• Projects

    Gorgeous Glue & Glitter Cards

    This project is simple in the extreme – but for me the best projects are always those that provide fantastic results with the minimum of effort. To create these glitter notecards (they could equally well be bookmarks or gift tags, depending on how you cut them up) I used a stiff black card, which needs to be stiff enough to resist buckling when wet. You can of course use any colour card you wish, and I found that using the same colour glitter as the card base to create a white on white design for example or black on black looked especially stylish. While you could use glitter glue to…

  • Projects

    Exploring Texture and Layers.

    I’ve always loved the visual effect of torn layers – billboards layered with posters, one on top of another, some ripped back to expose older ones beneath, and I once looked after an old house which had layers and layers of ancient wallpapers – some dating back as far as the 18th century. For me, such layers are almost a metaphor for time, and I think I love not just the beauty of the visual effect but also the almost archaeological thrill of discovering what lies beneath, of peeling back the layers so that you get a glimpse revealed of  something older, earlier, deeper.     It also makes a…

  • Projects

    Exploring Positive and Negative Space

    This project is another great way to use up some of the decorative painted papers that kids artwork produces. I’m accumulating an ever higher mountain of these – they are so beautiful I can’t bear to throw them away, so I’m always looking for ways to use them, in addition to their usual use as wrapping paper, which I don’t think I will ever need to buy again! The papers I used for this were those which we created using bubble or foam painting. Whenever I look at these I see pictures developing from them – rather like seeing pictures in flames, and I’ve never been quite sure how to…

  • Features,  Projects

    Creating Thank You Cards with Kids Artwork

    It’s that time again – time to make thank you cards for the Christmas presents the boys received, and get them sent off. I have to say it seems to take us longer and longer to do this every year – but I at least, feel guilty if it’s not done, and it’s not really something I can or should do for them. This year I persuaded my younger son to draw some pictures specially so that I could create some cards from them. This I thought might be easier than expecting them both to make a whole pile of cards, only for them to lose interest half way through,…

  • Projects

    Decorative Foil Seals

    These decorative seals use a simple sgraffito technique, similar to that used to make paste paper. They’re really easy to make and offer lots of opportunities for variations on a theme. If you make a batch up, they’re useful to keep on one side so that you can create simple emergency gift tags, cards, envelope/bag seals or embellishments for gifts at any time of year. Used in combination with scraps of ribbon, you won’t even need any decorated gift wrap – a plain brown wrapping paper or even newsprint will look equally effective. Kids can have a go at making them too.     All you need to make these…

  • Christmas,  Freebies

    Vintage Christmas Wrap

    I’m still here! Something terrible hasn’t happened, I’m not ill, and I haven’t got bored and decided to do something else. No the reason why I haven’t managed to write a post for 3 weeks, is simply because of Christmas. I was full of plans for projects and features here this Christmas – it’s such a fabulous time of year for children to be creative, but unfortunately they are all still lying around the house half finished :( So in the meantime I thought I would offer up an early Christmas gift in the form of 3 sheets of original vintage Christmas wrap for you to print off. These come…

  • Projects

    The Incredible Edible Art Gallery!

    I’m not much of a baker and would certainly never make it to the Great British Bake-Off, but will often optimistically pin some of the ‘oh so simple’ looking baking projects on Pinterest, only to fail miserably in the execution. There are lots of inspiring iced cookies on there, so I thought I would have a go at making some of my own for the boys to decorate. After all, how difficult could it be?? Decorating biscuits is of course a ‘classic’ children’s activity, but this project takes the whole thing a few steps further on, to create a complete gallery of Masterpiece Cookies. I started off with a basic…

  • Projects

    Create your own Paint Drip Pencil Pots

    I’ve always appreciated the decorative potential of paint dribbles, and this project uses that most everyday of items – the tin can – along with translucent glass paints to provide pen/pencil/brush holders that have a painterly beauty all of their own. Because the glass paints are translucent, they allow the metallic sheen of the tin can to shine through, giving the colour a luminous enamelled effect.     These are really simple to create. Having removed the original label from the can, I cleaned off the glue using white spirit, which polished up the can quite nicely, and then just painted a rim of colour around the top with a…

  • children's-art-cards
    Freebies,  Projects

    Children’s Art Cards

    The summer holidays are over, and the kids are back at school – I will miss the morning lie-ins, but I confess that it’s with something of a sigh of relief that I’ve waved them back to school – at least now I can get on with the huge backlog of tasks that have lain undone for weeks while they were off. Their childhood is so different from my own. Summer holidays as I remember them were ones where we were left almost totally to entertain ourselves, whereas now I seem to be my children’s entertainment manager. So I have a huge backlog of arty activities we’ve been busy with…

  • Projects

    Chalkboard Stones

    There’s definitely a trend for all things chalkboard at the moment, and it’s a trend that I love. After completing my chalkboard gallery wall last year, I had a little bit of paint left over, ideal for small projects but nothing more. So far I’ve used it to paint chalkboard labels onto my kitchen storage jars, and now I have used a bit more for this project to create a new twist on a classic children’s art activity.We needed a small gift for the boys to make for their father’s birthday, so I decided to use some of the larger stones I collected from the beach last year to create…

  • botanical-writing-paper
    Nature,  Projects

    Botanical Papers – Part 2

    So, you’ve scanned in your plant material and created your botanical wrapping paper and tags, but what else can you do with those scanned images? If you have access to some digital photography software it’s really easy to use those images to create some special writing paper. To create the wrapping paper below, I cropped a detail from the original scanned image, and enlarged it to A4 size (you could just as easily make it A5 if you wanted smaller paper). I then made the image semi-transparent by reducing the opacity to about 40% of the original (the actual level varied for each image).     To accompany the writing…

  • Nature,  Projects

    Botanical Papers – Part 1

    This project uses a humble office scanner and foraged natural materials to produce simple decorative papers with a wide range of uses. As regular readers of Artful Adventures will know, one of my favourite creative tools is our home scanner. I love the way it is simple to use, and creates images which are somehow both 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional at the same time. This project is one of those which started off with us all experimenting with the effects we could get using natural materials on the scanner, as indeed we have in the past, but ended up with me continuing alone, to push some of those ideas further. This…