Archive for the ‘paper craft’ Category

Create Your Own Watercolor Photo Bookmarks

I discovered the design for these bookmarks by accident one day while sorting through old photos where I had cut someone out of a garden scene and thought, “Hmm, if only there were some way to USE all these fragments of old photos…” Then I came across some ‘Make Your Own Bookmark’ kits at Michaels Craft Store (Heaven) and one plus one made two. Instead of using the kit I bought it, took it apart and used their bookmark as a stencil to make my own- now you can do it too! These watercolor photo bookmarks are a lot of fun to design and make a wonderful personalized gift ๐Ÿ™‚

What you will need:

watercolor paints and painting supplies (brushes, containers, etc)

bristol paper or watercolor paper

pencil

photos

x-acto knife

ruler

scissors

ribbon

hole puncher

glue

1. Make your bookmark stencil ( use a heavy paper or cardboard to lengthen stencil life):

The measurements for this stencil are 12 inches by 1.5 inches, with two triangle notches at 6inches where the bookmark will be folded. The window for the photo is 4 inches from the bottom, with .25 inches on both sides and 1.5 inches on top where a hole will be punched for ribbon.

2. Trace your stencil on the back of bristol or watercolor paper you wish to paint on- make sure you trace them close together to not waste paper ๐Ÿ™‚

3. Get ready to paint! I choose watercolors for these bookmarks because the colors are so vibrant and it is a lot of fun to experiment with textures. Try using different techniques like wetting the paper a little before applying paint to make more blended look, or splattering a different color over wet paint to create a tie-dye effect. Go crazy! Have fun!

4. When paint is dry cut out bookmark strips following the lines you traced before painting.

5. Use an x-acto knife to cut out windows for photos and fold bookmarks in half at 6 inch line

6. Now it is time to select your photos!I lean toward nature photos, but faces would be lovely as well ๐Ÿ™‚

Photo measurements are 3.5 cm by 5 cm

7. To attach photos into bookmarks put a small amount of glue around the edge of the photo square and center it in the photo window. When photo is dry fold bookmark in half and glue insides together. I usually press the bookmarks under a stack of books while they dry to keep them nice and flat

8. When your beautiful bookmarks are dry you can use a hole puncher to punch a hole above the photo window and tie a little ribbon on for a finishing touch.

Grab your favorite book and keep your pages in style! ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Great Ways to Make Regular-Old Stamping More Fun

Using stamp pads is an easy, (sort of) mess-free activity that children of all ages can do. But how much sensory stimulation do kids get from sticking a generic rubber heart shape in an ink pad and smashing it on a paper a few times? Not much. Here are 12 cheap and easy ways to pump-up your regular old stamp pads- by using things from around the house, yard and classroom.

1. Bubble Wrap- a personal favorite. Bubble wrap makes great detailed textured prints using both the ‘bubble’ side and the ‘back’ side. It is easy to manipulate, easy to wash, most often free and fun to pop when you finish stamping ๐Ÿ™‚ I recently had the kids use bubble wrap to make texture for an underwater scene and it came out perfect!

2. Corks- using both the round ends and rolling the cork on its side create fantastic texture. Corks are free (after you drink the wine!) and using them for stamping is a fun and easy way to recycle while making great, hands-on art.

3. Plastic animals- grab some plastic animals with different shaped foot prints and stamp away! The animals are super easy to wash, easy for small hands to hold and can be tied in to a lesson about nature, wildlife and animals.

4. Sponges- using dry sponges in ink pads is really easy, and a little less messy than using something like water colors or poster paint. Cutting the sponges into shapes is also fun, and using a sponge stamp print for a back ground on a larger progect is a great way to bring hands-on art into every project.

5. Tooth brushes- I know, crazy, right? But tooth brushes really make some very interesting patterns when using stamps. Using the bristle you can get some great grass or fabric texture, and some tooth brushes have ‘tongue scrapers’ on the back that create really nice stamp prints as well.

6. Leaves- real and artificial. The leaves shown are plastic and had some glitter on them (fancy, I know) so the stamp prints ended up with a little added sparkle. Real leaves make a wonderful nature stamping project, the children can collect leaves of different shapes and sizes and experiment with different printing techniques. A great (easy!!) way to bring nature into the classroom!

7. Rubber bands- another way to use something that is just laying around the home or classroom! Kids LOVE rubber bands, if there were three tables set up with various cool toys and art activities they would pick the manky rubber band that holds the easel together over all else. Why not have an activity that LETS them play with rubber bands? Here is one way to do that- it comes out looking pretty interesting!

8. Plastic forks- I discovered this one y accident, but it turned out to be a happy one! Using the back side of a fork to make a print turns out pretty interesting. I can see using this as grass for a garden scene, or teeth for a big monster. The opportunities are endless!

9. Toy cars&trucks- children LOVE playing with cars. Using a car with plastic wheels (easier to wash) and rolling it in a stamp then onto paper is a fun way to get kids who might not otherwise be interested in art to use their hands for a project. It is also fun to cover a table with butches paper and set our shallow trays of poster paint for kids to roll cars and trucks in, this way they can use a larger area and get more of a sensory rich experience from. Try it out!

10. Plastic reptiles- similar to using plastic animals to create fun tracks, using plastic reptiles is a great way to create texture with toys already in the classroom. The snake is definitely a new favorite of mine!

11. Buttons- take some old buttons and glue them onto a cork (so they are easier to hold). Buttons come in all different shapes and patterns and really make amazing stamps. Make sure to grab buttons that have a relatively flat surface or it will be challenging to stamp with them.

12. Textured home decor samples- another awesome way to use something free to make something fun! I used some plastic ‘bubble’ tile samples to make a stamp and came out with a nice delicate print. Great for adding texture to any project!

Take a look around the house, classroom, yard and see what other sorts of things might make a good stamp- again, the opportunities are endless!

Add texture to your water color paintings- easy & fun kid project

Teaching Preschool I am always looking for new ways to do the same old projects. We use A LOT of water color paints because the colors are vibrant, they are washable and easy for the kids to use. The other day I was overjoyed to discover a NEW way (new to me, at least) of using our same old water colors.

This week we bumped our water colors up a notch by adding something fun, cheap and easy- salt.

Super simple-

1. Paint a beautiful water color painting

2. Sprinkle salt over the wet painting

3. Let paint dry and brush off salt to reveal an array of snowflake like textured patterns.

*experiment with adding salt to very saturated paintings and less saturated for different texture effects.

Here are some of the beautiful ‘salty water colors’ the children created. We are learning letter ‘S’ so our water colors are sharks and stingrays:

Another way to make simple projects a little more fun is to cut the paper into shapes. If I had handed the children each a regular 8.5×11 inch white paper and tried this same project they would have painted one or two splotches each, declared, “I’m done!” and run off. The shark and stingray shapes kept them interested with paint brushes in their hands for nearly 30 minutes- a classroom success!

It’s never too late to get back to what you love

After graduating from Art School with a BFA in Fashion Design I took a yearย  or so off from making art. 4 long years of being told what to create and when too create it, going through not-so-constructive ‘constructive criticisms’ and realizing that a job in the Fashion world = years of self hatred, eating disorders and depression lead me to try another path.

I was hired in a Preschool as a TA shortly after this realization and re-discovered my passion to teach. I went back to school for Early Childhood Education and now teach full-time in a great little school in Western Mass. Finally, five years later,ย  I have found the happy medium- teach all day&craft all night- i’m finally able to balance my two biggest loves in a way that works. It’s never too late to get back into something you love, never.

Here are some of my early pieces:

(please forgive my not-so-amazing photo quality)

‘Octopus’s Garden’ was one of the first illustrations after my ‘hiatus’

“‘The only reason to ever look back is to count the flock that now follows you.”

“Sing louder still from within the cage, Your voice is the key that will always set you free.”

“Transform” gift for my sister ๐Ÿ™‚

“Full House”

Whooo doesn’t love some owls, seriously?

“Charging rhinos couldn’t keep me from you”ย  was the last piece I drew before leaving my home of 8 years in San Francisco and moving backย  to Western Mass.

Looking back now I guess it is kind of a metaphor for my travels, or it could be just another artistic outlet. Either way, it is great to be back in the art. One thing I have learned: Don’t let charging rhinos- or asshole bosses, or non-supportive peers, or past relationships, or yourself, or anyone- keep you away from what you love to do.