Friday, 16 June 2017

Little cardboard tube houses - crafts for kids

cardboard houses

These little houses are really easy to make and you can decorate them absolutely any way you like! You could add them to the city scene we made last time, or make a village or town of your own, with different shops and houses. Have fun creating a scene!

All you'll need is:
Cardboard tubes
Pencil
Ruler
Scissors
Paint
Craft glue
Paper clip (optional)
Fine black felt tip or gel pen


1. First of all you need to make the tubes less tubey, as we did with the city scene, so flatten one with your hand and press firmly along the two creases.


2. Open the tube up, and line up the two creases you've just made - the flatten the tube again, making two more creases. Press firmly along these as well.


3. While the tube is still flat, use the ruler and pencil to draw a pencil line across it, 3 to 4cm (1in. to 11/2in.) from one end. This will be the height of the walls.  If you are going to make more than one it would be good to vary the size and to use tubes that are different widths too.

Draw another line across, about 3cm (1in.) up from the first line. This will be one side of the roof and again the size could be altered if you want a taller, pointier roof or a flatter one.


4. Open up the tube and flatten it again, so you can see the pencil lines you've just made and it's easy to extend them. Do this one more time so the lines go right around the tube.


5. Cut down each corner to the first line you made near the bottom, and fold back the flaps firmly.


6. Cut two opposite flaps off, along the fold. Keep one spare piece for the chimneys.


7. Cut another one off too, but not right to the fold this time - leave a very small section of the flap so you can attach the roof here later.


8. Fold the remaining flap back on the second pencil line. Fold it right back so you can measure it against the other side of the roof, and cut any extra card away so both sides are roughly the same size. Then bend the roof fold the other way. Your little house is taking shape!



9. Paint the walls and roof of your house any colour you like, or you could leave it plain. Paint a spare piece of card from earlier the same colour as the walls, if you want your house to have chimneys.


10. When the paint's dry, use a fine black pen to add doors and windows to the side with the small flap. Add roof tiles too if you want, and use felt tips or paint to add any colour detail you fancy. We put flowers along the front of some of our houses and tried a rambling rose too.

For a chimney or chimneys, cut a thin strip from the spare piece of card you painted, and cut in half.


11. When you're happy with your house, brush some glue on the short flap at the front (if your glue isn't very tacky, use a paper clip to hold the card together while it dries. To make tacky glue, leave some PVA  uncovered in an old jar or yogurt pot for a day or two. This should thicken it up. Very handy if you want things to stick quickly and not to slip!)


12. To add chimneys, make small cuts either side of the crease on the roof top - or just one if you only want one chimney pot. Put some glue on the bottom half of your chimney, and slot it into place. When you're happy with the height, stick the gluey part to the underside of the roof front and bend the chimney(s) into position.



Have fun creating your own houses/cottages/shops/schools! You could add a few trees from the city scene project too.

cardboard tube houses







Thursday, 8 June 2017

Make a city scene - crafts for kids


I've been going through A LOT of cardboard tubes recently, and the city tubescapes we did a few weeks back got me thinking about making a bigger city scene that could be added to and played with. The first thing was to make the tubes less, well, tubey.....!

You'll need:
Cardboard tubes (toilet paper and kitchen paper tubes)
Scissors
Paint
Black felt tip or gel pen
For the trees:
Cereal box card
Brown felt tip
Glue stick
Grey paper (or painted paper) for the street

1. Take your toilet paper tube or kitchen paper tube and flatten it on the table with you hand. Press firmly along the two creases.


2. Squeeze the tube open, line up the two creases you've just made, and flatten with your hand - making two more creases. Press firmly along them both again.



3. If you want to make your buildings different heights, this is a good time to cut across your flattened tube. Now, when you squeeze it back into shape, instead of being round, you should have more of a square shape.



4. Paint your buildings any colours you like, or leave some plain, like we did.


If you want to make trees, this would be a good time to paint some cereal box card green. Try two different colours of green. Add more blue to make a darker shade.

5. When the paint's dry, press along the creases again, to get them back into shape, then use the black pen to add windows. Draw small rectangles, colour some in and leave others open. Add any extra details you want - Daisy made a hospital, shop and a bakery. It's absolutely up to you!




6. For the tree base, cut a strip of plain cereal box card. The trees can be any size you want, but if you want them to be a similar size to ours, keep the width of the strip to about 2cm/3/4in or less.  Cut the strip into similar sized pieces, no more than about 3cm/1in. long (these measurements are just a guide, the card pieces don't need to be identical or precise).

7. Now, fold in both ends of a piece of card, so you leave a small section in the middle between the folds. This is going to be the trunk of your tree and shouldn't be too wide. It might take a minute or two to get the hang of the folding, but again it doesn't need to be precise, as long as the card piece sits steady.


8. Make a small snip down both creases (snip a little extra out to make it easier to slot in the treetop later) - then cut a 'V' between the slots for the tree's branches.



9. Keeping in mind the size of your tree base, draw a treetop shape on the painted green card and cut it out. Keep the shape simple if you prefer.


10. Draw the trunk on the tree base with a brown felt tip pen.


11. Rub some glue on the back of the branches only, and slot the treetop in place. Leave it flat to dry (you could weigh it down with a book).
Fold the flaps back and your tree is ready!






Thursday, 25 May 2017

Bubble wrap flower printing - Art for kids

cow parsley - bubblewrap printing

So many possibilities with bubble wrap printing! Last time we used triangles of bubble wrap to print wisteria (perfect for lilac or delphiniums too), and that got us thinking about other flowers shapes we could try. At the moment the hedgerows here are awash with billowy cow parsley. Look closely, and the little, lacy white flowers are clustered together at the end of spoke-like stalks.



So first, we painted our background a mix of greens.

From early on I've encouraged the kids to use different shades of the same colour when they're painting or drawing - various greens for the grass and for trees, blues for the sky or sea and browns for wood. It's simple to do, looks really effective and helps them understand about colour mixing and light and shade.

Put your similar colours on the same plate or palette. We used green, blue and yellow poster paint, and mixed the yellow and blue together to make a different shade of green, leaving just a little of the blue and yellow unmixed.



Then dip an ordinary decorating paintbrush into some water (a big brush makes it easier to paint a large area quickly). Make sure it's not dripping wet, just keep it damp, and then have fun painting the different greens onto the paper, mixing them into each other, with the occasional streak of blue or yellow too. The key is to do it quickly and then leave it. Try not to over-work the background.



While that's drying, cut out a circle of bubble wrap dots like this ( 7 dots in total) - but make sure not to cut too close to the bubbles, so you don't deflate any of them! We then glued the unbubbly side to the bottom of a cork, to help with the printing.



While the glue's drying, squirt some more green paint onto your plate and mix in some blue on one side to make darker green. On the other side of the plate, mix in some white paint for a very pale green.



For the stems we used those thin wooden coffee stirrer sticks, but you could use lollypop or popsicle sticks or anything like that to print a thin, straight line. If you've a few spare sticks break one up, so you can print different length lines.

Press the stick into the dark green paint - make sure there's paint all along it, and print a stem onto the green background. If your stick is much wider than ours (and too wide for a stem), use the thin edge to print two or three lines next to each other. This should make the stem look the right thickness.

Press a clean stick edge into the pale green paint and print this thin line down one side of your stem, as if the light's catching it. This gives a more 3D effect, and helps lift the cow parsley out from the background.





It can get pretty messy, but sure that's half the fun!



It's worth having some freshly picked cow parsley to look at, so you can see the shapes of the stems and flowers (though be careful when you pick it as the sap can sometimes irritate your skin). Add more stems to your painting. At the top of each one, use the thin edge of a stick and the dark green paint to make spoke-like stalks, crossing the printed lines in the middle, like stars.



Get the flower stamp ready and either paint the bubble wrap with a good layer of white paint, or press into some white paint (make sure the paint isn't too thick though, or you'll end up with a big white splodge). Poster paint works fine, and we used that for the background, but we used acrylic white paint for the flowers as the coverage tends to be better, especially with light colours.



Carefully print your white flowers at the end of all the spoke-like stalks.









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!