Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Batiks

I couldn't let Halloween go by without trying a Batik now could I.
Here is the result of our Halloween glue batiks. For those of you not familiar with the glue technique you can check out my original tutorial here.

My daughter wanted to make a door hanging so after looking in some Halloween books for inspiration she started her design.
For this project we used white cotton.....these are actually some old sheets I had. We cut them into squares about 7x7, not too precise as I knew I would be sewing up the final product.

After washing I sewed each square onto a larger square of natural burlap or jute. I then connected them altogether with a black and white ribbon I had in my stash.
Sorry for the picture quality I was just starting to lose my light. I will be so glad when daylight savings time "falls back". Up here in Canada the sun is just rising when the kids and I go to school and is setting by 5:00pm. At least then I'll get my morning light back.
Some of the other squares I sewed into a table runner.
A tip when working with black paint...paint the other colors in first and let them dry a little bit (maybe 10 minutes) then paint in the black. This helps stop the black from overpowering your whole piece.
I hope this gives you an inkling to give glue batik a try. I could see this applied to Halloween pillow cases for 'trick or treating'. silhouette wall hangings, holiday flags or banners, and table linens.

see you next time

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How to Make a Robot from Halloween Candy Boxes

Are these cool or what? My kids flipped out over this one.....they really enjoyed this project. Halloween is the perfect time to make robots...why you ask.....

Because at Halloween your kids will get a lot of different candy in a lot of different packaging. Perfect material to be recycled into robots


recycled candy boxes, glue, elastic bands, acrylic craft paint, paintbrush, pipe cleaners, colored bits of paper, foil, assorted hardware doodads, small mismatched toys, extra bits of cardboard

First you need to reseal all the boxes. Place some glue on the open end and then use an elastic band to hold it together while drying. UPDATE: Inna from Inna's Creations had a great idea, take the box apart and reverse it, then glue it back together. This way it will be white on the outside, saves you the priming step. Thanks Inna!

When the boxes are dry build the main body of the robot. You can play around with it a bit until you get it the way you want. We used extra cardboard pieces to help connect everything together.
Glue together and let dry.

Now the painting.... we gave our robots a primer coat of white acrylic or gesso first. This helps to cover all the writing on the boxes. This step is optional. If you skip it you will just have to add an extra coat of colored paint.

While that first paint coat is drying you can make some arms. We used 2 white pipe cleaners for each arm. We connected the pieces together by wrapping some of the ends around each other. Try to push down those wire ends as the can be quite pokey.
We then wrapped the pipe cleaner around the end of a paintbrush or large pencil.

Next we painted ours silver. Now you could just use silver pipe cleaners but I have this thing about trying to get the kids to create as much of the materials they are going to use as possible. I actually had silver pipe cleaners in my stash but decided against it.
When dry the painted pipe cleaners become really stiff and hold there shape quite well. I have used this technique when making dioramas to make very effective trees.

By now the first coat of paint is dry so you can add some color. Depending on your candy boxes you may need 2 coats.
Let dry.

To make really neat robot grip hands use the plastic insert for drywall nails. It is usually in any picture hanging kit you may have. Open the end up to make the gripper and glue into the pipe cleaner arm.

Now decorate your robot. I used a small piece of foil for a control panel and added bits from a cut up map. Attach small toys or little bits and bobs that we all seem to have lying around. The kids have fun searching for different materials and figuring out how to make the face of the robot. We used stray lego pieces, doll combs for the mouths, beads, whatever you have on hand. You may need to use a gluegun on the heavier pieces.

Click on photo for a closer view.

Have some robot fun and good luck creating.
see you soon

Monday, October 20, 2008

How to make a Paper Mache Mask - Art Project

Here is a paper mache mask you and your kids can make for Halloween.
I 've made these flat on the back so they are more for hanging on the wall than wearing.
This makes it easier to display in the classroom and I wasn't up to having 20 half mached balloons sitting around drying in my workspace.

The paper mache technique I use is slightly different than the traditional one. I use a paper towel and white glue method. It is less messy (yay! for all the Moms out there) and it produces a better result.
I supervised 19 8 yr olds making their masks last week and we had very little clean-up.

Materials Required:
cardboard base, paper towel, newspaper, regular tape, duct tape or packing tape, regular white glue , recycled plastic container, water, paint, paintbrush, wax paper
Take some fairly heavy cardboard and cut out a face shape. Make some eye holes and cut them out too. You'll have to use an exacto knife so be VERY CAREFUL (adults only).
Take some newspaper and start forming the parts of the face. This will add the 3-D look to the face and save you from having to build this up with layers of the paper mache. Tape up individual parts with regular tape and then attach to face with packing or duct tape.
It doesn't have to look pretty it just has to be stuck on and it doesn't even have to be stuck on very well for when you mache it will be covered.
Make some interesting face shapes...
you should have seen what those 8 yr olds came up with....horns, teeth, extra noses. You can also use parts of an egg carton or some little boxes or pieces of toilet paper rolls.
Place your mask on some wax paper. Take some paper towel and rip into strips. In your plastic container add plain regular white glue(not tacky) and an equal amount of water, mix.
Dip your paper towel in the glue mixture and start applying to mask. You want to cover all the areas. The paper towel absorbs the mixture so you have less mess, you can also place dry strips on top of the wet ones and they will absorb any excess glue. ... Now you can spend time building up some of the features if you want or just do a single coat all over the mask it's up to you.
Try not to tent the features with the paper towel, you'll lose the definition, use your fingers to shape around the features to keep your contours. Don't worry about the other side as it will face the wall.
When done place in a warm dry area .
Let dry completely, usually about 36 hrs.
If your a fan of paperclay you can make your own by putting paper towel strips in enough glue mixture to saturate, let them sit for a few minutes and then pull apart mixture a bit with your fingers. Keep in a air tight container until you are ready to use. You can mold and sculpt all sorts of things and it will dry rock hard.
You can tell your mask is dry as most of it will be rock hard, there might be a few soft spots but as long as they are not moist you are ready to paint. Because we used white paper towel, the large areas I want white I just leave unpainted.
Paint as desired. I used tempera as this is what the kids will use at school. For a shiny finishing coat, wait until all the paint is thoroughly dry (even if it feels dry give it a few extra hrs. to fully cure), then paint on a thin layer of full strength white glue. The curing ensures you paint won't start running when you put on the glue as it is water soluble. You also need a light touch as it may start smearing a bit even after curing.
You can use this paper mache technique on a variety of sculptures. Check out the Art Attack site in my links section as Neil uses this technique on lots of different projects. It is very kid friendly.
I think paper mache is an under-utilized medium. When I was a kid we were always maching something. Of course, we had a lot of mouldy projects too as we used the flour and water method. The white glue eliminates this issue and your project will be stronger too.
see you soon

Friday, October 17, 2008

How to make an Owl - Art Project

Here is a very effective Owl Art Project you can do with your kids. It's somewhat halloweenish as his eyes seem to follow you around the room.

I was making breakfast one morning when I thought....someones looking at me, more specifically an owl is looking at me, inspiration strikes.

Materials Required:

-cardboard egg carton
-paint (orange,red,yellow,brown,white,black)
-stick from the garden
-feathers (optional)

My youngest went on strike...he'd rather play with his brother than do a sample for class so I'll have to post his work at a later time.

Cut out your eyes and beak from the egg carton in one piece. Try to get the little triangles above the eyes as well as this looks more owl like. Each carton will give you 5 sets. Last week a Mom at school gave me 20 egg cartons so..... Kindergarten is making Owls this week!!

Pull out your paints and start painting. Paint the back of the eyes first, I used brown. While that is drying paint your Owl body. I used a paper bag and splashed on some orange, brown, and yellow. Let dry.

Take some newspaper, paint a piece white and one piece a dark brown.

Let dry.

Now for some fun, splatter time. At school I use a big box. I've added height to the back of the box so I have less chance of a mess. At home I use whatever box I can find. Here my daughter is helping out as she loves to splatter.

Take your white and brown painted newspaper, which is now dry, place one sheet in the box, and using paint of the other color flick paint onto the paper.

Sometimes you can just tap the brush onto a stick or ruler to splatter but most kids want to use their fingers. You may have to make the paint a little more liquid than usual but don't over diluted it or it won't show up in the end.

Paint some accent feather paper. I usually collect the packaging from cookies. It's a wavy white cardboard type of paper. I also have a crimper and sometimes just crimp some cardstock for the same effect. Use it if you have it, otherwise plain old white paper will do. Paint some accent colors, reds, oranges, and yellows.

By now the back of your eyes will be dry, paint on the yellow/orange beak, as well as the whites of the eye. You can then either paint in the black eye
or glue in circles of black paper or felt. I'm going to have the kindergartener's glue in circles I think.

Take the paper you painted for the body, turn over and using your painted eyes as a guide draw an owl body.

Cut out and glue
to a black piece of paper for the background. When eyes are dry glue them into place as well.

Take your feather paper and start cutting out feather shapes, glue onto the body. You can also curl them a bit on the bottom so the stick out a bit from the body giving the piece added texture.

If you have some feathers glue them in place for wings. If not use your feather paper and cut out some wings. Find a good stick or branch from the backyard and stick on with the gluegun.

Ta da! One good looking Owl, kinda of reminds me of the Owl from Mr. Dressup.

Give it a try, when my youngest saw the finished project he got really excited and now can't wait to make one.

Take the time to make the feather paper. My whole philosophy of art with kids is to engage them with the PROCESS. This means making the materials to create from.
Much more satisfying than just purchasing them. It also teaches them patience. The results will be one of a kind and you will have taught your child techniques that can be applied to a multitude of projects.

Take care.

see you next time