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Using different surfaces is a great exercise for learning new techniques and provides opportunities to use untraditional materials to create beautiful work on a simple everyday material.
With some graph paper and a little bit of math you can make your very own Minecraft Selfie!
Try your hand at printmaking with this fun activity! It only takes three materials to create vibrant prints of your own.
This is a great project that combines art and science for kids to create their own slimy monsters!
Pulled String Art
Create mesmerizing visuals with this fun activity that uses string and watercolors!
Woven Paper Baskets
These baskets are great for decoration, gift baskets or for storing art supplies. It only takes a list of five supplies to make your own unique basket!
Calder-Inspired Paper Sculptures
During his career, Alexander Calder created some of the most well known public artworks around the country. Create your own mini Calder sculpture with simple craft supplies to brighten up your bookshelf, desk, or coffee table!
Cardboard Roll Sculptures
Have you ever seen a sculpture and thought “I could do that!” Try your hand at sculptures by reusing household items like rolls from paper towel to create a maquete (scale model) for your own sculpture!
Stained Glass Art
Who would’ve thought you could create cool artwork with just food coloring and glue?!
Slotted Building Discs
Fidget spinners and stress balls can be helpful activities when you get writers block, but so can building things! Check out these great templates to create your own building discs for your home office or work table!
Painted Potted Cacti
Plants can do wonders for any room, but some can be tricky for those without a green thumb. Take your worries out of the equation with this fun painting activity!
DIY Foam Paint
Foam paint adds great textures and is tons of fun! 4 supplies is all you need – Shaving Cream, Elmer’s Glue, Food Coloring, and Paper!
Dip your toes into the world of origami with this fun and simple craft! Make a couple for the tub or a whole fleet for the swimming pool!
Paper Owl Mask
Create cool masks for your next backyard play with these simple and fun instructions. Once you master owls, try to challenge yourself to create other animal masks!
Egg Carton Ocean Scenes
Display shells, gems, rocks, and other treasures by transforming an empty egg carton into an ocean wonderland!
These paper spinners will provide hours of fun for the whole family!
Bubble Snake Maker
Take your bubble game to the next level with this awesome Bubble Snake maker! Mix and match your snakes with different sized bottles and coloring to unleash snakes throughout the entire yard!
DiY Sharpie Mugs
With Father’s Day right around the corner, DIY Sharpie Mugs can make for great personalized gifts for dad or for yourself!
Do you ever get so excited about prepping your garden that you forget which plants are which? Making garden markers is a great way to recycle materials, provide helpful reminders, and add a custom look to your garden. The link below shows a number of different options to get even more creative in the garden this season.
Give your summer beverage some flair by turning your straw into a flower and sip in style.
Magic Paper Art Cubes
If your child loves fidget toys or something to keep their hands busy, these little paper art cubes are addictive- for adults too! The instructions in the link below are great and there is a video as well- they are both towards the bottom of that page.
Colored Pencil Cosmic Cat Drawings
If you love creating with colored pencils, these cosmic cats will really be up your alley! Check out these clear, easy-to-follow instructions that will guide you in creating your own unique version. When you are working with colored pencil, especially as a beginner, you may want to initially keep your drawings small and then make larger drawings as you grow more comfortable with colored pencil techniques. We strongly encourage checking out the “Basics of Using Colored Pencils” post below. *Note: Younger children may find it easier to draw a basic cat face and work from there as opposed to using a grid system to draw one from a reference photo.
Basics of Using Colored Pencils
Are you new to using colored pencils? Here are some quick tutorials on a variety of techniques. Learn how to blend, hatch, cross-hatch and more. Also included is a lesson on the basics of shading and information on several types of colored pencils and how they differ.
Sun can be hard to come by in Michigan sometimes, so catch it while you can! A little bit of glue and food coloring can go a long ways towards brighting up your windows.
Here’s a project you can really be “all thumbs” with! This is a great little project for the kiddos. All you need is paper, a stamp pad, and an ink pen. Ink up those fingers and stamp them randomly around a piece of paper. Give them a few minutes to dry and then use an ink pen to transform them into monsters, animals, cars, balloons, fish- the sky’s the limit!
With these 80 degree days coming up, who can’t help but think about some tasty, cool treats?! If your are new to watercolor, learn how to create a simple series of popsicles with wet-on-wet gradients. If you are a teen, adult, or a youth who has worked with watercolors before, learn how to create watercolor popsicles that have a more sophisticated look and that use a combination of both wet-on-wet and wet-on-dry techniques. Grab a little sun and enjoy experimenting!
Pen & Ink “Weirdos” by Alexander Gordon
Do you or your child love sci-fi and/or character design? Check out the work of the very talented artist, Alexander Gordon. Alex titles his characters “weirdos” and finds inspiration in the everyday items around him- pencils, toasters, appliances, etc. He starts out by drawing symmetrical shapes in pencil and using the shapes as inspiration for the rest of the character. Next, he imagines what the eyes will look like, and then adds in details, textures, and lots of personality before inking them in. When he inks them in, he uses a combination of both heavier outlines and finer lines for the details. Check out the many, many weirdos he has created over time- all of them completely different! View them for inspiration, but then try making a few of your own completely unique weirdos and share your pics of them to email@example.com . We’d LOVE to gather enough “Weirdos” to share with Alex and everyone else!
Make Your Own Scratchboards
Who doesn’t love scratch art- and why spend money buying scratchboards when you can make your own?You can make them with just oil pastels, as seen in the first version below, or use crayons or oil pastels with either tempera or acrylic paint layered over it, as seen with the second version below. Try experimenting with different types of mark-making tools. Wooden tools may work best, like toothpicks, chopsticks, etc., but explore and experiment!
Oh, man. For a super pleasant, squishy experience, check out this easy-peasy cloud dough recipe. We gave this recipe a spin and it literally took 1 minute. It may take 2 or 3 minutes if you wanted to work in some food coloring. We used cheap V05 strawberry conditioner with corn starch- roughly 2 parts corn starch, 1 part conditioner. Slowly mix in the cornstarch until the dough feels right. It smelled lovely and made the softest clay. This is definitely addictive and is very much how we imagine a cloud would feel.
Simple Bound Journals
Do you need a new booklet for sketching in, keeping notes, making a short scrapbook, or keeping grocery or to-do lists in? Look no further! We are loving how these simple bound journals are both easy to make and use of some of our many lovely scraps that we haven’t been able to part with.
Clothespin puppets… they look like ferocious or maybe cute eating machines. If you’ve just fed your demanding cat, you’ll notice the resemblance. Draw a creature in profile, cut it horizontally through the mouth and glue the top half to the top edge of the clothespin and the bottom half to the bottom edge of the clothespin. For added fun, make a tiny creature that it is eating and glue or tape it to the back edge of the clothespin, so that you can see it when you open the larger creature’s mouth.
T-Shirt Yarn Rugs & Crafts
As you tackle this year’s spring cleaning, don’t throw away those old battered t-shirts! Learn how to upcycle them by turning them into t-shirt yarn and transforming the “yarn” into rugs and other easy crafts. That old “Hanson” or “98 Degrees” t-shirt will find a new life (and maybe a better life?) as a colorful and stylish floor covering. This activity is great for ages 10 and up.
Symmetrical Name Creatures & Designs
Make a great sign for your door or your room with your name on it! The image on the far left is an example of bilateral symmetry. If you were to draw a line down the center of the name design, the right half would appear to be a mirror image of the left half. The image on the right is an example of radial symmetry. It’s symmetrical in multiple directions around the center of the page. In that particular version of the project, if you were to draw a diagonal line between two corners and through the center of the page, the drawing on one side will always be a mirror image of the other side. When you apply color to either your name creature or name design, make sure the colors are a mirror image of each other as well! This activity is great for ages eight and up!
American Gothic Parody Drawings
Grant Wood’s painting, American Gothic, is one of the most recognized, and also one of the most parodied works of American art. A parody, in this case, is a funny imitation of a famous masterpiece. Use drawing materials to make your own parody of American Gothic and imagine what character pairing might put an interesting or humorous spin on it!
Construction Paper Mosaics
A mosaic is artwork created by placing colorful small pieces of stone, tiles or other materials closely together to form an image. Tile mosaics were a popular form of artwork used by the Greeks, Romans, and other cultures throughout history. Lightly draw an image on a piece of construction paper. Now cut other colors of construction paper up into small squares and glue the small squares of colored construction paper onto your image to in effect, “color it in”. Keep the tiles close together, but allow a little bit of breathing room between them.
We hope you’ll find this easy craft for kids “imPRESSive”! (We really worked hard on that pun.) Homemade stamps can be made in a wide variety of ways. Bottle caps and craft foam are a great way to create very specific shapes. Blocks wrapped with yarn, the time-tested potato stamp carving, and wine corks with foam or other stampable materials attached all work well. This is kind of a 2 activities bundled into 1 sort of experience, as once they make the stamp, kids can then enjoy using it to create lots of patterned artwork.
It is practically summer, so we are sure spring must be… neeaar-ish??? Yes. Yes it is! There are leaves on trees now and a couple of flowers here and there! Don’t let this window of opportunity pass you by! Forage and gather a few natural materials, being careful not to harm new growth, and get collaging! The image paired with this post is of animals and may appeal more to young children, but the link below contains inspiration including a few more advanced collages, fairies, butterflies and insects, collages that incorporate drawing, and some outdoor earthworks. Get in some sunshine and fresh air this weekend with these seasonal sensations!
Freezer Paper Stencils
For an easy way to decorate t-shirts, tote bags, and more, check out these easy iron-on freezer paper stencils! Use them with regular paint, fabric paint, spray paint or bleach spray (see the Bleached T-Shirt Designs post). We are really digging this star wars t-shirt!
Coffee Filter Butterflies & Crafts
While toilet paper may be hard to find, coffee filters seem to be plentiful. Add some dazzling color to the filters with washable marker designs spritzed with water or dip them in food dye, then transform them into stunning butterflies, beautiful blooms, and more! View more crafts below.
Screenprinting is crazy fun and a great way to make multiples of your artwork or fashionable designs. The materials you typically need to screenprint are not necessarily items most people would have at home. Fear not, here is an easy screenprinting hack. No- it will never give you the same result as using a fine mesh screen and screen filler, but will it do the job- absolutely! A nylon stocking will work for the mesh screen, but if you happen to have a stronger, finer sheer fabric like organza or an old sheer window curtain around, give that a go. A tighter, stronger weave will serve you well. This project works best with ages 10 and up, but could work for younger kids with additional assistance.
Tin Can Crafts
We CANnot believe how many cool things can be made with tin cans. We know you’re thinking, tin can art was so 1980’s. Wrong. It’s totally in for 2020. With more cans around our house than tp rolls, we’re bringing it back. Make some prolific robot sculptures, luminaria, windchimes, or your own unique metal marvels with last night’s spaghetti o’s (or organic, low-sodium, gluten free soup) can!
Watercolor Insects in Warm & Cool Colors
Are you buggin’ out from all the indoor time? Check out this bright and cheery watercolor insect project. Learn about warm and cool colors. You can incorporate any type of bug you want- a giant beetle, lady bug, praying mantis, bumblebee, ant, stink bug, or even an imaginary insect.
Oil Pastel Landscape
Learn how to use blending techniques with oil pastels to create a colorful masterpiece. We encourage you to watch the tips on how to blend oil pastels before moving onto the landscape video. The landscape video will give you some ideas on how to make one, but use it as inspiration to come up with your own version that may include hills or mountains, valleys, ponds, rivers and fields, etc.
Mindbending Op Art
Op Art is short for “Optical Art”. It is abstract art that uses patterns to trick the eye into seeing movement, hidden images, warping, or vibrating imagery. Learn how to create your own mindbending images!
Drawing Emotions & Facial Expressions
When we express an emotion, what changes in our facial expression? Our eyes, eyelids, eyebrows, mouth, nose, and facial muscles all work together to create a picture revealing how we feel. Try the exercise below and view how a few different artists visually exaggerate their character’s facial expressions to communicate emotions.
With just the flick of a white crayon or oil pastel, create a secret drawing that no one else can see. Just paint over the paper with vibrant watercolor paints, liquid watercolor, or watered-down tempera paints and all will be revealed! The paint will not cover over the white crayon or oil pastel- they act as a “resist”. The drawing will show up best if you press a little harder with the crayon or draw thicker lines.
Discover the lost art of snail mail. Snail mail doesn’t have to be a snooze. Give your reader something extra special to look forward to by manipulating or illustrating the exterior (or even the interior!) of the envelope. This project can be done in a number of different ways that appeal to kids, teens, or adults.
These pocket-sized pets are great for kids and even more fun to make. Put those old altoid tins or small boxes into use. Many of the examples in the link below use felt, but construction paper, found materials, sculpey clay, and other odds and ends will work just as well.
Fairy Garden Accessories
With the weather starting to warm up, there’s no time like the present to get working on a Fairy Garden. Grab your glue gun, some twigs, twine, wire, acorns, and whatever other found materials you have laying around to accessorize your fairy’s dream home.
Fantastic Food Art
Explore some culinary creativity! Art can happen anywhere. Even on your plate. What child doesn’t enjoy playing with their food? Make fruits and veggies a little more fun to eat or channel your stress baking into some artistic masterpieces.
Accordion books can be made in a myriad of ways and you can fill them with written stories, illustrated images, scrapbooked photos, and more. They can be the size of a matchbox or large enough to serve as a small, portable sketchbook.
Are you obsessed with glitter? For those of you that need some sparkle in your life, here’s a colorful, swirly, hypnotic project for you and the kids. You can use a mason jar, a plastic water bottle, a small vial, or just about anything that is both sealable and transparent.
Easy Friendship Bracelet Loom
Add some bling to your wrist with this super easy friendship bracelet loom. Once you start going, it will be hard to stop!
Make some artwork that really POPS! This colorful activity only requires a little cardboard or paperboard (like from a cereal box), glue, yarn, foil, and colorful sharpie or permanent markers.
In between snowstorms, we know you all are ready to get out in the sun and start gardening. Transform your tin cans, popsicle sticks, plastic bottles, clothespins, old toys, and more into a beautiful and useful planter! Check out a variety of options using the link below.
Even while we’re indoors, it can never hurt to dress your best! Check out the link below for instructions on how to make candy wrapper bracelets, newspaper hats and outfits, recycled t-shirt headbands and bracelets, a superhero jet pack and duct tape mask, easy fabric scrap tutus, no-sew t-shirt bags and more!
Add a little zip to your paper scraps with a variety of different paper marbling techniques! Try one or try them all. From our experience, we love how well paper marbling with shaving cream comes out. The colors are usually vibrant and crisp, the leftover shaving cream is fun to play with, and it leaves a pleasant smell in the air… for a very long time. So you might want to do it outside. Our summer campers adored this activity. Be sure to check out some of the other paper marbling methods that use oil, milk, and more. You can use the marbled papers you make to create cards or other projects.
Bring your cards to life with some 3-dimensional elements! Make a cute chick, like in the picture, or a scary monster! Are you a little older and up for more challenge? Try out some of the more complex examples of pop-up cards show in the link below.
Start with one continuous scribble on your page, then find faces within your scribbles and draw them in! Do this on your own or with someone else. You can make a scribble, trade it with a partner, and then find the creatures within it. To stretch this activity out, add some color!
No-Mess Smush Painting
No mess. Such beautiful words. This is a super easy one for the kidlets. Just a few drops of paint on some paper, pop it in a ziploc bag, seal it up tight, and let your tiny painter smush away!
Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Chalk this up as an easy-breezy outdoor activity for those upcoming sunny days. There’s a number of different recipes or ways to do it. You can use brushes and muffin tins, squirt bottles, or spray bottles- you can even make frozen sidewalk chalk. Test this out on the next nice day.
1,000 Toilet Paper Tube Crafts
Okay, so we know some of you out there have, shall we say, an abundance of toilet paper. Like a beaver building a damn, you have assembled a near fortress of toilet paper Here is your chance to emerge from your 2-ply, ultra-soft Charmin abode and put the remnants to use in a creative capacity. Get rollin’!
Zentangle drawings are an easy, meditative project. You can keep things simple or get very elaborate. There are no mistakes. The more patterns you add, the better it looks- okay, there’s a limit, but it’s really hard to surpass it. Even better, add some color. If you are sheltering-in-place with other people, you could each draw one, swap them, and color in the page.
Typography & Illustration
Find a favorite quote or song lyric and use typography to illustrate it. Typography is arranging and styling type to make it appealing to read. You can illustrate your quote using just typography or add images as well. It’s your choice!
RAISED SALT PAINTINGS
Feeling a little salty lately with all this indoor time? Get it all out on paper with this fun painting activity. It calls for liquid watercolors, but you can use watered down food coloring or watered down tempera paint.
Fabric Mache Bowls
Put some of your nicest fabric scraps to work and make a dazzling fabric mache bowl. We tested this out with our youngest group of Art Campers (5-7 year olds) and they made some great pieces. In that case, we had solo cups on-hand and used them instead of bowls to make fabric pencil holder cups. Feel free to experiment with different shapes and vessels beyond bowls. Narrow strips of fabric work well and they shouldn’t be too long- no more than 6 inches. It may take more than one layer of fabric mache. Let each layer of fabric dry before you add another. Thinner, natural fabrics, like cotton work best. If you have old cotton shirts or clothes, this is a great way to repurpose them.
“Taste Buds” Pairings
Designer and Illustrator Philip Tseng created a series of “Taste Buds” Pairings- food characters that have found their better half. His fun kawaii-style characters brightened our day. Some things are just better when they’re together. Try your hand at creating your own favorite food pairings!
MAKE THE LONGEST PAPER CHAIN EVER
This activity is guaranteed to keep going and going and going…
Light up your life with a little color, or a LOT of color! Use up all that scrap paper and junk mail- just make sure the paper is thick enough to hold a little weight. Give it a nice color pattern. Start out with some easy goals. A paper chain that’s 10 feet long, a chain that goes around the entire room, a chain that can go around the entire house… you can really take this as far as you would like it to go. The internet tells us that the Guiness Book of World Records lists the longest paper chain as 54.33 miles. So you should probably get started now.
Moveable Cat or Dog Character
Make some kinetic art today! Use the instructions and template below to create a moveable dog or cat character. You can also use the same premise and construction methods to create an entirely different character that is all your own. Cardstock or posterboard works great for this (if you do print the template out, you can glue it right onto it). Construction paper will work too, but may be more fragile. What are you waiting for? GET “MOVING”!
Torn Paper Collages
Torn paper collages are a great activity for kids, teens and adults. Magazines, newspapers, junk mail ads, paper remnants from craft projects, etc. work well for this project. You can make up your own design or work from a reference photo, but it’s always helpful to first sketch out the image on your paper before starting your collage.Tear up bits of paper by hand or use scissors if you prefer. You may choose pieces of paper that only contain color or you can compose with papers that have both color and writing or patterns on them to give your artwork more texture. This is an easy way to relax, enjoy, and unplug!
Create a stunning visual poem by singling out and visually highlighting words or phrases on a page from an old book or newspaper. These poems can be deep and meaningful or light-hearted and fun. Your illustrations can be literal or abstract, simple or complex. You choose!
Calling All Pancake Artists!
Wondering what to have for breakfast? Dial up your first meal of the day with some color and creativity! Add a little food coloring to your pancake batter. Pouring each color of batter into a squeeze bottle is great if you have them, but you can also use whatever containers you have at home- a liquid measuring cups, empty-clean-and-repurposed condiment squeeze bottles or water bottles, a turkey baster, etc. No food coloring on-hand or prefer not to use it? No problem! The link of examples also features some images of pancake designs made without food coloring. We hope you will share with us your culinary creativity and send pics of your pancake art to firstname.lastname@example.org!
These drawings may start out sweet and innocent, but a terrifying surprise awaits when you unfold the paper! Let loose your creativity and explore how to design your own monstrous creature or character!
Painting with Bubbles
Who doesn’t love bubbles? You might— if you do this indoors, lol! So take this project OUTSIDE and enjoy all that bubble painting has to offer. We did this with our summer camp and the kids had a blast! Word to the wise, tempera paint may be a little less “stainy” on the skin than food coloring (#lifelessons) -unless you’re using red. Red with any type of paint likes to linger. Experiment with using one straw to blow bubbles or even tape a few together. If you don’t have straws, you can always use bubble wands or a water bottle cut off 1/3 of the way down from the top. You can put the bubble mixture in cups or in a muffin tin. For an extra “burst” of creativity, mask the paper with cut-out shapes and blow bubbles around the mask. Explore and experiment!
Mini Golf Course Design: Indoor or Outdoor
As a 16 year veteran of summer camp programs, if you want something that will keep your kids busy and requires relatively little effort on your part (at least for kids ages eight and up)… mini golf course design is a real winner. This can be as artful as your kids want to make it. Cardboard, large cardboard tubes, old pool noodles, and random upcycled materials are your friends. Truly, you can make a mini golf course out of just about anything. The whole effort is a balance of artistic design and engineering. If you don’t have a golf club handy, no worries. You can make one out of found materials or cardboard. If you don’t want to go big, you can go TINY and make a tabletop version that you can play with a marble. For an extra challenge (or strategic advantage!), have them spin around ten times before they golf.
Sculpt with Kinetic Sand
Kinetic sand can be a little messy, so it may be better as an outdoor activity or in some sort of deep container indoors. It is easy to make, holds some form (like beach sand does), and the squish of the sand is strangely satisfying! We found that you will occasionally, over time need to rehydrate this recipe with more of the solution. If you see colored kinetic sand on the web, it was probably made with pre-colored craft sand. Regular, plain brown sand from the sandbox works just fine. So whip up a batch and sculpt away! Note: the recipe is way at the very bottom of the webpage listed below.