Art, Art activities, card making, Craft, Holiday, Make, Create, & Share!, Painting, student artwork

Cool Hands & Warm Hearts

Have fun with warm and cool colors, creating simple & meaningful pieces of art that also make perfect Valentine’s Day cards!

What you need:

  • Watercolor Paints
  • Watercolor Paper x2 at least 8″x10″
  • Paint Brush
  • Masking Tape
  • Gluestick
  • Crayons
  • Course Sea Salt
  • Plastic Grocery Bag

What are warm and cool colors? Warm colors are reds, oranges and yellows, while cool colors are, blues, greens, & violets. Warm colors often make us think of warmth – fire, sunshine, heat. Cool colors tend to be more calming and make us think of water, sky, or ice. For this project we have three different elements: Your background paper, your hand, and your heart! We created a pattern by layering warm and cool colors for each element; Background in warm colors, hand in cool colors, heart in warm colors, or the reverse; background cool colors, hand warm colors, heart cool colors. Next to one another, warm and cool colors are very contrasting and make one another stand out! Decide if you would rather have a warm heart and cool hand or cool heart and warm hand!

Prepare your papers: You will need one piece of paper for your background and one piece to share for your hand and heart. Tape one piece of watercolor paper down to a work surface for your background with your masking tape. Cut the other piece of watercolor paper in two, trace an outline of your hand one piece, and draw a heart shape on the other (make sure your heart will fit in your hand outline). Tape your hand and heart pieces of watercolor paper to your work surface as well. Taping helps to keep your paintings flat while you work on them! Keep in mind the tape will resist the watercolor – try to apply the tape evenly around your background paper!

Listed below are three different watercolor techniques to make your warm and cool color hearts and hands! You can use any of the three of the techniques for any portion of your project – background, hand, & heart, or combine techniques or create your own! For each technique we will be using “wet on wet” – where we brush your paper with water, then add our paint. This helps our colors flow and mix around, giving us some really fun effects! Have your watercolors prepared and ready!

Crayons & Watercolor – Use warm or cool color crayons to draw designs or patterns on one of your elements (background, hand or heart). Brush water on your element, going over the crayon designs, then use watercolor paint to fill in your element – the crayons are waxy and will resist the watercolor!

Salt & Watercolor – Wet your element by brushing it with water, then dab splotches of watercolor on top! Watch as the paint flows and mixes on the paper! While the paint is still wet, sprinkle a little bit of salt on your element – notice how the paint pools around the pieces of salt! Let your element dry completely and then gently brush off the salt pieces to reveal the finished technique!

Plastic & Watercolor – This technique is made by using a plastic grocery bag – you may need to cut the bag open so it’s bigger and can cover your whole paper surface! Wet your paper with water and then add color to paper – in the example below we dabbed color on the paper but you can use almost any method for this technique! Once you have your whole piece of paper covered with color, and while it’s still wet, place your piece of plastic over the wet paint, pressing gently, and being sure to “scrunch” or “crinkle” the plastic on your paper. Let this dry completely (this can take some time!) and then remove the plastic to reveal a very cool technique!

Once you have all your elements painted, let them dry completely – it’s best not to use a hair dryer to speed up the process for the salt or plastic techniques as it may not allow the techniques to work well. When they’re dry and ready, remove the tape and cut out your hand and heart! Glue all of your elements together! Turn these into cards or pictures for Valentine’s day!

Change it up and make multiple hands – add something instead of hearts!

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


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, Craft, decorating, DIY, Holiday, Make, Create, & Share!, Painting

Salt Dough Ornaments!

Salt dough is fun and easy! The dough can be baked to harden, painted with acrylics and last for years! I had my nephew create some simple cut-out ornaments but you can also make 3-D sculptures with salt dough too! There’s various recipes for creating salt dough, and other similar dough – I’ve listed one below that we used with good results!

What you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Straw and/or Toothpick (or something to make holes in your ornaments for hanging)
  • Cookie tray
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Spray Sealer or Mod Podge
  • Ribbon
  • Beads to add to your ribbon
  • Glitter
  • Stamps – for making impressions on your dough
  • Sharpies
  • Hot glue or craft glue

Step one: Mix together 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of warm water in a large bowl.

Step two: Add up to 1/2 cup more of warm water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough forms. Dough should not be sticky – if it is add a bit more flour!

Step three: Kneed your dough and roll it out on a flat surface – use flour to help prevent sticking if needed. We rolled it to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick for cut-outs. You can also make sculptures with your salt dough instead!

Step four: Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of your salt dough. Place cut-outs on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment).

Step five: Before baking your salt dough make sure to put a hole in your ornaments to hang from! A plastic straw works well or a toothpick for a smaller shape! Bake your salt dough for approx. 2 hours at 275*F or until firm and dried out. Time will depend on size and thickness. You can also leave your salt dough out to air dry. Be sure to fully bake/dry out pieces before painting and sealing to ensure they’ll last a long time!

Step six: Once your pieces have been baked or dried out, use acrylic paints to paint them with! We used acrylic craft paints!

Step seven: Paint your creations and let them dry completely!

Step eight: Once your paint is dry, seal your salt dough – I brushed on a layer of glossy Mod Podge. You can also use an acrylic spray sealer instead. Let dry.

Step nine: Add ribbon and beads to hang your ornaments from! Alternatively, you could also use pipe-cleaner or wire for hangers!

Step ten: Use a sharpie to add names, dates and details to your salt dough!

Step eleven: Hang those ornaments up!

We had a lot of fun making salt dough ornaments! Create your own ornaments from cut-outs like we did or create some 3D ornaments – you can use a little water to help pieces stick together. You could also make personalized gift tags & toppers, hand/foot print plaques, small sculptures (like snowmen!), key chains, pendents, pins, or magnets! Use Popsicle sticks, wooden skewers, or toothpicks for tools. Adorn finished salt dough pieces with pom-poms, pipe-cleaner, glitter, ribbon, beads, and other craft items! Try decorating pieces with marker instead of paint for easier clean up!

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

DIY Painted Signs!

Create a custom distressed wooden sign to add to your dΓ©cor or to give as a gift!

What you need:

  • Wooden board – My example is approx. 8″x9″ and 1/4″ thick, but you can use any board or wooden plaque you have on hand!
  • Acrylic paints – I suggest acrylic craft paints in black or dark brown, white or cream, and a color of your choice (you could also incorporate multiple colors if desired). I used teal as my color.
  • Sandpaper
  • Rope or twine for hanging – I’ve drilled holes in my board but you could also staple the rope or twine to the back, or use a picture hanger instead!
  • Stencil or pattern – You can download & print the ones I used, or create your own!
  • Pencil
  • Masking Tape
  • Ruler
  • Paper Towels
  • Hairdryer
  • Optional: Minwax finishing paste in special dark or other sealer

Step one: Sand down any rough edges or spots on your board.

Step two: Paint your board with your black or dark brown color – paint the edges too!

Step three: Once your black paint is dry (you can speed this up with a hairdryer), cover your board with a layer of white or cream paint. Let the white dry – you may need to add a second coat of white/cream if you can still see a lot of your darker color show through. Let it dry!

Step four: Download and print out the desired lettering and designs for your board here or create your own! Follow these steps to transfer a printed design to your board!

Step five: Fill in your design outline with the color paint of your choice!

Step six: Make sure your board is very dry before moving on to this step! Sand your board to add age and a distressed look – I sanded more heavily around the edges of my board and lightly near my lettering. If you sand too much off you can always touch it back up with your paint!

Step seven: This is an optional step, you can leave your board as it is or add a sealer. I prefer to Minwax finishing paste in special dark!

Step eight: Add a rope for hanging (I drilled holes in my board and tied my knots in the front, but you could also staple a rope to the back). Hang your sign as is or hot glue some silk flowers for some pizzazz!

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

Alcohol Ink & Yupo!

Experiment with mediums and surfaces in this project! Use alcohol inks on Yupo paper to create beautiful blooms of colors, then draw a design on top with a chalk pen! Yupo is actually polypropylene and allows the alcohol inks to sit on the surface and have fun reactions! Adding rubbing alcohol to the inks also creates more “blooming” effects!

What you need:

  • Yupo paper
  • Alcohol inks
  • Rubbing alchol
  • Paint brush
  • Chalk pens

Step one: Dot some colors of alcohol ink on your yupo surface!

Step two: Continue to add inks and begin to apply dots of rubbing alcohol with a paint brush – both on and around your alcohol inks.

Step three: Continue to apply inks and rubbing alcohol – I just added a section of color from corner to corner. Keep in mind, when choosing colors, your ink colors will begin to mix somewhat!

Step four: Let your ink dry completely!

Step five: Once the ink is dry, use your chalk pen to create a design on top of your ink!

Step six: Add details to your drawing – I just used a white chalk pen for the most contrast but you could use other colors as well!

Have fun creating blooms of colors! πŸ™‚

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

Acrylic Moon Painting!

Create an out of this world moon painting with acrylics on canvas! In the video below I create my sky with multiple brushes/techniques (a stencil brush, sea sponge, flat brush & paper towel) you can use all methods or choose what you have on hand to create your sky with!

What you need:

  • Canvas – I used an 11″x14″ stretched canvas
  • Acrylic Paints – I used Apple Barrel craft paints in Bright Blue, Black, White, Bright Red, Bright Yellow
  • Paint brushes – A 1/2″ or 3/4″ flat brush and some smaller brushes for details
  • Paper plate
  • Pencil
  • Paper towels
  • Optional: Stencil brushes and/or sea sponges

Step one: Trace a circle on your canvas – I used a plastic plate. Paint your background all black!

Step two: Begin to add clouds to your sky with other colors – I used blue, red, & white (which made pinks and purples) – see the next step for more details!

Step three: Use a firm/stiff regular flat brush, round stencil brush, sea sponge or paper towel to create a cloud texture. “Pounce” or “Dab” your paint on your canvas with any of the tools listed to create this effect. You only want a little paint on your brush/tool. Dip in multiple colors or build layers of colors on your clouds.

Step four: If you have any clouds that are too bright, you can repeat the same technique, but with black paint to help it fade in. Be careful not to mix too many colors or your clouds can end up muddy! If that happens, let your paint dry, paint it over with black, and try again!

Step five: Water down a little white acrylic paint and splatter it on your sky for stars!

Step six: Mix white and a little yellow paint to create a cream color and paint your moon!

Step seven: Mix blue and little black paint together to create a dark blue paint and make random spots on your moon. These will be the moon’s craters!

Step eight: While the dark blue spots are still a little wet, take more of your cream color and blend the edges of your spots into your moon!

Step nine: Keep blending until you’re happy with your moon! Check out the video below for more details on creating your own moon painting!

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

Watercolor Crab!

Follow along to paint your own watercolor crab! My crab was created with just two colors – yellow and blue, however, you can make your crab any colors using these techniques! You can download the crab outline below and transfer it to your watercolor paper or draw your own crab outline (or outline of your choosing).

What you need:

  • Watercolor paper (I used Canson XL cold press 140lb)
  • Watercolor paints – I used Rembrandt brand in Azo Yellow Medium & Van Gogh brand in Phthalo blue
  • Sea Salt
  • Brushes
  • Pencil

Step one: Transfer the crab outline to your watercolor paper or draw your own outline! Download the crab outline above and follow this quick tip to transfer the crab outline here.

Step two: The crab is created with a wet on wet technique – I did sections of my crab at a time, starting with the shell, I brushed on a layer of water.

Step three: Before the water dries that you applied in the last step, add blue watercolor to your shell – the paint will spread wherever the water was placed.

Step four: While your blue paint is still wet, add dabs of green or yellow paints to your crab shell and let them spread! I used a little yellow painted mixed with my blue.

Step five: While your paint is still wet, sprinkle some sea salt on it! The paint pools under the pieces of salt, when the paint dries, we’ll gently remove the salt pieces and have a unique effect left on our papers created by the salt!

Step six: Repeat steps for all the crabs legs!

Step seven: If desired, flick paint, to add some interest to your background! I used watered down blue.

Step eight: Let your paint dry – I don’t recommend speeding up with a hair dryer when the salt is involved as it can blow the salt pieces around and disrupt the textured effect!

Step nine: Once the paint is completely dry, gently rub off the salt pieces. Enjoy your crabby painting! πŸ™‚

Art, Art activities, Craft, decorating, DIY, Happenings, Make, Create, & Share!, Painting

Painted Stepping Stones

Brighten your garden with a colorful hand painted paver! Paint just one or paint many and create a fun path through your garden!

What you need:

  • Cement Paver – The ones I’m using are 12″x12″
  • Outdoor primer
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paint – I used Apple Barrel Craft paints in Bright Blue, Bright Yellow, Bright Red, Black, & White. You can also use Patio Paints for longer lasting results!
  • Krylon indoor/outdoor, gloss sealer

Step one: Prime you paver – I used an outdoor primer, brushed it on & let it dry.

Step two: Draw your design onto your paver (you can also use stencils or templates).

Step three: Begin to paint your design! I like to start with my background and work forwards.

You may need to apply more than one layer of paint with certain colors – if this is the case let layers dry between new coats!

If you want to blend colors it’s easiest to do so while the paints are still wet – brush back and forth to help blend colors!

Create effects with your paint – like splatters for stars or texture by “flicking” your paint!

Fill in your foreground with base colors…

Add your details! Leave your stepping stone as is or add in some whimsy with additional lines, colors, & patterns!

Step four: Finish your stepping stone by sealing your paint with krylon indoor/outdoor gloss sealer!

Check out the video below for more ideas or join us for a stepping stone class to create your own!

Be sure to send along a picture of your finished stepping stone! πŸ™‚

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

Sand Dollar Painting!

Follow along to paint your own sand dollar in acrylics! You can download the template for the sand dollar outline below or draw your own!

What you need:

  • Canvas (I used an 8″x8″ stretched canvas)
  • Acrylic Paints – I used Apple Barrel craft paints in Bright Blue, Teal, White, & Black
  • Paint brushes
  • Sand dollar template (unless you’re drawing your own) & Pencil
  • Paper towels

Step one: Draw your sand dollar on your canvas or download the outline below – cut and trace onto your canvas or use transfer paper.

Step two: Mix together a little black paint with some blue paint to create a dark blue and fill your background and inside details with it!

Step three: Pain the white portion of your sand dollar with teal paint. Then double dip your brush into the teal and dark blue and add a layer onto your background – it’s okay to see brush strokes and areas of different colors! Don’t wash your brush – we need it for the next step!

Step four: Using the same brush in the previous step, without washing out the dark blue/teal paint, paint your sand dollar with white paint (if you have a lot of dark blue or teal paint left on your brush make sure to wipe some off before applying the white). By using the same brush some of the dark blue & teal paint will come through on your sand dollar – creating a more realistic texture and a painterly style! Once your layer of white is dry you can add more white to brighten some areas if needed!

Have fun with easy sand dollar paintings! Try creating them in different colors or multiple sand dollars on one canvas! πŸ™‚