• Autumn,  Nature

    Doodled & Decorative Autumn Leaves

    It’s been a while since I last used autumn leaves for a project – a few years ago I did a project here in which I laminated them to use as suncatchers, and since then I have seen people using leaves for drawing on, and always thought they looked beautiful. However I was never sure what you would do with them afterwards – it seemed the most ephemeral of activities. So this project basically combines the 2 ideas to create something a little more lasting: greetings cards and Christmas tree ornaments. I used gold marker pen to draw the designs onto the leaves – as you can see, the effect…

  • Nature,  Outdoor,  Summer

    Creating Fairy Homes at the Beach

    With the Autumn fast approaching, we’ve been busy making the most of the last of the warm summer weather to spend time getting creative on the beach again. It’s always fun to make sandcastles, but this time we decided to create miniature fairy-sized homes instead, using only the materials we could find available to hand. Instead of using full sized buckets to make the buildings, we used plastic cups and bottle lids (I found the clear ones were the best as you could see the sand through the sides).   First we created a miniature village or castle with conical shell roofs…   Then we created a miniature scene with…

  • Nature,  Outdoor

    Arty Activities at the Beach

    The seaside is a wonderful place for creative activities of all kinds, whether it be games, imaginary play or art. My own favourite activity is scavenging – I find it a physical impossibility to go for a walk along the beach without coming home with a collection of stones, shells, sea-glass and driftwood. All beautiful and inspiring materials that I can’t resist, and always think I will create something with. The collection grows ever larger now we live close by and the opportunities for collecting are greater! I first wrote about Beach Art a few years ago, including various ideas for artistic activities, but my younger son has now developed his own…

  • Freebies,  Projects

    Funky Fish Kids Art Collage

    This is a really simple but versatile activity which is great for using up odd scraps of paper, whether it be pieces of painted paper, children’s discarded artwork, wrapping paper or even sweet wrappers. Apart from this, all you need is a Medium Circle Paper Punch (we actually used 2 for the different sized fish, measuring 1.5cm and 1cm), some glue and pieces of coloured or painted thin card for the fish base. It’s also a great ‘drop-in’ activity or collaborative project. Each child can choose a plain card fish and they can then create something of their own which can be combined as part of a larger group artwork. Perfect…

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    Christmas,  Freebies

    Snowflake Colour-In Wrapping Paper

    Each year I like to produce something as a Christmas ‘gift’ for readers, so this year’s offering is a snowflake colouring sheet which can also be used as a creative wrapping paper. Colour-in wrapping paper is I think amazingly versatile, offering lots of scope for personalisation by both the giver and the recipient. I think they look just as effective partly coloured as fully coloured, or even left plain. This snowflake themed sheet is very simple, and can be made to look very pretty with the addition of glitter glue, or metallic pens for colouring or outlining. Just click on the image and then right click to download it for…

  • Projects

    10 Activities for a Creative Christmas

    Preparing for Christmas provides the perfect excuse (if any is needed!) to start making things, whether it be gifts, cards, decorations or even wrapping paper – the personal touch makes the finished product so much more meaningful, showing that someone has put time and effort into creating something unique. There is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than creating your own Christmas items – and often saving money in the process! The activities and products listed here will all contribute to a more creative Christmas – Click on the links listed below to see more: Decorative Foil Seals Finger Puppet Christmas Cards A Card with A View Colour in Christmas Crackers…

  • Projects

    Custom Cover Sketchbooks

    My love of hand-lettering continues apace – I find it incredibly therapeutic and relaxing – all you really need is paper and pencil, making it easy to pick up and put down, and very portable – ideal if you don’t have lots of art materials to hand. This project was inspired by my son telling me that a boy in his class had got into trouble for drawing on the cover of his exercise book at school. Apparently he loves to draw, and from the work I have seen, has talent for it – I thought it was such a shame that he should be punished for doing something so…

  • Halloween-shadow-box
    Autumn,  Projects

    The Dramatic Art of Shadows

    So October is here already, and it’s time to get ready for that festival of all things spooky – Halloween. I have to confess I am not a fan of the blood/gore/horror aspect of Halloween – I’m much too squeamish for that, I prefer the eerie/atmospheric/gothic approach. The kind of scariness that relies more on suggestion and imagination. Shadows are of course one of the simplest yet most evocative things you can use at Halloween to create atmosphere, so I thought I’d do a round-up of shadow themed creative activities to try with children: If you’re looking for some DIY spooky creativity, the Shadow Art Boxes we created a few years…

  • creative-teacher-gift-bags
    Projects

    Creative Teacher Gift Bags

    It’s that time of year again, and for us, the end of an era as my eldest finishes primary school and moves on to pastures new. As he described it, the last day was one of the happiest days of his life, but also one of the saddest as members of the class go their separate ways. Email and phone numbers have been exchanged, and hopefully nowadays there is no excuse for not keeping in touch. It is a particularly busy time for us, which the complete lack of recent activity on this blog testifies to, as we prepare to take the opportunity of the enforced change to relocate both…

  • Display,  Projects

    New Colourful Gallery Wall

    We’re currently planning some decorating at home, so I’ve been busy getting samples of paint and trying them on the walls. Looking in the garage I find I have dozens of these sample pots since I never throw them away afterwards if there is still paint in them – after all they can be useful for touch-ups, or for small projects etc. So all this activity gave me an idea for a new gallery wall. Our existing chalkboard gallery is great, but I find I would like to have the wall back to draw on rather than just display artwork, so I thought I would create a new gallery wall.…

  • Projects

    Get Creative with QR Codes

    I’ve been adding QR codes recently to some of our business stationery and marketing materials, and being struck by their creative potential for hidden ‘secret’ messages and creativity, decided to experiment a bit. QR codes are very easy to create and download, and you can have them link to a webpage, a special photograph or piece of artwork you have uploaded somewhere, or simply reveal a line of text when scanned. When it comes to text, the shorter and simpler the information, the simpler and bolder the QR code created will be. I found that when printed at a reasonable size, the QR code becomes a piece of artwork –…

  • Christmas,  Freebies,  Projects

    Postage Stamp Christmas Wrap

    Christmas is creeping up ever closer, and for the last few years I’ve tried to offer readers a Christmas gift in the form of a seasonal free printable. I think I must have forgotten in 2013, but in 2012 it was 3 sheets of vintage Christmas wrapping paper, and the year before a printable Christmas Tree template to decorate. This year I’ve put together some sheets of Postage Stamp Christmas wrap using the scanner – one of my favourite tools for art making. My Dad has always collected stamps, but he was having a clear out recently and offered me a large number of Christmas stamps that he’d collected over…