Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Shrinky Dink Pets!

Create your own magnet or key-chain of your furry friend on shrink film! Use a photo of your pet to trace an outline on shrink film, color you pet in, and then place your shrink film in an oven to shrink! Turn these mini pet masterpieces into a key chain or magnet! Learn more about Shrink film here!

What you’ll need:

  • A sheet of sanded shrink film (Learn how to make your own here)
  • Magnets and/or Key-chain pieces
  • Colored pencils
  • A fine point permanent marker 
  • A photo of your pet approx. 3.5”x5” or 4”x6” 
  • Scissors 
  • Hole punch & Pliers if making a key-chain
  • Oven or Craft Oven

Step one: Print a picture of your pet – a head shot will work best, with clear details & good lighting. If you don’t have a pet or picture of your pet you can use a picture from a book or magazine! The photo should be at least 3.5”x5” or similar – I wouldn’t go much smaller as it will make details more difficult!  

Step two: Place your shrink film over your pet’s photo with the rough/sanded side facing up. We will want to color on the sanded side! 

Step three: With your permanent marker trace your pet; Tracing from a photo can be tricky – we want to include some details but not EVERYTHING, especially with shrink film as our artwork will become very small and details become more condensed. Focus on outlining the main features of your pet (like the eyes, nose, coloration spots) and the main outline.  

Step four: Slide your outline off you photo to see what it looks like without your photo! Sometimes this helps us see what more we need to add! If needed, finish up any lines or details with the marker. You can also use the marker to color in any black areas (such as the pupils). *Tip: When making eyes be sure to leave a little white dot to help make them look more alive!  

Step five: Color your pet in! Use the colored pencils to add color to your pet – you can make your drawing any color you’d like or similar to your pet’s real colors! The colored pencils will look very light on the shrink film – this is okay, when we “shrink” your film the colors will become more vivid and bright!  

Step six: Be sure to color any white areas of your pet in with the white colored pencil – it’s hard to see on the shrink film before it’s shrunk but if we don’t add the white colored pencil these areas will look grey! You can also layer and blend your colored pencils to create different shades and shadows!  

Step seven: Once you have your pet colored in you can add a background or outline! 

Step eight: Cut out your pet – I like to leave a little border space around my drawing but you don’t have to do this. If you’re going to make your piece into a key-chain, make sure to leave an area where you can punch a hole!  

Step nine: If you’re making this into a key-chain or anything else that you need a hole for, use a hole punch to create your hole before baking!

Step ten:  Bake your shrink film! Place your shrink film in an oven @ 325* F for just a few minutes – You can bake it on a piece of parchment paper or tin foil on a baking sheet. You’ll notice your shrink film crinkles up and then will flatten back out as a much smaller and thicker piece of plastic. Once flat remove your shrink film & let cool. 

Step eleven: Finish your shrink film! Add your key-chain piece by connecting the jump ring to your shrink film and key-chain part with pliers. Or adhere magnets to the back of your piece to create a magnet! These could also be made into zipper pulls, ornaments, hair clips, pins, necklaces, earrings, etc.! Check out other ideas for shrink film projects here!

Art activities, Greetings!, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!, student artwork

What’s up in the art room? (May 2021)

Check out some of our current projects happening in the art room and how they’re made!

Having some fun at Roaring Point Campground the past month with kids crafts! We’ve created Thaumatropes, Embossed metal designs, String art, & origami hopping frogs!

Monthly classes have been working on ceramic pieces using hand-building techniques. They’ve created unique fun pencil holders and personal creations! We were also inspired by Alberto Giacometti: Students were asked to create a tall, lean figure depicting and action or movement with wire & tin foil armatures covered with paper mache!

Students finished up and created many different things this past month…..

Paper Mache & Paper Clay Sculptures! Students created an armature out of paper, cardboard, wire or tin foil, and used either traditional paper mache or are working with paper clay, to create 3-D sculptures! These are then finished with acrylic paints and extra details such as feathers, eyes, and more!

Charcoal water drops: Students created a watercolor wash and formed waterdrops with charcoal! Special attention was taken in creating shadows and highlights to give a 3-D appearance.

Watercolor & Pen: Using pen to give texture and shading to their drawings, students then used watercolor to add color!

Mixed Media & Collage: Using several different mediums and techniques in these pieces to create some fun, one of a kind, pieces of art! Expressing personal style and technique! 

Painted botanicals on wood with acrylics – creating designs and patterns with shapes, colors & textures in a botanical theme!

Polymer clay faux taxidermy! Using polymer clay, students created miniature sculpted taxidermy pieces and turned them into magnets!

Students have been busy the past month working on creating collages inspired by children’s author and illustrator, Eric Carle. We have finally finished them all up and they are awesome! Students chose an animal as their collage subject, then drew the animal out. Using crayons, watered down acrylic paints, and stamps, they painted sheets of rice paper – incorporating several colors, textures and methods into each piece. Students then use their drawn animal as a template for cutting out their colorful papers and apply their cut-outs to their final paper. Finally students incorporate smaller details and design elements to their collage with crayons and/or pens.

Check out these projects you can do at home! And if you’re interested in upcoming classes check out the new session and summer art here!

Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Sand Clay!

Create some cool sand clay sculptures and pieces of art with this simple recipe! This clay recipe dries hard as a rock when left exposed to air or can be wrapped in plastic to save for another time! Finished sculptures can be dried out and displayed as is, or painted with acrylics! Gather shells, rocks, sea glass to press or encase in your clay. Make ornaments, wall hangings, or fossils!

What you need:

  • 2 cups of sand (I used play sand but any sand will work!)
  • 1.5 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • Warm water (approx. 1-1.5 cups)
  • Mixing bowl & wooden spoon

Step one: Gather all your supplies!

Step two: Measure the flour, salt & sand in a mixing bowl.

Step three: Mix your flour, salt & sand together!

Step four: Add a little bit of warm water to your bowl at a time (around 1/2 cup at a time) and mix, then add a little more water & mix. Depending on if your sand was super dry or a little damp you may need more or less water – we want your clay to hold it’s shape, not be too crumbly, and we also don’t want it to be too wet and soggy. You may find it’s also easier as you get started to mix with your hands instead of a spoon! If you add too much water you can always add in a little more sand, flour, & salt, to firm it back up. Once completely mixed, the sand clay should not be too sticky and hold its shape!

Step five: Create with your sand clay! Make sculptures, faux fossils, hand print impression plaques, or draw a picture in the sand! Some examples of what I’ve done with the sand clay are below – get creative! Let you creations fully dry – this can take several hours to several days, depending on how thick & wet your clay is. Place it in the sun or use a fan to help speed up dry time! Once dry, clay becomes very hard and can be painted (I’ve used acrylics)!

Check out other projects you can do at home here!

Art activities, Greetings!, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!, student artwork

What’s up in the art room? (April 2021)

Check out some of our current projects happening in the art room and how they’re made!

This past month I’ve been able to hold some classes back at other locations! It’s been fun to get to have some in person classes going again!

Monthly classes have been working on ceramic pieces using hand-building techniques. They’ve created unique fun pencil holders and personal creations! In the monthly paint, draw, sculpt classes, students have also created distressed wooden signs! Join us next month for a new session of monthly ceramics and paint, draw, sculpt classes – check out the classes page!

Students finished up and created many different things this past month – two point perspective, pastels drawing, acrylic painting landscapes, artistic playing cards & polymer clay creations!

Students have been busy the past few weeks working on creating collages inspired by children’s author and illustrator, Eric Carle. Students chose an animal as their collage subject, then drew the animal out. Using crayons, watered down acrylic paints, and stamps, they painted sheets of rice paper – incorporating several colors, textures and methods into each piece. Students then use their drawn animal as a template for cutting out their colorful papers and apply their cut-outs to their final paper. Finally students incorporate smaller details and design elements to their collage with crayons and/or pens. Can’t wait until they are all done – these have been looking awesome!

Check out these projects you can do at home!

Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Polymer Clay Mushroom Bookmarks!

Create a fun little bookmark out of polymer clay!

What you need:

  • Polymer Clay – I used white, however, any lighter color will work with the coloring techniques we will utilize. You’ll need approx. half an ounce of clay to make one mushroom (depending on how small or large you make it!), most blocks of polymer come in one ounce blocks.
  • Chalk Pastels – in the colors you would like to add to your mushroom
  • Jumbo paper clip
  • Paintbrush
  • Scrap paper
  • Tin foil
  • Wire – 18 gauge or similar
  • Pliers for cutting & twisting the wire
  • Toothpick

Step one: Gather all your supplies and knead your polymer clay so it’s soft! Cut a piece of wire approx. 2-3″ long.

Step two: Wrap your piece of wire around the end of your paper clip – make sure it’s the end of the paper clip shown in the photo (as the other end will become the part of your bookmark)! Twist your wire tightly around the paper clip, like in a twist tie fashion, this is easiest with a pair of pliers.

Step three: Divide your one ounce piece of clay into 4 pieces (or if you have 1/2 an ounce divide it into 2 pieces). Use one of your 4 pieces to form the stalk of your mushroom, pushing the wire and top part of the paper clip into your clay (if needed, you can trim your wire down so it’s not taller than the stalk!). Secure your stalk to the paper clip by making sure the clay is tight around the paperclip where it was pushed in – I used my toothpick to help with this!

Step four: Use another one of your 3 remaining pieces of clay to form the cap of your mushroom (or if starting with 1/2 an ounce, your remaining piece). Roll it into a ball and slightly flatten it – we don’t want it too thin, it should still hold it’s shape and not be floppy when picked up, not much thinner than a 1/4″.

Step five: Use the back of your paint brush, or eraser end of a pencil, to make an indent in the center of your flatten ball – this will become the underside of your mushroom cap.

Step six: With the toothpick, score the clay from the center indent made in the last step, to the outside edge, in a radial fashion.

Step seven: Now you have your cap and stalk!

Step eight: Attach the cap to your stalk with the toothpick – placing your stalk in the indent created by your pencil end or paintbrush. Blend in the stalk clay and cap clay to help secure the two pieces together. You may need to touch up your cap texture after this step! Flip your mushroom right side up and make any needed adjustments to the cap shape!

Step nine: Scribble your pastels on a scrap piece of paper to create pastel dust!

Step ten: Use your paint brush to pick up some of the pastel dust and gently brush it on to the top of your mushroom cap!

Step eleven: I brushed a layer of my lighter color pastel over the entire cap and a layer of my darker color around the edges of my cap! Once your have your cap colored to your liking, bake your mushroom at 275*F for approx. 10-15 min. (check the package directions on the clay you have compared to your mushroom thickness). I use a piece of tin foil crunched up to make a cradle for my mushroom cap as it bakes so the cam doesn’t get flattened. Let your mushroom cool and enjoy your one of a kind bookmark! Use your leftover clay to create another!

Variations: Instead of making this a bookmark, use the same steps above only use a jumbo toothpick instead of a paper clip, making your mushroom great for fairy gardens, table top gardens, or decorations for flower pots! If your paper clip is large enough to support the weight of your mushroom, you could definitely use it in a fairy garden, etc. too! Try making more than one mushroom on the same paperclip – just add more than one piece of wire to your paper clip! Use extra clay to give your mushroom dimensional spots on it’s cap before baking!

Let me know if you’ve given this project a try and check out other projects here!

Art, Art activities, card making, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!, Painting, paper art

Suminagashi

Suminagashi is one of the oldest practices of marbleizing paper! This Japanese art form can be dated back to the 12th century and it’s name, “suminagashi”, means floating ink! Floating ink is exactly what we’ll be doing to create these fun pieces of paper!

What you’ll need:

  • Plain copy paper – Just regular printer paper I found worked best!
  • A large pan of water – I used cold water in a 9″x13″ glass baking dish
  • Sumi brushes or large soft round brushes
  • Sumi ink or Higgins ink – I suggest black when first getting started for the best contrast!
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Optional: Pieces of cardstock & Mod Podge to turn your suminagashi papers into cards, tags and more!

Step one: Gather all your supplies. Fill your vat with approx. 1-2″ of water. In a small clean cup or dish, mix together a little dish soap and water (a drop of soap in 1/2 cup of water should do).

Step two: Dip one of your sumi brushes into your ink (try to just get ink on the brush bristles & avoid getting ink on the handle) and gently touch the surface of your water in your vat with the ink. You should be able to see the ink spread on the water’s surface! If it sinks to the bottom, try again, being careful not to break the waters surface with your brush. This also works best if your water is still – watch out for a lot of movement of a wobbly surface or a fan!

Step three: Grab another brush and dip this one into your soap mixture. Gently touch the surface of your water again, this time with the soapy mixture, placing your brush in the center of the ink bloom you made in the previous step! (Note: it can be hard to see the ink at first on the water’s surface, this is why I used blue ink, but don’t worry – your ink is still there!).

Step four: Continue going back and forth between your ink brush and your soapy mixture brush, repeating steps two & three, placing each alternating medium in the center of the last bloom you created. As you add more and more, it will continue to spread and fill your vat! If you’re having trouble getting your ink to float, sometimes this can mean we have too much soap in our water – try starting over with clean water and less soap in your soapy mixture!

Step five: If you have multiple colors of ink you can create your designs in the same steps above – just add in another brush with your additional color! This photo also shows a spot of ink that sank to the bottom of my vat – that blue spot we see on the left….any ink that ends up sinking, will not show on your paper, on the floating ink will become apart of your pattern!

Step six: You can also create multiple spots/centers on your surface by creating the pattern with your ink & soap mixture in various places – in this picture you can see four areas where I repeated the ink & soap mix pattern. You can also gently blow on the water’s surface to “move” your ink around on the surface. Even a little air movement will naturally do this to your ink on the surface, as well as the movement to the surface you’ll create when adding your ink and soap mixture! Be prepared to have your ink move around on the water surface slightly!

Step seven: Once you have your ink design on the surface of your water, gently place a piece of your paper on top – I find the best way to do this is to roll the paper slightly, having the center hit the water first and then carefully let the paper unroll onto the water.

Step eight: Let your paper sit in your water until the ink shows through slightly (like in the photo here or in step seven), this will only take around 30 seconds.

Step nine: Carefully lift your paper out of the water – the paper will be fragile as it’s wet, try to support it with your whole hand.

Step ten: Lay your wet paper on a flat protected work surface to dry. You may find that once dry, your paper is wrinkly – you can remedy this by placing a heavy stack of books on your paper for 24hrs (just make sure your paper is completely dry first!) or by ironing your paper flat – use a piece of parchment paper under and on top of your paper to protect from the iron.

Turn your papers into cards, gift tags, collages, bookmarks, stationary, origami, or for scrap booking projects!

Check out this method for other marbleized papers and this one to marbleize eggs! Be sure to let me know if you’ve given this a try!

Art activities, Greetings!, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!, student artwork

What’s up in the art room? (March 2021)

Check out some of our current projects happening in the art room and how they’re made!

This month I was able to hold classes at Westside Community Center in Bivalve MD! We enjoyed painting wine glasses and weaving baskets (and will enjoy painting next weekend!). It was great to be able to have classes at another location again and we have some new classes scheduled for April – check them out here!

Monthly classes have been working on ceramic pieces using hand-building techniques. They’ve created unique tea pots and are now working on fun pencil holders! In the monthly paint, draw, sculpt classes, students are working on sculptures inspired by artist Alberto Giacometti. They were asked to create a tall, lean figure depicting and action or movement with wire & tin foil armatures covered with paper mache!

Students worked to create their own playing cards the past month as well – designing an image that was of personal interest to them! It was also fun to learn about the history of playing cards and the artwork they include!

This month we also will be holding Creative Science “Inking it up” and have created future creative science lessons; Creative Science is a partner program between Brad Hartle, 4-H STEM educator with UMES and myself. We’ve worked together to create fun & engaging lessons that involve art and science for youth! Our Paint by Science lessons are intended to educate youth on specific subjects while painting these subjects along on canvas, helping to immerse the student on the topic! Our Art Exploration lessons, designed to engage youth in hands on activities in both art and science, with experiments, arts & crafts, and combined projects! All of our new lessons are intended for youth 8+ and each lesson comes with a supply kit that ships to you! Classes are held via zoom, registration closes one week prior to the start date of the class! Please contact me if you have any questions or interested in joining us! Check out the link below to see all of our upcoming lessons!

Check out upcoming Creative science programs here! Use the coupon code “EARLYBIRD” to receive 10% off through March 25th!

Additionally we’ve worked on various art projects this month, including landscapes that incorporate, background, middle-ground & foreground, light & shadow and charcoal water droplets! Tux also enjoys helping everyone out with their art projects!

Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Wire Wrapped Sea Glass Pendants

Take your found beach glass treasures and turn them into a wearable piece of art! Great as a gift or to wear yourself. The instructions below are for making a necklace, however, you can turn your finished wire wrapped pieces into key chains, zipper pulls, pull chain pendants (for ceiling fans, etc.), ornaments, or gift toppers.

What you need:

  • Sea Glass (Either found pieces or you can purchase some from craft stores)
  • 14 Gauge aluminum wire (I use aluminum sculpture wire as it’s very easy to shape but also holds and is non staining)
  • Pliers – I prefer to have a pair of round tip pliers, needle nose pliers as well as wire cutters. See an example of the pliers I use here. The project can be completed with just a pair of needle nose pliers (and wire cutter), however, you will need one of the items below to take the place of the round pliers;
    • Wooden or metal skewer, thin diameter knitting needle, or jewelry mandrel.
  • Cord, leather, or chain for your necklace – I used 3/16″ leather lace, 16″ long.
  • Jewelry findings – For a cord necklace you will need: A clasp, two jump rings, & two fold over end caps. If you’re going with chain skip the end caps!

GETTING STARTED:

Step one: Cut a length of wire – I start with between 10″ & 16″, depending on the size of my sea glass. It’s better to have a piece that’s too large and we can trim down later.

Step two: Using your round pliers, “pinch” the wire at it’s center (or close to the center!) – see the next step if you don’t have round pliers.

Step three: Bend the wire around the round pliers, crossing the wire over one another, creating a loop. If you don’t have round pliers bend the wire around a skewer or mandrel for the same result!

Step four: Twist your wire two or three times, tight against your pliers or skewer/mandrel, just like a twist tie! You can use your needle nose pliers to twist instead of your fingers!

Step five: Remove your wire from your round pliers (or skewer/mandrel). This loop will become the top of your pendant.

Step six: Now we will create coils at each end of the wire we just created the loop on. Pinch and twist the end of the wire with your round pliers (or needle nose pliers).

Step seven: continue to twist and coil your wire around until you create a loop.

Step eight: Switch to your needle nose pliers or fingers and continue to coil the wire around the center loop. We want your coil to be flat – not like a spring.

Step nine: Coil your wire around 3-5 times. It’s okay if you coil too much – we can always uncoil later if you need more wire to wrap with!

Step ten: Repeat with the other end of your wire!

WRAPPING THE SEA GLASS: