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Ideas to homemade creative art making

Yarn bombed 3d art my 5th grade artists
Photo: Marianna DeBolt

The art catalogs have started filling the art teacher's mailboxes, class lists are out for parents to purchase and most camps have come and gone. What time of the year is it? It's midpoint to school starting- the count down begins! Kids are getting restless and parents' patience are wearing thin. Teachers are going into school mode looking for ideas to make their new year fun and educational.

Soon the well known commercial by a one place fits all store will be airing, "it's the best time of the year". With a month to go, how can you keep your little ones busy? Or add to your teaching repertoire? Look around your home, you can almost bet you have the ingredients to many of these creative ideas!


Edible Finger Paint
( Use an egg carton or ice tray for a variety of colors, add drops of color until you get the shade you want for each color). Check a color wheel for mixing colors. Add white to make light tints of a color and black for darker tints basically.

1) Vanilla Pudding + Food Coloring
2) Whipped cream + Food Coloring
3) Condensed milk + Food Coloring
4) Egg yolks + Food Coloring
5) Add powdered drink mixes like Koolaid in separate parts of the egg cartons, dip a wet brush into the powder.
6) Watercolor paint- 3 tablespoons of corn starch, 1 1/2 teaspoon of corn syrup, 3 tablespoons of baking powder, 3 tablespoons of white vinegar and 3 drops to each color for food coloring.
7) Sparkly paint- 2 cups of hot water, 2 cups Empson salt, 3-4 drops of food coloring for individual colors.
8) Salt paint- 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon liquid starch, 3-4 drops of food coloring per color desired.

Clay and doughs:

1) Four cups flour, 1 cup, salt, 1 1/2 cup of water, mix together and knead. After modeled, bake 350 for 1 hour. You can paint your creation with any of the paints above or store bought paints.
2) Oatmeal Dough- 2 cups uncooked oatmeal, 1 cup, flour, 1/4 cup water, mix, model, air dry, and paint.
3) Bread dough- a couple of slices of whit bread with crust cut off, one teaspoon whit clue per slice, add food coloring if colors are desired.


Printmaking is the process of repeating an image. Various stamps can be found around your house and yards. Process is the same for most, dip in paint and print. If you have ink pads, these work great with all the non wet stamps. A vegetable or fruit is considered a wet stamp and its juices will soak into your ink pad and could ruin the ink or discolor it.

1) Vegetables and fruits- cut chunks and slices of these foods, dip in paint and push carefully on paper. Interesting prints can be made from bell pepper slices, carve/cut away designs into potatoes, lemons wedges, slices of strawberries, etc...
2) Paper towel rolls, dip and stamp.
3) Body parts- finger prints, kisses of the lips, hand prints, feet and toes.
4) Found objects- anything that has a interesting texture.
5) Sponges cut old sponges in different shapes.
6) Soap using a plastic knife or toothpick to draw a picture in to the soap as deeply. You as you can without breaking through
7) Meat trays- save your meat trays, wash and draw a picture with a pen into the foam. Deep lines make a good print. Roll paint for press into ink pads to print them.
8) Wax print- cover a sheet of paper with crayon wax in colors of your choice. Place another sheet over it, as if to sandwich the wax inside. Draw on the outside, pressing hard. Peel apart the paper carefully.


A sculpture is a three dimensional piece of art meaning, you can see all sides. Think back to your own childhood building with blocks, Legos, play dough. You were making sculptures. So, it can be said that a sculpture is built. A great motor skill!

1) One can build with boxes, plastic cups, cans, bottles, foil, baskets, clocks, furniture... Really anything that can be glued, nailed, strung, or puzzled together. Found objects are wonderful for sculptures.
2) Soap- Using a dull butter knife or plastic knife- draw a simple shape on a bar of soap. Carve away the negative space (background space) all the way through. Carve details on all sides. Ivory soap works the best, it's airy and soft.
3) Built a sand castle. Buy sandbox sand or an item called Kinetic sand. One can use beach sand, dirt or clay fresh from the ground as well.
4) Oil based clay can be found in art stores and most stores that sell basic art supplies. This clay never dries and can be modeled over and over. Some dollar stores sell four colors for a dollar.
5) Poster board and construction paper taped, glued or stapled makes great 3d sculptures. Construct a building, furniture, a bridge...practice your architectural designs.
6) Legos, a favorite plastic connecting building block loved by millions of people around the world.

Fine crafts:

1) Weaving- any long item like yarn, paper strips, belts, ties, plastic bags, or the dough made from above.
2) Tie Dye- find a light color fabric such as an old T-shirt, pull and wrap parts with rubber bands. Using fabric dye in colors of your choice, soak various parts with the dye. Untie bands, dry with heat to set the colors. The tighter your bands, the better the design.
3) Candle Making- An inexpensive wax for candle making is melting left over candles from home and pouring them in various kelp glass jars from one's pantry. The candle warmers are a great alternative to melt the wax. Wicks can be bought by the roll in craft stores. Cut the wick, hold in the middle while you pour the wax in the jar. Layer colors or hide trinkets in the wax.
4) Jewelry- have any old jewelry you are tired of or see a sale on last seasons jewelry at your favorite store? Take it apart to redo the look. Craft stores are full of beads and supplies for making your own creations.

Browse craft stores and online videos are great places to find more ways to be creative.

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