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Open Ended Art – pebble mosaics

I’ve fallen behind on posting these even though we have been doing them diligently.

First off, this months theme over at Teaching My Little Bookworm is mosaics. And this weeks material was pebbles.

For some reason pebbles seem to be in short supply over here. Maybe I just don’t know where to look – beaches are sandy and river beds are inaccessible. So Froglet and I made our own pebbles. We used white clay, various small items to print with, sand, dried herbs and marker pens to colour them in. This was our first time using real clay and we had a great time! Froglet’s pebbles ended up relatively flat (not very pebble-like) but that was all part of the fun.

Then when they had been baked, cooled and coloured, we made mosaics using playdough as a background. I know this only barely qualifies as Art, as it’s not permanent, but I thought we might enjoy doing it again on a future occasion. And besides, I’m running out of storage space to keep permanent sculptures!

Froglet tells me that his mosaics are dinosaurs mouths with lots of teeth. He also discovered that the pebbles leave a nice pattern in the dough when they are removed.

I have more OEA photos to post from previous occasions but not time to do it in right now so it will have to be another post.


OEA – splat painting

While we were in the UK, we saw this type of very open-ended painting on CBeebies. Froglet was quite taken with the idea so we did it as soon as we got back. I just didn’t get round to posting about it before now!

This weeks theme at Teaching My Little Bookworm is Mixed Mediums. I figure we kind of did that back when we were supposed to be doing tissue paper, so our mediums are yellow paint, red paint, and blue paint. *cough*

For splat painting all you need is paper, paint, some bits of sponge, and something to splat with – we used the back of, er, one of those things you use to turn over pancakes and meat in the frying pan. (Help! My English is fading away!)

You’ll also want to clear a two-metre space on all sides of the splat-er. More if they’re older and likely to splat harder! Soak the sponge bits in paint – you may need to experiment a bit for the best consistency – then arrange them on paper and have at them.

And you may want to strip your child down too. Mine is wearing his undies, although you can’t tell from the picture.

Disclaimer: the pile of clothes in the corner is not laundry but outgrown clothes being packed away!
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Crafty Tuesday 2: Birds

This should have been last weeks instalment – that didn’t work out but never mind. I chose the topic birds because of this mobile. Zia made it for her own room when she was still at school, and then passed it on to Froglet when he was born. Now it is in Nutmeg’s room, and I thought we might decorate the rest of her room with birds too. Her second name actually means dove, so it seems appropriate!

Hopefully you can see from the picture how it was made. Four squares of that squishy craft foam stuff, rolled up to make head, body and wings, and then a long triangle for the tail.

And so without further ado, here are all the birds we have made over the last few weeks.

First, a coloured rice bird (and car). We got the suggestion to colour rice from Unplug Your Kids, and Froglet very much enjoyed bashing his about in a bag with food colouring and a bit of vinegar. We didn’t have white rice, only the parboiled stuff, but I will be buying plain rice from an Indian shop soon so we can do this again because Froglet has really enjoyed playing with his rice, scooping and pouring and so on. I thought it would be interesting to do some sticking with it too:

Next, some contact paper painting. I really enjoyed this! I cut out several bird shapes and an egg from contact paper, and stuck them onto a piece of 12×12 scrapbooking paper. I thought it might hold up better than normal paper. I also put electrical tape over the edges of the paper to get a white edge. Then we put paint in Froglet’s roller tray, gave him the roller and instructed him to cover the whole paper, which he did very happily. The round spots were made with the end of the roller. It’s a complete coincidence that one little bird appears to be standing on a globe (spot), but I rather like it! We’re going to do another of these at some point for Froglet’s room, with trucks or planes, but I need the Engineer’s help because I’m no good at drawing vehicles!

It’s actually prettier than this in the flesh. The colours are better.

Froglet also made a little bird on a nest when we experimented with cornstarch clay a while back. He had seen it on one of the blogs I read, and wanted to do one too. I showed him on my own bit of clay how he could shape a bird’s head and nest and eggs, but he did it all himself, I’m so proud of him!

And finally, a whole load of little matching birds. I made a stencil from cardboard and then just drew out a great number of them on cardboard of various colours. Some Froglet decorated with puffy paint after we finished using it for Open Ended Art the other day. Some he marbled with shaving cream – this is a lot of fun but our shaving cream smells very strong. Basically you put the shaving cream in a tray of some sort, then drip on as much food colouring as you like, wherever you like it, and stir to get that marbled effect. Press your bird down firmly onto the shaving cream, lift off and either scrape off the excess cream straight away with a spatula or leave to dry for a few minutes then wipe off with kitchen roll. We tried both and didn’t see any difference.

Glitter-y, shaving cream-y, puffy paint-y.

The glittery set of birds was based on an idea we got from 4 Crazy Kings. I cut out the birds (the smaller birds are made from the bits cut out of the larger birds), then stuck some to some tissue paper on top of sticky-backed plastic. Others I just laid down on the white sticky-backed plastic directly. Then we filled them with glue and Froglet helped me sprinkle glitter and stars on them. The two he did by himself are the white one on the left and the small one at the top (I made the “Mummy” bird match his for that set). The ones directly on the plastic did not want to peel off without tearing the glue – we waited till they were dry of course – so I just cut off the plastic round the edges. They will be easy to stick onto something!

And that concludes this looong post. If you have a cool bird craft to share, please leave a link! 🙂


Open Ended Art

Yes it’s another blog carnival! I came across this blog when reading a post by Susana from Our Homeschool Fun:


Her carnival is about Open Ended Art, which is basically when you give your child the materials and then get completely hands-off and see what results. The more specific principles can be found here.
Last weeks topic was Puffy Paint. There is a recipe involving flour and water on the site but I’m not keen on using flour in craft materials because of maggots and stuff so I had a scout around and found a different recipe using shaving cream and glue instead. It’s 2 parts shaving cream to one part glue. Mix and add food colouring as required.

We put in the food colouring first, with the glue. Froglet chose blue and yellow and we tried not to mix it too well, but in the process of trying to get it into a squeezy bottle it all got thoroughly mixed anyway. We discovered that our squeezy bottle was bit large for this sort of thing. Next time I would just make the white mix in the big bottle and then squeeze a bit of it into several small bottles along with a colour. But we would need small bottles, which I haven’t managed to find yet.

You can see some rice got stuck to this one!

After the first couple of pictures we decided to add some more yellow colour (straight into the bottle, which Froglet then shook a bit) and some green glitter. We could have put in more really, then it would be more noticeable.

Several days later the paint is still puffy but a bit wrinkly as it has shrunk. I’m late posting, of course, so didn’t get in on the McLinky, but we enjoyed doing this and will definitely participate again! This weeks topic will be Tissue Paper.

Crafty Tuesday 1: odds and ends

In crafty Tuesday this week:

A follow-up to the flower printing of a couple of weeks ago.
Making handprints and bubble-wrap prints for the Engineers birthday.
Papier maché pen holder.

Read on if you’re interested in how any of these went!

Perhaps you remember our printing with wildflowers activity. I made a bunch of knapweed prints and then didn’t like to throw them out afterwards but didn’t know what to do with them. Well on Sunday we had church-at-home (this happens when Nutmeg doesn’t wake up at a suitable time to allow us to get to church) and were reading about the parable of the beautiful pearl. That was the inspiration for this:

Froglet glued the flower-print-pearls in such a neat row on his crown! We used school glue applied with the end of a cork.

On to our next craft: for the Engineer’s birthday, we made some very simple handprint pictures. All you need is a strip of bubble-wrap (preferably a couple of inches wide), paint and hands. Oh, and paper.
Paint the bubbly side of your bubble-wrap…

Print it along the edge of the paper… all the way around…

Then add your handprints and voilĂ , a lovely picture for Daddy!

We’ve been working on this papier mache pen-holder for several weeks now. The Engineer thought it looked like fun so he got involved in this one. We used a glass as a model, wrapped cling film over it and then started layering on the newspaper using a glue-and-water paste. No flour as I don’t want it to get maggots or anything unpleasant like that. As you can see it’s a messy business! Froglet’s fingers are a bit small for squeezing the paste out of the paper.

After the first few layers we let it dry and discovered that the glue had got inside the clingfilm and was making it all stick to the glass! A tense few moments ensued while I pried it off. Then we applied new cling film and a new, clean, glass before adding more layers. The same thing happened again, but eventually we had enough layers to remove the glass altogether. Then we trimmed the rim and did a last layer of white printer paper, folding it over the rim .o as to get a nice smooth edge. We tried using kitchen roll first but found that it was very hard to squeeze the paste out without it all falling apart, and when it dried the newsprint showed through as if it weren’t there at all.

Now it is all hard and white and makes a satisfying hollow sound when you tap it, but I’ve not been able to convince Froglet to paint it yet. That will be for next time.

Our crafts next week will be bird-themed – if you know any good ones please share!

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