Learn How to… At Home Easter Crafts

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Happy Easter Everyone!  

Our blog post today, shares some different Easter crafts you can do at home.

In these uncertain times, now more than ever we need different activities to battle the boredom and amuse the bairns. So, hopefully learning how to make spin drums, bunny bunting and hand puppets will do just that!

You might have seen our social media posts on Facebook (@RobertBurnsBirthplaceMuseum), Twitter (@RobertBurnsNTS) and Instagram (@robertburnsnts)? Well, this blog provides the written instructions for our craft videos and some photos of the end products.

Spin Drums

First up, how to make a spin drum!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A Hole Punch
  • String
  • Two beads
  • Straws

You need to decide what type of animal, you’d like to make (have a good think- maybe an Easter chick, bunny, pig, cow, sheep? – there’s lots of options!).

To begin:

  1. Cut-out two cardboard circles, trace these templates onto coloured paper and glue in place.
  2. Use a hole punch to make two holes each side of the two templates.

These steps makes the base for your face!

  1. Next, cut paper to make eyes, ears and a nose.
  2. Glue these features onto one of your cardboard templates.
  3. Use a pen to add details, like whiskers and a mouth.

Next, it’s time to make the drum!

  1. Glue a straw stick (or three taped together to make thicker) onto the back of the face you’ve just created.
  2. Attach the other cardboard template onto the back.
  3. Thread string through one of the templates’ holes and attach a bead – don’t forget to tie it tight!
  4. Repeat the previous step on the opposite side.

It should look something like this…

Finally, spin your drum to make some noise!

Bunny Bunting

Next, let’s learn how to make some bunny bunting to really get into the Easter spirit- you can hang this craft around your whole house!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String
  • Cotton Wool

To begin:

  1. Draw a bunny to make a template (you can trace circular objects like, baking cutters- to make it a bit easier!).
  2. Next, use the template to cut-out more bunnies.
  3. Glue on the cotton wool to make a tail.
  4. Glue the bunnies onto the ribbon.
  5. As an extra step, you can colour-in the bunnies with different patterns and designs.

Here’s our example!

And finally, hang your bunny bunting front and centre for everyone to see!

Easter Puppets

Finally, let’s see how to make an Easter hand puppet!

For this, you’ll need:

  • A4 Paper
  • Coloured Pens/Pencils or Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Again, like the spin drums, you’ll need to decide what type of animal to make!

Once you’ve decide, we need to fold a sheet of A4 paper first:

  1. Fold a sheet of landscape paper into 2/3’s.
  2. Fold over and glue down the remaining flap.
  3. Turn the paper portrait and fold again long-ways.
  4. Fold each side in half again.
  5. Now you have your basic hand puppet, try it out!

Checkout the pictures below, to see each step.

Next, we need to decorate our puppet.

  1. Cut paper to make eyes, ears, teeth and a nose.
  2. Glue onto the puppet.
  3. Cut paper to make a tongue.
  4. Glue onto the inside of the puppet.
  5. Use a pen to add details, like whiskers.

These were our finished puppets…

And don’t forget to show off your new puppet!

Enjoy a relaxing afternoon, evening or morning of crafting with these three Easter crafts and get yourself into the Easter spirit at home this year!

Remember and share your creations with us on social media, using #BurnsBirthplace

Happy Easter Everyone!

Easter Recipe – Simnel Cake

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A great Easter treat - Siminel Cake. Photograph by A. Copeland.
A great Easter treat – Simnel Cake. Photograph by A. Copeland.

Simnel Cake

Why not try baking a Simnel Cake this Easter weekend? This classic Easter cake is easy to make, and goes well with a cup of tea! I have made mine rather minimalist but feel free to add marzipan decorations, to give it your own flare!

Prep time 30 mins, cook time 1 hr 20. This can be made dairy free.


1 lemon (zest and juice)

500g Mixed Fruit

225g Self Raising Flour

2tsp Mixed Spice

3 large Free Range Eggs

175g Butter/Dairy free alternative

175g Light Muscovado Sugar

Marzipan (Pre made is easiest)

For this use a spring bottom tin  (20 inches), for beating either do this by hand or use a food mixer/electric beater (a food proccessor will ruin the sponge mix).


  1. Put the lemon juice in a saucepan and add all the dried fruit, on a low heat bring the mix to a simmer and let it bubble for 2 minutes – make sure you stir this and watch for the liquid disappearing then remove from the heat and place the mix on a large plate and leave to cool.
  1. Line the base of a 20 inch loose based deep round cake tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 150 fan / 170.
  1. Mix the flour and the mixed spice in a large bowl.
  1. In an electric food mixer, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy looking. Once this is mixed add in the eggs one at a time.
  1. Now add in the flour mix in batches. Then the fruit, again in batches.
  1. Take the marzipan and roll it out into a circle about 5mm thick. Make sure it is big enough to touch the sides of the tin. (If you are using a spring bottom tin, remove it and use it as a guide for the size of the marzipan disc)
  1. Pour 1/2 of the mix into the baking tin, making sure the mix is level, add a disc of the marzipan. Then add the rest of the mix to the tin.
  1. Bake for 1 hour and 20 mins – it should have risen be firm and golden brown. Once cool glaze with apricot jam which has been heated.

Have fun making this and enjoy your Easter weekend – Catriona McIntosh, Learning Intern 🙂

Mrs Rabbit’s Carrot Cake

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For this year’s Cadbury’s Easter Egg Trail we are celebrating the wonderful stories by Beatrix Potter. For me that is just a marvelous excuse to do some baking! From Peter Rabbit’s forays into Mr M

cGregor’s garden it is clear that he has some what of penchant for carrots. And what better way for Mrs Rabbit to make use of the carrots, than to make a delicious carrot cake!




2 cups self raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
6 Eggs
300g melted butter
1 and 1/2 cups soft brown sugar
2 large carrots grated
Handful of raisins
Handful of chopped walnuts.
Teaspoon cinnamon
Teaspoon nutmeg

Cream Cheese Icing

280g full fat cream cheese.
280g softened butter.
Icing Sugar (1 cup or to taste)


In a bowl seive the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add in the nutmeg and cinnamon and stir until combined.

Crack the 6 eggs into a separate bowl, with the brown sugar and melted butter. Whisk until mixture becomes thick and creamy.

Taking about a quarter at a time, fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until fully combined.

Fold in grated carrots.

Take a handful of raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts and fold those into the mixture.

Dollop mixture into two round cake tins. Remember to grease and line your tins or the cake will stick!

Cook in the oven for roughly 30 mins at 180c. You will know it is done if a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, and if the sides of the cake are pulling away from the tin.

Place on a rack to cool.


With an electric whisk cream butter in a bowl until smooth and free of lumps.

Add in the cream cheese and whisk the two together until combined and free of lumps.

Add in icing sugar until it has reached your preffered sweetness.

Refigerate for several hours.


Put one of the cakes on a plate and coat the top with icing. Place the second cake on top and coat again with the icing. For decoration scatter some more walnuts.



The Inspirations of Burns and Beatrix

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Robert Burns was not just a great poet; he was also an avid reader. Remembered by many as a lad who loved his books so much he would read at the table, we have honoured this with an artwork by Su Blackwell that represents his favourite childhood book: The Life of Hannibal. Regarding this book, Burns was to say: ‘Hannibal gave my young ideas such a turn that I used to strut in raptures up and down after the recruiting drum and bagpipe.’

Hannibal’s Wars by Su Blackwell. On display in Burns Cottage

We all remember books like this that inspired us when we were children and which have special places in our hearts. To celebrate this, each Easter we focus on a specific children’s author. This year we have selected Beatrix Potter, whose books have become some of the earliest stories we are introduced to. However, we haven’t selected Potter merely due to her fame, but also due to her love of the countryside.

peter rabbit
The countryside is central to Beatrix Potter’s tales.

Both Burns and Potter were inspired by the Scottish countryside and by the people they met there. For Burns, the Ayrshire he grew up in became his muse, but for town-bred Beatrix, her family holidays in Perthshire were to be a revelation. Staying with her family at Dalguise House, a young Beatrix honed her artistic skills in hours of painting and sketching. This in adulthood would earn her good money – not only through her stories – but through commissions for scientific illustrations. While the Lake District was the place Potter was to ultimately make her home, it was Perthshire again which helped her make her mark. On holiday with her rabbit in a house owned by a Mr McGregor, Beatrix sent a ‘picture letter’ to a friend’s son with a story of four rabbits: Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-Tail, and Peter. Like Burns, Potter also creates characters for the animals and people that surround her. While Burns immortalised Souter Johnnie, Potter turns local washer woman, Kitty MacDonald, into Mrs Tiggy-Winkle –a mysterious washer of pocket handkins and pinnies.

mrs tiggy winkle
Mrs Tiggy-Winkle was inspired by Kitty Macdonald. Potter described her as ‘tiny body, brown as a berry, beady black eyes and much wrinkled, against an incongruously white frilled mutch. ‘

So come along to the museum from Friday 3rd to Monday the 6th of April, and see Burns Cottage transformed and alive with with inspiration from Peter Rabbit’s world. Take part in our Cadbury’s Peter Rabbit Easter Egg Trail and you’ll make the day even better with some delicious chocolate!

Find out more here!

Seaward ho!

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So Easter is over for another year and the chocolate eggs have all been eaten. Burns Cottage has been relinquished by the pirates, for now!

This year our annual Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt trail was based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. It wasn’t only a great excuse for museum staff to dress as pirates (some with unanticipated gusto), we also had huge numbers of visitors through the doors to get stuck in!


For those of you that couldn’t attend, the museum was hijacked to become the Hispanola for the weekend, decked out with sails, rigging and a massive stash of pirate booty (or in land-lubber terms – a huge pile of delicious Cadbury’s chocolate eggs).


The pirate trail proved very popular, taking families on a mad dash around the site, guided only by a ragged island map to discover who had hidden all the treasure.  One of our visitors has made a fantastic video that shows them in action.

Up at the cottage there was mutiny afoot, with a mini trail of pirates who had been given the black spot to discover in each room.


I’m sure none of the museum staff or volunteers expected that hoisting a main sail, paper mache-ing a treasure cave  or sword-fighting with visitors would be part of their job description, but once again their hard work was the key ingredient for the event’s success. Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum…


The year ahead: RBBM 2014

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Have you heard about all the fantastic things we’ve got planned at the museum in 2014? Follow the links to find out more!


R is for Robert, our warldlie kent bard

Owls from Hoots Houlets, aboot the kailyard

Books clubs aplenty and cupcakes aboond

Each Alloway Session makes a richt bonnie soond

Red are the roses our gardeners growe

Tender and savage; the artworks on show


Burns Night’s approaching; a choir and a feed

Umbrellas? In Alloway? There’ll not be a need!

R! say the pirates that Easter will bring

Nae more will haggis be safe from a fling

So many happenings eik up the year, it’s oodles of fun when you veesit us here!