aside to dry.
Lay the giraffe on its side and use a craft knife to cut the half cork sitting at the tallest point of the giraffes neck at a slight angle. The back of the long giraffe neck is the high point of the angled cut.
From left over cork, cut a small piece of cork about 3/8 by 3/8 by 3/8-inches. Glue this to the top of the cork that was cut at an angle in Step 4.
Glue a full wine cork to the 1/8-inch tab of cork. This is the giraffes head, the nose is pointing downward. Glue two seed beads on the head for eyes. Cut two pieces of cork for ears and glue them on.
Cut pieces of yellow yarn 1/2 to 1-inch long for the mane. Glue them crosswise down the back of the neck. Glue on a tail of yellow yarn.
Cut one cork in half length-wise. Use only one of the halves for the back of the crocodile. Lay it on the table cut side down.
Cut a mouth into another cork. Make it a narrow V-shape with the widest part of the V at the front of the mouth. This is the head of the crocodile
Glue the back of the crocodile's head to the end of the half cork body. Let the glue dry,
Cut four small tabs of cork for the four legs. Glue two on each side of the crocodile.
Cut two tabs of cork for the crocodile's ears and glue those on.
Glue two seed beads on the head for eyes.
After making these animals see what other imaginative animals your kids can make with cork. Corks floats, take the crocodile for a swim in a bowl of water.
Only an adult should handle the craft knife and cut the corks.