Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunday, November 28, 2010

SNOW Banner

Here is one of the crafts the kids will be doing for our 2010 Christmas Craft Day.  It is a repeat of one we did 4 years ago. (I have to wait 4 years before I can repeat crafts so the kids do not get any doubles).

It is based on a project by Leslie Johnston that was in "Pack o Fun" in 2004.

I made some changes and it is now a quick craft that we can easily cycle 150 kids thru lickety split.

I cut out pieces of posterboard that are approximately 6 inches square.

I like using blue.  I then trace out the letters SNW for the kids to cut out.  If you have more time you can get them to trace it out or have them design their own letters.

Using a circle template we then trace and cut out the snowman head.

The original design had scarves for the snowman but I found them hard for the kids to manipulate so we use hats.  I take some fleece fabric and sew it into a long tube on the machine.  I then cut it into sections.

The kids take a piece of yarn and tie off the top of the hat, roll up a brim, and slip onto the head on an angle. Using tacky glue secure into place.

We then cut out 2 eyes out of black paper.  Using a white crayon make a little highlight line in each eye.

Glue into place ensuring the highlight is in the same position for each eye.

Using disk tempera, paint on some rosy cheeks.

When the cheeks have dried use a sharpie to draw in a crooked smile.

Cut a carrot nose from orange paper, craft foam or painted paper.  Using a sharpie draw a few lines on your carrot.

Glue into place.

Make a hanger with a loop of ribbon and tape into place at the top of the S.  Then tape a longer piece of ribbon at the bottom of the S for hanging the rest of the letters on.  You may wonder why I didn't just use one long piece for the whole thing but I find the ribbon distracts from the S letter so I like it better this way.

We staple the top of the snowman hat to the bottom of the N to keep it balanced otherwise the snowman flops over and the banner doesn't hang right.

We also tie on a Christmas bell at the end.  I find these at Wal-mart, 21 bells for $6.00, in the Holiday section.

That's it, a great little door banner that is easy to make, perfect for our Craft Day.

Give it a try.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Easy Angel Carolers

This is a very easy Angel Caroler that we did last year as part of our "Christmas Craft Day".  (150 kids, 1 morning, 12 crafts)

This year Kindergarten is making them and I thought I'd share it with you.

I apologize for not letting the glue dry before the photos but I'm fighting for the light....not much time after school to photograph before it's dark!

You will need:
- a pattern template
- some cheap batting fabric (I like the sparkle)
- some sheet music try here
- tacky glue
- a 2-3 inch Styrofoam ball
- flesh colored acrylic paint
- pink acrylic paint
- some garland
- a white pipe cleaner
- a fine sharpie
- some white cardstock or posterboard
- some sequins or embellishments

First you need to paint your Styrofoam ball.  We also added some glitter for a bit of sparkle.

After it has dried use your fine sharpie and put in the eyes (closed ) and the mouth.  Now you could paint these in if you wanted but I find young kids have more control with the sharpie.

Take your pink acrylic paint and using the end of a pencil dot the cheeks.

Take the pattern and trace and cut out of posterboard, cardstock, or manila tag.

Cut the same pattern out of the batting fabric. but this time do not cut out the notch in the center.

Staple your posterboard cone together.

Put glue all around the edges of your fabric on the wrong side. (non sparkle side).

Cover the cone and just tuck in the fabric in the center.

Take your white pipe cleaner and make a loop at each end for the hands.

Cut a piece of batting fabric 3"x7", lay your pipe cleaner in the center, put glue along one edge of the fabric, fold in half.

Take a 8 inch length of garland and wrap into a circle.

Glue onto the head of your angel.

Put some glue on the center of your cone and secure the head.

You may have to hold for just a minute while the glue sets up.....

Put some glue on the center of your arms.

Attach to your angel.  Try to make them come from the shoulder area...I find kids often want to have the arms coming out of the waist.

Now you can decorate your angel a bit with extra garland, sequins, snowflakes......

Cut out a strip of music about 3 inches long and the width of the bars.

Glue into place..I like to have the music facing out but you can also glue 2 strips together so you can see it from both sides.

If you want wings you can cut some from a gold or silver doily or even 2 petals from an artificial flower.

Secure on the back of your angel.

and that's it.

I hope your class makes a choir of Angels and I'll be back with more Christmas projects soon.

Take care.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I recently presented at a Early Childhood Education conference in Edmonton, the theme of my session was Multicultural Art Techniques.  One of the techniques I discussed was Wycinanki or Polish paper cutouts. There are lots of examples in google images.

This "Tree of Life" theme is quite common, a symmetrical cutting done on the fold.
I also talked about amate cutouts from the Otomi people of San Pablito, ( Art for Small Hands recently did a post), which is also a symmetrical cutting.

These Wycinanki designs  were used to decorate the freshly white washed walls of farmer's homes in the spring in preparation for Easter.
I think they look terrific at any time and it's amazing what you can create with the simplest of materials. (Paper, glue, and scissors)

Not all Wycinanki is symmetrical "cut on the fold". 

This turkey (for all of you in the USA this week) which could easily be a Rooster or Peacock, it is also a very traditional design.

A symmetrical design is a good way to get started.  Take a piece of black paper, fold, and trace out a design using white crayon, pencil, or colored pencils.

If you want to use my designs you can find them here:

Tree of Life 1
Tree of Life 2
Turkey, Rooster, or Peacock

Now with young kids trying to cut this design can be difficult so I am all for cheating.  We will glue this fringe back into place at the end and this makes it so much easier!

On the pattern you will see where you can cut this decorative fringe frame section off so you can cut the inner design.

Fringe frames are quite common designs, many Wycinanki have quite elaborate ones and often more than one. 

For this fringe cut little "teeth" into the outside edge. 

Glue your design onto a backing paper.  Here I'm using white as it contrasts so nicely with my black cutout.
Glue the fringe back into place and no one will be the wiser.

Now it's time to add some color.  To mimic a painted folk art design add bits of colored paper, layering as you go.

If you fold your colored paper and cut 2 shapes at the same time you can keep that symmetrical look.

Glue and let dry.  Place a piece of wax paper on top and place a heavy book on your design to help it dry flat.

That's it.

Once you start let's see if you can just stop at one...I have some ideas for some Christmas themed ones so check back for the templates.

See you next time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Owl Assemblage

I know I have my fair share of owl projects on the blog but I couldn't resist another.

This is a recycled assemblage that includes some text.  It was a joint collaboration of by my 3 kids and I love the idea so much I am looking to incorporate it into this year's Art Program.

My kids absolutely love these "Look a Like" books from Joan Steiner.  When we go to the library they repeatedly take these out again and again....even my 13 yr old.

I started this project by having them look at these books to get the creative juices flowing. 

The kids then went on a treasure hunt looking for items in the recycling bin, the junk drawer, & odds and ends from the craft room.

For this owl we used:
- a scrap of shelf liner for the head
-,round corrugated packaging from a cookie tin for the body
-  assorted rings from bottles and a sour cream container (you know those rings you have to break to open) for the eyes and wings
- bread tags for the feet
- a picture hanger for the beak
- 2 acorn caps for the eyes
- some shells, rickrack, and pipe cleaner for the leaves and branches
- some old wood letters (you could cut some from cardboard) and a piece of a drinking straw for the OWL
- some washers for feathers and for the text

We glued all the pieces to a piece of cardboard for our background.  We used tacky glue.

We let it dry and then covered it with a coat of gesso but you could also use white acrylic paint.

When it was dry we experimented a bit with the paint.  At first we just did a brown wash on the owl and then painted the background with a black wash.

The kids were not impressed so we tried again.

This time we added color, for the leaves and branches, the beak, and the feet.  We also made the OWL white as well as around the eyes.

The boys added some details around the eyes with the silver sharpie and then my 13 yr old added the text with some suggestions from Mom of course!

I then covered it with a coat of glossy Mod podge and woohoo it looks 100 X's better.

See you next time.