Thursday, June 4, 2015

Make Bamboo Chimes

I came across a terrific post on michele made mewith instructions for making wood chimes from lengths of bamboo. I had just seen some reasonably priced bamboo at Pier One that was stained with a rust color, and thought that I had found the perfect end-of-the-year project to make with a class of Kindergarteners. I decided that it would work well as a collaboration that could be hung in the school playground. Michele's bamboo is painted with lovely, intricate designs. With the Kindergarteners I decided to apply textured designs such as bubble wrap. The children used sponge rollers to apply acrylic paint to the bubble wrap and then pressed the designs onto the bamboo.
My husband had cut the bamboo for me and drilled holes so that it could be hung using fishing line from a length of dowel that I had spray painted gold. It truly makes a magical sound and we plan on making one for our own backyard.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Making Stamps with Plasticine

I had seen posts on Pinterest where clay was used to form printing stamps. I had some plasticine at school that I find difficult to use with children since it is stiff to manipulate. Plasticine is a trademark name for an oil-based modeling clay that was developed by art teacher in England in 1897. I decided to use the plasticine to from stamps, but was a bit worried about the children's hands being covered in ink. I realized that I could press the plasticine onto a block of wood and it would adhere. The block of wood would keep their hands away from the ink. I gave the children different "tools" such as popsicle sticks and clothes pins that could leave impressions in the plasticine. When they made a print I encouraged them to stamp over and over again to watch the images become lighter. As they stamped, the indentations also would begin to disappear. This had two advantages. One, their stamp would be cleaned off so that another color could be used. Two, they were left with a clean slate to make new impressions. And, let's face it, they like pounding with the stamps.
The impatiens were made by me and turned into a card.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Make Your Own Letter Stamps

I wanted a set of letter stamps for a project that I'm working on, but I couldn't find any that were large enough. Plus they were all a bit pricey. I was going up and down the aisles of Michaels when I spotted a set of cork letters for five dollars. My husband cut up some blocks of wood and I attached the letters with wood glue. The cork has a pitted surface, so naturally that texture can be seen on the printed letter.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tissue Paper Vases

This is a very simple project that even young children can do. I made some marks on tissue paper with oil pastels and then tore the sheets of tissue into smaller pieces. I adhered the tissue to the glass vase using diluted white glue and a small sponge brush. When it dried, I mixed some glitter into Mod Podge and spread a protective coating onto the vase.
When I made these with a group of four and five year olds, I kept scooting around their work table making sure the tissue was lying flat against the bottle. They would also tend to work on one area and forget to spin the bottle around to work on the other side.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Printing Blocks

I used a Soft-Kut Printing Block to carve my leaf stamp. They are much easier to cut than the linoleum blocks that I remember using when I was in school, although the cutting tools are the same, so they would not be appropriate for elementary school or even middle school age children.
I printed some large sheets that I plan on turning into Japanese lanterns.
I love post cards. They take me back to printing my first promotional piece as an illustrator when I got out of art school. There used to be a little store in Soho that only sold postcards. Can you even imagine that existing in NYC today?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Make a Felt Bean Bag

I can remember my mom sewing bean bags for us to play with when my brother and I were kids. Bean bags can be used to play a wide variety of games and they make the perfect little gift to give to your guests at the end of a birthday party instead of a goodie bag.
To make the cat I purchased small sheets of craft felt. They come in such delicious colors. I would have preferred wool felt since it is sturdier, but I couldn't find any at my two local craft stores. I cut out 6 inch circles with my pinking shears having decided to make the front of the cat in a blue and the back in green. I stitched the two sides together leaving an opening for me to add the beans (I chose split peas).
The cat's eyes, nose and mouth are buttons, felt shapes, and pom poms that are attached to the felt with a glue gun. It is very difficult to adhere felt with anything other than a glue gun. If anyone has had luck with any other type of glue, please let me know. The whiskers and detail on the ears was added with fabric paint applied directly from the bottle.
The split peas were added with a funnel and then I finished stitching the bean bag together.

Friday, March 13, 2015


This little robot was made with odds and ends that I happened to have on hand. The body is a small jewelry box that I covered with foil. The legs are made from a folded strip of aluminum tape. The fun part is searching through things on the work bench or tucked in a drawer that you don't want to toss in a landfill, but don't really have any use for. It's my upcycled, junk robot.