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, 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:

Step one: Place the piece of sea glass you would like to wrap between your wire.

Step two: Tightly bend and wrap your wire around your glass – try to wrap around all sides/edges of the glass. It’s okay to overlap and cross your wire. If you feel you need more wire to wrap, try to uncoil a little from your ends to give you more slack.

Step three: Press your coils down on your glass – I have a coil on each side of this pendant but it’s okay if they both are on one side as well! Make sure your glass is secure and won’t fall out! If it does simply undo & repeat the last step until you have it wrapped tightly!

ADDING A CORD:

Step one: Cut your cord to the desired length – mine’s approx. 16″. Place through your loop.

Step two: Fasten the end caps on your cord – place the cord inside the cap…

pinch one side of the cap down, sandwiching your cord between the metal. Pinch down the other side. Squeeze tight to secure your cord in the metal!

Step three: Repeat with the other end of your cord.

Step four: Use a jump ring to attach your clasp to one side of your end cap.

Step five: Place a jump ring on the other end cap for your clasp to connect to!

Step six: Wear your wire wrapped pendant!

This project is a lot of fun and a great way to make some handmade gifts! Try using different types & gauges of wire, wrapping with more than one piece of wire, creating more coils, etc. for more variety! You can also wrap stones, pebbles, and marbles for a different look!

Take a look at some upcoming classes and find more projects to do at home here!

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

DIY Bird Feeder!

Make a little bird feeder for your yard! Paint, decorate, and design your own to give as a gift or keep for yourself! This cute little platform feeder is a simple and fun project!

What you need:

  • Wooden craft picture frame – mine is approx. 8″x6″ with a 4″x6″ opening
  • Acrylic craft paints in desired colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Sharpie
  • Krylon clear gloss outdoor spray sealer
  • Flat thumb tacks – Use stainless steel ones for longer lasting outdoor results
  • Plastic mesh cut to the opening size of your frame (I used needle point plastic but you could also use aluminum gutter shield, or plastic food mesh – if you have some with small enough gaps to hold birdseed!
  • Twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors – I used approx. 6′ of jute, cut into two, 3′ pieces
  • Hammer

PAINTING YOUR FRAME:

Step one: Paint both sides and all edges of your frame one color.

Step two: Let your first layer of paint dry (use a hairdryer to speed up the dry time) and apply a second layer of paint if needed!

Step three: Add some designs and patterns with your other colors – I did dots and stripes! Let your paint dry completely before moving on!

Step four: Apply the outdoor sealer – do this outside on a protected work surface. Apply the sealer to both sides and edges of your frame – letting it dry completely before flipping your frame.

Step five: Once your sealer is completely dry use a sharpie to outline and add details to your painted design. I decided to cover most of my painted area with additional doodles!

ASSEMBLING YOUR FEEDER:

Step one: If using jute, twine, or rope, line up your two 3′ pieces and fold in half, creating a loop as shown in the first photo. Make sure the ends of your rope are even. Gathering all four strands of rope, tie a knot towards the top – leaving a loop, shown in the second picture.

Step two: Attach your rope and mesh to the frame with a thumb tack. Sandwich the ends of your rope between the mesh and the frame. Use a hammer to make sure your tack is firmly pressed into your wooden frame.

Step three: Continue to add all 4 pieces of your rope to the frame in the same manor! Make sure the knot and strands of rope are not twisted or tangled before attaching!

Step four: Add extra thumb tacks to your mesh to keep it securely in place!

Step five: Hang and fill your platform bird feeder!

Where to hang your feeder: Depending on where you place your feeder will determine what types of birds you attract (along with feeder type & seed). Attract the most birds by offering a range of feeders & food placed in various locations! Most feeders do best in a quiet, semi-sheltered area, or near shrubs & trees so birds can rest and hide from predators. Make sure you also have a good viewing point of your feeder from inside! Placing your platform feeder closer to the ground will attract ground-feeding birds such as, Juncos, doves, sparrows, & blackbirds. Placing your feeder up higher will attract birds such as, sparrows, finches, & titmice!  

What to put in your feeder: Different foods can attract different birds to your feeder – some types of birds are picky and only eat certain things while others will eat most anything you put out! I like to use black oil sunflower seeds or a seed mix. You can also try foods such as, peanuts (raw kernels only) and other nuts as well as coconuts (fresh, cut open), stale breads, cakes, & cookies (no chocolate). Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, & bananas. With foods that you put out, make sure to keep your feeder clean- and pick-up uneaten foods that could attract rodents, insects and other pests as well as create mold & bacteria growth.  

Feeder care: Feeders can become messy quick! Platform feeders can hold trampled food and droppings, and should be regularly cleaned out. A little soapy water and rinse should be sufficient. Re-coat your feeder with a clear coat each season to help keep it in shape (clean and dry your frame before re-coating).  

Making more feeders: If you had fun with this project, and want to make more, here are some various ideas for supplies! 

  • The frame in this kit is a small wooden craft frame, you could also re-purpose old picture frames in the same manor! Outdoor spray paint is a quick and easy way to cover old frames! 
  • I used needle point plastic in this kit for the mesh to hold seed, you could also use aluminum gutter shield, plastic food mesh, or window screen material. Just be sure your mesh material has small enough gaps to hold seed!  
  • The included hanging material is jute – eventually this will get weathered down, as an alternative, you could use twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors.  
  • The included thumb tacks are stainless steel – this helps with the longevity of them being out in the weather! Depending on the frame being used, nails, screws, & staples could be utilized instead of tacks!  

BONUS PROJECT: Make a winter treat for your birds! What you’ll need: Pinecones, String or Wire, Peanutbutter (or Crisco), & Birdseed. Gather your pinecones and tie a string or piece of wire tightly to the top of your pinecone! Next completely cover your pinecone with peanutbutter or crisco – pushing it into all the gaps & spaces on your pinecone. (Note* if your pinecones are not open, let them set inside for a day or so or place them in your oven on 200*F for 20 min or so to speed up the process). Roll your covered pinecone in birdseed and hang up!  

Like this project? It was from one of our Creative Science lessons – a partner program between Brad Hartle, 4-H STEM educator with UMES and myself! We work together to create fun & engaging lessons that involve art and science for youth! Check out other projects to do at home and upcoming creative science lessons here!

Creative Science: Feed the Birds
Art activities, Craft, decorating, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!, paper art

Marbleized Paper Valentine Hearts!

Marbleized paper is a lot of fun to make and you can use the papers for a variety of projects! This is a simple and easy method for creating marbleized paper with fun results every time! Turn your marbleized papers into greeting cards, bookmarks, elements in collage work, book covers, etc. or use this same method to create your marbleized effect on things like envelopes, eggs (for Easter decorations) blank sticker/label papers, etc.! Since it’s almost Valentine’s day, I thought a heart garland would be fun but you can use any shape with the same method!

What you need for Marbleized paper:

  • Shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • Card stock
  • Wooden skewer or toothpick
  • 9″x13″ baking dish or aluminum foil pan (or something similar to be used as a vat)
  • Squeegee, ruler, or piece of cardboard (around 4″x6″)

What you need to make a heart garland:

  • Your Marbled paper!
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Hole punch
  • Heart stencil or cookie cutters to trace (or heart punches)
  • String – I Used embroidery thread but you could also use twine, cotton, yarn, or smaller thread for mini garlands!

CREATING MARBLEIZED PAPER:

Step one: Fill the bottom of your vat with shaving cream!

Step two: Use your ruler, squeegee, or cardboard to smooth out your shaving cream (this doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth!).

Step three: Add drops of food coloring to your shaving cream – I just started off with a few drops of one color, we can add more colors later!

Step four: Swirl your food coloring around with your skewer or toothpick to create a marbleized effect!

Step five: Continue to move your color around by dragging your toothpick or skewer through the shaving cream and color! Be careful not to mix too much – we want to see the swirls!

Step six: Once you’re happy with your marbled look, carefully place your paper on top of your shaving cream! I find the best method is to gently roll your paper and place the middle of your paper on the shaving cream first, then letting the sides unroll into the shavings cream. This way helps reduce any air bubbles that get trapped between your paper and the shaving cream! Gently press your paper into the shaving cream!

Step seven: Pull your paper out of the shaving cream!

Step eight: Lay your paper on a flat surface, shaving cream side up!

Step nine: Use your squeegee, ruler, or cardboard, to remove the shaving cream from your paper – try to do this in one swoop of your tool. You can place the used shaving cream back into your vat and use again!

Step ten: Continue to make more papers in the same vat – smooth your shaving cream add colors and swirl! Colors will start to mix the more you use the shaving cream and eventually you may need to add new shaving cream to avoid a muddy look!

Step eleven: Let your marbleized papers dry!

MAKING A HEART GARLAND:

Step one: Trace your heart shapes on your marbleized papers!

Step two: Cut out your hearts!

Step three: Punch holes towards the top of your hearts on each side.

Step four: Take your string and string your hearts by placing the thread through the top of a hole & coming back up the bottom of the second hole!

Step five: Hang your heart garland!

Check out other projects to do at home here and let me know if you’ve given any a try!

Art, Art activities, Craft, decorating, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!, origami, paper art

Let it Snow: Paper Snowflake DIY!

Cut paper snowflakes are a fun easy project that you can create so many variations with and they make excellent winter decorations! In nature most snowflakes are 6 sided, many times when we make paper snowflakes, we create 4 or 8 sided snowflakes – below you will find instructions for folding 6 pointed, 8 pointed and 12 pointed! Once you get the hang of these folds and where to draw your design you will have some amazing paper snowflakes! These can also make a great lesson to incorporate symmetry, angles, fractals, & kirigami into!

What you need:

  • Paper – I just prefer to use plain white copy paper but any thin paper will do. You can even create colorful snowflakes!
  • Scissors – Because we’ll be cutting through several layers of paper at once, be sure you have a sharp pair! If you plan to do a lot of smaller details on your snowflake, small sewing scissors can come in handy!
  • X-Acto Knives – These are optional to be used in place of the scissors or to make cuts that are not along the edge of your folded snowflake.
  • Pencil for drawing designs out if desired!

MAKING YOUR PAPER SQUARE:

If you’re starting with plain copy paper, the first thing to do is make your paper square – we will need to start with a square piece of paper for any of the snowflakes below!

Step one: Fold the bottom corner of your paper up, and to the opposite side, until you’ve created a point at the bottom of your paper.

This is what it looks like unfolded….

Step two: Cut off the single layer of paper that you see.

Step three: Open your paper back up – square!

You can make your squares any size! Try using the piece of paper you cut off of your rectangle to make a smaller square (and smaller snowflake!).

6 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This method of folding gives your snowflake 6 points/sides just like a snowflake found in nature! This is also the easiest method listed to cut as there’s less layers of paper to cut through!

Step one: Start with a square piece of paper, leave it folded. (Or fold a square piece of paper from corner to corner)

Step two: Find the center of the bottom of your triangle (shown in the next photo) – do this by folding corner, along the bottom edge, and “pinch” your paper in the center. This way you don’t create a crease line all the way to the point of your paper!

Step three: Make sure you have your paper opened back up after “pinching” the middle point of your paper!

Step four: We will be folding the corners of your paper up on the two lines shown in the picture – you can use a protractor for this, marking the crease lines at 60-degrees.

Step five: Fold the right flap up on the 60-degree mark shown in step four.

Step six: Flip your whole paper over, keeping the point towards you.

Step seven: Fold the right flap up on your other 60-degree mark – the two sides of your paper should all be even.

Step eight: Cut the top triangles off of your paper, making the top layers of paper all even.

Step nine: Draw out your design; I like to have my design go all the way, or almost all of the way, to the top corners, and dip low between them. Then I draw shapes & designs on the edges of my triangle, these shapes start and stop on the same edge of my paper – this keeps my snowflake whole!

Step ten: Cut out your design – it’s easiest to start by cutting your little designs first and then your larger areas.

You can also use the extra paper you cut to create a square and make mini snowflakes!

8 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This method gives your a couple more points than the first!

Step one: Start with a square piece of paper.

Step two: Fold in half, edge to edge.

Step three: Fold in half again, to create a square.

Step four: Check the edges of your square – point the corner that has all open flaps of paper away from you, and the corner that is the center of your paper (or no flaps of paper) pointed towards you!

Step five: Fold the square in half, right point to left point (keeping the open ends at the top and center towards you).

Step six: Draw out your design!

Step seven: Cut out your smaller details first…..

Step eight: Cut out your larger area & carefully unfold!

12 SIDED SNOWFLAKE: This is my favorite snowflake fold – because it’s 12 layers it can be harder to cut but it makes the snowflakes look more intricate and delicate!

Step one: Start with a square piece of paper!

Step two: Fold your paper in half, from corner, to corner.

Step three: Fold your paper in half again, with your folded edge from the last step on the bottom.

Step four: This next step can be tricky until you’ve done it a few times! We will be folding your paper into 3rds, shown on the fold lines your can see in the photo above. You can use a protractor to do this (dividing it into 3rds, each at a 30-degree angle) or just eyeball it and fold & unfold, until you get it right in the next steps! The more exact you line up and fold your paper, the better your cuts and snowflake will come out, so take your time on getting things lined up!

Step four: With the point of your paper facing you, fold the left side of your paper over on your first 30-degree mark or the first line seen in the picture on step three.

Step five: Flip your whole paper over, keeping the point towards you.

Step six: Fold the left side of your paper over to line up with the right edge, and the other 30-degree mark on your paper.

Step seven: Now you have your papers folded, cut the top triangle pieces off, so that all of your paper layers are even at the top.

Step eight: Draw your designs on your snowflakes! Keep your designs on the edges of your triangles, being sure not to cut all the way from one edge to the other.

Step nine: Cut your snowflake out on your lines! Carefully use an Xacto knife for small cuts if needed! Open your snowflake gently!

Your finished snowflakes can be used to decorate your windows – they look awesome from both inside and out, especially when it’s dark outside! I use a glue stick to attach my snowflakes to the window. You could also use double sided tape or hand them from a string!

You can make smaller or larger snowflakes with the same folds as above – just start out with smaller or larger squares of paper! The snowflakes above that have the objects and scenes incorporated into them are large, approx. 20″ – 24″ wide! They also have cuts that were created “inside” the folded triangle, not along the edge, I had to use a hole punch and my xacto knives to remove these cuts! Keep in mind when you create objects on your snowflakes anything drawn along the edges is just half of a shape, when opened it will become whole!

Use your paper snowflakes for other art projects too – like this mixed media encaustic piece! Paper snowflakes have been layered with different color waxes, pearl powders, & other papers to create a unique collage! I also cut some snowflakes from old book paper, tracing paper and vellum, to create different effects! You could also make a snowflake garland, use as gift topper/decorations, or on greeting cards!

Make this project? I’d love to see some photos! Check out other projects to complete at home here!

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

Arm Knitting!

Create your own chunky knit scarf or cowl with arm knitting! Use jumbo size yarn to create the chunky loose knit pictured or use larger weight yarn for a tighter knit look! You can also double up yarns and follow the same directions with two strands to give a fuller scarf look! If you’ve knitted before, your arms just replace the knitting needles! 

What you need:

  • Jumbo 7 yarn, approx. 46 yards – I used Red Heart Grande/Jumbo 7 
  • Your arms! – this is easiest with no long sleeves and no bracelets or watches on!  
  • Scissors 

Casting on: This will determine the width of your scarf – I cast on 8 stitches, which made my scarf around 8” in width – when not stretched or bunched (as the knit is very loose). Cast on more or less depending on the size of your yarn and the width you would like your scarf to be!  

  •  Step one: create a slip knot at the end of your yarn. Place your right arm inside the slip knot and pull tight. Make sure you leave a tail to your knot – around 6” or so to help tie off at the end!  

Step two: Begin casting on stiches to your arm. I added 7 more stiches for a total of eight (the slip knot becomes one of the stiches). Keep your working yarn taut with your left hand, grab the working yarn with your right hand, twisting the yarn to make a loop (pictures 1 & 3 below). Continue with the same steps until you have the desired number of stiches!  

Knitting right arm to left arm: We will be taking all the stiches cast onto your right arm and knitting them onto your left arm! The “working yarn” is the yarn coming from your skein.  

  • Step three: Take the top loop on your right hand and carefully pull the working yarn through the loop. Place the new loop you’ve pulled through onto your left wrist, dropping the old loop. Pull the working yarn to tighten the loop on your left wrist. 

Step four: Continue step three for each remaining stitch on your right hand. 

Knitting left arm to right arm: Continue to knit from your left arm to your right arm!  

  • Step five: Hold onto the working yarn firmly in your left hand. Pull the top loop over your left fist and drop. Open your left hand and place that loop onto your right wrist. Pull the working yarn to tighten the loop.