scrap paper of a similar color palette plus light neutrals, blender, warm water, liquid starch (Sta-flo is what I used- I had to order from walmart), large plastic bin, window screens (need to be small enough to lay down flat in your plastic bin, and make sure the edges aren’t sharp- cover with duct tape if so), white felt (cut to similar size as your screens)
- pour about a gallon of warm water into the large plastic bin, along with about 1/4 cup of liquid starch (doesn’t have to be exact, and you can even do this without it but the paper won’t be as sturdy – good idea to use starch if you plan to write on the paper)
- rip up pieces of paper into small bits (about the size of a quarter or smaller)
- make a pile of pieces (my students placed them on a tray)
- add bits to blender until about 1/3 full, then fill the rest of the way with warm water and blend until smooth (“paper soup”)- I was using an old blender where the blade is small, secure, and all the way at the bottom, be careful if you use the newer kind that has giant blades that fall right out!
- pour this into the large plastic bin and repeat until you have poured 4 or 5 blender-fulls
- you are done with the blender- move it out of reach from the kids!
- stir up the paper soup with your hands (fun) and then place a window screen into the mixture, swishing the mixture around once it is submerged
- gently lift the window screen while holding it parallel to the floor like a lunch tray- the water will fall through and the paper bits will have collected on the screen
- flip over onto a piece of felt so that the paper is touching the felt
- dry by pressing down onto the screen with a washcloth to soak up excess water
- gently lift one side of the screen and tap the back (I used my hand but I am interested to research how professional paper makers do this step) until the paper falls off onto the felt- the edges will be messy but you can cut them later! no perfect deckle edges here…
- let dry over night
- use the paper for anything! to write on, to make collages with, to make DIY note cards, to give away, as gift tags, as wrapping paper…let me know if you have more ideas!
scrap or decorative (or handmade) papers cut into squares, a large white paper cut into a square, scissors, pencils, glue sticks
- make sure you have enough hearts that can fit across the white paper vertically and horizontally, with enough extras to do the heart cutting
- glue squares in a grid all over the page (I always have children glue on the back of the piece and on the table or a “messy mat” so they don’t get their final product all gluey)
- with one square at a time, fold it in half and draw a half heart (this can be done ahead of time for young children, so all they have to do is cut and glue)
- keeping the paper folded, cut along the half-heart pencil line, then unfold
- glue the hearts or negative space hearts on top of the squares (or not!)
sticker board, colored sand, condiment bottles
- pour some of the bulk colored sand into condiment bottles
- peel off the cover sheet to expose the adhesive side of the sticker board
- pour sand onto sticker
- smooth sand around with hands if you’d like (another great sensory experience)
- dump excess in trash to reveal the design that was created by the very first sand to touch the sticker
bubble wrap, masking tape, tempera paint, squeeze bottles, brayers, paper, shaving cream (optional), a sink close by!
- tape bubble wrap with bubbles facing up all over a table
- ideally, put tempera paints in small squeeze bottles
- set brayers and squeeze bottles all along table
- squeeze a little bit (good luck) of TWO colors in one spot on the bubble wrap (I had only yellow, blue, and pink paint available to make sure their mixing would turn out pretty)
- roll paint out with a brayer
- make a print!
- repeat! (if your table is crowded, have children keep their prints paint side up on the floor near them in between prints)
- if there are a few extra minutes, add shaving cream to the table and let them mix it with the paint with their hands- great sensory experience!
embroidery hoops (these are 6 and 8 inch and I love the look with 6), markers or washi tape, yarn or ribbon, wooden beads, plastic needles
- decorate the wooden hoops with marker (these images also show some decorated with washi tape but it is tricky for kids to wrap it tightly enough to stick)
- attach decorative hanging pieces of yarn by folding one piece in half, holding by the loop, placing loop under the hoop, putting loose ends of yarn piece over hoop and through loop, and pulling! (directions I tell kids- so simple- see picture and video)
- add as many hanging pieces as you’d like
- use the plastic beading needle to thread beads onto hanging yarn and tie off the last one on each strand
- tie a long piece of yarn to the hoop and wrap around until there is only enough left to tie off, creating the web- I think less is more regarding the web because if kids play with it (it’s a jellyfish! it’s a hat with hair! etc) the web can come undone into a loose tangle and you’ll have to stretch it back to be taut again (this is also why we do the web part last)
I did this with 4-7 year olds so we kept it simple so they could work independently, but there are lots of ways to embellish and make these really fun for all ages! Here is Art Bar‘s version, and Meri Cherry‘s.
These turned out SO well- it was hard to send them home with the kids because I wanted to keep them all for myself! First, we looked at pictures of Frankenthaler’s paintings and talked about how she made them and what they reminded us of. The pouring step was inspired by Frankenthaler’s process, and the hammering was an added touch that was an idea from Purple Twig.
muslin, liquid watercolors in condiment cups, sponge brushes, plastic placemats or wax paper taped to table, hammers, flowers and leaves, dowels, sewing machine with white thread, white yarn
- cut muslin into about 10×20 inch pieces
- cover table with paper to soak up extra paint once pouring starts
- pour *a little* paint at a time on the fabric, and spread it around with a sponge brush
- let that dry, or leave empty spots that are dry for the hammering step
- place plastic or wax paper (anything that does not allow the pigment from leaves/flowers to soak into it) on the table (or floor- wherever kids can hammer without ruining the surface)
- place painted and dried muslin on plastic
- place a leaf or flower under muslin wherever you want the color to be smashed (with leaves- lay them flat if you want the leaf shape, or bunch them up to make it easier to squish color out)
- hammer! I did this with 4 and 5 year olds and they did great- I had them hold the hammer right at the top so they would have more control and be safer
- throw away the smashed leaf/flower
- repeat steps 7-9
- sew the top of the banner so that the dowel can slide in
- tie a small piece of yarn to the dowel for a hanger…we didn’t have time but kids could also decorate the hanger with beads
I couldn’t find chalkboards at Staples or Walmart, and instead of ordering online or looking at art stores, I just bought black heavy duty poster paper. It worked really well as a chalkboard, and the kids even washed it off repeatedly. Still can be used again later as well!
heavy poster paper, chalk pastels, water, wash cloths, water container, tape (for wall)
cardboard, tempera paint, brushes, palette
- cut cardboard into shapes, and cut notches – at least three per shape (I did this before class but if you are working with older children they could do it on their own)
- paint each shape
- when the first side is dry, flip it over and paint the back
- let dry then use shapes to build!