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




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.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

House Pop-Up Card Instructions

I created this template so that I could make pop-up house cards with a group of children. You could make your own or sign up at the right for my newsletter by 6/21/18 and I will send you mine! My template has a line drawing of the front of the house for the children to color. The back is blank so that they can use their own imaginations and make up their own.
You will need: one sheet of computer paper for the card and another to print the house, colored pencils, scissors, and a glue stick.


Print template. Color in house. Cut around the front and back of house. Fold paper in half along the roof line. Fold the grass, front and back, towards you. Fold your card paper in half. Apply glue stick to back of grass. Glue house to inside of card. One side of the grass goes along the left side of the card (right along center fold), the other side of the grass goes along the center fold, but is glued to the right side of the card. Play around with it before you glue.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Easy Paper Flowers

This is a simple paper flower bouquet for you to do with your children. Start with an 8 1/2 x 11" sheet of green card stock and make cuts to resemble blades of grass in the photo. We used a flower punch and scrapbooking paper that was printed on both sides. Markers were used to color in the centers. With glue stick attach the flowers to the stems, leaving a few blank on one end, the blanks will become leaves.
Roll the paper up, starting with the flowers so that they will be in the middle. You can secure that paper with a paper clip or tape. Place in vase and bend leaves down.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Decorate Goodie Bags

Why buy special gift bags when you can decorate them with your kids? Brown paper lunch bags are cheap, only $2.50 for 100! I used acrylic paint and a wide sponge brush. I dipped the top edge in the paint and gently pressed to make the delicate lines. I made 80 today and it was actually quite relaxing. They covered my kitchen floor.