It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The leaves? Are thumbprints

(Almost) wordless see-what-we-made post…

October 17, 2011 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Craft: Autumn Tree

Traditions. Traditions are a good thing. They root you, give you a sense of history and place. They mark events, times, places in a particular way. Toddlers understand tradition, in fact, they can be positively compulsive about them. Things have to be done in THE RIGHT WAY EVERY TIME, or… the world as we know it will fall apart, or some damn thing. I don’t know.

Still, I like traditions. I like creating them with the kids. One tradition we have — which none of them know about because either A) they were just about not born a year ago or B) they do not remember a year ago — is the Giant Tree on the Wall.

Every fall I make a tree. We make a tree. Until this year, the trunk and branches of the tree have simply been brown construction paper. Serviceable, unremarkable, effective. But this year I was INSPIRED!!!

The inspiration came, oddly, from that giant stash of toilet paper tubes in the craft room. What possibly connection could there be between toilet rolls and mural trees, you wonder?

First, you take a large sheet of fingerpaint paper. Blurp on a generous few dollops of brown and white tempera paint. And then — this is where Mary gets SERIOUSLY INVENTIVE — then you sprinkle on black tempera powder. Over the paint, over the bare paper. Doesn’t have to be even. Can be a bit blotchy. (Wish I’d thought to take a picture of this, but my hands were seriously gunked up at this point. Perhaps I will insert one later today.)

Then, with the help of your handy-dandy two-year-olds, you smear the paint and powder all over the page. You’ll get a very realistic bark tone, browner in some spots, greyer in others. Because you’ll have used lots of liquid paint, and because you’ve thickened it further with powder, you get DEPTH and TEXTURE.

But it still won’t look like bark. It will just be bark-coloured, slightly lumpy paint gooped on the paper. What you need to make it look bark-like is a toilet roll!!

Really.

A toilet roll around which you have very cleverly wrapped a bit of thickish string or yarn. (In my case, yarn, because that’s what I had.) Lightly roll the tube up and down the paper, until you get something that looks quite satisfactorily barkish.

Pre-rolled paint with tube, Ready for Action:

And, ta-dah! Post-rolled paint. This is, obviously, still wet.

Here it is, dried. (I don’t think this is the same page as the previous picture, but you get the idea.) The colour and texture will change somewhat as it dries, but if you’ve started with a thick, gloppy layer of paint, the texture will hold as it dries.

Trunk with branch attached. You can see the different colour variations. It works!

Entire tree — with son. Oops. How’d he get in there?

Entire tree, sans son. Isn’t it cool??? I cut that lowest sheet of paper on a curved slant only so that I could remove some paper that didn’t get paint on it. Now that I’ve assembled the tree, I think the curved edge makes the joint of the paper look much more natural. I may change the other, straight and very artificial-looking edges later.

This entire tree took five sheets of fingerpaint paper. Today we’ll be adding finger-painted pages of green, cut into puffy cloud-shapes to give the impression of leaves, because right now, the trees are still mostly green! And as the weeks progress, we’ll add more and more coloured leaves.

Fall officially arrives in a couple of weeks. Thanks to our Tree Tradition, we are READY!

September 8, 2011 Posted by | crafts, my kids | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Leaf Crafting

I found a cute fall craft here at Lovely Nest. If you want complete instructions, follow that link. Here I’ll just describe the few tweaks I added to make the craft a little more toddler-friendly.

I gathered paper plates, each marked with a scribble of a fall colour to help with the colour-sorting.

Not all toddlers can tear. I know, I know, it’s weird. They’ve been ripping pages out of library books since the day they figured out they had hands, and yet making a deliberate tear can be a challenge. A largish piece of paper with little ‘starter tears’ at intervals makes it a whole lot easier.

Just-turned-three Tyler needed instruction from there. “Pull one hand forward, and the other backward.” He was slow and careful on the first few, but soon became an old pro. He never did learn to make the tear without the starter tear, though. Perhaps this is a good thing?

Glue the sorted colours onto squares of paper, cut out your leaf shape, and make the veins. We used glitter glue for ours. The two brown leaves’ veins were made by the just-three, with some hand-over-hand help from me. The yellow and orange were made by the 4.5-year-old, All By Herself.

Fun!

November 19, 2010 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wreath

The old wreath, though lovely in its time, had had it. Time for something new! While walking down the local shopping street, Emma and I had come across a store giving away sample books, and gleefully scooped a few. What can you do with upholstery samples?

Make leaves! The maple leaves were traced from a real, pressed leaf. The oak leaves I just made up as I went along. I like the maple leaves better. The oval leaves are fine, generic leaves, cut with pinking shears just for fun.

Mount them with a hot-melt glue gun on a styrofoam ring, painted brown so it’s not so noticeable…

And ta-dah! A fall wreath for my front door!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Canada, crafts | , , , | 5 Comments

Autumn Craft

Today’s craft comes to you courtesy of Kids Craft Weekly. If you haven’t subscribed yet, you might want to. So many quick and easy craft ideas, geared right at the six-and-under set!

I didn’t quite follow her instructions, though, because I read the newsletter, thought “Oh! Good idea!” and then promptly forgot the exact instructions. Not that it matters. It’s a great craft, absorbed the kids for quite a while, and gave them something quite striking to take home.

Here’s how we did it. Supplies: leaves, gathered on a walk the previous day. Clear shelf paper. Scissors (for me), and cardstock for frames.
craft1
Oops. Forgot to show the cardstock. Oh, well. Here are the frames, instead:
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Each of the frames is backed with a piece of clear shelf paper, sticky side up:
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To place the frame, cut the shelf paper to the same size as your card stock. Cut out the centre of the card stock (and save it for another craft!), and you have a frame. Peel the backing off the shelf paper — this was by far THE HARDEST part of the craft — and place your frame on the sticky side. Easy-peasy. Except for the damned peeling part…

And then you just plonk your leaves (and flower and seeds, or whatever you gathered) onto the sticky film:
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And plonk some more:
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(In those pictures you see Nissa, Tyler and Emily, ages 1.5, 2.5, and 3.75 respectively, proving this craft is good for a range of ages. Gronk was napping during this craft. Deliberate? You tell me…)

And the finished product, modelled by William, 4. Ta-dah!!!
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Updated to respond to Rosie Kate‘s comment, which info I had intended to include in this post and forgot: Yes, you should put another piece of contact film on top, to seal in the leaves and all that stickyness, but, given that I was already frustrated/bored witless by having had to perform that persnickety task five times already, I was NOT about to do it five more times. (I’ve told you before I’m not patient, right? There you go.)

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Canada, crafts | , , , , , , | 6 Comments