• shopping

    The Artful Kids Christmas Gift Guide 2019

    So it is that time of year again, and it has become something of an annual tradition to offer up a creative Christmas gift guide here each year. This year I will be selecting items mainly from the Artful Kids Mini Christmas Pop-Up Shop, and also from the Artful Kids Amazon Affiliate Store (from which I earn a small commission on each purchase). It’s a somewhat eclectic mix, from low-cost stocking fillers, to heirloom toys, from inspirational art materials suitable for all ages, to items specifically suitable for younger children. I hope you enjoy browsing the selection as much as I have enjoyed putting it together! Remember these are just…

  • Projects,  Techniques

    Further Adventures with Spray Inks

    For those of you who are familiar with this blog, you will know that spray inks are one of my all time favourite mediums – I get huge enjoyment from their use and love the effects you can create with them. It’s been a while since I’ve used these inks, but having lent them to my son for his art homework, I was inspired by some of the accidental effects he had created, to dig them out again. This time I have used the medium rather differently, so I thought it would be worth sharing the results. As usual at this time of year, I have used the latest experiments…

  • News

    Artful Kids Mini Christmas Pop-up Shop

    It’s been almost a year since the Artful Kids online store closed its doors. While the effect has been personally liberating in allowing more creative time, there have also been some side-effects in that I have experienced huge difficulty in breaking the habit of seeking out and sharing wonderful creative products in a meaningful way. I have experimented with different ways of dealing with this, from the short-lived Directory, to the new Artful Kids Amazon Affiliate Shop, but none of these have quite managed to scratch the itch.  So as a way of addressing this, I am launching the Artful Kids Mini Christmas Pop-up Shop. For 6 weeks only, this shop…

  • Projects

    Using Decorative Papers

    If  over time, you find you or the kids have created a whole stack of decorative paper, it can be a problem what do you do with it all. Personally I find it really therapeutic to create decorative paper – there’s no (entirely self-inflicted) pressure to perform, and quite often when I’m creating it, I have no end purpose it mind, so they just get added to the collection, then when the time comes that I need some, the resources are there, ready and waiting. Of course the range of uses for these is endless, and you could just as well use commercial papers if you don’t have any of…

  • Techniques

    Creating Decorative & Painted Papers

    If you have kids who enjoy painting and drawing, you may find yourself acquiring quite a large stock of painted papers. For every masterpiece produced there will be a whole stack of less impressive artwork, and the temptation is always to put them straight into the recycling bin, but these painted papers can have a second life recycled into further artwork, saving some money in the process. In fact now my kids are older and no longer want to paint and draw (sob) my stack of painted papers is much depleted, so that I now have to create my own! It has however, become one of my favourite occupations, as…

  • ice-tryptych
    Features

    Nature Art Project Round-Up

    Working with art and nature is a popular combination, and one that I find I return to again and again, yet it occurred to me that I have never brought these posts together into a single location which can be used as a resource for parents and educators. The activities and resources listed below offer a wide variety of cross curricular activities, suitable for a range of ages and circumstances, from outdoor education to activities which combine art with science. I have also listed a few inspirational books on this theme which may be helpful too. Projects Beautiful Books to Inspire & Inform The books listed below are books that…

  • Art Materials

    Five Ways to Use Tissue Paper for Artwork

    Tissue paper is a wonderfully versatile medium for artwork which can be used in so many ways, either on its own or in combination with other art materials. It’s translucent qualities give its colours a brightness and luminosity and also make it perfect for layering. It also lends itself perfectly for use with texture. For the purposes of this post I’m going to be looking at ideas for using tissue paper as a medium for 2 dimensional artwork – there are of course lots of ways to use it in 3-dimensional work too, but I think you could probably write an entire book if I was to include that too!…

  • Freebies

    ‘My Art Gallery’ Free Printable Sheet

    It’s been quite some time since I last added a free printable here, so to get the Artful Kids blog back up and running, I thought it would be worth adding one which I created a while back, but never got round to uploading. I have added a few free printable sheets here over the years, and always find it fascinating to see how far they spread, and how people use them. Perhaps 2 of the most popular have been the Flower Fairy (ready to ‘dress’ with real flower petals) and the Doodle Sheets which I think were the very first free printable sheets I made available. I think I…

  • Projects

    Pixelated Papers

    I find it’s always useful to have a stock of decorative papers to use for creative projects of all kinds, and of course for gift-wrapping. There are some beautiful papers out there, but it can be difficult to justify the expense of buying them sometimes. Having your own unique papers is always very satisfying, and there’s the added enjoyment of creating them. They don’t have to be complicated, you don’t have to have any artistic skill in painting and drawing, and if you are mess averse it doesn’t even have to involve paint! They are fun to produce for both kids and adults alike, and anyone can join in. This…

  • Projects

    Decorative Fused Plastic Leaves

    This project is one which has evolved out of my recent experiments with fused plastic. It’s a way of recycling old crayons and plastic bags creatively and I love the finished ‘leaf-like’ feel of these. The finished leaves can be used for a wide range of purposes, or alternatively you could cut the fused plastic sheets up into any shape you like.   Materials Plain white plastic bags – or bags with large areas of white that can be used. Roll of Cling film Old wax crayons Metallic Gold Ink Pen Baking parchment Equipment Old kitchen grater Domestic iron Pinking Shears Heat Proof board (I used a toughened glass chopping…

  • Materials & Techniques,  Techniques

    Creating Abstract Sea and Landscrapes

    No, that’s not a typo! I’ve always been a fan of ‘accidental’ art, and this technique is one of those eminently satisfying yet essentially very simple ways of painting, that can deliver stunning results. That’s not to say that every single piece will create a masterpiece, but that if you do a whole bunch of them, you’ll end up with at least one or two that are frameworthy, and part of the joy of this activity is the very unpredictability of the results. You never quite know what you are going to get! The result is very like the technique that the artist Gerhard Richter has used in his work (on…

  • Projects

    An Artful Gift for a New Baby

    A friend of mine has recently had a new addition to her family, so this project was created because I needed a small extra gift that I could give to mark the occasion – something small, unique and personal, that I could make fairly easily. In the end I decided to make this simple hanging decoration decorated with monochrome drawings (in recognition of the fact that young babies see strong contrasts most clearly). If you use ready made plain shapes, minimal sewing is required, and all you need are fabric pens and a length of baker’s twine to attach them together and form a hanging loop. I left the backs…