Monday, April 10, 2017

sculpt a few tacos with papier-mâché

Finished papier-mâché pulp taco samples.
Brief Description: These tacos look good enough to eat. Save some clean tissues and bags from your real dinner some evening and wrap these up realistically for a little one to enjoy as a gift.

Supply List:
  • sturdy paper plates
  • newsprint
  • brown paper bag
  • masking tape
  • white school glue
  • red and brown acrylic paint
  • soft, small paint brush
  • papier-mâché pulp
  • shredded yellow and green papers 
  • Mod Podge
  1. Cut off the rim of the number of plates you will need to make a handful of mouth watering tacos. 
  2. Crush some newsprint to sandwich between your faux shells and tape these in place.
  3. Now layer shredded brown paper along with white school glue all over the surface of your taco shapes. Cover the surface completely. Always end with the surface being covered with the white glue. Set aside the taco shapes to dry overnight.
  4.  Now prep the papier-mâché pulp according to the directions on the package. Spread it over the inside surface of the taco only to imitate the ground beef. Let this dry out; it must harden completely before continuing with the project.
  5. Paint  papier-mâché pulp brown for ground beef and red for sliced tomatoes. Let dry.
  6. Paste shredded paper to mimic shredded cheese and lettuce.
  7. Add a layer of Mod Podge to the entire surface of all tacos to preserve the work.
Left, tacos start out looking something like this, but, Right, in the end look more like something you could eat.
Cute fake food crafts from GuideCentral.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

construct a cardboard box loom for a child

The box construction allows small arms, hands, and fingers to manipulate yarn in  and out of the warp
 twine in an easy fashion. When I was very young, perhaps in first grade, my teacher gave us box looms
to practice weaving with. Because weaving projects with yarn are now taught in 5th grade and paper
weaving in first grade, teachers no longer construct box looms for young ones to practice with in public school.
Brief Description: Teach your little one how to weave with a cardboard box loom. They can play with it and weave soft, colorful yarns in and out of the sturdy twine, over and over. This is a wonderful way to develop their small motor skills. This loom is used for teaching only, so it is not necessary to tie off the yarns or dismantle the warp twine threads, therefore I tie the warp all the way around the box (a sturdy wrap). The child will also need to unwrap the weave in order to start again and this is good. Unweaving is just as important as the weaving because it trains the child's fingers. Make and unmake over and over, just as you would do when practicing with sewing cards.

Supply List:
  • a very sturdy, shallow cardboard box
  • box cutter
  • sturdy twine
  • many colors and textures of yarn
  1. Measure and notch with consistency, the narrow end of a sturdy shallow box for your warp twine. 
  2. Wrap the twine, using even tension all the way around the box through each notch to create your warp threads. Tie it off at the back of the box.
  3. Now a little person can practice their weaving using some soft, thick yarn. After they have finished practicing, have them remove the yarn from the warp, roll it into a ball and store it inside the box loom behind the warp threads.  
Additional Tips: Resist eliminating the steps when teaching little ones an activity. It is very important for children to learn processes in art. This trains their thinking, their perseverance and their hands. What may seem like busy work on the surface is actually a necessary part of their development. Just as it takes hours, days, weeks and years for an athlete to learn how to play at sports, so does it take the same industry to learn how to accomplish great things in art.
      Children today definitely lack the patience and fortitude that they once had in the countless generations of students born prior to our century. In part this has much to do with the immediate gratification people experience through modern conveniences. However, if you persist in teaching your children patience and dedication to quite activities such as these: their abilities to self sooth, wait with a quiet and calm spirit, and create with understanding and genuine curiosity will improve.
Left, I'm prepping a sturdy piece of wood on the left for notching. You can make a loom like a cardboard one in the video below out of thin plywood. Right, you can see that here I have notched a stiff piece of card board and wrapped my warp threads to the front of the loom only. This is because I intend to remove and use the weave.
       When your child is ready to weave something worthy of keeping, you will need to construct a cardboard loom and wrap the warp around the notches to the front. You can learn how to make a cardboard loom by watching the video below. This loom will enable the young weaver to remove and keep their work.
      Advanced loom weavers graduate to working with a loom built out of wood and nails. Professionals then may purchase a loom for perfect results!

Emily Szabo shows how teens can construct a cardboard loom.
This loom is the "intermediate level" loom. With this loom, 
students need a large plastic needle to pull the weft yarn in and 
out of the warp twine.

cover a letter box with postage stamps

I gifted a few letters to a daughter, sealed inside
a wooden decoupaged purse.
Brief Description: So cute and so chick, this wooden purse is actually a letter box for all of those handwritten messages you'd like to keep for sentimental reasons. I decoupaged my letter box with stamps and gave it as a gift to a certain someone that I knew collected old letters.

Supply List:
  • Mod Podge
  • soft bristle brush
  • 3D alphabet stickers
  • real stamps and or sheet of stamps for collage work only 
  • wooden box shape (I chose a purse with a bamboo handle and brass latch.)
  • tacky white glue
  1. First make sure the surface of the wooden box you intend to decorate is free from dust and dirt and dry if you wipe it down with a damp cloth.
  2. Apply a generous but not messy coat of Mod Podge to a small area of the box and layer stamps onto it in a way that seems pleasing to you. 
  3. let this area dry a little to the touch and then brush a coat of Mod Podge over the top of the stamps. Now repeat this step over until the entire wooden box has been covered. Dray overnight.
  4. Use a tacky white glue to apply 3 dimensional alphabet stickers to the front. Spell out the recipient's name if you like.
More postage stamp crafts online:

How It's Made - postage stamps

weave the ojo de dios

The traditional Ojo De Dios craft. Left, backside of the weaving, Right front side of the weaving.
Brief Description: A god's eye is a yarn weaving and a spiritual object. The Ojo de Dios (Eye of God in Spanish) is woven with yarn and wood, often with several colors. The weaving of an Ojo de Dios is an ancient contemplative and spiritual practice for many indigenous peoples in the Americas, and beliefs surrounding them vary with location and history. Some people believe they were originally part of the religion of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples. Read more...
      This is a popular, inexpensive Native American craft. It is often taught at summer camps, scout meetings and sometimes in schools. 

Supply List:
  • yarn any color
  • scissors
  • two sticks (equal in length)
  • masking tape
  1. Tape the center of two sticks together in both directions to secure your twigs into an X shape.
  2. Tie the end of your yarn piece off at the center of your crossing sticks.
  3. Wrap yarn over and under between each stick, working your way around and around until the god's eye is finished to the size you want. 
  4. Add tassels if you like by wrapping yarn around a piece of cardboard many times. Remove the card and tie off the strands together twice. Clip the ends to form the tassel. Watch video here.
Look at the weave steps up close.

For more classroom friendly videos
 visit SophiesWorldVideo.

apply a faux metal finish to an egg

Brief Description: High school kids might enjoy this egg decorating project. It is certainly a bit more complicated than most Easter egg crafts. However, if you enjoy this one, you may like to try even more of my egg decorating crafts here.
My egg sample showing a faux metal finish technique.

Supply List:
  • a plastic egg
  • aluminum foil (The type you buy at a grocery store)
  • black acrylic paint
  • white glue
  • puff paint (any color)
  • masking tape
  • Mod Podge 
  • soft cloth or tissue
  1. First cover the surface of the entire plastic egg with masking tape until none of the surface is left bare.
  2. Use you puff paint to draw a swirl pattern around the entire egg. Let parts of the design dry as you proceed. 
  3. Once you are finished and the surface is completely dry, this could take some time, apply the white glue to areas of the egg while applying the aluminum foil. Take care not to rip the foil and do not layer more than one sheet. 
  4. Use your finger tips to press the foil down into the surfaces of your design over and over until you are satisfied with the overall effect. 
  5. Now let the egg dry completely and then brush a watery layer of black acrylic paint onto the egg's surface.
  6. Wipe away the paint with a soft cloth or tissue so that the raised areas made by the puff paints are shinier than the crevices of the design. Let the egg dry.
  7. Apply Mod Podge to the finished surface when done.
 An alternative faux metal technique from Aleene.

glue together a shell mosaic box

I chose to make this box to hold a gift of pens and brushes for one of my adult children this year.
Brief Description: Although this craft is simple in its application, the design work used in such a project may be very complex. The key here is to work slow if you should choose to use a cardboard box to decorate instead of a wooden one. Otherwise, the walls of the box could warp while your work is drying. 

Supply List:
  • wood glue
  • a bag of tiny stones
  • shells
  • a sturdy box with a lid 
  1. Lay out your mosaic supplies and determine the pattern that you would like to use in the creation of your decorative gift box.
  2. I chose to arrange these tiny shells in a simple floral design. I used wood glue to adhere the shells first to the surface of my box lid. Then I let this dry overnight.
  3. Then I carefully applied the wood glue to small areas of the lid and covered these with my tiny stones. These areas were approximately two inches in diameter. Let each area dry completely before proceeding to the next application of stones. Again, this will help prevent the surface of your lid from warping.
A few close shots of the surface of my gift box: left, is a side view, right, a top view of the floral shell pattern.
Watch a CraftKlatch sea shell coaster craft.
See also the stone resin coaster by the same crafter.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

handcraft your own artisan pizza

  I saved a real pizza box to store my pretend pizzas in.
Brief Description: These little pizzas are made entirely of paper. I made these samples for a child's kitchen playset. However, teachers may prefer to make larger versions for a fun classroom craft.

Six steps for making an artsy pizza.
Supply List:
  • sturdy paper plates
  • newsprint
  • brown paper bag
  • masking tape
  • white school glue
  • red and brown acrylic paint
  • soft, small paint brush
  • papier-mâché pulp
  • shredded yellow papers 
  • Mod Podge
  1. Crush a long narrow strip of newsprint to form the edges of your pizza using masking tape to attach it to the outer rim of your stiff paper plate. Mask the entire plate with the tape.
  2. Cover the plate with white school glue and shredded brown paper sack paper. Cover the top layer of the paper with the same glue and let the pizza shape dray overnight. 
  3. Prep the papier-mâché pulp according to the directions found on the package. Ad a very then layer of this to the top of your pizza's surface only. 
  4. If you choose to make a sausage pizza, at this point you would need to make the surface of the pizza a bit lumpy with the papier-mâché pulp. Let the pizzas dry after this step. You may need to set them in the sunlight or near a warm air vent to speed up the drying time. Do not put them near an open flame! It may take a couple of days for the pulp to dry depending on the time of year or the climate in your environment.
  5. After your pizzas have hardened, you may paint the "saucy" papier-mâché area with a tomato red acrylic paint and if you have a sausage pizza, use a brown acrylic paint to color the raised areas of pulp brown. I cleaned up the edges of the sauce a bit by adding more glue and brown paper where I didn't want the red paint. Let this dry; it shouldn't take long.
  6. Drizzle the white glue on the top parts of the pizza where you would like to add cheese. I shredded several yellow papers in advance for this part of the craft. I used acid free papers because I wanted the colors of the cheese not to fade over time. You may use whatever paper you have at hand. Sprinkle the paper on top of the glue and add more layers of glue as you go. Finish the entire surface of the paper pizzas with Mod Podge at the end and let this dry. 
Here you can see up close the difference between the tomato sauce and the sausage on the surface of the pizzas.
Additional Suggestions: Try to shape all kids of veggies for you pizza with papier-mâché pulp and cut paper.

A great Pop Art pizza project.