Tag Archives: DIY

String Art – Initials

String Art Project

To kick off our school year, our church group got together for lunch and an activity. One of the ladies suggested doing some string wrapping. We had some string at the church building that was part of a stash of yarn and string belonging to a sweet, kind lady that is affectionately referred to as Mama D. Mama D has gone to her heavenly reward and is much missed here but has left behind an amazing legacy of love and gifts. We used some of her string for the students to create an initial of their own, giving each of them yet another special something from Mama D.

nail examples

We used leftover plywood that we spray painted and cut a piece of paper the size of the wood block. Then we used a pencil to draw a block letter that would fit the wood. The students had the choice of a simple outline or a crossing pattern. For the simple outline, we just put nails in at each place where the string needed held in a particular shape. If they chose the crossing pattern we put nails every inch or so. We were not really particular and let most of the students pound their own nails in.

string art images

After the nails were in, we tied the string to a nail and let them go at it. The outlines were good for the younger group and the older group really enjoyed doing the crisscrossing. They all came out lovely and they were really quite simple to do. Such a fun project to start our homeschooling year off.

At Home.

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Paper Mache Help from ACTÍVA Products ~ a Crew review

Activa crafting kit review

Crafting seems to be a constant around here and the idea of having some new ideas and products to work with is always exciting. When we heard about ACTÍVA Products and their Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit, we were excited. Miss L loves to create all sorts of things and these materials would be just right. And to make it even more exciting, Activa is offering everyone a copy of their free ebook ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS, which has full-color pictures and directions for creating a number of projects with the kit.

ACTÍVA Products is a company that specializes in crafting materials. They offer paper mache products as well as other several other clay products, colored sand, casting materials, and even a few flower arranging materials. Their site also offers a huge number of ideas and instructions for creating projects with their offered materials. I got a lot of inspiration and have lots of ideas that I want to create.

The Kit

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit
We received the Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit for this review. When they arrived, there was a lot of excitement and we immediately pulled out the packages to look things over. In the box, were unlabeled packages and a photocopied instruction sheet. I’ll admit – these kind of dampened the excitement because I had to tell the kids that I had no clue what any of it was or how to use it. Labels would have been good and instructions on each product of how to use it would have been good.kit contents

After some research, I figured out that we had two rolls of 4 inch wide Rigid Wrap and one 8 oz package of CelluClay. But I still had to do some reading and researching to figure out how to use them. There was, on the copied sheets, instructions on the Rigid Wrap but I had to go to the website to find a sheet of instructions for the CelluClay. (I found it by searching for CelluClay. There is a link to the sheet on the page for the 1 lb package towards the bottom of the page on the right hand side.)

We did finally jump into projects but it was a bit intimidating. It was also very messy. I was very glad I had covered the table with a plastic cloth. And the kitchen floor had needed mopped anyway. These products create a lot of dust and very fine particles.

Rigid Wrap

Rigid Wrap

Miss L chose to use the Rigid Wrap and created an angel and a rose. Sculpting those from the Rigid Wrap took some patience.

Miss L working

To create the angel, she had to build up the biggest part and add the details slowly, The White Angelallowing a bit of drying time in between. The wings took some finesse but she just patiently molded and shaped until they were as desired. Then she held them in place and I fanned until they would hold their shape. After she got it how she wanted it, she set it aside to air dry. This took about 5 days to fully dry and it dried to a matte finish white. She has a collection of angels that she loves that are minimally colored and for now, she will leave this one white, as it fits fairly well into the collection.

For the rose, she cut each individual petal and one strip about 6 inches long. Dipping the roselong one into warm water, she then rolled it up for the center of the rose. Dipping each petal into the water, she would add it to the center, adjusting each petal to the shape and placement she wanted. She would then hold it in place while I fanned it to help it set and dry a bit. With so many pieces all on top of each other, it has taken a long time to dry. She had to leave for camp before it was dry so it will be painted when she returns.

I wasn’t as brave but I did want to try the snowman starproduct myself so I took on the star and snowman ornament from the ebook. Using a cardboard star cut from a box, I cut strips of Rigid Wrap and placed them over the star. Using my fingers to smooth it out and down over the edge, I covered the cardboard. After letting it dry for a bit, I took some of the scraps we had from other projects and used them to scrunch and fashion a snowman. I got the strips a bit wetter so they would stick better to the flat form. I was able to create some definition and depth by twisting and scrunching up the strips as I placed them. After it was fully dry, I painted it. While the yellow paint was wet, I shook some gold glitter down over it to add some sparkle. I hot glued the ribbon onto the back. I kind of like this little snowman. He brought some cool to the hot summer!

CelluClay

CelluClay

The CelluClay, a recycled paper product for instant paper mache, I was a bit leery of. I didn’t feel like I had good instructions. But knowing I needed to at least try it out, I dove in. This product feels like the lint from a dryer. It is just as dusty, too. Please take precaution; inhaling this is awful, causing a lot of coughing. I guessed at how much I would need to make three ice cream shaped pieces from a candy mold I have. I put it into a plastic ziplocking bag and added a bit of water. I added just a bit of water at a time, zipping it closed, and then mashing it around through the plastic to mix it up. Once I felt like it was well mixed, I tried to use it. It was like pulling soggy paper apart and I had to add additional water. I was finally able to get it to a consistency I could use.

I packed it into the mold until it was level on the back and I felt I would get good definition on the front detailing. I then removed it from the mold and added a red bead to be the cherry and to put a cord through. Then, I let it dry. It took about three times as long as I expected for it to dry. I even tried to speed it up, as they recommended, by using a hair dryer. I did that for about 15 minutes and felt like it did not really make much difference. So I left it to dry overnight at that point. When they were dry, I painted them and added the string.

ice cream necklaces

I can see several possibilities for CelluClay now that I have used it. I would love to see the company add good instructions to the kit’s box, either printed on the box or a sheet inside that addresses both products and is easier to read. The project ideas are fantastic and I would love to see more product ideas for CelluClay come with the kit, as well.

ACTÍVA Products has some interesting products and ideas. The  Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit is a great way to introduce your kids to the opportunities that abound with these products.

At Home.

Others have been creating some amazing projects with this kit, as well. Head over to the Homeschool Review Crew blog by clicking on the banner below to find other projects.

Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit {ACTÍVA Products Reviews}Crew Disclaimer

Creating a Creative Habit – Middle School Monday

Creating a Creative Habit MSM

How do you encourage creativity in your students? If we don’t encourage creativity, it is so easy for students to not become creative.

“I just don’t know what to do.”

“I can’t do it.”

“I’m not good at that.”

These excuses and more are often closing doors. But if we encourage them and create opportunities, the creativity will blossom.

I want to share with you 5 ways in which we try to encourage our girls to be creative.

1 – Give them the needed materials. Whether it is needles and thread and fabric for sewing or glue and paper and tape, even glitter (I know some of you are cringing) – we give the girls the materials they need to create whatever it is that their brains are dreaming up. Cross-stitch, sewing, crafts, legos, paper, tape, glitter, sequins, beads, string, googly eyes, and more make up many, many spaces in our home.

2 – Step away. Once they have the materials, let them use them. Let them experiment. Let them read or dream and create. Without interference, who knows where their ideas will take them. At the same time . . .

3 – Provide instruction. After the experimentation, art classes or fiber arts classes or field trips to learn about the materials and how they are used can all help provide instruction and inspire further creativity. Whether it is taking a child to a specific class or teaching them at home, instruction will give direction to their ideas.

4 – Allow them time. Don’t structure their time so closely that they have no time to just create. I fail at this one quite often. I plan to work on a project with them – getting out the paints or coloring materials – and let it go right by without a second thought. Time is a critical factor in creating and seeing ideas to fruition.

5 – Remind them that no one is good at everything and sometimes, it takes a while to find out where their own strengths lie. So try things. Be willing to make and learn from failures. Because in those failures, learning occurs.
Creating a Creative Habit

These are just some thoughts that have been running through my head today as I watch my girls work with their hands on various things – Lego creations, crochet, creating projects from an American Girl book, finger printing with inks, drawing, and more. All of it is a joy to see, even when I end up with 33,000 bookmarks made by one who just learned to braid and another who loves creating with duct tape. Add to it all the drawings and finger printing – well, family just better be looking for some packages in the mail. 🙂

At Home.

Simple Guitars for Your American Girl Dolls

simple-guitars

Miss J loves projects. She saw a picture a while back of some American Girl guitars so she wanted to make them. This afternoon, we did just that. Took us all of about 15 minutes to produce two simple guitars that she will endlessly enjoy using with her dolls.

josefina-electric-guitar

Process:

  • Open Google and type in “acoustic guitar black line coloring page” or  “electric guitar black line coloring page”
  • Find an image you like and save it
  • Print it at as full a size on a page of white card stock as will fit
  • Color and cut out. You could add glitter or some other glitzy stuff here but Miss J wanted hers just colored.
  • Find a ribbon and tape it on the back at the places where it will hold correctly on the doll – somewhere at the back of the body of the guitar and somewhere close to the end of the neck.
  • Sling it onto the doll and put on some music so she can perform.

josefina-acoustic-guitar

Simple. That is all there is to it. Enjoy!

At Home.

Happy Halloween

 

Happy Halloween to everyone. Yes, we enjoy dressing up and having fun. We spend time with friends and family. We play games. We enjoy just being who we are (or maybe who we are dressed up as).

happy-halloween-2016

We don’t worry about the implied connotations that others try to place on this day. We don’t stress about what others may think we are condoning or approving by dressing up as fun characters and sharing the day with others. We celebrate being alive another day and living the life God gave us.

We dress up for dance classes. We dress up for trunk-or-treat at church. We dress up because it is fun. We dress us because we like to see how well we can make our costumes. We just enjoy having fun. Be like a kid and just enjoy life.

And, since this is Monday, I’m tying it into my common Middle School Monday post. These costumes are almost completely made by the girls. Miss E did the sewing for her minion outfit using fabric we had in our stash. We did buy the yellow shirt but everything else came from the house. Miss L was given the butterfly wings for her costume. Everything else she put together from her closet. Well, except for the antennae headband. We didn’t have a dark headband or black pipe cleaners so we did buy those so she could make antennae. Miss J is Astrid from Race to the Edge. She cut out all the pieces for her costume and she sewed the skirt. I did the hot gluing for the studs on it, which we bought. She made the shoulder covers and the necklace. Her sister made her the ax. We did have to buy the shoes but she was due for some new ones anyway that would keep her feet warm so it fit right in. And there you have it – the costumes the giggly girls made for having fun.

At Home.

Needle Work is Finished – Middle School Monday

She did it! She finished her cross stitch and decided to gift it to her best friend for a birthday gift. She finished the stitching and then chose fabric to turn it into a pillow. She cut and sewed the pillow herself and it turned out really sweet.

The finished product:

finished-cross-stitch

finished-cross-stitch-pillow-back

At Home.

Turning Drums

turning drum craft for a party

The birthday party from a while back included another craft activity that allowed for a lot of creativity – turning drums.

As I mentioned, the party had a Chinese tea party theme. So, turning drums fit right in. Miss L got the idea from a book she was reading about Ancient China. So, she figured out how to make the turning drums.

She asked for paper plates, well saucers really – the smaller ones. She got out sucker sticks and yarn after searching through the stash of craft supplies and finding a variety of wooden beads. She put all of this together with markers and a hole punch and tape in a basket so it was ready for the guests.

turning drums beginning work

They decorated their plates however they desired and each one was quite different. Some of the girls chose to just decorate it simply and others chose to do a very detailed scene. Some chose words and some did not. A couple of the girls tried to replicate some of the Chinese characters that we got off of the internet. (She had looked up how to do Happy Birthday in Chinese so we are hoping that we got the correct translation!)

turning drums decorating two sides

They came out cute but we had to alter the plan after we had done a couple of them with tape. Instead of taping the sucker stick inside, we realized it needed to be hot glued. The tape just didn’t hold. So, we grabbed the hot glue gun and corrected the issues with the turning drums but gluing the sucker stick and then gluing around the edges.

A single hole punch was the tool of choice to create a place on either side to attach the yarn and wood balls to be the beaters of the turning drum. These are what make the sound when you carefully and steadily turn the drum back and forth.

turning drums finished

This cute craft was a fun one that puts the girls in touch with the history of a culture that is quite unusual when compared to our own. Some of the history of the drums was shared and the girls were proud to take their turning drums home at the end of the party.

At Home.

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