Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Spectacular Bedazzled Elephants

Elephants are such amazing animals that it is no wonder that they are so often depicted in art. Their iconic form is easily recognizable to children and a wonderful subject matter for this art project. When I present the project to my art class I will show the children images of elephants that have been decorated in India and ask them if they can think of any famous elephants from children's books. I am thinking right now of Babar, but I am sure there are others.


I cut the elephant shape from a heavy paper, slightly lighter in weight than chipboard. The feet I cut from corrugated cardboard. The strength of the cardboard is necessary for support. I cut slits in the feet to insert the elephant body. To decorate the body I started by drawing designs with different colored felt tip pens. I then went to town using bottles of puffy paint and glitter glue. Both of these items were in squeeze bottles, with tiny openings in the top allowing me to create a lot of detail.
If you would like the elephant templatecontact me through my website

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Clothespin dolls

I made clothespin dolls with a group of Kindergarteners yesterday and it was a great deal of fun. I used an electric hand drill with a a very fine bit to drill holes just below the "head". The children inserted pipe cleaners through the holes to represent the arms. They used magic markers to draw shoes directly onto the doll. I had a wide assortment of fabric, ribbon,pompoms, lace, beads, buttons, and sequins so that their dolls could be properly attired. Skirts were made from a circle of felt or cloth with a tiny circle cut out in the center for the waist. We used white glue to hold everything in place.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Painting Terra Cotta Pots

Painted little terra cotta pots with three to five year olds today. We set the pots on a paper plate so that we could keep pur work table clean and easily move them to a safe place for drying. We used sponge brushes and acrylic paint. I imagine that if we wanted them to hold up outdoors we would have to coat them with a sealant. We planted a lemon seed in each pot. One child pointed out that they would probably need to be transplanted if we expected the seed to grown into a tree. Agreed!

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Collaborative Flower Collage with Children

Each flower in this piece was painted by a different Kindergartener. We used acrylic paints and I started with a demonstration. The children painted on a 11 x 14" sheet of paper. I requested that they not have the flowers overlap so that I could cut them apart. They basically worked across the sheet from left to right. There were enough flowers so that I could mat one or two for them to take home, as well as have extra to collage together. I painted a wrapped canvas a light yellow and then glued the flowers to the canvas with diluted white glue.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Making Sculptures from Paper

Providing children with a sturdy base, strips of paper and a glue stick is a simple and fun intro to 3D art and a springboard for imaginative thinking. I purchased a sheet of foam core and used an x-acto knife to cut the board into jigsaw type pieces. The jigsaw shapes are the bases for their sculptures. I showed them different ways to fold and twist the paper, and explained that we were not gluing the pieces so that they were flat against the base. I empasized that for stability each strip of paper should be folded back at the points where it would attach to the base and that plenty of glue stick should be applied. As part of the lesson we discussed how a sculpture can be viewed from different angles. I mentioned that the piece that I was consstructing, as the example, reminded me of an amusement park. They turned their work into everything from fanciful playgrounds to candy factories.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Pre-schooler Collage with Contact Paper

This is a simple, no-fuss method for doing collages with very young children. Assemble different materials that you may have from other projects, such as pieces of yarn or ribbon, scraps of pretty wrapping paper, tin foil, bits of fabric, cotton balls, small pom poms etc. The list is really endless. You can also collect some lightweight 3D objects like paper clips and buttons. Attach a sheet of contact paper to the back of a picture mat. No extra adhesive needed with contact paper. You want the sticky side facing up. The children arrange the objects on the contact paper. No glue required. This is an easy activity to use with a group of children.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Turn a Sheet of Paper into an Eight Page Book

Pictured are the lay-outs for two folding books that I illustrated for a non-profit in India. This organization provides reading material for underpriviledged children. The books can be printed on one sheet of paper and very economically distributed to children who lack access to books. I was asked to illustrate one book written by someone else, and one that I would write and illustrate about my background as an artist. After printing, the books can be folded up to function as an accordion book with words and images on both sides.
The concept can be great fun when used as a bookmaking project for children just learning to read. My books were scaled to be printed on standard 8.5 x 11" printing paper, but larger drawing paper can be employed. If the paper is folded first, the child can begin adding words and pictures. The picture above illustrates how the paper is folded with a slit cut in the middle of the long side.
Here is a diagram that I found online and explains the process better than I could:
It's a little tricky to grasp how the book folds at first, it was for me anyway. I was shown how to do it over a zoom call with someone I had never met before. After a couple flubs, I did get it and you will too!