Continuing with my clothes pin doll fascination, I made these Christmas elves. I think they would also be cute hanging from the tree. I painted them with acrylic and made the belt and hat with felt. The bow tie is narrow satin ribbon.
Christmas tree decorations that you make, or the ones that have some sentimental meaning, are the best kinds, in my opinion. The handprint belongs to my son from when he was about five and the little house and gingerbread man are made from salt dough and painted with tempera. We made a bunch of the salt dough ornaments one year, but unfortunately not too many survive. When he was about three we hung sugar cookies on the tree until we discovered that he was eating all of them! I couldn't figure out at first how he was reaching some of the ones on the higher branches, but then I discovered that he pushed a little chair into the living room to use as a step stool. The star is actually made from paper by a friend of mine,and the bell was tied on the top of a Christmas present when I was a child.
I know, I know. These birds are not all that Christmasy, but I think that with a change of color they would be perfect for the tree. I cut the bird's body and wings from card stock. The little stamps I fashioned from textures like bubble wrap and corrugated cardboard. And I used an ink pad.
Clothes pin dolls are fun and easy to make, particularly if you already have odds and ends of fabric, trim and buttons on hand. Children today are not necessarily familiar with clothes pins, but from Colonial times until just a few decades ago they would have been a necessity in every household. Turning them into dolls is a form of folk art.
My husband drilled holes for me so that I could insert the pipe cleaner arms. I cut the pipe cleaners so that they are the same length as the height of the clothes pin. To attach the fabric clothing I used white glue and a small sponge brush. I coated the entire piece of fabric with glue and wrapped it around the doll. The hair, faces and shoes were rendered with magic markers. The foil is actually a foil tape.
Moldable Foam or Magic Stamps is a product that I was totally unfamiliar with. I originally came across it on Pinterest and could not find it locally so I ordered it from Joann's Fabric. One source online recommended using ordinary craft foam, but I did not find that it worked well at all.
The blocks of foam need to be warmed with a heat gun for a few seconds. My husband had one that I tried, but it was too hot, and my hair dryer was not hot enough. The one that I went out and bought was perfect and could probably be handled safely by older children. After the block is heated you press the warm surface onto the textures and their impression remains. I used washable ink stamps to transfer the images to paper. The really great aspect is that the stamps can be used over and over, but once you have reheated the surface your design magically disappears and you can start again with a different texture. The ink washes off with water.
Using a rubber brayer or a sponge roller (Dollar Store) to apply paint to textures and then printing them on paper is a great, open-ended activity. You'd probably be surprised at how many textures you can find by looking around the house. Yes, that's an unused fly swatter. I used acrylic paint, but printmaking ink or even thick tempera paint can work quite well. The results can be framed or used as gift wrap and there is plenty of room for experimentation and absolutely no room for "mistakes".
This is the time of year when I'm visiting classrooms that the children begin to reveal to me what their Halloween costumes will be. Halloween was definitely in the air here in New Jersey over the weekend as I felt the nip in the air and noticed how many spiders were spinning their webs outside our front door.
All of my masks are available here. Naturally, it's always fun to let your child make their own mask.
My masks are printed from my original pastel illustrations. Thanks for visiting.
This is a collaborative printmaking piece that was created with pre-schoolers. It's a large piece, approximately 3x4', with the work mounted on a pre-stretched canvas. Sheets of colored tissue paper were imprinted with ordinary objects that have interesting shapes such as popsicle sticks, buttons, zippers and metal screening. Some of the more intricate patterns are rubber stamps.