Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Autumn Paper Wreath

This little projects is a good way to reuse some old CDs. I made the wreaths with some very young children today. I used white glue to add a ribbon loop to the back of the CDs, before the children started, so that they would be able to hang their wreaths. All of the gold strips to go around the outside had been cut out for them as well as the leaves and flowers. The flowers were just cut into spirals and if they are not glued down flat, they have a bit of a pop-up affect.
Glue sticks were used to attach the gold (or "golden" according to the children) paper to the CDs. The children had a little trouble fanning out the strips to ressemble a wreath. I compared the strips of paper to the rays of the sun, but I'm not sure that helped. The buttons were added with a dab of white glue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide

Explore a variety of high quality, artisan-made paper items that are ideal gifts for the paper lovers on your list - or win over those who have never considered paper to be gift-worthy! You'll also find specialty paper if you prefer to make your own presents. Ann Martin at All Things Paper created the guide and I am pleased to say that I am included in it! My fox print is one of the picks. If you are a fan of the arts, think about making a purchase from one of the artisans this holiday season.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Pressed Flower Plate

This is a simple project to start with your children that ultimately needs to be finished by an adult. I realize that I'm not posting this at a very advantageous time for those who live in a part of the world that is deep into autumn, like myself, but I just happened to finish the plate over the weekend.

 

I found my plate at a thrift store. It's a standard dinner size. I collected the flowers and leaves from my garden, avoiding anything that was too thick. I thought in terms of shapes that would flatten nicely. I placed my bits of nature between paper towels and then between some sheets of printer paper. I sandwiched the items into a thick art history book and sat a couple of other heavy books on top. After a week they ware nicely pressed. I used white glue to adhere the petals to the plate. After they dried, I used an epoxy resin to cover the portion of the plate with the flowers. This is the part that I would advise you NOT to include children. The material is toxic and I used gloves when I was dealing with it. The epoxy resin adds a glossy shine and will protect the pressed flowers. I almost backed out of using the product, but I'm glad I went ahead since it gives the plate a finished look. I used the 8 oz. Easy Cast that I picked up at a large craft store. There are 2 different solutions that you will need to mix together and then pour onto your plate. I used an old credit card to spread the resin. Bubbles did develop on the surface, but I found that after the plate had set for about 20 minutes I was able to gently pop most of the bubbles with the credit card. Just be gentle so that you don't disturb the surface. It takes about 2 days to dry.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Crayon Power

The purpose of this post is to introduce readers to a very wortwhile organization called Crayon Collection and to outline a simple art project that utilizes crayons that is fun for absolutely anyone over the age of six or so.

 

First, a little bit about Crayon Collection. Their noble mission is keeping crayons out of our landfills. Crayon Collection partners with restaurants to donate crayons, that children leave behind after dining, and pass them on to under-funded schools. This is a win win situation. Children are taught about upcycling that protects our environment and schools receive much needed art supplies. Please see how you can get involved at www.crayoncollection.org.

 

Supplies:

 

Crayons. Used and broken crayons are perfect for this project.

 

Sandpaper. A fine grade works best. I usually pick up a pack at a dollar store.

 

White paper.

 

An iron.

 

Cut or tear your sandpaper into smaller sheets, around 4x5 inches each. Talk to the children about creating a design by starting with simple shapes that they will be filling in with crayon. Details will be lost in this process, so emphasize simplicity. Depending on the age group, you may want to have a discussion about shapes that they can pick out from their surroundings. Have them think about filling up the entire piece of sandpaper as opposed to having one little drawing in the middle of the sheet. With slightly older children you may want to discuss foreground and background. In my example, the flower and leaves are foreground and the rest of the space will be background.
The children color in the shapes that they have made. Encourage them to layer on the crayon by pressing down and going over the same spot several times. You can't really tell in the example since the sandpaper is orange, but I have colored in the background using orange crayon.
Now it is time to transfer the image to a sheet of white paper using an iron. With younger children the iron should be used exclusively by the teacher or parent. Turn the sandpaper image over onto the paper and iron the back. You may want to put down a sheet of paper towel to protect your iron. Go back and forth several times. Lift up a corner to see if your image is being transferred.

 

After the children have seen their prints there are many topics that can be discussed. Why is the image made up of little dots? Because of the texture of the sandpaper. Why do some colors show up better than others? Dark colors stand out more on the white paper. Why is my leaf on the right side now instead of the left? Because the sandpaper was turned over. At this point the children can add another layer of crayon and print on top of their first image. I think it is fun for the children to check out how all of the prints turn out and have a discussion about results.

 

The beauty of crayons is that children build endurance in their hand muscles that will aid them in writing. With markers you do not need to apply any pressure to achieve results. Crayons have the ability to produce light and dark shades depending on the pressure you apply, giving the young artist more choice. Broken crayons provide children with even more opportunity to improve fine motor skills, and this project using sandpaper definitely strengthens those fingers muscles.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Award for my Blog

I was very pleased to discover that my site is listed among the top 25 blogs for making art with children when I read my email this morning. Feedspot hands out the honor and I have some very esteemed company on the list that you can check out here. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Prints with Markers

This is an easy printmaking project that requires very few supplies. You will need some inexpensive water-soluble markers (I picked up mine at the Dollar Store), a pen or pencil for drawing the design, white paper, and some sheets of scratch-foam. The scratch-foam will be your printing plate and can be ordered from an art supply store. I have read posts online that suggest using Styrofoam trays from the supermarket, but I find that it is difficult to impress the trays with a nice clean line.

 

Begin with a square of the scratch-foam, maybe a 3x3". Design your piece so that you are working out from one of the corners. Think of your "plate" as one quarter of a flower. You will be printing your piece four times so that your final design will be a 6x6" square. Make sure that when you press your pen into the scratch-foam you are leaving an impression that can be felt easily. Color in the different areas of your design with the markers. Lightly dampen the paper with a wet sponge. Turn your scratch-foam over onto the damp paper and rub the back with a wooden spoon. repeat the coloring and printing three more times.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Windsocks Painted with Watercolor

There are many good tutorials online about painting windsocks, so my purpose is just to share a couple insights that I discovered when making them with about forty pre-schoolers. My first realization was that the paper on the windsocks that I purchased could withstand a lot of very wet paint. For the windsock pictured I used very bright liquid watercolors. I also attached my ribbon hangers BEFORE the children did the painting. The windsocks come with a strip of card stock that is glued along the mouth of the fish. I simply looped the ribbon underneath the card stock and glued them at the same time. This saved me from gluing all the ribbon hangers at the end.