Art Eploration – Pinecone Round Up

Last week I completed a Science Exploration – Pinecone Round Up post.  Since fall is finally here, it was a great round up of simple activities to do with young children when you find pinecones out in the natural environment.  But there are so many more ways that we can bring nature inside of the classroom!  This week I decided to stick with the pinecone theme and do a roundup of Art Activities for you.  I hope you give some of them a try!
The first stop I made was over to Freebie Finding Mom where they made Homemade Pinecone Bird Feeders.  What a fantastic idea!  We would have to tweak their recipe a little bit, because we do not use nut products in our school due to allergies.  But I know that we can find an alternative.  Not only will children enjoy participating in this project, but by placing the bird feeders out side of a classroom window, we can incorporate a whole new set of learning opportunities, spark curiosity and observation.  This is a fabulous way to bring nature into the classroom and create something new.

Homemade Pinecone Bird Feeders from  Freebie Finding Mom

My next stop was over at Craftionary where they had their own collection of 30 Kids Fall Crafts.  There were a lot of good ones, but my favorite was this little pinecone guy.  Can’t you just imagine the amount of fun young students would have creating these?  I can see them enjoying the process, but then expanding their learning to imaginary play afterwards.  You can provide any number of materials and see how they choose to create their own characters.  Each child would have something unique and different.  So much fun!

Pinecone Monsters over at Craftionary

Over at Kiboomu they shared a great Pinecone painting activity as well as an Autumn Song.  I definitely see us incorporating both into our classrooms.  Songs are a really great addition to any lesson at the Early Education level.  I love how they used the pinecones as paintbrushes.  This adds a whole new texture for young artists.  Depending on what pinecones we have collected they can inquire and investigate about whether they will all make the same strokes, will different sizes matter, if you roll them on the paper will it look different than if you brush them?  I can think of so many ways to expand on this learning experience!

Pinecone painting and Autumn song over at Kiboomu Kids Songs

Teach Preschool took another spin on Pinecone Painting, where the children got to actually paint their own pinecones.  This was a great use of fine motor control.  I like how she also incorporated different materials for them to use.  By adding mod podge to the paint it dries with a shine, and allowing the children the independence to use glitter (very brave!) is great.  It sounds like the children kept coming back to complete more pinecones, so I’m sure the activity was a hit!  What a great way to make painting new and exciting!

Pinecone Painting over at Teach Preschool

Finally, I stopped over at How to Build It, because let’s be honest, art projects aren’t just for children! I can’t believe how a little bit of spray paint dress these pinecones up!  This would be an awesome pop of color for a center piece!  I would love to try this for my house!!

Spray Painted Pinecones at How to Build It

Also, if you are planning on doing any of these, or other, pinecone crafts you should properly clean them first.  This helps to get rid of bugs, sap, and other grit.  I found a great article over at Tip Nut on how to prepare and preserve pinecones.  Have fun!!

Infant Painting – Happy Valentines Day!

Since the hubs was at an all day wrestling tournament, I had the pleasure of being able to spend my Valentines Day with the cutest 6 month old I know!  (He is my nephew, so I might be a little biased)  I love getting to spend time with him, and it was nice to be able to give my sister and brother in law some time out of the house.
Being Valentine’s Day and all I thought it would be fun for us to make a project for mom and dad while they were out.  But what kind of project could I do with a 24 month baby?  I was able to find all kinds of recipes for edible finger paints, but I wasn’t sure that was the best way to go.  He has only just recently started foods, so even though the paints are edible he hasn’t had any of the ingredients.  Handprint projects are always fun, but that wasn’t really something he could do on his own, it was a more Auntie directed project.  So I was off in search of something we could do that was mess free and involved some independence on his part.
Off I went to Michaels, of course with my 40% off coupon in hand, for a few materials.  I settled on a small canvas and some paints.  I pulled out some painters tape and spelled out LOVE, how Valentine appropriate.

Canvas, painters tape, and a little bit of paint

I put dabs of paint in random places all over the canvas, and I sealed it into a large gallon sized plastic bag.

Spread out the paints
Place inside of a gallon sized plastic bag and seal closed.

I grabbed the boppy, and figured I would first see if he would “finger paint” through the bag.  He was somewhat interested, but no overwhelming response.  So it was time to brainstorm a better option…

He is a master at tummy time, but wasn’t too enthused
Definitely succeeded in squishing it around somewhat

What’s better than the Johnny Jump up!  Now that he loves, and clearly couldn’t tell that he was doing work! (sorry for anyone bothered by the blurry photos, it was intentional to preserve his privacy :))

Better way to go!  He jumped all over that paint!  And it was total mess free!

After I put him down for a nap, I took the finished project out of the plastic bag and pealed off the painters tape.

Finished project inside the bag, zero mess to clean up
Slid it right out of the bag
Peal off the paint, and tada!  Adorable

Very colorful with lots of texture.  Good work kiddo!
How did you spend your Valentine’s Day?
 

 

Shared with Made for Kids Link Party

Shelf Reveal!

Everyone ready for the big reveal?  I teased you all yesterday when I showed how to make a quatrefoil stencil, and now I’m ready to show you how I used it!

First up it was time to sand the shelves.  I used a power sander, cause there were too many shelves for me to tackle it by hand.  But if you don’t have a power hand sander, a good old block and piece of sand paper would be just fine:

 Once everything was sanded, I wiped them down with a wet towel, to get rid of all the saw dust, and let them thoroughly dry:

 Once everything was completely dry, I used 2 coats of primer, whatever I had lying around the house was good enough!

 After I let the primer completely dry overnight (follow the back of the can for drying times) I proceeded with two coats of paint.  Again, I was lucky enough to have white paint on hand at home, and didn’t need to purchase anything.  Love that!

 I again let this dry over night to make sure it was good and ready.  Now it’s time to stencil!  (Refer to my post from yesterday about how to create a stencil).  Because I wanted my darker paint to be the lines, I decided to trace with a pencil.  If you are using your contrasting paint to fill in the middle, go ahead and paint right over the stencil.

I laid down my stencil, and then used a couple pieces of painters tape to make sure it was securely in place:

 I then used a pencil and traced all of the lines.  I would then peel off the tape, and move my stencil up or to the side, and continue tracing, until the whole board was traced:

Once everything was traced, I used my free paint sample from Valspar, to paint inside the lines:

Once everything was dry, I went over it again with a second coat of paint.

The next thing I did is completely optional, but I thought it gave my shelves a nice pop.  While perusing my local craft store one day (Michael’s for anyone curious) I found some cute shelf liner for only $3.  Seemed like a good deal to me!

The liner has a convenient grid on the back, so it is easy to cut straight lines, and make the right size.  Make sure to measure your shelf before cutting!  This is super sticky, so watch out!  I cut the size I needed, peeled off the back, and stuck it onto my shelf.  I then used an exacto knife to trim the edges off:

 I then used a wet paper towel to smooth down the liner, and my rubber roller to help ease out any air bubbles:

 Make sure you trim your liner so that it is not covering the seam, this will be important when you are putting your shelf together:

The final step was to use the cute roller Valspar sent with the sample, to paint the top of my shelf, and cover the edges.  I liked this look better than just the plain white, but it’s totally up to you!

Once everything was good and dry, it was time to start assembly.  I have a lovely blister on the inside of my finger from the screw driver.  Ahhh the price of beauty!

 I again chose to use the circle stickers that came with the shelf to cover up the screws.  Once I painted over them you could barely even see them.

Here she is all put together.  The baskets are empty for now…but not for long!

 What do you think?  I’m loving how it all came together!  Time consuming, yes, but so worth it!  The best part is, I only used about 1/3 of the paint sample, so there is plenty left for the second shelf.  I do have a matching shelf…but I’ve only gotten as far as priming, so it will be a while before she is up and running.

Break down of the cost:
     Bookcase:  $20
     Sanding materials:  $0, already had
     Primer:  $0, already had
     Paint:  $0, already had
     Contrasting Paint:  Free!  Sample from Valspar
     Stencil:  $0, made myself
     Shelf Liner:  $3

So for $23 I went from this:

Not exact model

To this!

Improvement, no?  Thanks for stopping by!

Simply Living

Free Paint!

I just got my free sample of Valspar Paint in the mail today!  Head over to facebook, “like” Valspar, and then click on the Power in Color Tab.  Every day starting at 9am, they give away 1,000 free samples.  Limit of one per household, only while supplies last.

I ordered mine last saturday, and it just came in the mail today!  You can choose from 3,000 different colors.  I received my 8oz. sample, two mini-rollers and a tray, coordinating color chips, and a $5 coupon for Valspar paint.

Excited for my next project….remember what I created here with a simple 8oz. paint sample?  Get yours today!!  I love free!

Wall Art

As I’ve stated numerous times before, I really don’t have the steadiest painting hand.  So why do I keep trying to paint?  Guess a little practice really never hurt….

After my cheap painted makeover of this small 2 case bookshelf last week, I’ve been trying to think of how to display it.  I really love the rich dark grey with white accents, and I found a couple fun and colorful baskets to display in the bookcase:

I also found some cute turquoise and brown baskets, which I would also like to include.  Ideally, I think I will be returning to Ocean State Job Lots for a second bookcase, so that I can paint it up and have a matching set.  But that meant that I needed some art work to tie all the colors together.  Right now my color scheme was grey, white, pink, green, turquoise, and brown.

If you remember from my feature last sunday, I highlighted Leslie over at Onesie Twosie for her creative and geometric wall art project.  I’ve been dying to try my hand at this, so what better time?

I found 2 left over 11×14 canvases, in my box of craft goodies, that were left over from another project.  I decided to start with the circles.  In order to trace my circles I found the metal top to a candle that was about 3 inches across.

I started at the top of my canvas and started tracing the circle.  I did tape a ruler down to make sure that I stayed in a straight line.

I continued to make rows of even circles until my whole canvas was covered.

Then I went back and added a second layer of circles, evenly spaced in between the original rows:

Here is my finished canvas with all the circles traced:

Next I grabbed all the bottles of acrylic paint I had lying around, and started mixing and matching to come up with the right shades of paint.  Remember, I was sticking to the color scheme of grey, white, pink, turquoise, brown, and green.

As you can tell from the textbook sitting under my paint…this was more fun than studying!

The next step was to start filling in the overlapped areas, I started with one color at a time, and pretty much filled in at random:

 I continued to add colors as I went, here’s what I came up with:

Because the overall goal is to paint a second bookcase to match, I decided that it might be nice to have two paintings rather than one.  I decided to stick with the geometric pattern, but give squares a try.  I searched for a good square to trace and came up with a bottle of nail polish remover with a square bottom!

I followed the same steps as above.  Trace rows of even squares:

Then go back and evenly overlap the squares:

Then I started filling in the overlap area with paint.  There were more squares than I expected, so I did add a few colors, like yellow and orange.

The square painting did involve some touch up work, but I’m pretty happy with how they both turned out!

Here is how they look above the bookcase.  Again, I used the same bookcase for each of these, but the plan is to paint a second one so I have a matching set!

 Now I just need to find two frames, and will probably paint them the same grey as the bookcase, so have some continuity.  Thoughts?  I will be sure to come back with the final reveal…no promises on how soon that will be!

Another thing that I’m excited about adding to this little reveal…remember the cute little yarn wreath I made earlier?  I found some really fun yarn that matches my color scheme for the bookcases perfectly!  What better way to tie everything together than to use another wreath?

 How fun is that yarn?  I kind of think it looks a little bit like a piñata, but I love how fun it is!  And tell me that doesn’t match just perfectly!

 My to-do list is starting to expand over what started as a tiny fun project!  Here’s whats left:

*Get and paint a second bookcase
*Get and paint frames for the geometric art
*Make flowers for the wreath
*Hang artwork and wreath
*Find a permanent home for the bookcases

Good thing February Vacation is only a week away!  Another reason why I love working in the public schools…

Can’t wait to be able to finally share the finished reveal with you all!  Thanks for sticking around!

Simply Living