Monday, May 29, 2017

Mosaics on Terra Cotta Pots

I made pots like these with four and five year olds last week. Now, in all honesty, the pictured pots were made by me and the ones done by the children are slightly lumpier, but charming nonetheless. For embellishments we used the tiles pictured that I bought in 12 inch sheets at Home Depot. I had snipped them in half with glass cutters. We also used more dimensional glass pieces that you can pick up at a dollar store that are intended for use in the bottom of flower vases. We adhered the pieces to the pots with polymer-fortified, thin-set mortar. It comes in powder form and I had some left over from when we put in a new back splash in the kitchen. It's a powder that you simply mix with some water until you have the consitency of peanut butter. The children applied this to the back of the embellishments and stuck them to their pots. After 24 hours of drytime time, I applied grout to the pots.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Paste Paper the Easy Way

Making paste paper is similar to to fingerprinting. Traditionally the patterned papers have been used in bookmaking and it's a great tactile project for children. Unlike fingerprinting, you do not need any special paper. When I did a little research online, since it had been several years since I had done this process, I was a bit discouraged by the number of ingredients that some recipes required. I really did not want to purchase rice flour or alum or any other ingredient that I wouldn't be using again. And I certainly did not want to boil the paste on the stove. I had a container of wallpaper paste in the basement that I was more than happy to use up. I simply mixed the paste with acrylic paint and was set to go. I didn't measure anything out. It's easy enough to experiment a bit. You want to use enough paint so that your colors are not too washed out or transparent. I spritzed water onto 80 lb. drawing paper and plopped a couple colors of paste onto the children's paper. They spread the paint with sponge brushes and made impressions with some of the wacky tools that I have pictured. And feel free to use your fingers!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dye a Silk Scarf

This coming week I am "painting" silk scarves with a Kindergarten class so that they can give them to their moms at a Mother's Day tea. This is a simple and fun process, plus it is relatively inexpensive, especially considering the outcome.


I purchased the scarves for about $2.50 at Dharma Trading. I didn't have a very long advance notice about doing the project and was pleased with how quickly they arrived. I purchased the 8 x 54 inch scarves.


I ironed the scarves, using the silk setting, since they did arrive with creases from being folded. The floral designs on the scarf are made by cutting out shapes from tissue paper, placing the tissue on the scarf, and spritzing with water so that the dye from the tissue is transferred to the scarf. Not all tissue paper bleeds. You might assume that the inexpensive tissue that you can buy at a dollar store would bleed, but that is not always the case. I purchased a packet of Celebrate It. All of the darker colors bled nicely, not so much with the pastels. I also have read that a brand called Spectra will bleed. The water will soak through the scarf, so work on a well protected surface. If you don't like the way an area turns out and the color is pale, you can always soak up excess water with a paper towel and then try again. When you are satisfied with your design and the scarf has dried, use an iron (silk setting) to set the dye.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Make a Pencil Holder and Magnet

Making Father's Day or Mother's Day gifts with preschoolers can be challenging. Even though I treasure the bracelet my son made for me in preschool with plastic beads, a jingle bell and a piece of elastic, sometimes we would like to kick it up a notch. The pictured pencil holders and magnets were the examples that I made to show the children that I worked with on Monday. Even though they did require assistance, there were aspects that they were able to complete on their own.
We saved 16 ounce tin cans for the pencil holders. I had five or six different colors of tissue cut to the approximate length and width required to go around the can. The children used oil pastel to draw on the tissue. Since tissue tears easily, I suggested that they make simple marks such as squiggly lines and dots. A couple of the children drew flowers or people. They coated the can with glossy Mod Podge and a sponge brush. I attached the tissue to the can. They then selected a contrasting color, added more marks, and we layered that onto the can. The ribbon was also pre-cut. I added that with white glue.
The magnets are made from cut-out wooden shapes that I had purchased. The children painted their shape with acrylic. We used a paper towel to blot off the excess since they do love to layer on the paint. They squeezed a hefty quantity of glitter glue onto the shape and spread it out with a sponge brush. They added little shiny embellishments to the glue to mimic scales. I purchased some surprisingly strong magnets at Hobby Lobby that I glued to the back once the glitter glue had dried. It makes for a cute gift to send home, especially since the magnet attaches to the tin can. I always enjoy a project where I can upcycle at least one item!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crayon Monoprints

If you happen to find a warming tray at a thrift shop or garage sale, pick it up, by all means. Not to use to keep your pan of lasagna warm at a potluck dinner, but to create some quick monoprints with your kids. Plug in the tray, and when it's warm, draw on the surface with fat crayons. The crayons melt on the surface. Place a piece of paper on top of your crayon drawing, cover with some newspaper to protect your hands from the heat, and rub the surface. A monoprint is created. Fat crawyons are best to keep little hands further from the heat. Best to do with little ones that are not so little and children that are good at following your instructions. I did some with four year olds today, and it was a hit.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Craft with Old Dvds

Old CDs or DVDs are the perfect size and material to turn into a plate for monoprints with little kids. I added a bit of acrylic paint to tempera so that the consistency was a bit thicker. Using a sponge brush, I coated the CD and made lines in the paint with a Q-Tip. I turned the CD over onto the white paper and made the print. If one print was too faint or I didn't like it, I simply printed on top of it.