• 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…

  • Features

    Kids Artwork – Choosing what to Keep

    It’s a perennial problem – of all the mountains of artwork that young children produce, how much of it should you keep? Maybe you are sufficiently ‘ruthless’  to be able to throw it away without a qualm, but at the other extreme if you are a hoarder like me, you may find it difficult to throw any of it away.  There comes a time however when rational decisions have to be made if you’re not to be swamped. But how to make them? It can be difficult to create hard and fast rules here, because what makes something special for one person will be entirely different for another, and ultimately…

  • Features

    Photographing Children’s Artwork

    If you want to take photos of your children’s artwork for your own projects, perhaps to create your own cards, or to make a photograph, the quality of the photograph is of huge importance. For this reason, I thought it might be worthwhile offering a few simple pointers to getting the best image you can. After all, not everyone has access to a home scanner, and if the artwork is large, then your average home scanner is not an option. At this point I should make it clear that it’s not necessary to have a super dooper all singing all dancing camera to get a good photograph – these days…

  • 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…

  • Reviews

    Book Review: Fill in the Blank

    I don’t often do reviews on Artful Adventures, in fact I think it’s been about a year since I last did one, at least in response to a direct invitation. This is partly because I don’t seek such invitations, and partly because those products which I am offered for review are rarely either relevant to my subject matter, or of any interest to me. However this one was different. I am a particular fan of books which encourage creativity, and I especially like the genre of Doodle books which invite you to add to them in some way. It’s not that I don’t like colouring books, which I think have…

  • 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…

  • Features

    Making Arty Party Pieces

    It’s all been a bit hectic here recently, so I didn’t get a chance to post last week. What with sickness (mine), injury (husband’s), life in general, and the fact that I’m in the process of trying to complete a major project at the moment (watch this space as hopefully all will be revealed shortly) time is a bit short for blogging and creative activity with the kids. So it was rather nice to be invited to a craft themed birthday party for a change. We’ve been to lots of 5th birthday parties recently, the vast majority of which have been in one local play centre or another. The kids…