Saturday, 13 December 2014

Christmas Cards

Paint Chip Trees

Homemade Christmas Cards can be a really wonderful activity for Children before the end of term. They get to make something that they can give to their parents or loved ones - which means they get the opportunity to experience the way giving a gift feels.
These cards are very cheap and easy to make. Most DIY store stock the paint chips needed to make them and are free to take. I went for traditional green but you can experiment with colour use. If this activity is for a lesson maybe the children could have to select the background and paint chip to be complimentary colours or analogues colours.
Fold your A4 piece of card in half. The position of the card again can be up to you but I went for portrait. On the back of the paint chip draw a isosceles triangle. Use the width of the paint chip as the base line with the triangle coming to a point in the middle of the paint chip. The height of your tree can be adjusted to suit you. If your choosing to position your card in a landscape position maybe you want two or three shorter trees.
Next, fix your triangle shape to the centre of the card. I then stuck a small rectangle for the tree trunk. If you don't have brown paper or card handy, drawing the trunk with pen or pencils would be just as good.
Finally, finish the card with a few snowflake sequins or maybe some silver glitter glue pens.

Christmas Crafts

 Salt Dough Decorations

List of Materials
Cookie Cutters
Rolling Pin
Paint Brush
I have come across a number of salt dough recipes in my time but the simplest is the best. Combine for ingredients in a large bowl. the ratio should be half a cup of salt and water for every one cup of flour. I begin mixing with a fork or spoon and finish with my hands. The best advice I have found with salt dough was to knead until the ingredients are full combined and the dough is smooth. Then leave to prove for about twenty minutes. Keep your surface floured when kneading and add flour if the dough is still to wet.
After the proving time you should be left with a nice smooth dough that you can roll out and start cutting shapes from. The thinner the dough the less tie they will take to dry. For this activity I chose Christmas cookie cutters but you can cut any shapes you like.
Maybe, experiment with different templates you could cut out of card. I have in the past used autumn leafs and cut around them. They leave a lovely pattern in the dough if you roll them gently over the top. I went one step further and dried them over a bowl. If you want to dry in an oven make sure you use an oven proof dish.

If you are going to hand your decorations, use a cocktail stick or a pencil to pierce wholes in the shapes. Remember the whole will shrink when you dry them in the oven. I personally set my oven to 50-100 degrees and leave to dry for 2-3 hours. Turn halt way through cooking time. It is possible to air dry but I find this can take many days. I have tried using suggested methods for the microwave but the dough does tend to bulk and sometimes crack. The suggested drying time in a microwave on full power is three minutes. Again turning half way through cooking time.
Once your shapes are dried, your free to decorate your shapes a you please. For this activity I chose to use metallic paint and add glitter before the paint dried. I finished with threading some ribbon through the whole, completing the decoration. Leaving it ready to hang upon any Christmas tree. These decorations are great for children to make for a Christmas Fayre or as a family activity at home.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Dinosaur Dig


Clay Dinosaur Fossils

To finish off our dinosaur themed term, we created our own dinosaur fossils. We began by shaping air drying clay into balls and flattening with our hands to give an uneven surface. You don't want a perfect slag as fossils aren't found in nature like that. The clay needs to be about half and centimetre to a centimetre thick.
Next, the children selected a dinosaur model I brought a pound store. I really liked the ones I found as they had lots of sharp spike shapes that would show well in the clay. the fossil is then created by the children pressing their selected dinosaur into the clay. If the press to hard and the clay is to thin it fill cause holes or the dinosaur will stick and the clay rips when you have to pull to hard to remove it. Make sure the children press around the edge of the dinosaur to ensure all the appendages are clear. When the children remove the dinosaur the impression left should be clear.
Once the clay has dried completely, you are ready to paint. I chose to give the children earthy colours to choose from. My only real stipulation to the children her was that they needed to paint the impression of the dinosaur in the darkest colour but you might want to let them experiment.
This particular activity really did allow for a lot of discussion around rocks and their formation.

Materials List

  • Air drying clay
  • Plastic dinosaur models
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes

Monday, 8 December 2014

Textured Wolf Masks


Using Textured Paper in a Collage


As part of years 1 and 2 literacy text we have been using the theme of wolves from the story book by Lauren Chid Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book. Our art focus for the term has bee texture. We have looked at what is texture? What textures can we see and describe? How can we use texture in our art work? If you look at my previous posts there are a lot on different activities that look at texture.

This week we made wolf masks using a range of textured paper and card. Any children that have a sensory need will enjoy this activity.

I gave each child a paper plate and on their group tables were a selection of different textured card and paper. We began the session feeling and describing the textures we had. This is a great cross curricular link into art as the children are using adjectives to describe and extending their vocabulary - which will hopefully improve their writing as well as their speech and language.

The children had to sort the pile of paper into categories before they could use the materials. I had made sure that the colour choice they had matched that of wolves.

The children started by covering the surface of a paper plate with either torn or cut pieces of the different textured materials.

When they had done this, they chose a colour for the nose and ears.By cutting out triangles then adding a black circle to the end of the largest triangle the children created their ears and nose shapes.

Finally they cut two white circles for eyes then two smaller circles for the pupils. We used basic gue sticks to apply our materials to the surface of the paper plate but depending on the thickness and heaviness of the materials you use you may need PVA glue.

This activity could also be done including fabrics and plastics. Some children chose to add whiskers but you need to make sure they don't look to much like a fox.

Olaf Snowmen Mugs

Great Christmas Fayre Crafts Ideas

If your looking for a nice craft ideas for the school Christmas fayre these Olaf (from Frozen) mugs are a great money earner. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last year, you couldn't have avoided the latest Disney Movie Frozen. The snowman character is fairly easy to draw free hand or creating a stencil can yield impressive results.

You will need some specialised materials. I bought my mugs from Argos as just £3.49 for six. I also ordered some specialist porcelain pens from Amazon but a lot of craft shops stock them. All you need is a black and an orange.

To start, I used free printable colouring page to trace the lines of Olaf's face. What's helpful about using a colouring page, is you can choose from a range of face shapes and the main lines are clear for you. I used this to transfer to card and cut out the lines using a craft knife. If you do cut out with a craft knife protect the surface below from scratches. A craft board is best.

 I then taped the stencil with a bit of masking tape to the mug. I placed my stencil opposite the handle to give the best effect.

Using the black pen first I followed the stencil then used the orange to fill in the colour of the carrot nose. The pens I bout asked for me to leave them to dry for four hours before placing the in the oven for thirty minutes at 150 degrees. But you should follow the instruction of the pens you bought. After baking the picture seemed smoother and less likely to scrub off. I had tried this with sharpies but the picture didn't stay for more than two washes.

List of materials

Plain white mugs
Porcelain pens
Craft knife
Craft board
Masking tape
Chosen Olaf colouring page printable

If I Lived In A Snow Globe

Winter Snow Globes

Term 2 is a great opportunity for the children to experiment drawing with colouring pencils on different coloured paper. As part of a community art exhibition we were asked to think of what winter means to us or our ancestors. With this in mind, I asked the children to think of what it would be like to live in a snow globe where it is winter all the time. This really captured the children's imagination.

After we gathered some ideas about what we could draw the children used a plate to draw round to get their circle shape. The children then used either wax crayons or colouring pencils to draw their winter scene. As you would expect, a lot of the pictures featured snowmen, houses and trees.

If the children are using wax crayons, it is a great opportunity to encourage them to use as many different part of the crayon as possible. Questioning them to how the lines and texture you get when you use the side and tip of the crayon changes, can widen their understanding of texture in a picture.

To finish the snow globe of we cut out the circles and stuck a black shape on the bottom for the stand.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Winter Wonderland Pictures


Using Value , Tints and Shades in a Picture

The winter time is a great time to teach the children about tints and shades so after the recent large harvest moon I took the opportunity to capture the children's imaginations to create these winter wonderland pictures
We worked on A3 off white sugar paper. The children were given a paint pallet with just a white and a blue splodge of paint. I modelled to the children how to create value using tints and shades in a painting.
We began by painting a large circle in the top two thirds of the paper, using the blue paint. I let the children choose whether their work would be portrait or landscape ( most chose the later as that's what I modelled). We then painted everything outside and to the edge of the paper in the same blue. With the left over blue paint we added a little white and mixed well. We then painted a second circle inside the first slightly overlapping the first circle. we continued adding white and creating circle until a small circle was left . We filled this with pure white.
In the bottom third of the picture the children painted this white for the snow scene.
After they had dried and in the second session the children then used black paint to create silhouettes in the moonlight.  

Snow Men Perspective

Birds Eye View Snow Men

If you work in a Primary School setting or have a child under the age of 13, it is impossible for you to of avoided the latest Disney Movie Frozen. It is the perfect time of year to capitalize on the children's latest craze. Olaf the snowman in the movie can easily be used to enthuses the children into creating great Pieces of art.
We began by creating a background using white wax crayons on an off white pieces of cartridge paper. The children then applied a blue colour wash with water colour paints to create a resist.
Whilst this was drying, the children used three different sized circles of plain paper to draw their snowman (Olaf). We talked about perspective and the angle at which we would be looking at the snowman. Most of the children realised they could layer the circles on top of each other to give a birds eye view perspective.
Then we used blue oil pastels to give definition to the edge of the circles. The children finished their work off by adding detail to their snowman i.e a scarf, nose, buttons even a hat.

Texture Rubbings

Textured Moving Wolves

As my focus this term has been texture, the children in years 1 and 2 looked at texture in the simplest way. By feeling textures in their environment and describing them.

Later, I tasked the children with exploring the classroom and taking rubbings of the different textures they found. The children had an A3 wolf template that I found through Pinterest.

The children could choose the different coloured wax crayons they used to take their rubbings. This added to the overall effect. I did specify they had to find a different texture for each part of the wolf.

After the children cut out their wolf parts and assembled them into moveable wolf puppets using split pins.

This is a great little art activity that could be adapted to many different contexts. The reason we chose wolves was because of the terms literacy text by Lauren Child - Whose Afraid of The Big Bad Book. The main purpose or outcome of the activity should be for the children to begin to identify and describe textures in their environment and incorporate them in their work.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Textured Landscapes


Using Lines To Create Texture

This term the focus has been on texture and how to create it in pictures. This particular project is a good way of showing how different lines can create texture in a picture.
I began by asking the children to section the paper (portrait) into at least three parts. A foreground middle ground and background. There had to be an interesting feature in each section. Many went for mountains or volcanos in the background, a pond or river in the middle ground and smaller objects such as rocks or grass in the foreground.
Once they had outlined their sections with a black felt tip the children experimented with using different lines to create texture. We had previously practise drawing as many different lines as possible in two minutes as a warm up. The children used these lines as a reference point for their larger piece of work.
From the example you can see that the children used cross hatching, wavy lines and even their own names to give texture to the picture. The most successful pieces came from children who tried to match lines used to the natural texture of the section. i.e wavy loopy lines for water or bumpy sharp lines for the stones or rocks.

Textured African Art

Creating Texture in Paint


Part of the school curriculum and ethos looks at the wider world and includes the school being linked to a partner school. Currently our is Uganda in Africa. In the past there has been teacher exchange visits and this year we had  a whole term looking at African stories.
Year 3 and 4 were reading the story Fly Eagle Fly and we looked a different African art examples. A lot of African art presents opportunities to look at warm colours and texture.
We created textured paper by applying a base colour then once that was dry we painted another layer on top and scrapped through using different tools. i.e forks, knifes, pens etc.
Finally the children cut the paper up into strips and arranged them on a coloured piece of paper to create three figures. The tallest being in the middle. The children then finished the picture with black felt tips.