Arts and Crafts

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.

Creative Hands-on Birthday Parties at Studio 4 Art

March 20, 2012

Art birthday party at Studio 4 Art in NovatoMy kids have been getting creative at Novato's Studio 4 Art since it opened on Grant Avenue a few years ago. We've all enjoyed their hands-on art workshops and classes. Studio owner Kebby McInroy recently opened the Studio 4 Art Annex around the corner from the main storefront, and we decided to hold my daughter's recent birthday party there. Needless to say, it was a big hit with all who attended!

The Annex is a cute little cottage that Studio 4 Art uses to hold parties, special events, and summer camps. It holds up to 20 children, who can work on a variety of different art projects around the two large tables in the space. The Annex space has bamboo floors, track lighting, kids' art on the walls, lots of natural light, and a warm, welcoming ambience.

For our party, we chose mosaic nameplates, which the girls crafted out of colorful ceramic letters and pieces of glazed ceramic tile. Each project was totally unique, and everyone was really proud of their creations. When everything's dry, you can hang them on the wall—they make great decorations for children's rooms.

Make Some Cute Potato-Print Cards for Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2012

We always love to make our own greeting cards for birthdays and holiday, and Valentine’s Day is of course no exception. This year we created cute and classy heart cards using homemade stamps cut out from potatoes. Yes that’s right: a regular old russet potato!

This potato print card project is really easy and fun, and the kids think it’s neat that they’re using something they usually eat for dinner to create a craft.

Who's Nibbling at My (Trader Joe's) Gingerbread House?!

November 27, 2011

Trader Joes gingerbread houseIn case you miss out on one of the gingerbread house workshops (at the Bay Area Discovery Museum, for example) this Holiday season and still want to get in on the action, you can head down to your local Trader Joes and pick up one of their bargain priced gingerbread house kits.

For $7.99 you get a nice quality, German-made gingerbread house kit that includes the house parts, base, a tree, and enough chocolate buttons, gumdrops, and pink and white candy sprinkles to decorate a house worthy of being devoured by Hansel and Gretel. Speaking of them, the kit also comes with a little sugar Hansel and Gretel and a witch, as well as a little candy cat (or is it a pig?) that sits on the rooftop or anywhere else you like.

They also throw in a half-pound box of powdered sugar with which to make the royal icing that glues the thing together. You supply an egg white, lemon juice, and imagination. It's also helpful to have a pastry bag to pipe the icing, although a garden-variety ziplock bag with one of the edges snipped off makes a dandy substitute. It's not the most architecturally complex gingerbread house we've seen—it looks kind of like a Tahoe A-frame—but it's a lot of fun to put together. Just watch out for little nibblers who try to eat the candy and cookies before they have a chance to go on the house!

Make Colorful Turkey Handprint Placemats for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2011

Since we'll have quite a few children over for Thanksgiving this year, we've been busy coming up with easy and fun craft ideas to keep everyone busy before the feast. One of the projects that we came up with, based on something by daughter did in kindergarten, is creating colorful festive Thanksgiving turkey handprint placemats. Since you'll need one for everyone at the dinner table, this project should keep the kids busy for a while.

Here's what you'll need:

Get a Jump on Holiday Crafts at Studio4Art

October 25, 2011

Clay gingerbread house at Studio4ArtHandmade holiday crafts make great gifts, so make sure you check out Studio4Art's creative Saturday workshops in November and December. All Saturday workshops take place from 11 am to 12:30 pm.

  • Create an imaginative clay gingerbread house on November 5 and December 3 ($40). It will last a life time and is sure to become a family heirloom. Many families come to this workshop year after year and create their own villages! Begin your house with slab construction, then add clay molded to look like candy and end with a finished piece that is sure to dazzle.
  • On November 12 make cards with handmade papers, fabric, sewing machines, block printing, printmaking and stamps ($20). Your cards will be beautiful enough to be framed! Each student receives 6 cards to create.
  • Make your own clay Christmas tree ornaments on November 19 ($30). It's amazing what you can create with a pound of clay! Creating and glazing will be completed in this one-day workshop. Families are welcome to work together.  Extra clay is available at additional cost.
Syndicate content