Arts and Crafts

Valentine's Day Tissue Paper Suncatchers

January 19, 2013

Valentine's Day suncatchersAlthough it's been really cold lately, it's also been bright and sunny. Since Valentine's Day is just around the corner, we decided to make these colorful heart-shaped tissue paper suncatchers.

They have a beautiful stained glass look, and will brighten up any room, especially with this bright winter sunlight.

This craft is easy to make and is suitable for children of all ages, with adult supervision.

You don't have to make these just for Valentine's Day—they're suitable for any occasion or any time you just want to make a neat, beautiful craft.

New Children's Art Program in Mill Valley: The Little Art Studio

January 7, 2013

The Little Art Studio in Mill ValleyIf you're a southern Marin parent looking for art classes for your children, then check out the new Little Art Studio in Mill Valley. Owned and operated by Mill Valley based fine artist and art educator, Jhaya Warmington, the Little Art Studio offers a variety of fun and unique art classes and art themed birthday parties for children aged of 1 ½  to 12.

Each class is focused around a specific art medium or technique, and the children are encouraged to explore art materials in an open, safe, and supportive environment. The emphasis is on the creative process rather than the product, but the children always come away with incredible works of art. Small classes offer children a comfortable, creative, age-appropriate atmosphere, while promoting cooperation and connections. The students constantly watch each other, learn from each other, and learn how to work together.

Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshop at Northbay Artworks

October 28, 2012

Young Writers BookIf your child is naturally talented in writing, artistic or just loves to tell stories, then check out the Young Writer/Artist Bookmaking Workshops this fall at North Bay Artworks in Novato. In this workshop, children will work with writer Brenda Zahn and artist Alice Orth to create and publish a children's book of their very own.

This workshop will be offered once a month on two consecutive Saturday mornings from 10:30 am–12:30 pm or in one four-hour session from 1–5 pm. Every month has a theme.

In this four-hour art and writing workshop you'll get a professional quality published book of your child’s story and artwork, a working journal of your child's notes and sketches as tools for the future, and a fun adventure for your child for building skills and confidence!

Share this special memory and order more copies of your child’s book—they're great for holiday gifts!

Join Studio 4 Art’s Fifth Birthday Party with a Free Art Day!

August 22, 2012

Free art day to celebrate Studio 4 Art's fifth birthdayNovato's Studio 4 Art celebrates its fifth birthday with its annual free art day from 10 am to 1 pm this Saturday, August 25. Come be part of the birthday festivities and create your own original piece of art! Studio 4 Art is located in downtown Novato at 1133 Grant Avenue.

Reserve your spot for the free art day through Studio 4 Art’s Facebook page—state the number of people in your group when reserving your time slot of 10 am, 11 am, or noon. You can choose to create in clay, painting, or illustration.

Studio 4 Art continues to grow and bring new programs to Novato and the surrounding areas of Marin and Sonoma. Last year the studio announced the opening of its second art workspace on the property called the Annex and it has been bustling with activity from workshops, to camps, to birthday parties, and student art shows. Also this past year, programs expanded to include the very popular teen-only art camp and portfolio building class, giving the middle and high school set an opportunity to work with peers in a focused manner to learn and hone in specific art interests and skills.

Kiwi Crates Bring Fun and Learning to Your Doorstep

July 30, 2012

Kiwi CrateMy kids love keeping busy with hands-on activities, whether they're crafts or science projects, or art. While I try to keep a good stock of supplies for creative activities on hand, sometimes it's a stretch to come up with something new and put it together with what I have. That's one of the reasons we were so excited to get our hands on a sample of the new Kiwi Crates—activity kits designed to keep kids engaged and busy.

Created by Bay Area mom Sandra Lin, Kiwi Crates operate on a subscription service: for $19.95 a month, you get a crate of creativity appropriate for kids ages 3–7 delivered to your door. Themes include "Colorful Inspiration", "Dig into Dinosaurs", and "Growing Gardens".

Our sample was the Growing Gardens crate, the contents of which are pictured below. It contained three projects: a window garden kit to plant and grow beans and squash indoors, supplies to create our own one-of-a-kind veggie pots, and some recipe cards to write down the tasty creations that we'll eventually make with our vegetables.

Everyone's a Winner when You Make Your Own Olympic Medals!

July 28, 2012

Olympic medal made from recycled materialsMy kids have been getting excited about the summer OIympics, which officially started last night in London. In honor of the games, we decided to make our own Olympic medals out of recycled materials and stuff we had in our craft drawer. We raided the recycle bin and found a corrugated cardboard box for the medal, but cereal boxes or other heavy card stock work fine, too.

The medals turned out great, and the kids had fun making them. We made the Olympic torch in the photo from a cone of heavy white paper and orange tissue paper.

Of course everyone wanted to have a gold medal, so silver and bronze got left out this time, but if you have enough paint then you can make all three kinds. Here's what you'll need to make this craft:

Tell Dad He Rocks on Father's Day with this Fun and Easy Craft

June 16, 2012

Dad Rocks! Father's Day craftFather's Day is tomorrow, June 17, and if the kids still need to give Dad a gift (or even give him another one), this fun and easy "Dad Rocks!" craft might be just the ticket. It's a river rock painted in Dad's likeness with the phrase "Dad Rocks!" written on the back, along with the child's name and the year, and it makes a wonderful keepsake, and even has practical use as a very effective paperweight!

My daughter actually made this craft as a Father's Day gift in kindergarten and was so excited about it she insisted on giving it to my husband a few days early. He was delighted with it, and it has a place of honor at his desk at work.

To make this adorable Father's Day craft, you'll need:

Colorful Recycled Sand Flower Vases

March 30, 2012

Sand covered containersThese decorative sand-covered flower vases are a perfect craft for spring. They're easy to make, and look really beautiful, especially placed by a window where they catch the light. My daughter was so proud of her colorful creatiions. Use them to hold daffodils or other bright spring flowers.

Raid your recycling bin and find some containers like glass or even plastic jars and bottles for this craft. You'll also need colored sand, white glue (like Elmer's), a paint brush, and paper plates. We found colored sand at Michael's, but most craft or art supply stores should have it.

Pour sand on paper plates, and "paint" the outside of your jar or bottle with white glue. You can also paint patterns like dots and swirls with the glue to create special decorative effects.

Create This Decorative Spring Butterfly Craft

March 27, 2012

Butterfly craftNow that spring is here, work with your children to create some beautiful seasonal crafts to decorate your home. One of our favorite spring crafts this season is these charming butterflies made from things you probably have on hand at home: old magazine pages and 12-inch pipe cleaners. This craft is best done by children of kindergarten age and up, as it involves some coordination and folding skills and might be difficult for younger children.

To make these butterflies, cut out colorful pages from magazines (instead of just throwing them in the recycling bin), and cut out two squares: one four-inch and one five-inch. Turn squares diagonally (like a diamond), and fold in 1/4-inch accordion pleats.

Bend a pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end so it makes a loop. Pinch the middle of each square together, and carefully place them between the two arms of the pipe cleaner, with the smaller four-inch square on the bottom. Hold everything in place by twisting the ends of the pipe cleaner and pressing the loop flat. The two pipe cleaner ends can now be curled into antennae.

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