• American Girl Doll Crafter

DIY Doll Beehive and Flower Garden - Summer On The Farm 2019

Isn’t it un-bee-lievable? I’m talking about relationship between bees and flowers! It’s hard to imagine one without the other. In fact, if this special insect were to suddenly disappear, many of our farm-grown foods and flowers would never bee the same! But what’s the buzz about this tiny yellow-and-black creature, and why is it so important?



In order for crops and flowers to multiply in number, bees must be involved. This is very important for life on earth, since one-third of the world’s food supply depends on the bee’s work in a process called pollination. The cycle begins with the flower, and a sweet liquid called nectar is produced inside the blossom. Nectar attracts many insects, primarily honey bees. The worker bee will first arrive at a flower to collect nectar. Later, she will use the special liquid to make honey back at the hive. She might also collect pollen, the plant’s reproduction cells, onto her hind legs. As the bee flies from garden to garden, the pollen will brush off onto other flowers, thus allowing plants to reproduce. So, don’t forget to thank a bee the next time you enjoy a flower’s fragrance!



Would you believe that most of the bees in a hive are girls? It’s true! There are three basic members when it comes to the hive– workers, drones, and the revered queen bee— however, 98% of all the bees in a hive are female worker bees. Collecting pollen, building the hexagon-shaped wax, and creating honey is the job of the worker bee. Workers pollinate flowers, and they also perform the special communication dance that tells other bees where the flower “food” is! Drones, the most unproductive insects of the hive, are male bees. Often labeled as lazy, the drones do not help out with collecting nectar/pollen, nor do they make beeswax; their only purpose is to reproduce. In fact, during the winter the lady worker bees actually will drive away the unwanted drones in order to conserve food! The third and most valuable member in the hive is the queen bee. A queen will begin life as a larvae, or baby bee. However, if she is chosen to be the hive’s queen, she will be fed a rich mixture of food called royal jelly, thus allowing her to become and larger than the average worker bee. The queen bee’s job is to lay eggs in the honeycomb, which makes her responsible for helping grow the honeybee population. Just like any queen, she is constantly surrounded and protected by worker guards.


It just wouldn’t be right to talk about bees without mentioning their delicious, natural product— honey! Honey is the result of highly refined nectar. When a worker returns from a flight with nectar, she will regurgitate (to be blunt, throw up) the nectar into another bee’s mouth. This process will continue until the nectar is ready to be deposited in a honeycomb. Deposited nectar is very watery, so the bees will quickly fan the hive to help the water evaporate faster. After the task of fanning is complete, the comb is sealed with a liquid from the bee’s abdomen. This keeps the honey away from air and water, meaning that it can last in the hive for a very long time! Depending on the types of flower the worker bees may visit, honey can actually have different flavors. My dad, who is a backyard beekeeper, has one of his hives located in a river swamp full of Tupelo trees. Because the bees gather their nectar from the flowers of these trees, their honey results in a unique flavor that can be rare and hard to find! Speaking of backyard beekeepers, the proper name for a person who works with bees is an apiarist, and the special location where beehives are kept can be called apiaries.


Today we’ve got a treat for our campers that might be as sweet as honey! Earlier in May of this year, my dad harvested honey from our backyard hive, and I joined him with my camera to capture the process. View the bees up close in this exclusive video!



Materials:

  • Mini Wooden Crates OR Small Boxes

  • Bubble Wrap

  • Small Flowers (Faux or Real!)

  • Mini Flower Pots OR Small Bathroom Cups

  • Washi Tape OR Paint and Paintbrush

  • Yellow Paint

  • Tulle Foam board

  • Hot Glue Gun

  • Xacto knife or cutting tool

  • Ribbon (Optional)

  • Honeybee Stickers or Buttons

  • Doll Sun Hat



Instructions for Beekeeper’s Hat



1. Begin by cut a 20 x 6 and 1/2 rectangle of tulle.



2. Cut a 20 inch long piece of of ribbon, then sew or glue it to one end of the tulle netting. The ribbon provides a clean look, however, this step is completely optional.



3. Hot glue the other end of the tulle around the rim of the hat. Add a small dot of glue to secure the end ribbons together, and your doll is all prepared for her beekeeping adventure!



Instructions for Beehive



1. To create the structure of the hive, stack small wooden crates or boxes. You can paint them any color of your choice, since beehives are usually light, bright hues! Paint a small handle shape on the side for extra detail.



2. Cut a rectangle of foam board the length and height of your hive box (My dimensions are 2 1/4 inch by 4 1/4). Paint the foam board a golden yellow on each side.



3. Cut two rectangles of bubble wrap the same size as your foam board piece, then gently paint them a lighter yellow color. Be careful— you don’t want to pop the bubble wrap!



4. Once the foam board and bubble wrap are dry, glue the bubble wrap on each side of the foam board. This will serve as the honeycomb for the hive! Make several honeycomb trays until your hive is full. For a playful touch, glue a bee or two on the honeycomb! (The bees I used were found in the button section at Hobby Lobby)



Create a lid for the hive box by cutting a square of foam board the same width and length as your box. Make and stack several more hives for your doll's apiary!



Instructions for Flower Garden and Honey



1. There are many options for doll flower pots— miniature clay pots are sold at craft and hardware stores, a painted bathroom cup works nicely as well, and even small applesauce containers! Using items around the house is a great way to repurpose something.



2. You can paint and embellish the flower pots for a colorful touch, or leave them as is for a natural look. Now it’s time to plant! Add faux (or real!) flowers to the pots, filling the bottom of the pot with faux moss. Look for bee-friendly flowers to grow in your doll’s garden, like Lavender, Sunflowers, Forget-Me-Nots, Dahlias, Honeysuckle and more!



3. To make jars of honey for your doll, use miniature glass jars from Hobby Lobby or small plastic containers. The lids of these jars can actually screw on to keep items inside. For our doll's honey, we will be making one of the most fun craft projects—slime! Follow the tutorial provided by the Play-Doh Kitchen to make doll "honey".



Fun fact: The "honey" in my doll's jars is actually my Dad's real Tupelo honey! However, while it made an awesome photoshoot prop, we don't recommend using real honey when playing with your dolls. Vinyl limbs + sticky liquids = one big mess!



Display your doll's flowers and honey collection on a crate or stand near the apiary. Her friends can even drop by for a visit and purchase their own jar of natural honey



Welcome to Blaire's apiary! The backyard is abuzz with activity as bees zoom about.



You're just in time— Blaire is about to harvest her honey!



Carefully opening the lid, she reaches inside and pulls out a honeycomb tray, also known as a super frame.



It appears that a few bees are quite ready to let go of their honey, ha ha! Have you ever wondered why an apiarist usually wears white when working with bees? Colors like black, red, and dark blue disturb the bees and send them into high alert, therefore most beekeepers sport a white suit, protective hat, and light-colored gloves.



Blaire's bees have enjoyed a very productive summer, meaning that Blaire will soon enjoy her harvest of delicious honey!



"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

- Proverbs 24:16


We have one last activity for the day that's the bee's knees— click on the image below to print out this bee-utiful coloring page!



If you have finished artwork to share, we'd love to see it! Send it in via email to be featured in the Farm Flashback on Sunday.


Farm Finds

  • Flowers and flower pots - Hobby Lobby

  • Blaire's bee suit - Luciana's Astronaut Suit from American Girl

  • Wooden crate - Hobby Lobby


Astro Alternatives

When crafting, improvise and create using what works best for YOU! At the end of each camp craft, we'll be sharing ideas for alternative materials.

  • Use hexagon scrapbook paper rather than bubble wrap

  • Make bees using small yellow pom poms or stickers instead of buttons

  • Use fruit netting rather than tulle


This Sunday is the second Farm Flashback! Submit a photo of your completed craft, coloring page, or a picture of your doll's adventures on the farm.

Camp posts will be shared on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of each week.


If you complete a craft or want to share a photo of your doll at camp, snap a picture and send it in, OR share on Instagram using the hashtag #SummerOnTheFarm2019 to be featured in the Farm Flashback each Sunday!

Email: americangirldollcrafter@gmail.com


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