• Christmas

    Artful Discoveries

    On my travels around the internet I often come across really good art and craft ideas, or ideas that really appeal to me, In view of the season, I thought I’d share a project which I came across at Glittering Shards for making these beautiful hanging mosaics using plastic bottle tops. They make lovely tree decorations, and they can be as simple or complex as you like. The original tutorial which I used can be found here. I varied it slightly, in that I made just one hole in the plastic, and threaded a single piece of wire through, doubled back to form the loop. I also sprayed the lids…

  • junk-art-collage
    Projects

    Magnetic Art Junk Pictures

    Junk seems to proliferate in our house – by junk I mean those small items or bits and pieces, often unidentifiable, which seem to appear on surfaces, and which if left, seem to multiply as if breeding.  It’s tempting to throw them away, but if you are so rash as to actually do this, you can guarantee that shortly after you will find that the unidentifiable piece of junk was actually an essential and irreplaceable part of a piece of household equipment.  So not wanting to tempt fate, I tend to put them into a ‘holding device’ of some kind, a pot, box or drawer, just in case, which gradually…

  • Autumn-Leaf-Suncatcher
    Autumn,  Nature,  Outdoor,  Projects,  Seasonal

    Last of the Autumn Leaves

    They say the Autumn colours have been better than ever this year.  I live in an area with lots of tree-lined avenues, and the sight of the gorgeous colours, particularly when the sun is on them, has found me collecting stacks of leaves with the kids.  Having got them all home I then had to decide what we were going to do with them all, so here’s what we did with some of them.  You do need a laminator for these activities I’m afraid, but if you don’t have one, they’re not expensive and come in very useful for all kinds of things – not to mention art and craft…

  • Autumn,  Freebies,  Projects,  Seasonal

    Halloween Shadow Art

    This is an idea which I first developed as a kids holiday workshop about 10 years ago or more now.  It was very popular at the time, so I thought I would resurrect it here.  You can make it as simple or as sophisticated as you like, depending on your inclination and the age of the kids.  For young children you will have to supply them with a range of cut-out shapes that they can arrange on the page themselves, and to help with this I have added a range of free halloween motifs of varying complexity below. Just click on the image itself to open it, then right click…

  • Projects

    Super-Hero Comic Collage

    Ever wondered what to do with a stack of old comics?  Why not try recycling them into a piece of comic collage artwork?  It’s really easy to create something effective, and you can produce them in whatever size you want.  Kids can also join in or create their own. All you need is a pair of scissors and some glue, and a pile of old comics. I created this one on a piece of mountboard so that I could frame it if I liked, but if you used spray mount (which is a non-permanent spray glue that won’t damage the paintwork when the artwork is eventually removed) you could apply…

  • Materials & Techniques,  Nature

    Experimenting with Natural Paints

    This time of year is good for experimenting with natural paints and pigments.  It’s easy to forget that in the not too distant past, all dyes and paints had to be obtained from the natural world, directly from animals, minerals and plants. The resulting colours may not always have been as bright as those obtained from chemical sources, but they have a beauty and subtlety of their own.  As a teenager I got heavily into experimenting with natural dyes – I think I was not only an unusual teenager in this respect, but had remarkably tolerant parents who were willing to put up with the foul smells from pots of…

  • Display,  Projects

    Box Lid Frames

    I’m always on the looking for new cost-effective ways of displaying children’s artwork, and I recently devised this one.  I’m sure it’s not original, but I’m quite pleased with it nonetheless, so thought I would share it here.  It simply makes use of shallow boxes or box lids to act as a frame.  They need to be made of good quality, stiff board to look their most effective, and they can either be used as they come, or sprayed a different colour.  Likewise the inside face of the lid which will be visible on the wall,  can be either left the same colour as the edges or lined with a…

  • Nature,  Outdoor,  Techniques

    Experimenting with Sun Prints

    For this post I decided to have a go at Sun Prints with the kids.  The proper name for these is Cyanotypes, and it is a technique first developed in the early days of photography by Sir John Herschel in 1842.  In fact they are the original ‘blue-prints’. They’re really simple to do if you buy the prepared paper, and the effect is almost ‘magical’ for children.  They are particularly effective using leaves, flowers, plants, feathers etc., but you can use cut out shapes, or any flat household objects which will leave a distinctive silhouette.  I love the resulting ethereal, almost ghostly quality that you get with them.  It’s a…

  • Projects

    Shadow Box Art Materials Display

    Take me to an art or craft shop, and I’ll be there, drooling over the rows of coloured paints and pencils, the sparkling glitter, bright beads and reams of paper.  The myriad of shapes, textures and colours is intoxicating to me, so when I came across one of these box frames divided into compartments, which had been reduced to half price, it seemed quite natural to fill it with some of the art materials which we have so many of at home.  Of course you could fill one of  these with whatever you want – it doesn’t have to be art materials, you could give it a different theme such…

  • Nature,  Outdoor,  Projects,  Summer

    Beach Art

    There’s no reason for kids to stop being creative if you go away on holiday.  Even if you stay at home the (hopefully) long sunny summer days, and extra time that the summer holidays bring, provide the perfect opportunity to experiment with a bit of land art. Land art is the name given to the practice of creating artwork outdoors using only the natural materials you find around you. For me, land art not only comes from the landscape but also forms part of it, so is never intrusive.  At its best, it is both influenced by and gives something back to its environment in a never-ending virtuous circle.  It…

  • Freebies,  Projects

    Father’s Day Cards

    There’s not long to go now until Father’s Day, so we (or perhaps on this occasion I should say ‘I’) have been busy creating in readiness.  This time I have produced a basic colouring sheet that can be used to create a simple A4 size card, which can be decorated however you like, depending on the age of the child.  I’ve also produced a smaller ‘DAD’ version, which older children might prefer.  These can be found below – just click on each image to open it up then right click to download. DaddyTemplate Dad Template I used gel pens to embellish and decorate the lettering itself, because I wanted detail…

  • Projects

    Window Art

    I came across window crayons for the first time recently.  I don’t know how long these have been around, but they appealed to me and they weren’t especially expensive, so I thought we’d try some out.  The idea of drawing on the windows really appealed to my boys (and to me if truth be told), so almost as soon as they arrived, they were out of their packet.  The Crayola Window Crayons that we used come in a pack of just 5 colours (I’d have liked a few more really) but there was enough to give a really good effect.  The finished result really came into its own when the…