Wednesday, April 27, 2011

* Experimenting With Texture: Homemade Paint Brushes and Texture Tools!

I've noticed sets of nifty textured paint brushes at the craft store. 
I've never bought a set because I'm too cheap
and I was worried their novelty would be over as soon
as we used them one time. 

So, we did what any crafty and frugal family would do....
we made our own!

We made a homemade set of "texture" paint brushes
(and scrapers)
out of re-cycled/re-purposed materials. 

Here are some photos of ours to get your creative brain juices flowing!

We gathered our materials:

Pipe Cleaners 
(chenille stems, as Martha would say)
Rubber Bands
Craft Foam
Wooden Clothespins
Old Toothbrushes
Wooden Handles 
(I saved from those little disposable foam craft brushes!) 
Cardboard Scraps

Then, we got to work cutting-up and rubber-banding different 
various materials to the wooden handles to make "brushes".

By cutting different designs in pieces cardboard
we could make different designs
when we scraped and dragged it through our paint. 

When they get soggy and floppy, just toss them in the recycling!

(Psst.... Plastic hair combs are fun to do this with too!)

I set out blank sheets of office copy paper
and some bowls of washable craft paint
and asked "C" to show me how we should use these new tools.

Here's "C" making textures on her paper.

We used Clothespins for a few handles too!

It was fun to cut loose for an hour yesterday 
and experiment with the different tools. 

Think we might just do it again this afternoon!

We ended up with all kinds of pretty and funky papers.

(I see Eric Carle-inspired collage-making in our future!) 

Wine corks make good circle stamps 
(think: homemade dot-a-dot markers!)

Fingers make pretty neat "texture tools" too! 

Happy Texture Making!

pink and green mama

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

* Easy Way To Dye Easter Eggs With Kids That Is Mostly Mess Free!

We recently celebrated my adorable niece's 2nd birthday
with a Cousins-Only Spring Birthday Party.

One of our craftivities was easy egg-dyeing!
"C"s preschool teacher let me know about this little gem
and I WISH I had known about it years ago!

The directions for easy tie-dye eggs come from Family Fun Magazine
Start with hard boiled eggs.

Aunt "D" and I hard-boiled a dozen eggs each
the night before so we would have plenty of blank canvases!

Then, set each child up with a colander over a sink
or, in our case, a shallow pan/dish.

Place one hard-boiled egg in the colander
and splash with some white vinegar.

Add a drop of food coloring.
Then, add another drop from one other color,
and gently swirl the egg around in the colander to distribute the colors. 

Yellow seems to make the best follow up color 
for most eggs if you don't want them to get muddy.

We did have success with a few eggs with drops of red, yellow, and blue 
spread out to make rainbows!

Swirly Girls.

Let the colors sit for a minute to dry,
then rinse the egg in your colander under cool water in the sink. 

Big cousin showing little cousin how it's done...

Repeat for your next egg....
how easy is that?!

They'll tie-dye and come out beautifully 
and no two eggs will be alike!

My sweet hubby helping the girls. 

Wishing you and your family an
Egg-stra fun and Easy Easter!

pink and green mama

 Happy Birthday Kiddo!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

* Kid's Spring Craft: Decoupage Easter Eggs With Paper Napkins

We picked up a package of brown paper eggs
at our local craft store for a dollar. 

I thought they would be pretty with some 
decoupaged napkins from our decorative napkin stash!

Oh, you mean you don't collect pretty paper napkins and tissue paper
whenever you're at a party? Ummm...I might have a paper obsession!

Shhh...I have a drawer in my art studio filled with these. 

We mixed up some water and white Elmer's School Glue
then painted each egg with a generous layer of glue water
(you could also use Mod Podge)

Add torn (or cut) bits of paper napkin or tissue paper.
Paint another layer of glue mixture on top (gently!) to seal it. 

Keep adding bits and pieces until your egg is all covered.

Note: Secret trick for working with decorative paper napkins =
They always have three layers of paper -- 
you need to peel off the two white layers and just 
work with the top printed layer - it will be very thin and delicate.
This is what I use in my own mixed-media work with Mod Podge. 

If we had painted the brown eggs white, 
the napkin colors and patterns would have been brighter 
but I liked the muted colors. 

"C" even made one with "stripes" by adding the tissue layers in strips. 

Fancy eggs for our easter basket. 

Happy Spring Crafting!

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Sunday, April 17, 2011

* Spring Nature Craft: Pine Cone Eggs

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I have to give credit where credit is due...
My 4 year old "C" came up with this project in, wait for it.... January. 

While we were standing in 6 inches of snow at the bus stop.
Our neighbor's tree had just fallen down in the storm
and there were pine cones and branches everywhere.

"C" picked one up and asked if we could take some home to paint as "Easter Eggs"
So that's exactly what we did.
Except, I've been saving the pine cones in my garage for 3 months.

I set up "C" with a paper plate and some washable acrylic craft paint
She chose pink, green, blue, and purple as our "Easter colors."
Get ready for painted fingers!

Pretty Painted Easter "Eggs" 

Happy Spring Crafting!

Our kids have a lot of great ideas, 
if we just listen to what they have to say.

pink and green mama, MaryLea

Thursday, April 14, 2011

* My 2011 Peep Diorama: "Vincent Van Peep's Starry Night"

So, I couldn't help myself and I made a Peep Diorama 
Guess what? 
I'm a Semifinalist!
Here's a link if you want to see all of the other awesome entries,
my favorites are the Split Peep Soup and The Very Hungry Caterpillar!
This year I was inspired by a great marshmallow master, 

2011 "Vincent Van Peep's Starry Night" 

Some of you may recall my past dioramas...

Washington Post Finalist

Washington Post Semifinalist. 

Here's my little behind the scenes tour for you:

I started by gluing peeps to the inside of a copy paper box lid. 
You'd be surprised how heavy they are!

The art studio smelled awesome while I was working!

Then I let them "cure" and get stale. 
Hit them with a layer of gray spray paint as primer,
then spent FOREVER painting them with acrylic paint. 

Added my own little Vincent Van Peep,
check out his bloody bandage (real gauze).

The frame is also made out of peeps, spray painted gold. 
There's still a gold square on our front yard grass!

Think we'll have to toast some hot chocolate with Peeps
or make some Peep S'Mores to celebrate!

Why don't you make one with your kids?
Happy Peep Diorama Making!

pink and green mama

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

* Spring Nature Craft: Tiny Acorn Cap Bird Nests!

This little gem of a craft was too cute and too easy to pass by. 

I first saw it here at Our Day Our Journey Blog 
then I saw it on another preschool blog (can't find the link -- I'm sorry!)
and knew I had to do this one with the girls. 

A few days ago, one quiet afternoon while big sister was still at school,
"C" and I started making these tiny little bird nests.

We have a huge basket full of acorn caps in our art studio.
The girls and I are part squirrel -- we can't help ourselves and collect them every fall!

(Here's a quarter so you can see how small they are!)

You never know when you'll need an acorn cap for a
nature project, wooden peg fairy hat, or tiny bird nest craft!

We collected a few small pebbles from our backyard and painted them robin's egg blue 
with some washable acrylic craft paint. 

Then, we put a blob of clear Elmer's glue 
inside an acorn cap, added a small sprinkling
of dried moss, then another blob of clear glue
and the painted stones (tiny eggs!)

So sweet for a nature table, easter egg tree, or tiny fairy land. 

If you are wondering if this craft would be too tricky
for your own kiddos, I assure you it's super easy!

I got a phone call as soon as we glued the first nest together,
while I was talking to my friend, 
"C" hopped out of her chair, 
grabbed a handful of acorn caps from the basket, 
and got to work painting stones, 
and gluing the nests together on her own!

(That's my little independent crafty 4 year old.)

She decided each nest should only have one egg
that's why we have so many made that way
("C" made all of those by herself!) 
I made the three egg nests with her. 

These would be an adorable Earth Day Spring Craft!

Happy Nature Crafting. 

pink and green mama

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