Garbage Art… Exploring Mixed Media

garbage art it's all about the process
garbage art, it’s all about the process

One mans trash is a little girls treasure. One day while were shopping Sophia found some garbage on the store floor and managed to talk me into bringing it home. She convinced me that she was going to create art with it. It took a lot of convincing on her part because seriously what mom really wants their child picking up garbage that she finds and sticking it in your pocket. But I agreed and I checked the things over she wanted to grab before she grabbed things off the floor.

garbage art can be serious
garbage art can be serious

That first day she came home with a ribbon, rubber band, a piece of a fake flower and a part of a zipper.

garbage art can be messy
garbage art can be messy

She asked for glue and markers and she was off creating garbage art 🙂

garbage art can be fun
garbage art can be fun
mixed media garbage art (Ribbon, flower, rubber band and zipper)
mixed media garbage art
(Ribbon, flower, rubber band and zipper)

Since then she has been collecting all kinds of things to make pictures with: rocks, dead plants, sand, sequins, sticks, wire fencing, etc.

mixed media garbage art. (wire fence, ice cream container lid)
mixed media garbage art. (wire fence, ice cream container lid)
mixed media garbage art (stick, dried flowers)
mixed media garbage art
(stick, dried flowers)
mixed media garbage art (rope, rocks, a Christmas card)
mixed media garbage art (rope, rocks, a Christmas card)

Creating this type of art work is all about the process and I’ve been happy to have her to explore different textures and things. She even insisted on gluing sprinkles on one of her pictures she made for one of her friends at school 🙂

I just don’t know how to physically keep and store any of these creations 😉 Good thing I can take pictures and save them digitally at least.

 

Sand Art Sticker Boards

Sand art board all done
Sand art board all done

I discovered this Pocahontas sand art set the other day. I’ve never seen any sand art sticker boards before so I was a little dubious of the stickiness of the board. I’ve done color and paint by numbers before and this looked fun like them so we decided to give it a shot. This is definitely a parent-toddler-together project.

Pocahontas sand art
Pocahontas sand art

The Pocahontas set came with 4 5×7 pictures. Sophia chose the one of Meeko to do first.

pocahontas sand art

In the instructions it says you can peel one section at a time and sand it or peel all of the same number to do them all at once. We went with the later option for all except the large blue area we uncovered one side at a time. I got the bigger stickers a little pulled up and then Sophia peeled them off. The small stickers I peeled off.

Peeling off the stickers
Peeling off the stickers

First you have to match up the sand colors to the color guide with the kit. I would recommend having several edged cookie sheets to work on top of. We poured the sand we were working with in to a cup and used a small spoon to scoop and pour on to the spot we were working on.

Scooping little sand at a time
Scooping little sand at a time
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
Working on getting the sand in the sticker parts
First color done!
First color done!

TIP: While working we discovered a bit later that the easiest way is to have a piece of paper underneath your project because some sand will go over the edges of the project. It’s easier to funnel the sand off the paper into the cup vs trying to do the same with the cookie sheet.

Instructions say touching the sticky glue with your hands will make it less sticky so we tried hard not to accidentally stick our fingers in them. This is why I did the biggest part (blue) in two sections (you can see in the picture below that the left half of sky is still stickered).

On to the blue
On to the blue

TIP: It’s easier to push the sand to the edges of the picture than try to pour the sand on the edge.

Spreading the blue
Spreading the blue

It’s ok to overlap the sand colors once one color is done

Gray sand placed on
Gray sand placed on
After shaking off the excess
After shaking off the excess

This set came with small bags to put the opened sand in when you move to the next color. To pour the sand in the little bags Sophia held them open and I used a piece of paper folded twice as a funnel to guide the sand from the cup into the bag.

Meeko sand art board finished
Meeko sand art board finished

We had so much fun doing this project together! We can’t wait to find the time to do the next one. I’m very pleased as to how this turned out the board was perfectly sticky. We framed it so we can enjoy it for a long time (and since it’s behind glass I don’t have to worry about sand falling off from Sophia touching it all the time).

Color Books Recommended (baby to elementary school)

I don’t know about you guys but I’m always on the lookout for awesome books about color. I love vivid brilliant colors and beautiful pictures. You can never have too many colors books(… or books of any kind actually 😉 ).

My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+
My favorite colors books from 9 months to 8+ years

Here are my top 5 favorites I’ve found for a range of ages from baby to elementary school. I’m not an Usborne consultant (in case you wondered.) I just really love a lot of their large fantastic variety of non-fiction books (which I have had a really hard time finding for my non-fiction lover before I found Usborne) as well as their fiction ones too.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

First up is the Usborne Baby’s Very First Touchy-feely Colors Play Book. I love this one so much for many reasons.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

I love that there are a bunch of things to feel and do. There are cut outs, textures, finger trails and flaps to play with. I love the vibrant colors and illustrations on each of the pages. This book is age rated for nine months and up. This book and other play books similar to this for sale here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093.

Usborne Baby's very first touchy-feely Colors Play book
Usborne Baby’s very first touchy-feely Colors Play book

Second, is a book by DK publishing called My First Colors let’s learn them all.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

This book features bright vibrant colors and real pictures of objects. This is a fantastic vocabulary building book for toddlers.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

I love that this book goes beyond the typical colors and has silver, gold, and multi colored included.

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!

It’s a sturdy board book that will hold up well. It has tabbed corners that are great for little fingers finding their favorite pages. This book is available through Target.com as well as Amazon.com

My First Colors Let's learn them all!
My First Colors Let’s learn them all!
The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Third, is Usborne’s The Usborne Big Book of Colors. I think this is fantastic for older kids that have mastered the basic colors.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

I absolutely LOVE that this book goes into shades of colors, naming them like magenta, turquoise, lime green, saffron, etc so it has tons of fabulous new vocabulary.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

This one is recommended for age 2 and up. The pages are thinner board, so still sturdy yet slightly flexible.

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Two special features this book has are a color wheel you can spin (not super sturdy, pictured in the first picture of this book above) and an acetate page where you can see color mixing (shown below).

I love that this book shows color mixing as well as moods and meanings of colors. Plus each color page has fun facts too. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Big Book of Colors
The Usborne Big Book of Colors

Fourth up is Usborne Lift the Flap Colors.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

It is recommended for age 4 and up, however I think it would be fabulous for younger kids as well for building vocabulary, learning counting, and small motor skills with the flaps. The games and activities of this book are geared for pre-k.

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

I think this is a great early reader book. Flap books are very engaging and create a hands on learning experience which promotes decision making and critical thinking skills. This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors
Usborne Lift-the-flap Colors

Last up, is The Usborne Art Book about Color.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

This book is rated for age 8+. It begins with a history of how paint has developed.

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

It then goes on to explain how colors are used to achieve desired effects. Then finishes with how our eyes actually see color. I love all the art in this book. I only took pictures of some of the pages (it has 48). This book is available here https://t4783.myubam.com/252093

The Usborne Art Book about Color
The Usborne Art Book about Color

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

For a while I’d been wanting to make the snowflake puffy paint window clings that I’m sure a lot of you have seen. Sophia and I tried those out as instructed on wax paper. I’m not sure if the paint or the wax paper wasn’t good enough quality but they stuck to it badly. I figured we’d give the window clings another shot and try it out on a plastic Ziploc bag. I decided to change it up and we made some monsters instead. I love them and Sophia absolutely loves making them! There’s no guidelines to follow just mixing paint as we pleased. Way more room for creativity and exploration just perfect for a toddler.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

What you will need:

  • Puffy fabric paint
  • Coffee stir sticks (or some other “stick”, long tooth pick would do as well)
  • Gallon size Ziploc bag
  • Scissors
  • Wet wipes (for clean up)
  • Baking sheet
  • Googlie Eyes

Set up: I first cut the Ziploc bag completely open (on three sides) so it opens up and lines the cooking sheet.

Ready to Make Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Ready to Make Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

I had Sophia put on her painting smock because it is after all paint for fabric. I felt it to better be safe than sorry.

Pile of paint
Pile of paint

Make a pile of paint, mix and spread it out with your “stick” and place eyes on.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

As always I recommend having wet wipes nearby for when you get paint on your hands.

Making the smiley face :)
Making the smiley face 🙂

First I demonstrated one to Sophia on how to mix the paint by swirling with the mini straw. And sticking googlie eyes on after I was happy with my paints.

And off she went. Mixing paints and adding googlie eyes as the pleased 🙂

Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Making Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

The dry time is pretty long with it being on a plastic bag. It’ll dry to the touch within a few hours however under the googlie eyes it will still remain wet for a lot longer. I let them dry out three days. You can check on the back side by pushing at the paint under the eyes, if you feel paint move give them more time.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

Once you’re certain they are dry you can peel them off. Gently using your fingernail peel the edge up. Once you get the first little bit up they peel off really easily. They are ready to stick on your window.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

The rest of the pictures I took at night so you could see them better.

Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters
Puffy Paint Window Cling Monsters

This one reminds me of Anger from Inside Out movie 🙂

Easy Fast Cheap Easter Bunny Craft (sun catcher)

I found this at Hobby Lobby on sale for 40% off. I picked it up since I always have my eye out for simple fast in-expensive crafts.

Easter Craft kit
Easter Craft kit

I was a bit surprised that what I had thought was a paint brush was actually a plastic pick.

Easter Craft kit came with a pick not a brush
Easter Craft kit came with a pick not a brush
Testing out a new method of painting
Testing out a new method of painting

It’s always fun to explore new things and ways to paint.

I set up painting projects in trays to contain potential messes.

TIP: Have wet wipes handy for easy clean up

Fun painting
Fun painting

Sophia’s finished Easter Bunny.

Easter Bunny all painted
Easter Bunny all painted

Stamping fun with a toddler, making cards

Excited to stamp!
Excited to stamp!

I’ve been wanting to do a stamping project with Sophia for a while but I didn’t have many stamps and I know they can get expensive fast. However, yesterday I scored a ton of stamps off of a garage sale app for only $10 for it all.

I scored all these stamps from a garage sale app for only $10
I scored all these stamps from a garage sale app for only $10

Luckily I had bought an ink pad at my last outing to Hobby Lobby, so we got right into to stamping first thing this morning.

What you will need:

  • White card stock
  • Stamps of your liking
  • Ink pad(s)
  • Wet wipes (for easy cleaning)
What you will need
What you will need

I picked out several stamps I thought Sophia would like to stamp with. I found a pink ink pad that had come in an art kit Sophia had received as a Christmas present. The purple on is the new one I got on sale. We folded the card stock in half.

The pink ink pad is a bit dried out so it wasn't really working
The pink ink pad is a bit dried out so it wasn’t really working

TIP: Test the ink pads before hand. I should have tested pink one but we found out it was a bit dried out so it wasn’t really working well.

Testing out the purple ink
Testing out the purple ink

It took her a little bit to get the hang of the process. She wanted to just keep stamping with out grabbing more ink on it in between.

Pushing the stamp down with all her might
Pushing the stamp down with all her might

I told her to push the stamp all the way down since she was only pushing half the stamp, so then she pushed on it with all her might 🙂

Sophia got ink on her finger and she said "I'm sooo pretty" I think she likes the ink color :)
Sophia got ink on her finger and she said “I’m sooo pretty” I think she likes the ink color 🙂

TIP: Have the wet wipes with in easy reach for wiping off ink from little fingers 🙂

Making butterflies
Making butterflies

After the first card was all stamped up, Sophia wanted to make another one.

Fronts of the two cards Sophia made
Fronts of the two cards Sophia made

Finished cards 🙂

Insides of the cards
Insides of the cards

This is a great activity for exploring new vocabulary, a new multi-step process, listening skills and learning to follow instructions.

Depending on the stamps you use, these can be modified for any occasion or holiday. Very quick easy fun to make.

Glitter, Sequins, and Plaster of Paris Ornaments

finished Moomin Troll ornaments
finished Moomin Troll ornaments

Sophia adores glitter so I came up with this project for her. When we started I wasn’t sure what we would make with the end results but we ended making them in to hanging ornaments 🙂

Glitter and sequin Moomin Troll ornament
Glitter and sequin Moomin Troll ornament

What you will need:

  • Molds of your liking
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Beads or anything else small like buttons, rocks, etc
  • Water
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Tray to contain the mess
  • A cookie drying rack
  • Ziplock bag
  • Measuring cup
  • Scissors
  • Mod podge
  • Ribbon
  • Paint brush
  • Tin foil
  • Hot glue gun and stick of glue
  • (Optional scale)
Things we used in the molds  (minus the googlie eyes, she didn't want any)
Things we used in the molds (minus the googlie eyes, she didn’t want any)
Excited to glitter!
Excited to glitter!
Small beads got poured in
Small beads got poured in

After the first mold was all done to her liking we moved on to the next.

TIP: In case of glitter spills, wet wipes and also play doh are great fast ways of picking up the strays

Excited to make Moomin Trolls
Excited to make Moomin Trolls
Mixing glitter
Mixing glitter
Adding sequins after she was satisfied with all the glitter
Adding sequins after she was satisfied with all the glitter
The last of the sequins got poured in
The last of the sequins got poured in

Once she was satisfied with all the glitter and sequins in the mold. We mixed up a batch of plaster. I didn’t think we would need a full one pound (It comes in one pound bags in the box), so we mixed first a half a pound and halved the recipe on the box.

TIP: Instead of using a bucket and a stick as the instructions on the box say, use a gallon ziplock bag to mix in. Sophia demonstrates how to mix in the bag below.

Once mixed just cut a small hole in one corner of the bag and pour it on the molds. I found that we were a little shy so we made another 4 oz (with the recipe quartered for water amount).

For the molds I used up 12 oz of the 1 pound bag of plaster
For the molds I used up 12 oz of the 1 pound bag of plaster

We were left with 1/4 pound of unused plaster.

Plaster poured in
Plaster poured in
Hearts plastered
Hearts plastered
Removed the ornaments out of the molds after they had set for about an hour, so they would dry better
Removed the ornaments out of the molds after they had set for about an hour, so they would dry better

I did remove the ornaments out of the molds after they had set for about an hour, so they would dry better. In the process I did break two of the Moomin Trolls arms off. But glue them back on once they dried with mod podge.

Mod podged ornaments to seal on the glitter and sequins
Mod podged ornaments to seal on the glitter and sequins

After the ornaments were dry I took a larger paintbrush and mod podged the tops and sides of them to seal in the glitter and sequins. I set them to dry on a sheet of tinfoil.

Hot glued ribbons on the Moomin Trolls
Hot glued ribbons on the Moomin Trolls

Sophia was happy to cut up all the ribbon pieces we needed. I hot glued them on. You have to let the glue cool before touching it or they do peel off pretty easy when wet yet.

Hot glued ribbons on the hearts
Hot glued ribbons on the hearts
Finished heart ornaments
Finished heart ornaments

All done!

finished Moomin Troll ornaments
finished Moomin Troll ornaments

Perler Beads for a toddler?

Sophia and I made a perler bead fish
Sophia and I made a perler bead fish

The recommended age for perler beads are 6+ according to the packages you buy at the store. However, I feel that in a supervised setting toddlers can benefit greatly from practicing with them. It is great for fine motor, hand eye coordination, concentration, and following directions. Also, it provides for great talks about color, patterns and provides opportunities for learning new vocabulary.

Perler beads
Perler beads

We did this fish together as she wouldn’t have the patience to do one by herself.

I would recommend to do this in a tray of some sort as the beads do roll away easily. We love doing projects like these in her highchair 🙂

Pure concentration
Pure concentration

She’d knock some over and I would just comment about it being OK and I’d knock some over too. I felt that this is a good way to show her that it’s not bad and not to get frustrated when some fall over.

We just went with random colors (no set pattern)
We just went with random colors (no set pattern)

She learned a great technique of flipping the fallen ones back up on to the pegs all by herself by just experimenting. (I was working on the tail, the rest were hers.)

Almost there
Almost there
The finishing touches
The finishing touches

 

All done
All done

I didn’t let Sophia assist in the ironing process, since she had just spent a lot of time concentrating on the project. I felt that her attention span would be too short to be safe for her work with the hot iron.

All ironed
All ironed
Added a string to hang it up
Added a string to hang it up

Pot of gold St Patrick’s day project, great gluing practice

I was looking for some thing fast, easy, and fun for Sophia to do. I figured it’s about high time she experiment with gluing things by herself.

She loved her first time gluing by herself
She loved her first time gluing by herself

What you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Black cardstock
  • Green and yellow/gold construction paper
  • Something round for a template or a round paper punch
  • Stick or Elmers glue
Sketch out the pot you like
Sketch out the pot you like

Sketch out the pot you want and cut it out.

Fold up the yellow/gold paper so you cut multiple coins at the same time
Fold up the yellow/gold paper so you cut multiple coins at the same time

Cut a strip of yellow/gold paper wide enough for your circle template to fit multiple times on it. Fold it like shown above.

I used the cover off our sea salt grinder as a template for the coins
I used the cover off our sea salt grinder as a template for the coins

Place your template on top of the folded paper stack and sketch the circle with a pencil. I used the cover off of our sea salt grinder as a template for the coins

All ready to be glued
All ready to be glued

Repeat last step until you are satisfied with the amount of coins you have cut.

Gluing the pot
Gluing the pot

I gave Sophia the option between stick glue and elmers school glue and she picked the stick for this project.

Gluing her gold doubloons
Gluing her gold doubloons
She said the pot of gold is a lot like a team treasure chest
She said the pot of gold is a lot like a team treasure chest

Sophia really likes Jake and the Neverland Pirates and kept calling the coins gold doubloons. She kept saying that the pot of gold is a lot like a team treasure chest 🙂

Gluing practice
Gluing practice
Sophia's pot of gold
Sophia’s pot of gold
All done
All done

Primary color mixing experiment with coffee filter snowflakes and heart-flakes

I love the color wheel and love seeing what colors you get from mixing paints. This was the perfect project to let Sophia experience the wonder.

Finished snowflakes
Finished snowflakes

This is a project I’ve been dying to try out with the liquid watercolors… you can substitute food coloring or even cake watercolors (you would need paint brushes for this option).

What you will need:

  • Liquid watercolors/food coloring
  • Cups for your watercolors
  • Pipettes
  • Coffee filters
  • Scissors
  • Wet wipes (for clean up)
  • Baking sheet
  • Tinfoil
  • Oven (not necessary)
Heart-flakes and snowflakes cut out
Heart-flakes and snowflakes cut out

Flatten, fold and cut out your snowflakes to your liking from the coffee filters.

I cut out 3 filters on top of each other in the heart shape and 4 together on the snow flake. For painting them I placed them on the baking pan 2 on top of each other (I didn’t think Sophia would have the patience to repeat the process 7 times and 4 seemed just right). One of the heart ones was on the pan singly (for the math minded 😉 )

Ready to experiment with primary colors
Ready to experiment with primary colors

I diluted the liquid watercolors quite a bit. I put about a 1/4 inch of water on the bottom of the cups and then added the paint to my liking.

Below is a time lapse video of Sophia having fun squirting and mixing the paints together.

So much fun mixing colors
So much fun mixing colors

All done with the first set.

Snowflakes ready to dry
Snowflakes ready to dry

The second set got more brown as she liked putting all the paint in one spot.

Heart-flakes ready to dry
Heart-flakes ready to dry
Drying in the oven with the light on for heat
Drying in the oven with the light on for heat

I placed them in the oven to dry, with just the oven light turned on for a small source of heat. I wanted the end results to be as vibrant in color as possible, so I wanted all the paint to dry on to the coffee filters. It took about 5 hours for the hearts to fully dry.

TIP: You can remove the snowflakes off the cookie sheets and set to dry on a dry surface. Note that the colors will not be as bright if you do this though.

The colors dry a lot lighter
The colors dry a lot lighter

It’s crazy how much less vibrant the colors are after they dry.

TIP: If you want to get some of the wrinkles out, place them in side a book. Each snowflake on their own separate page and then place a weight (or more books on top). Let sit over night.

Love how these snowflakes turned out
Love how these snowflakes turned out

Once dry they are ready to tape to your windows.

My favorite one
My favorite one
Snowflake and heart-flake in the window
Snowflake and heart-flake in the window