• Projects

    Experiments with Doodlebots

    We recently visited Manchester’s latest Mini-Maker Fair. There was lots there to entertain my 2 boys (or 3 if you count the husband) – especially my eldest son. Amongst the various activities on offer, he did his first soldering session to make a flashing badge (and has a small burn to show for it) attended a Minecraft hacking session, and 3D printed a miniature robot. We also attempted to make our own doodlebot. This involved using a simple motor which was wired to a battery, and taped to a piece of card.  Holes were punched into the corners of the card, and the tips of the pens pushed through. We…

  • Freebies,  Projects

    Creative Mess Door Hangers

    It’s been such a long time since I last posted anything here. The combination of a 2 week camping holiday in France, an astonishingly long heatwave here in the UK, the kids being off school, and a sudden glut of commissions for children’s wall art products have all combined to keep me away, so as it has been quite a long time since I last offered a free printable on here, I thought I would add something which you might find a use for.  Creativity and mess often seem to go hand in hand – well they certainly do for me – once I’m in a state of creative flow,…

  • Features,  Techniques

    Mixed Media Experiments

    It seems to me like the more creative projects I get myself involved in, the more I want to do – my mind seems to be in a state of creative overdrive at the moment so that I have at least half a dozen projects on the go.  Of course I don’t really have time for it all, hence I have been somewhat quieter than usual online! At some point they will hopefully all come to fruition, but in the meantime I wanted to share one of the projects I’ve been working on. This combines several different areas I’ve been exploring of late – layers, spray inks, and oil pastels,…

  • Projects

    Children’s Family Tree Display

    I recently dug out a family tree to show my kids. I’d researched it back in the dim and distant past, and realised that they hadn’t been added to it yet. It’s a long, though not especially illustrious, lineage that I’d managed to take back to the 15th century. This kind of timescale however can be difficult for young children to grasp, so I thought it might be a nice idea to make our very own family tree, for just 3 generations of our more immediate family.     For this activity we used the printable frames which I created some time ago.  If you want to print these out…

  • Features,  Projects

    Gallery Walls – Old & New

    This week I thought I’d share with you our new Children’s Art Gallery Wall. This is to replace our previous Chalkboard Art Gallery, which we are now using more for creative drawing, messages etc. The new display uses 3 Hanging Wire Picture Holders, which are of course a variation of the traditional ‘washing line’ display, using steel wire and clips, only this one uses a vertical wire, weighted at the bottom, with tiny strong magnets to hold the pieces of artwork in place. I love it’s flexibility – artwork can be changed or adjusted (slid up or down the cable) really easily, and you can have just one vertical display,…

  • Materials & Techniques

    Experimenting with Oil Pastels

    There’s nothing quite like opening a new set of crayons and seeing them laid out all beautiful and pristine ready to use for the first time. I was offered some art materials to test out for Caran d’Ache, and was happy to do so, because although I don’t do a great number of reviews on Artful Adventures, nevertheless good quality free art materials never go amiss, and I genuinely thought I could turn it to use as a piece that would be of interest to readers. For some reason I was expecting pencil crayons to arrive, but what actually turned up was a set of Caran D’Ache Neopastel artists quality…

  • Projects

    More Creative Scanner Papers

    I thought I’d share a few more scanner papers that I created a little while back.  As regular visitors may know, I love the simplicity and directness of scanner art, and think it’s a great way especially to make your own special wrapping paper for small gifts.     I experimented with the following: Buttons Coins Feathers coloured matchsticks torn up pieces of tissue paper Confetti created from hole punches in different coloured paper Postage Stamps.     I think next time I’m going to try using some old family photographs, and experiment with pieces of coloured wool, embroidery threads or string.     In order to get the best…

  • 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…

  • creative sketchbooks
    Art Materials

    Choosing the Perfect Sketch Book

    Sketch books come in many sizes and shapes – the sheer choice out there can sometimes be bewildering, but at the end of the day, what is a sketchbook? At its simplest level, it’s just a plain paper book – so what’s all the fuss about, surely one sketch book is as good as the next? As a lifelong enthusiast for gorgeous sketchbooks, this is a subject on which I could write at length. Don’t worry, I don’t plan to do that here, since I suspect for anyone other than fellow enthusiasts it would be extremely boring, but I thought it might be helpful to outline some of the factors…

  • 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,…