Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Bubble wrap wisteria - Art for kids

Wisteria is such a stunner, with its beautiful, delicate, cascading flowers. It can be completely magical, and I'm always looking out for it when we're driving along at this time of year. My daughter's doing the same now! We've tried and frustratingly failed to grow wisteria at home, so have to enjoy it elsewhere, like at the place we stayed in France after Easter. Thanks to the holidays being a bit later than usual it happened to be perfect wisteria time - all the flowers were out, buzzing with bees, just before the green leaves and whip-like shoots appear. I took so many photos! Don't think they completely do it justice, but we did enjoy sitting under such an amazing canopy of flowers - and the gentle scent was something else.

There are some wonderful art ideas for kids using bubble wrap and I thought it would be just the thing for a simple wisteria project.
All you need to do is cut some long triangles from the bubble wrap - round it a little at the wider top end. Cut a few different sizes too.

We used ready made purple poster paint. I've always had a lot of trouble mixing purple from blue and red, so I looked it up this time, and apparently you can only really mix purple from 'true' blue or red - that's when there's no tints of other colours like yellow or green in them. If they aren't true (and mine aren't), you end up with a rather disappointing murky grey-brown colour.

So, we used a good squirt of purple paint and about the same amount of white, with a dab or two of blue on the edge. Mix these with a brush, but it's much better if you don't mix them too well. Keep some swirls of white and dots of blue. This all helps with the paint effect.

Press your bubble-wrap wisteria shape into the paint - make sure it's all covered, but don't overload with paint, or it'll get very smudgy. A bit smudgy is fine, but it's good to see the bubble circles too.

We found holding the bubble wrap at the top and bottom helped a lot when we were placing it on the paper.

After you've printed a few flowers, add another few blobs of white, purple and blue, but don't mix them in this time, so you get clear splodges of the different colours on your wisteria shapes.

Keep the the colours topped up, so your flowers have more depth and look more interesting. Experiment with with your colour mix until you're happy with your wisteria.

Make the blooms hang down at different heights and overlap your flowers, layering the colours at the top - but remember to keep some of the pointy shapes at the bottom nice and clear.

wisteria - bubblewrap art

It took no time at all and Daisy's really pleased with her painting. She's planning to add a few bees. You could also add some green leaves or shoots when the paint is dry if you want. And, as someone pointed out on Instagram, turn the page the other way up and you've got a flowerbed full of delphiniums!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Tubescapes - TP roll craft for kids

toilet paper roll craft

This craft is all about the tubes! 
Really easy to make and a fun little homemade gift to give someone. We've got a few different ideas here, but there are all kinds of other scenes you could try if you want to have a go at your own tubescape.

All you need is:
Toilet paper or kitchen paper tube
Kids' craft scissors
craft glue or glue stick
Coloured or plain paper
Fine black felt-tip or gel pen
Hole punch (optional)

1. The cityscapes were the first ones we tried. Flatten your cardboard tube (shorten to about 10cm/4in. if you're using a kitchen paper one). Draw a pencil line across your tube, a few cms (about 1in.) up from the bottom edge. This will be the road. Use a ruler and pencil to draw high-rise buildings - make them different sizes.

2. Cut down the creases, either side to the top of a building. To make it easier to cut around the outline, cut down to the other top corner of the building, bend this flap of card out and cut it off.

3. For the daytime cityscape, paint the background blue, the road dark grey and the buildings a lighter grey.

4. Once that's dry, add short downward strokes, or dots with the fine black pen for the windows - this takes a bit of time, but it's worth it! Then add any detail you want with paint and a fine brush. We added a sun, trees and little cars ( just a dab of coloured paint for the cars. When dry, draw on wheels with the black pen), but it's really up to you. You could cut out a yellow circle for the sun, as we did for the desert island scene.

5. For the night cityscape - follow the same instructions, but paint the whole of the front part yellow and the background black.

6. Once the paint's dry, use a black pen (and a ruler if you want) to colour in the high-rise buildings leaving little rectangles of yellow. (again, time-consuming, but worth it). Colour some windows in though, so it doesn't look like all the lights are on... 
On the road, for headlight beams, you could draw triangles on their sides, then colour around them with the black pen. Cut a moon out of plain paper and if you have a metallic pen, dot on stars.

toilet paper tube craft

7. For the desert island, flatten the tube and draw a line across, about half way up. Draw your island on this. Cut down the creases to the line and cut around the outline of your island. Draw and cut a small palm tree from the leftover card.

toilet paper roll craft

8. Paint the sky, sea, island and palm tree. Once dry you could paint on the sun, but we cut ours out of yellow paper and drew an orange spiral on it with a felt tip pen. Add some white foam to your sea to make it look more wavy if you want. We also drew a shark's fin with the black pen and added birds. Glue or use sticky tape to attach the palm tree to the back of the island.

toilet paper tube craft

9. For a pretty meadow scene - paint your tube green. While it's drying, draw simple shaped butterflies or bugs on coloured paper and cut them out (or draw them on plain paper and colour-in or paint before cutting out). Add any detail with the black pen. 
For the daisies - cut a thin strip of plain paper and cut four similar lengths from it (all about 2cm/3/4in. long). Cross them over each other to make a daisy shape, and use a glue stick to glue them together in the middle. For the centre, either use a hole punch to punch circles from a piece of yellow paper and glue in place - or paint the centres with yellow paint.

10. When the tube is dry, cut zig-zaggy grass - make the strands different heights and widths and keep them lower at one side, so you can see through to the back.

Love to hear your tubescape ideas!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Princess Leia - Star Wars craft

Princess Leia - Star Wars craft

Princess Leia joins the crew to celebrate Star Wars day!  She's made like the other figures, but the most important thing to get right was her rather distinctive hair style. Think we cracked it...

You'll need:
Egg carton
Craft scissors
Nail scissors or similar (optional) Adult supervision required
Craft glue
Plain paper
Black felt-tip or gel pen
Silver metallic pen
For a lightsaber:
Coloured straw
Black marker pen (like a Sharpie)

1. As with the other figures, roughly cut out two middle cones from the egg box so they're easier to work with. On one, draw a pencil line around the bottom of the cone, just above the bumpy cardboard joins. Cut along the line. This will be the body.

2. The second cone is for the head, and you only need the very top part. Either estimate this, or use a pencil and ruler to mark about 1.5cm (1/2in.) from the top on all sides, join the marks and cut out. A handy way to do this is to cut up two adjacent corners to the pencil line, bend the card back and cut off the flap - it should be easier now to cut along the rest of the line.

(If your cone has a hole in the top, see the tip at the bottom.)

3. For the arms, fold a piece of the egg carton lid in half and draw an arm (roughly about 3cm/or 1in. long) on the fold. Make it a little wider at the unfolded end. Cut out and open up.

4. Either cut the arm strip in half after the painting step (Step 7), and glue the pieces either side, or, with adult supervision, use the nail scissors to make a hole roughly in the middle of one of the sides (keep the scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side.)
Once you've made the hole, snip up to the top of the cone and down the other side until the slot looks level. Cut an extra sliver out to widen the gap for the arms. Make sure the slot goes far enough down the body, so when you push the arm strip in, it sits below the top part of the cone (the head will be glued here later). Don't glue any of the pieces together just yet.

5. For her side buns, cut out a strip of plain paper, about 5cm by 8cm (2in.x3in.) and roll it as tightly as you can.

6. Then cut across your roll. Cut a few and make them as thin as you can. Choose two you're happy with, and gently squeeze them back into a rounder shape, letting them unfurl a little. Dab glue on the sides of Princess Leia's head and stick them in place. This might be easier to do with the head sitting on the body. 

7. Painting time. Take the head off and paint the body and arms white.

Make a skin colour by mixing white with a little red, a touch of yellow and the tiniest dab of blue. Paint one side of the head. When that's touch dry paint on brown hair, painting the buns too. It helps if you draw the outline of the hair on the face first with a brown or black pen before painting. Another tip is to put the head on a spare egg carton cone while you're decorating it. 

9. When the paint is dry, use the fine black pen to draw on a face and if you have a silver pen add a belt (see pic above). Glue the head on and if you have cut the arm strip in half, glue them either side.

If you'd like to make a lightsaber or another type of weapon for Princess Leia, have a look at the steps for Luke Skywalker

Tip: If your egg cones have holes in the top, brush glue inside the cones and push a small piece of newspaper up to fill the hole.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Easy flower posy - Mother's Day crafts for kids

There are plenty of lovely flower crafts about at this time of year and we've tried quite a few, but think this might be a favourite. Maybe because it's a new one for us, and new is always good, and maybe because you can get a great result quickly, with very little fuss. Just a toilet paper tube and some coloured tissue and you're on your way to a sweet bouquet!

You'll need:
Toilet paper tube (or part of a kitchen paper tube)
3 Sheets coloured tissue paper (can be same or different colours)
Craft scissors
Glue stick
Green paint (or mix blue and yellow)

1. Paint the tube green and paint the top half of the inside too.
When the paint's dry, cut straight down from the green-inside-end to about halfway down the tube. Do the same opposite your first cut. 
(Or you could squeeze the top end of the tube flat and cut down the two creases)

2. Next, cut down the tube again, halfway between the cuts you've just made, on both sides. Make the cuts roughly the same length. So you end up with 4, hopefully evenly spaced cuts. But don't worry if the spacing isn't perfect, it'll still look lovely!

3. To make the stems, cut down the tube again, just to the right of one of your original four cuts. You don't want the stems to be too thick (between 0.5 and 1cm/1/4in. to 1/2in.). Repeat, to the right of the next cut. Try to make it roughly the same width as the first one. Do the same to the right of the other cuts, so you end up with four stems and 4 wider bits between (these are going to be the leaves).

4. Bend these wider pieces out,  and cut them into a long, leafy triangle shapes (cut down from the middle to the bottom corners)

5. For the flowers, fold the 3 sheets of coloured tissue paper in half (using just one colour looks great too), and cut a strip off the open end - make it about 4cm (11/2in.) wide, and once you've cut across the sheets, trim the strip so it's about 16cm (6in.) long.

6. Keeping all the pieces of tissue paper roughly together, fold this strip in half and press along the crease, then open up and cut in half. Now fold the two pieces in half again and cut along the crease.
You should end up with four piles of 6 squares... or squarish squares...that's fine!

7. Rub some glue stick at the top of a stem and stick the middle of a tissue paper square to it. We wanted to use yellow in the centre, so started with the darker colour, but choose any order you like.

 Rub more glue in the middle of the first piece of tissue paper and stick the second one on top, but turn it so the angle is different from the one below.

8. Keep adding the squares, turning every time. Do the same for the other three flowers.

9. Once the glue has dried, get hold of a whole flower in your fingertips and give it a gentle squeeze forward, all the way around, to shape it. Give the the middle two pieces a separate squeeze, to get a tighter centre. Do the same with the other flowers.

10. Bend the leaves into place. You could tie a bow around the bottom, to finish off your posy - or, pop it into a yogurt pot 'pot'. Stick pieces of wrapping paper on the pot to cover up any writing.