DIY

Hollyhock-Dolls Dancing

One of my passions is to share my enthusiasm and knowledge of art with others. Sometimes I get around to documenting the projects I do with kids of all ages. when I do, I try to post something about these DIY projects here. All of the following posts are also on my blog.

I sure would love it if you left me a comment on the blog posts — tell me whether you tried the projects and how they worked out for you. And I’m always open to suggestions for improvements and innovations! Thank you for looking and experimenting with me. 

Click here: DIY Projects

 

So Easy: DIY Marble Magnets

Insanely easy — these took literally a few minutes to make. What took longest was waiting for the glue to dry.

Easy Glass Marble Magnets

DIY Marble Magnets

You Will Need:

  • glass half-marbles (from a craft store)
  • strong magnets that will fit on the bottom of the glass marbles
  • pretty paper, magazine photos, inkjet photos, whatever you want to use
  • a hole punch the size of your glass marbles, or a cardboard circle you can use as a template
  • clear silicone sealer or silicone-alternative clear sealer (I used the Lexel brand of silicone alternative clear glue. I bought it at Ace Hardware.)

 

Instructions:

  1. Punch circles from whatever paper you are using. The circles may be a little too big to fit the flat part of the underside of the marbles, but you can trim them with sharp scissors.
  2. Put a big dab of clear silicone glue on the bottom of each glass marble and press onto the TOP of the paper circle. Press gently until the silicone sealer spreads out under the glass. You will see that the glass magnifies the pattern or photo on the paper and it looks REALLY COOL!
  3. Let these dry for quite awhile, until the paper can’t be pushed around at all.
  4. Use hot glue or strong glue adhesive to attach the magnets to the bottom of the marble and paper.
  5. Here is a step by step link with slightly different way of making these magnets.
    http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/marblemagnets.html

Kid’s Art: DIY Painted Tiles, written by Ema and Adia

Summer Fun with painted tiles

Adia using her invented tile painting technique, “Strawmania.”


Ema and Adia are spending lots of time with me this summer, just chillin, havin fun, learnin some stuff and makin some art.  So far, I think we are using this first week to get used to each other, test limits, and figure out what we want to do for the rest of the summer. It’s been interesting and … I am very tired each evening. I think they might be too. I think that is a good thing.

I promised the girls I would teach them how to make blog posts, so every once in awhile Ema and/or Adia will be a guest blogger here on Water::Earth::Wind::Fire.  I hope you enjoy their posts.  At first, I will take dictation, typing pretty much exactly what they tell me to type.  At some point, I will let them do the entire post.  So, here goes, with the girls’ first ever blog post….

Head of little girl making painted tiles

Ema writes:

We wanted to make something nice for my mom’s office, so we made these tiles. We saw these on Pinterest, and we saved them to our summer fun Pinterest board and this is one of the projects my sister and I both wanted to do this summer. This was a creative and fun project. I would recommend this to children and their parents. To do one tile it takes about 5 minutes. Well, after you get everything set up, it goes really fast.

We made practice tiles first and my favorite one turned out to be my practice tile (that’s my practice tile, below.) It was my favorite because it had a lot of bright, different colors. I would describe the design as 3 different colored wax seals (like the ones on old envelopes) laying on top of each other. I really like that.

painted tile

Here are the three tiles Ema made to go together as a triptych:

painted tile triptych

Editor’s note: Ema’s sister, Adia, made the list of supplies and wrote the instructions below: 

How to Make Strawmania Painted Tiles

Supplies You Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Alcohol inks
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Paint brushes
  • Bendy straws (or any kind of straw, but Adia says they should be bendy)
  • Q-Tips (cotton swabs)
  • Newspapers
  • Modge Podge
  • Felt circles
  • Hanger thingamajigs
  • Permanent glue

Instructions:

  1. Put down newspapers so you won’t get ink all over the place  

    tile painting

    Brush rubbing alcohol onto the tile. Use a lot.

  2. Take your tile and paint rubbing alcohol all over it. Use alot because it dries up fast

    Painted Tile in Progress

    Drip little drops on ink on the tile right into the rubbing alcohol

  3. Drip ink on the tile in little drops  

    Painted Tile - blowing with a straw

    Blow the colors around with a straw or just let them do their thing

  4. Use your straw and blow to make the dots expand.You can play around with the straw blowing to make really cool designs in the ink. (editor’s note: Adia and Ema invented this technique and Adia named the technique, “Strawmania.”)
  5. You can use a qtip to make shapes
  6. You can add more colors
    tile painting in progress

    You can add more colors to your tile, blow them around or just let them mix

    painted tile

    Add more colors and blow them around

  7. You can drip more rubbing alcohol to make really cool effects in the inks
  8. Next, let your tile dry
  9. After it’s dry you can add more ink colors, or you can add more alcohol and play around with it.
  10. When it’s all done and totally dry, you paint it with Modge Podge so the inks don’t disappear. Also to make it shiny. Also to protect the ink design
  11. When the ModgePodge is dry, you turn the tile over and put the felt circles on the corners (you need these so it won’t scratch your wall or your tables or tile)
  12. Then, glue on the hanger thingamajig with really good glue

SummerFunMonday08-imp

Above is Adia’s finished triptych of tiles for her mom’s office. Adia writes:

My favorite part of making the tiles was Strawmania. That is what you do with a bendy straw when you blow through it onto the tile. It expands the ink blobs. You can blow colors together and mix them. Sometimes the color goes wherever it wants to go, which looks cool sometimes and other times it makes a big grey blob. If you get a gray blob, you can always add more alcohol and then add another color to make it colorful. That fixes it. This is something I will probably want to do again. Next time I will use less colors so my tiles don’t get big gray blobs. Here is my favorite tile (below). I am squirting the ink on it:

painted tile

 

 

Art Camp for Two

Last week, my young friend, Grace and I invented our own “art camp.” She stayed with me for four nights and we had 3 full days of creative fun. I sure hope we get to do this a couple more times this summer. Hanging out with young people fills my cup, especially when they are as enthusiastic about life and learning and creativity as Grace is. It was super cool that we got to do so many projects and have some adventures just the two of us. Actually, it was three of us — Charlie came along too.

I promised Grace I would teach her how to make a blog post, so I am going to leave the DIY tutorials until she comes back for our next art camp. In the meantime, here are some photos of some of the things we did and made:

Butterfly Heart Swarm by Grace

Painted Tiles

Girl swinging Grace and Charlie

Documenting our Discovery of Ladyslipper Orchids

painted tiles

Hollyhock Dolls: a throwback to simpler times

Hollyhock-Dolls-09

I remember making these dolls from hollyhock blossoms in late summer. They only last for a few hours, even less if you play with them. But they’re fun to make, and really do have lots of personality. Now is hollyhock time in Montana. Do you have hollyhocks where you live? If you do, then you’re in luck. Go find a few, get out a needle and thread and go for it.

tutorial to make hollyhock dolls

  1. Pick some hollyhock blossoms. Remember to get different sizes of buds, and a few leaves (for hats.) Sort the buds by size, making sure you have at least 3 buds for each arm.
  2. Keep blossoms fresh while you work, by placing them in a bowl of water. You can also mist them with water using a sprayer.
  3. Remove the large, fuzzy stamen that sticks out of the center of each flower. Using a large needle and thread, stitch up through two or three large flowers, layering them to look like a skirt.  You can make multi-color skirts with different colored flowers. Next make the head — you can use either a small blossom that hasn’t fully opened yet, or a large bud. Stitch from the bottom of the head through to the top.
  4. You can add a leaf on top of the head for a hat.
  5. Use 3 buds for each arm, a small, medium and large. I like to start at one hand, thread 3 buds together, then pierce the shoulder with the needle, and continue on the other side with 3 more buds for the opposite arm. (see photo 6)
  6. Your hollyhock doll will have personality and facial expressions if you use your imagination with her.

Swirling Personality of a Hollyhock Doll

Hollyhock-Dolls03-imp

You can add legs if you want but I kinda like them without legs. The big skirts make the dolls look like Southern Belles at a Ball, or Ballerinas Dancing Across the Stage. If you want legs, do them the same as the arms.

Hollyhock-Doll Supplies Another way to make hollyhock dolls is to use long, stiff pine needles, or toothpicks instead of needle and thread. Using the thread allows the arms, legs, neck and waist of the doll to move and jiggle, and if you hang her she will dance in the breeze.  Using pine needles or toothpicks gives you a stiffer doll that can be played with more easily. Here is a link to making hollyhock dolls with toothpicks. 

Hollyhock Buds to Make Dolls

Keep Hollyhocks Flowers Fresh in Water

a lovely vintage textile print with hollyhocks

a lovely vintage textile print with hollyhocks

Miss Hickory is a children’s book that dates back to 1948. It is about a tiny doll made of apple twigs with a hickory nut head, so is a little similar to our hollyhock dolls, only longer lasting. The story follows her adventures through the four seasons. And eventually, the story ends with the little doll asleep on a branch of an apple tree and in the spring the apple tree blossoms all around her. Below are a couple of illustrations from the book and a link to a tutorial on how to make a Miss Hickory doll. 

Miss Hickory illustration Miss-Hickory-Book Cover

Kid’s Art: Root Creatures

bird made from root and paintEma, Adia and I made some really cool creatures using roots we found on the lakeshore. We picked them up because we thought each of these looked at least vaguely critter-like. Today we painted several of the roots to try to bring out the little features in the wood that looked like something or another. How do you like them now?

Root CreaturesWe have a horse, a gnome, an elephant-deer-bird, and another bird — a long-legged crane.

The following tutorial was written by Ema and Adia:

Have you ever wanted to make an imaginary creatures? Well here’s how. All you need is a few sticks and some paint. You can make whatever you can imagine when you look at the sticks.

You will need:

  • sticks, driftwood or roots
  • hot glue*
  • acrylic paint**
  • brushes
  • something to use for bases for the creatures that will stand up*** …. or
  • tiny eye hooks and some monofilament for creatures that will fly (hang)

EmasHorseCollage-imp

I got a funky root and I kept turning it and turning it and looking at it from different angles and then I saw that it looked like a horse. So I painted it to look like a red roan horse, specifically my favorite horse, Rosebud, who lives at my Grandma’s house in Anaconda. I glued mine onto the base instead of drilling a hole because it stands up by itself.  — Ema, age 10

Gnome by Adia, age 8

Gnome by Adia, age 8

I made a gnome. A gnome is a little person with a beard. Santa Claus is a gnome. My gnome has a really tall red hat and is walking across the log that is my base. One leg is shorter than the other because he is walking. He also has a really long white beard and tall white boots. I drilled a hole in the base and glued my gnome’s longest leg into the hole. He looks like Santa. — Adia, age 8

MaureensCrane-imp

One of my roots looked exactly like a long, curved-bill crane so I made a fantasy bird that I named, an “oo-ooga crane.” This is the sound it makes when it’s happy. It has green and blue feathers with white spots. Also some yellow and orange eyes. I glued one of the crane’s legs into a hole in the walnut base. — Maureen

Elephant Deer Bird Detail

Maureen's Elephant Deer-Bird

My other root reminded me of an elephant with wings. It has big long trunk, two skinny wings and a tail. I added little antlers so it’s an elephant-deer-bird. I painted the antlers blue because the Huichol Blue Deer is special to me. This one hangs from the ceiling because it’s flying. I screwed in a tiny eye-hook and hung the bird by a piece of monofilament. — Maureen

NOTES FROM THE TUTORIAL AND SUPPLY LIST:

*We used a little hot glue to attach odds and ends of roots to our creatures.

**For painting the creatures, you don’t have to completely cover the surface of the wood with paint. Leaving some of the natural wood showing looks really cool.

***If you want to make bases, cut some nice wood in a square or rectangle or any shape. Sand it so it’s nice and smooth. Sand the edges to make them roundish so they aren’t sharp. Figure out if you want to drill a hole or just glue on your creature onto the base. We made our bases out of scraps of walnut wood, the trees that grow actual walnuts on them.

root creatures11-improot creatures10-imp

 

Below, we have a few other roots we haven’t painted yet. We are going to keep making these creatures. One of these roots is going to become a flying dragon with a tail made of smoke and fire coming out of its mouth. What do you see in these?  Please let us know in the comments.

Driftwood Root Driftwood Root Driftwood Root

Driftwood Root

 

Kid’s Art: Clothespin Puppets

clothespin puppet fishWe had an idea on our Summer Fun Pinterest board both girls wanted to make, so here’s what we did:

Clothespin Puppets

What you need:

  • clothespins (the kind you pinch to open)
  • heavy weight paper or lightweight cardboard *
  • acrylic paints, markers or other tools to decorate the puppets **
  • hot glue, regular glue (like Elmer’s) ***
  • scissors
  • paint brushes if you decide to use paint

hatching egg clothespin puppet clothespin puppet fish clothespin puppet chameleon clothespin puppet chameleonHow to make the puppets:

  1. Decide what you want to make. We liked the idea of a mouth opening to reveal something inside. Ema also made an egg that “hatches.” You could choose to make a person whose mouth opens to show a word-bubble, or an envelope that opens to show a letter inside. We mostly got our ideas from this lovely Flickr user, Molas & Company, but I can think of lots more ideas… get creative!
  2. Draw your shapes on heavy weight paper and cut out.
  3. Cut through the middle of the shape so you have two halves to glue to the two parts of the clothespin
  4. Paint or otherwise decorate your puppet shape.
  5. Make the inside piece and attach to the bottom of the puppet shape.
  6. Figure out the best placement of the two halves, on your clothespin.
  7. Hot glue the two halves of your puppet shape onto the bottom and top of the clothespin.

Have fun with your puppets:

clothespin fish puppet

Headline: Very brave whale tries to eat prehistoric sea dinosaur even with mouth full of boat!

Adia played with her puppets while watching Fantasia, above. They are interacting with the movie. That’s what I call active-watching (and a brave puppet whale!)

clothespin puppet fishNotes & Tips:

* One of the puppets we made using a lighter weight paper because Adia liked the color. The paper sort of curled, so I would suggest a heavier weight (cover stock is perfect) paper.

** We used acrylic paints and I limited the girls to just black and white (and gray mixed from the two colors.) Use brushes or any other tool you can think of, to apply the paint. The tan chameleon has a texture made by stamping white paint with the tip of a sponge brush (see photo below.) You could also use a pencil eraser to make polka dots. Get creative!

If you use a heavy weight paper, or light cardboard, you could decorate the puppets with glued on buttons, sequins, beads, felt, bits of fabric, ribbons, or pieces of magazine photos.  Very young artists could use stickers.

*** We used Elmer’s glue to attach paper bits to the paper puppet shapes. Hot glue to attach the puppet shapes to the clothespin. Use whatever glue you think will work best with the stuff you’re applying to your puppets.

Clothespin Puppet Critters

An egg that hatches, a whale swallowing a boat, a big fish eating two smaller fish, two chameleons eating flies and a frog eating a butterfly. Your imagination is the limit!

This texture was made by stamping the tip/edge of a sponge brush filled with white paint, on tan paper

I made this texture by stamping the tip/edge of a sponge brush filled with white paint, on tan paper

Links for Clothespin Puppets:

 

 

Art and Science Smash-Up: Milk Swirls Paintings

milk and food coloring paintingI saw this idea on Photojojo a couple of days ago and immediately thought of doing this with Adia, who is very good at math and science. When I suggested this fun experiment for today, she was all over it! She remembered seeing the project on a website she called “Science Steve.”  Here is an excerpt from Steve’s post about this Color Changing Milk:

The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.

The molecules of fat bend, roll, twist, and contort in all directions as the soap molecules race around to join up with the fat molecules. During all of this fat molecule gymnastics, the food coloring molecules are bumped and shoved everywhere, providing an easy way to observe all the invisible activity. As the soap becomes evenly mixed with the milk, the action slows down and eventually stops.

Milk Swirl Painting in ProgressSteve’s description of this experiment explains that it’s important not to stir the colors and the milk with the cotton swabs, but Adia couldn’t stop herself. She seemed much more interested in seeing what would happen when you stir all the colors together (you get a grayish tan color that looks totally unappetizing!)

I convinced Adia to let me to take photos along the way, before the colors were all mashed together. Aren’t these cool? The blue one looks a little like an angry face.

milk swirl painting in blue milk swirl paintings Green and Red Milk Swirl Painting Green and Red Milk Swirl Painting

What You Will Need

  • Whole or 2% milk (must have some fat for the science to work)
  • Dinner Plate
  • Food coloring (red, blue, green, yellow. We also used Neon colors)
  • Dish-washing soap (We used Ivory Liquid, but some sites say Dawn works best)
  • Q-tips (cotton swabs)

How to Make your Milk Swirl Paintings

Pouring milk for milk swirl painting

Pour a thin layer of milk onto a dinner plate that has a lip (we had to level our plate with a shim under one side

 

Beginning of Milk Swirl Painting

Put a few drops of food coloring into the milk

Green and Yellow Milk Swirl Painting

Touch the soapy swab to the colors in the milk and watch what happens.

Milk Swirl Painting

The color zooms away from the swab tip and makes beautiful, interesting shapes. You can keep dabbing the swab onto the colors, add more drops of color if you want.

Green and Yellow Milk Swirl Painting

You can also drag the swab lightly through the colors to make swirls and shapes.

Green and Yellow Milk Swirl Painting

Take photos! These make really cool abstract designs

Milk Swirl PaintingLINKS AND IDEAS:

Photojojo has a very clear, short video showing how to do this science/art project
Steve Spangler’s Science Experiment, Color Changing Milk. He even has a section on tips to turn this fun activity into a science fair experiment.
Here is a detailed description with great progress photos, of Steve’s color-changing-milk experiment.