Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Annual ornament making at WBCL

Sparkle everywhere,  tables full of items to paint all grouped together so that everyone could use their imagination and create ornaments. There is a great appeal to making your own ornaments instead of picking out the stuff at the store. 
Every year families flock to the library to participate in this event. Having plentiful volunteers also helps during the event. 
This year was no different. There were small sleds and sleighs, CDs made into wonderful's sparkling hanging ornaments. Colorful plastic balls painted with a variety of items from snowmen to abstracts. And always glitter. There were snowmen and santas and candy canes. There were bears.  there were angels of every type that became decorated exactly the way that each person wanted them to be. 
No one went home with less than five ornaments. This was so much fun!

Lights are the symbols of winter celebrations @WBCL

Have families draw and then create their art is always great. searching symbols of winter I found that all of them included lights or candles. I found some great information on Wikipedia on this one.

I did a sketch in advance of the class of four different symbols for the kids to follow. We did a menorah, a candelabra for Kwanza, an advent wreath , and the luminary bag. We talked about the number of candles and the colors of candles. We also drew a single candle with a flame. The kids did a great job.

Snowman and hot cocoa gift bag @ WBCL

We try to paint at least once a month and this pattern was too cute to pass up. I printed it out on paper then had the kids and their parents paint them. We used crayons for a wax resist on them. They turned out great. We then glued them to white paper bags to make our gift bags. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Painting Eco-pumpkins at WBCL

This is the first year the library has not had real pumpkins and the paper bag Eco-pumpkins were a hit.  Thanks especially to Katherine Sands, Angel Washington, Mary and Joe Petronis, and Scott Smith for coming out and helping me put this event on for the community. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Making Monster boxes @WBCL

Monster boxes
This is one of the most fun and versatile of the recycled projects we have done lately. Kleenex boxes are easy to come by and sturdy so are easy for everyone to work with. The idea of a not very scary monster works well too. This project uses a large kleenex box (square ones would work too), styrofoam egg carton cups, construction paper, glue, and chenille stems. They covered the boxes, cut out sharp teeth and added eyes and tongues. We made the tongues curl by wrapping the paper on a pencil. Some got very "far out" on the antennae and eye locations. The younger kids and their parents are really getting into it sometimes. Lots of glue on fingers this week. Next week spiders.
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Painting sunflower door hangers

It was time to do a bit of painting and this let everyone produce a great door hanger. It is rare that I lead the group in step by step painting as they are pretty artistic and I like to let them be as creative as possible. But I thought it might be fun to do the sunflower as a group then add a few details as they finished them.  I drew the sunflowers and ran the pattern on the copier so they could focus on the painting. we have had some really TINY sunflowers in the past. They got to learn how to cut out a circle without breaking the edge (most of them did) and how to get a 2 colored center using a Q-tip. 

The art classes are designed for around age 8 but younger kids do well with parents and older kids expand most projects. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A buggy bug bottle @WBCL

After the film canister projects the next item in the basket to create a project using them was medication bottles. Seems we get a lot of them and they were just the right size for a special bug project. Not just any old bug catching box these, but we turned the bottles into bugs that could hide a bug or two with a twist of the lid. 
I provided a fairly good sized bottle with the tops that turn over so they are easily removed by kids. They then decorated the tops with big pom poms and added fun foam or construction paper wings, chenille stems for antennae and legs or other appendages and of course, eyes--self stick or wiggly. Just the thing to take to the park and catch a few bugs.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Making floppy hats for Diez y Seis celebrations @WBCL

Diez y Seis hats
 This was a great project and a nice way to learn a little history too. We talked about Mexican independence day and the 202nd anniversary then launched into the project.
All it takes is a 24" x 24" piece of wrapping paper, a plastic bowl, some tape, some yarn and a tissue papper flower-which we also made. It was way too hard to form the hats on the kids' heads so a bowl is the perfect form. Some of them actually incorporated the bowl permanently into the hat. The paper is scrunched over the bowl to create a crown for the hat and taped to keep the tucks in place. We then added yarn to serve as the hatband and taped it in place. Some at this point sewed the bowl to the hat with the yarn. Last we made tissue flowers and added those. Great fashion show.
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

bottle cap bugs @ WBCL

This is truly a recycled art project! The. body of the bug is a colored plastic bottle top and the wings are cut from gallon milk jugs and colored. Paint did not stick reliably to all the lids but crayon did and did well on the wings too so we used plain old fashioned crayon colors. We had some little odds and ends of chenille stems left from other projects which we cut into antenna and used small google eyes to complete the bug. 
Some of the bottle tops were hinged and resulted in movable bees. Interestingly the bugs flew threw the library for about 15 minutes before settling down and going home with their creators. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Modern art painting Jackson Pollock style @WBCL

We discussed doing this project in the spring and I tried it out at summer art camp with great success. The project is divided into 2 parts: first the painters draw and paint geometric objects with bright colors on a "canvas" then they use thinned paints to dribble and spatter the whole piece and complete the project. We went outside for the second half as it is so messy. Everyone had to leave their shoes and cover up to keep paint from spattering all over their clothes. What a fun time this was. The kids learned a little art history and made a modern art painting circa 1960.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tissue paper stained glass is a hit @ WBCL

I have tried this project a couple of times before with kind of mixed results but thought if I could just get the right idea out there it would work and it did! I used tracing paper for the background of the design and had the kids select a design from 4 patterns I supplied: a lighthouse, a turtle, a fish, and a rising sun. They traced the design using dark crayons then selected colored tissue paper and traced the segments of the design onto it, cut out the sections, and pasted them onto the tracing paper. The finished project was placed into a vinyl scrapbook sleeve. Not only were all the kids able to do most of it but the parents seemed as engaged as their kids building this window. We tested them out to see how they would look with the light shining through them--spectacular!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Making Mosaics kid style @ WBCL

Kids love to create pictures using stones and glass pieces but they never seem to "get" why all the area around the design needs to be filled in with something. Maybe  unless you are walking on the mosaic, it doesn't. I handed out glass floral beads, glass sticks, and colored gravel along with pencils and plenty of tacky glue. Lots of stories about what their tile had on it and from the smiles, it was a fun project. It is one that almost any age can do which makes it great in the summer. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Modern art camp lets us Paint, Paint, Paint

we spent a bit of time each day talking about the various artists --when they lived, what made their art be considered "Modern." We started the week with Jackson Pollack and his sidewalk creations. The campers first drew and painted bright geometric shapes then we dribbled paints over the entire canvas. Great results!

 We looked at a Nicolas LeBeuan-Benic nature print then did a tracing of the tree onto rice paper. The campers then painted the branches. The hardest part was convincing them to leave the branch tips in colored pencil. We sponged on multiple colors for the leaves using ball pouncers. We followed his design with reddish sunlight accenting the painting. Last step was to frame it with matting and a bit of accent. 

Drawing and chalk pastels are a hit with this group. I love the vibrant color even though they are a bit messy. We looked at Picasso faces and other faces then drew a self-portrait in either Picasso style or realistic. We then used the chalk pastels to paint our pictures blending with our fingers. These are sealed with cheap hair spray which sets the chalks well.

We talked about Chagall and his paintings of scenes from places he had been and liked that were a little more than life then drew our impression of his circus. We ran out of time to do the coloration on this one but the drawings were superb! 
We finished our day off doing modern designs on a reusable bag. I love having something useful to carry the projects home in. We reviewed a number of geometric and other "modern" designs then set out to draw and paint our own. I saw peace signs, swirls, electric penguins and lots more.

I was excited to find another way to do tie dyeing a few weeks ago that eliminates the need for a microwave oven. we prepared cotton socks in the usual way then using very watery acrylic paints we saturated our socks and created wonderfully bright socks and t's. They are a bit stiff when first dried but after a wash and a bit of fabric softener they will be fantastic. video is at: tie dye socks  tie dye socks 2
We ended the week with 2 drawing and painting projects. First we looked at pictures of Georgia O'Keeffe's gigantic flowers and western scenes. Campers picked which artworks to paint with the red landscape, large flowers and giant shells being selected. They painted on over-sized blue cardstock and the results were fantastic and not caught on film. 
Our final project was a Paul C├ęzanne watercolor of a bridge in the woods. Even though the kids have painted with watercolors before it is hard to convince them to not over pigment their projects. Lots of them got demonstrations on how to remove the extra paint and get the lighter airier look. Cannot believe how well they draw and paint!

Mixed Media art camp=glass mosaics, weaving, collages, and more

 We started the week with Altoids tins and CD cases to decorate using beads, felt, sequins and gems. Some of the campers had done tins before but each one is unique and given the option of 2 surfaces some just like the tins. I just like what they do.
 Glass floral beads are fun to look at and fun to use.We had tubs of the glass beads and bottle caps both metal and plastic to use.  Each camper was instructed to take the caps and beads and create a picture with them on the foam board squares. We used E6000 which works well but smells really bad as our adhesive. It is always better when the project pieces do not fall off due to the glue. Everyone did well spreading the adhesive with sticks.
 Weaving provided a bit of a challenge for many of the campers. I had a giant pile of embroidery hoops to use for this project and lengths of floss and ribbon to serve as the base. We taught the kids how to secure their threads to a center ring and bring them around the hoop but lots of the kids cannot tie knots. With lots of help from the JCs we got them ready to weave fabric strips and yarns then add a feather or two for smashing dream catchers.
 Painting and decorating on jeans pockets was one of the favorite projects this week. The kids had a choice of front, back, full or leg cuts to use and create their designs. we had buttons, gems, cording and other trims to add once the designs were painted. At the end we glued the ends closed on the leg ends and full jeans to make carry bags and added cords. One of the campers decided to construct his own  adding a couple of denim squares to make his project larger.
 For this collage I made  the pressed paper seahorses and starfish in advance. the campers used shades of blue paper to create the impression of water then added charms and the seahorse and starfish. Some added a few confetti for bubbles. The paper pressings were easy to paint with watercolor paints.
Our last project of the week was a doozy. I thought it would be fun to do a mixed media collage and use painted areas combined with decoupaged papers and napkins. We drew geometric designs on our canvas boards then painted parts of the boards. the campers next got to shop for their papers and trims and the group really got into this. Teaching decoupage was interesting as everyone seems afraid to use enough glue and not on top of the project. Once we got going though things really worked. At the end I got out very fine glitter and we added that to the other trims. What a fabulous way to end the week!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Shell critters bring out the creative spirit

What happens when you give kids a tray of shells and a few googly eyes? They make absolutely adorable critters and tell you all kinds of stories about what the critters are. We use hot glue to assemble the critters but tacky glue might work well at home. I have several resource books for people to look at but mostly the moms and dads look and the kids seem to be able to pull ideas out of their heads and create. Really great projects this week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Creating lighthouses brings in a crowd

This project never fails to please the participants and let them learn a bit about lighthouses too. We took a look at pictures of a number of lighthouses and talked about their purpose. The lighthouses are pretty easy to create but one of the essential pieces is getting in really short supply--glass baby food jars. We had just enough for this time though. It needs 1/2 of a paper towel tube, a jar, a cupcake liner, construction paper for stripes and windows, aluminum foil and a light to test it out. 

We wrapped the tube in light colored paper then cut stripes out of red and black and glued them onto the paper. Many also cut little windows from black paper and added those. A piece of foil folded to fit inside the side of the jar makes a great reflector and is easy to tape into place. We have cut cones for the top in the past but this time we used white cupcake liners and made great tops for the lighthouse. Last we used flashlights and battery candle lights to check out the function and found out they do light up and reflect light. Great learning project and it works for lots of ages.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wild Wacky science n art for Juniors

Talk about a wild and crazy idea-bring the sciencey camp to the younger kids. It worked except many 5 year-olds do no know what a robot is or appreciate the speed that pennies change color but they certainly had fun, learned some things and changed my perspective on what kids this age are intrigued by. It also helped to have a few of the 6-8 yr-old campers too.

Some of the projects were ones in motion--spinning tops and jumping bits - magnetic attractions between chenille stems and magnets or magnets and other magnets, milk and coloring, and water action on filter paper. You can click on any of the following pictures to view the video clips of the activity. 


Magnet dance

working with color and colloids   
Fun with tops

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making Tiki masks from juice bottles @WBCL

This is a project that I have been looking forward to all summer. I love making masks and the kids seem to love making them and using them, even ones like this that do not have eyeholes. 
The mask requires 1/2 of a 64oz juice bottle cut vertically, about 1/3 of a brown paper bag, a little construction paper or scrapbook paper, a corn husk,  a bit of tape and a little glue.
We wrapped the bag around the bottle and secured it with postal tape fitting it on top and bottom to cover. We then cut eyes and a mouth out of construction paper and added them. We made the nose and ears from bag handles or leftover paper bag cuttings and taped them on. I had a donation of some animal print paper that we used to decorate the faces with--zebra and cheetah. We added a bit of black paper shed for hair and a corn husk for a beard. The results were great as usual and had lots of variety. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fun with Dr. Seuss @art mini camp

 Doesn't everyone love Dr. Seuss? It has been fun to work with some of his lesser known stories and create the projects based on these. We started with reading "The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins" then made folded hats decorated with our own feathers made from paper shred. The kids really had a good time with the book and getting into character wearing the hats. 

We read "Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures" one of the Seuss learning library books and made our own aquariums. I had planned on using " McElligot's pond" but it is really long and was good to have as a resource instead. The kids drew fish, plants and other sealife then mounted them in a clear blue tub. 
 We continue on through "Oh, can you say din-o-saur" and "the things you can think" creating a decorated frame for a picture drawn by each camper. Our dinosaur project in clay produced a Trex, dino eggs, and a few dinos that even they could not identify. We tried our hands at drawing the features of a maze too to go with
 "I had trouble getting to Solla Sollew". Time was flying trying to fit it all in.

 We were given some corks that looked so much like giraffes and paper for many animals that we created Seuss type animals from the corks and chenille stems. We read " Horton hatches the egg" then painted wooden eggs with metallic tempera and colored the winged baby elephabird for the egg. 
We made nests complete with eggs and mama birds after reading "Fine feathered friends: All about birds" another Learning library selection.  The nests were paper shred on a cardstock base. The birds were more complicated with 2 fuzzy balls, feathers, a beak and wiggle eyes. We totally did not do tails on our birds!

Rocks talk to the group @WBCL

It is true. The rocks do tell us what the are! I brought a box of 2-3" rocks for the group to use in a variety of shapes--triangles, oblong, round and all kinds of odd ones. At first the kids were a little puzzled then suddenly they GOT IT. The rocks became penguins, butterflies, rabbits, cats and a lot more. we had quite a few ladybugs and other bugs too. It is fun to see how creative they can be. I used the book "Painting animals on rocks" by Lin Wellford to generate ideas for the group. I see several parents painting or making their own projects each week which is just wonderful. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wild & Wacky Science art mini-camp volcanos and more

 We started the week making crystals and had fun mixing up each concoction. We made crystals from Epsom salt which makes needles in the fridge, salt that blooms on a sponge, borax over chenille stems, and geodes from alum. Most take days to make although the Epsom salt ones show growth within 24 hours--lots of fun to look at.
We spent part of the afternoon crafting a space station or future place from plastic recyclables. I filled a bin with item and the campers got to choose items and configure a project working in groups.  They used CDs, plastic tubs, aluminum pans, caps, and lots more that I collected and a lot of hot glue. Part of the project teaches creativity and group work, part is safety in using hot glue guns,  pliers and scissors, and part of it is encouraging them to describe the project and tell the story behind their work. Someday we'll get that on film too. We are so lucky to have 2-3 volunteers to help the kids out doing the projects.

Although it is not strictly natural science the mechanics of catapults seemed a natural fit and as in the first week of science camp creation caused a lot of concern about their fingers but once the first ball was launched on one seemed concerned about anything except how far their ball would go and who they could hit with it. Check out the video: catapults1 and catapults 2
Paper making is messy but is something not very many kids have done. I started with cardboard egg cartons and ground them in the blender before class to create the pulp. We talked about use of deckles (the frame for straining the paper) and the process to press the water out and turn out a page of paper with bits of paper or shred in the surface. We did not dye the paper this time although we have in the past. 
 Fossils are interesting and investigating ways to examine them teaches the kids something about archaeological methods too. I have been keeping a fossil box for a couple of years and collecting things that make good impressions to look at; small pinecones, shells, bones, twigs, and odd shaped other items are great to press into clay or in this case damp sand to make the beginnings of the project. Once the pressings are complete we mixed plaster to make castings of them. The kids got to learn about the right consistency to pour plaster.

It takes a day or so to set up well enough to unearth the fossils from the sand. We used large tubs to support the castings and catch the sand. They brushed off sand with stiff brushes until they could see their cast fossil copy then let it dry a bit more and rebrushed. Once the sand was off the results were pretty amazing--the kids were picking out things on the surface that they recognized from the pressing part and were pretty impressed.

We began and ended our week with volcanoes. We watched films of volcanoes erupting and discussed some of the volcanoes and how big they get, how far the magma is thrown into the air and other topics. We looked at Kilauea in Hawaii and Mt. St. Helens in various states of eruption. We talked about Pompeii but I wasn't able to find a short video for them on that.
Constructing a volcano from a juice bottle is easy using rigid wrap and newspaper. Everyone shaped one and set it out to dry. On Thursday they
just looked too white to this group so everyone painted theirs before the eruption. (click on picture to view)   From art camp 2012
The results were satisfying but more to come on that as we invite the younger kids to the eruption.