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  • Chalk Coloring Added to Birdhouse with Mod Podge®

    I simply love my Leisure Arts' coloring books with their different themes! The latest one I used is also a new book from Leisure Arts; it is 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Having several wooden birdhouses at home, I wanted to incorporate using my coloring with a birdhouse. I got the perfect inspiration from another leaflet carried by Leisure Arts, 6569 - Family Activities using Mod Podge® products by Plaid. For anyone who used to decoupage, using Mod Podge® will be a breeze by comparison! Next, I explored using chalk pastels as my new coloring medium!

    For this birdhouse project, I used two books from Leisure Arts: 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature and 6569 - Family Activities showing the versatility of the Mod Podge® products by Plaid. For this birdhouse project, I used two books from Leisure Arts: 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature and 6569 - Family Activities showing the versatility of the Mod Podge® products by Plaid.

    I chose a page from 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature that had various designs with enough white space to easily add color using my chalk pastels. I was most excited about using a color for the vast amount of background space that seems to grow (ha, ha) as you near completion of your coloring in the main design area. I reviewed the Book Birdhouse project that is included in 6569 - Family Activities; I modified its steps and the products used to fit my current project.

    Chalk Pastels are a great medium to add a softer, yet intense amount of color to your coloring book designs. Chalk Pastels are a great medium to add a softer, yet intense amount of color to your coloring book designs.

    Chalk pastels give a softer, looser, or more impressionistic look to your coloring. Some artists would say it gives a more organic feel to a design. I love the way the colors remain intense and rich, with excellent coverage. I colored the background of my page first.

    Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page]. Using Chalk Pastels, a neutral background color is added "loosely" without too much concern if it crossed over any black lines [see the upper left portion]. Then, use a cotton swab to spread the color evenly [see the bottom right portion of the page].

    After blending the background brown color, I freely placed my colored chalk pastels in the remaining design spaces of the flowers, butterflies and ladybugs. I was not concerned if the chalk did not cover the entire white space because my next step would be to blend using a cotton swab.

    Loosely add some bright colors to the main pattern; flowers, butterflies and ladybugs are featured in this page from Leisure Arts' item 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Loosely add some bright colors to the main pattern; flowers, butterflies and ladybugs are featured in this page from Leisure Arts' item 6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.
    The after-effect of blending all of the bright colors. Be gentle as you loosely wipe over the Chalk Pastels with cotton swabs. The after-effect of blending all of the bright colors. Be gentle as you loosely wipe over the Chalk Pastels with cotton swabs.

    Now that my chalk coloring is done, I did not want the colors to smear. I sprayed my page with Mod Podge® Clear Acrylic Sealer; I chose the gloss finish. My next preparation was to spray paint my wooden birdhouse. I chose Krylon® Colormaster™  for indoor/outdoor use in a khaki color. As my spray painted birdhouse was drying, I considered what portion of it I would use to add my chalk pastel coloring book page.

    My advice is to read and then re-read the application process using the Mod Podge® product outlined. Easy steps and tips are outlined in the easy-to-follow instructions.

    Follow the Mod Podge® application directions specific to the product you are using. Leisure Arts' item 6569 - Family Activities outlines the Mod Podge® products with user-friendly tips and helpful hints. Follow the Mod Podge® application directions specific to the product you are using. Leisure Arts' item 6569 - Family Activities outlines the Mod Podge® products with user-friendly tips and helpful hints.

    To my amazement and delight, as the khaki spray paint was drying I realized that it was a very close match to the chalk pastel color I chose as my neutral background color. I could place my design almost anywhere on the birdhouse! I chose the left side of the roof and house, with cut out portions used as embellishments on the back side of the birdhouse.

    Following the Mod Podge® Classic Gloss application instructions, I added my coloring book page cut to fit the left portion of the rooftop and side panel of the birdhouse. After the colored designs were added, I applied Mod Podge® Gloss Sealer over all. Following the Mod Podge® Classic Gloss application instructions, I added my coloring book page cut to fit the left portion of the rooftop and side panel of the birdhouse. After the colored designs were added, I applied Mod Podge® Gloss Sealer over all.

    I couldn't resist adding some more cut designs onto the back panel of the birdhouse, too!

    I cut a free-form piece of my coloring book page and applied it using Mod Podge® Classic Gloss onto the back panel of the birdhouse. I like the visual effect of having some of the cut design area on the backside of the birdhouse; it assists to move your eye around the birdhouse project to view its different sides. I cut a free-form piece of my coloring book page and applied it using Mod Podge® Classic Gloss onto the back panel of the birdhouse. I like the visual effect of having some of the cut design area on the backside of the birdhouse; it assists to move your eye around the birdhouse project to view its different sides.

    I'm still playing with ideas regarding a final set-up inside my house where my birdhouse will live. My kitchen has great windows to view an open area with water and pine trees in the distance, or close-up viewing of a hummingbird feeder and patio flowers. Currently, I have a wooden bar stool near a window. Perhaps I could stack reference books on gardening and birds on it with the birdhouse on top of this stack?

    One idea: stack your themed items together: print books on birds, flowers, gardening, nature, and coloring! I'm still working on my setting: a wooden stool, a basket or a hanging shelf; the ideas keep coming to me! One idea: stack your themed items together: print books on birds, flowers, gardening, nature, and coloring! I'm still working on my setting: a wooden stool, a basket or a hanging shelf; the ideas keep coming to me!

    But, I might just make a more eclectic resting place for my birdhouse by suspending it from a ceiling, or near my Mac perched on a shelf with books on graphic art, impressionist painting and marimekko.

    Doesn't that extra bit of coloring onto the back panel of the birdhouse add so much more interest? It is a 3-D object so it really should have an interesting design element on more than one side. Doesn't that extra bit of coloring onto the back panel of the birdhouse add so much more interest? It is a 3-D object so it really should have an interesting design element on more than one side.

    Yes, I embrace both the digital and print worlds of life; it's part of my dimensional design. Whatever it is that you enjoy, incorporate some coloring into your world!

    Martha

  • Coloring a Father's Day Frame

    Touch Dad's heart when you make a simple wooden frame an extra special remembrance by decorating it with coloring book pages and other embellishments. Dads have special places in our hearts. Kids share special moments with their dads no matter what the age of the child or father. Dads fix things. Through many electrical, mechanical, artistic or scientific projects, creations or experiments, dads are there. If they can't fix 'stuff', they are there standing by your side. Dads are the best support to help mend broken hearts and thwarted dreams. Nothing says, "Thanks Dad, you're great!" better than a handmade gift that is full of memories.

    Begin by thinking of things that you as a family, or individual, have enjoyed doing with your dad. Your special times could be based on a theme or an event like camping fun, or relaxing on a vacation. Once you have an idea in mind, choose the pages you would like to color from one or more of your favorite coloring books.

    For my two themes shown, I imagined family-time spent relaxing at the beach or in the woods. My coloring pages are from two books from the Color Art for Everyone series, 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone and 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The frames I chose to decorate were unfinished wood frames with flat surfaces. I decided to paint my frames first and add the coloring pages to enhance both the frame and the memory of the photograph it would hold as Dad's gift.

    A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone. A plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden anchor, and colored pages from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    As I was coloring, it dawned on me to add more than colored pages to give my frame extra dimension, as well as, personality. I added some other embellishments including a wooden anchor and letters, stickers and other shadowbox or scrapbook dimensional embellishments perfect for father's day.

    A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush. A detailed close-up of the painted wooden anchor. Silver gel pen ink is applied over the paint in small sections; while wet, the ink is spread using a dry stiff bristle brush.

    I needed to finish my prepping and gather the rest of my supplies for father's day: three colors of acrylic paint, a sponge brush, acrylic spray sealant to use on the completed colored pages, Mod Podge® for adhering my colored pages to the frame, and E6000 glue for the wooden pieces. Now it's time to color!

    A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers. A close-up showing the colored waves cut out from page; deciding on placement of overlapping layers.

    For the ocean waves, I used lots of markers in multiple colors. Sometimes I colored sections in solid marker, in other areas I used markers with colored pencils. The use of different media, in addition to the change of colors between blue and green, helps to give the waves movement. I cut the waves out in sections and overlapped the sections when I was adhering them using Mod Podge® to the frame. To give more emphasis to the ocean's depth, I added fish and seashells near the top of the coloring book page's waves and the edge of the frame. The solid blue color of the frame is still the ocean's water, it's just not as defined as the waves seen at the bottom of the frame. The anchor reinforces the idea of the bottom of the sea.

    The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor. The silver gel pen ink has been completely applied to the top of the anchor.

    When looking at the leaves, I wasn't sure how I wanted to give some of the leaves more "pop" than others. I wasn't pleased with the brown oak leaf because it seemed too dismal even for fall. I left it alone and started on another area in the picture. It was after I started on my second leaf that I decided to give the effect of the leaves moving in the wind by using highlighters. Why highlighters? Their colors are not as bold or opaque as the other media used. The colors of the highlighters will lend continuity to the theme, but appear secondary to the leaves colored with markers or gel pens.

    I grabbed a green highlighter and quickly drew horizontal lines randomly spaced across the page. Then I used a yellow highlighter to color only the background spaces. I think this added the perfect depth of field for the leaves which I was coloring with markers and gel pens. I found a sleeping bag sticker in my stash which I thought was perfect for a woodsy theme.

    The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. The second plain wooden frame painted with acrylic paint, a wooden letters, stickers and colored pages from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    I cut out a few leaves and placed them over other leaves as if blowing or falling around a campsite. I am glad I didn't throw away that brown oak leaf with orangey highlights; it became the perfect counter-balance to the orange sleeping bag in the frame's adjacent corner. A lightly colored leaf was a great backdrop for the dark blue painted wooden letters; they are glued using E6000 and Mod Podge® painted over all.

    Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects. Here is the Mod Podge® used for this project. Please ensure that you choose the correct sealant for your individual projects. E6000 is an industrial strength clue used to adhere the wooden anchor and letters in each of the projects.

    What fun I had coloring and building my themed frames! There are multiple steps, but many individuals of different ages and abilities can participate. Experiment with using the Mod Podge® over markers. I did NOT use permanent markers.  Because I used both markers and pencils, I did lightly spray my page with an acrylic sealant (NOT pictured) before using Mod Podge®. I did notice some of the markers colors smeared a bit [I think I forgot to spray my fish with sealant!], but the blue of the waves did not appear to bleed or blend like water color paints. But be cautious if you used markers to color your picture using light and dark colors.  TIP: Always read the instructions for your products carefully; a well-ventilated area is a must!

    All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture. All done with the frame's embellishments -- now to choose the picture.
    Frame ready for its photograph! Frame ready for its photograph!

    Here they are; photographs inserted into finished frames. What fun the steps were as I created the backdrop for images of fun times; the frames only enhance such great memories!

    Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time! Cooling off; even a beautiful day at the beach needs some out-of-the-sun time!
    The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family! The fresh air is great; relaxing by spending time outdoors with family!

    I hope to do more mixed-media projects like this one in the future. Share some of your ideas on our Facebook page. Don't forget to join our Color Art for Everyone  Facebook group; great ideas and encouragement are found there. Enjoy your days and memories spent with Dad; Happy Father's Day!

    Martha

  • Mother's Day Coloring Book Paper Cookie Box

    Mother's Day is fast approaching and many of us want to remember, honor, and give thanks to our mothers, other family members, friends and neighbors. You may want to express a special 'thank you' for their shared love, care, or mentoring.  A small gift from the heart is like sharing a piece of you; it is the perfect remembrance. The love of coloring can be shared by both artists and non-crafters alike by making this box out of coloring book paper as part of your Mother's Day gifts to give.  So please share your love of coloring and say thank you to those special people in your life. Here's to passing on some extra motherly love!

    To make this simplified version of a paper box, only a few supplies are necessary. I got my inspiration from posts on Pinterest. I liked the visuals found in Design Mom's post, Paper Plate Berry Basket. To construct your box, you will need:

    1. Coloring book paper (8.5" wide), one page per box
    2. Pencil
    3. 8" Plate (to use as your circle template)
    4. Scissors
    5. Cellophane tape

    To decorate the box and make it look like a gift, you will need:

    1. Coloring instruments (colored pencils, gel pens, markers, etc.)
    2. Tissue paper
    3. Ribbon or bow
    4. Gift tag (or make one out of leftover paper scraps)

    Remove your coloring book page from its book. Color page if desired using your favorite media; see some of our newest coloring supplies! When finished coloring, turn the page face down. Using the plate as your guide, trace a circle shape onto the paper; then, cut out the shape.

    Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages. Using an 8-inch plate as my template, I traced circle shapes onto the back side of various coloring book pages.

    Working with the circle cut-out, gently fold the edges from side to side and unfold, and, from top to bottom and unfold, to create crease marks as your guides.

    Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases. Gently fold the circle shape in half from side-to-side - no hard crease is necessary at this step - unfold. Next, gently fold the circle shape in half from top-to-bottom creating an intersection made from the two creases.

    If you like, you may lightly mark the center intersection with pencil.

    To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges. To assist you, make light pencil marks at center intersection. This will act as your center point mark when folding the edges.

    Next, fold each side's edge towards the center mark and crease firmly. Unfold for now.

    Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge. Close-up of two sides folded towards the center point. Hard creases are now made on each straight edge.

    Repeat with the opposite side; unfold. These hard creases have created a square shape that will be the bottom of your paper box. You can see folded intersections from these hard creases. Starting with the bottom right-hand creased intersection, lightly mark with pencil a vertical line up to the adjacent horizontal line.

    You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease. You can also make pencil marks on each edge's bottom right-hand crease. Cut from the circle's edge only up to intersection of adjacent crease.

    Cut along this vertical crease up to its adjacent horizontal crease. Turn your circle shape one-quarter turn and repeat. Do two more times so that you have four cut lines/creases. Fold each towards the inside of the circle creating four flaps.

    Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle. Four creases have been cut. Fold each flap towards the inside center of the circle.

    Each flap will be folded and taped onto its adjacent side's interior wall. It's easier to line up the straight edge of each flap against its adjacent crease if you hold the box on its side. See next image.

    Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner. Align the straight edge of the flap against the bottom crease and tape on the inside; the box is on its side for this picture. Notice how the two rounded edges meet creating a neat corner.

    Repeat with all four corners. A nice box will be created even if some creases are not quite straight, or if some rounded edges do not meet perfectly.

    All sides are taped together -- nice box! All sides are taped together -- nice box!

    Insert some tissue paper for pretty stuffing or as a little cushion, before adding your goodies. I used fold-top plastic bags instead of plastic zippered bags to hold my cookies. Don't be shy about presenting favorite store brand cookies in your box(es).  I used Archway's Frosty Lemon and Oatmeal Raisin cookies and they sat perfectly in a neat stack!  Think of other goodies to include in your box(es) such as a small book, special notes or remembrances from the kids, something for personal use like a new scarf or a hobby-related item .

    Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.] Fill the boxes with tissue paper, wrapped cookies, notes to Mom, or other special treats and items of interest. Make a gift tag from remaining scrap paper. [Prototype boxes in the background.]

    This box is dressing up your gift, so now add some ribbon or a bow, and a gift tag or card, and ta-dah; your gift box is ready to be given!

    Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page. Close-up of completed box filled with cookies and wrapped with bakers twine. Handmade gift tag made from scrap coloring book page.

    You can present your gift box in many ways: at Mom's place at the table, presented at the playground with the kids, or at a restaurant from the grandchildren.

    Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair. Presentation tray -- a special way to give a simple gift with extra thought and handmade flair.

    Whatever the final presentation is, enjoy your planning, preparation and honoring this special day for mothering!

    Martha

  • Wildflower Seed Bombs, Gnomes & Fairies!

    Spring is here with warmer sunshine, nature awakening and the calendar countdown to school graduation parties and Mother's Day celebrations. Let's get dirty and prepare for some pop-up  color with seed bombs. Dig in and connect with the dirt; yes, it's another way to relieve stress! Dirt, seeds, color, gnomes, and fairies add up to relaxing, whimsical fun!

    So cute! Gnomes walking around wildflower seed bombs ready to plant. So cute! Gnomes walking around wildflower seed bombs ready to plant.

    Homemade seed bombs, or pods full of seeds, are perfect for sharing and planting; what a fun concept! I was so excited to read about this and was gung ho to try it out. First thought: I wanted some fairly carefree flowers; easy to plant and easy to grow. If I plant seeds in a pot or planter, I could include some magical, woodsy features including gnomes and fairies.

    What a fun gift for sharing with my friends who have springtime birthdays, preplanning outdoor decor for graduation parties, or coordinating garden celebrations on Mother's Day. While researching on Pinterest, I found instructions on how to make wildflower seed bombs. They were inexpensive to make, easy to do for a wide age range of crafters with helpers, and do-able to make at home. All of these qualities equaled a perfect solution!

    Since all types of gardening is not easily maintained, I didn't want me or my friends to fuss over another outdoor task to maintain during the summer. A variety packet of wildflower seeds to mix into the paper used to make the seed bombs seemed like a good match. My supplies included:

    1. wildflower seeds
    2. newsprint paper
    3. food coloring (if desired)
    4. metal cupcake tin or silicone ice cube trays
    5. plastic wrap
    6. old kitchen towel
    7. cookie cooling rack
    8. tabletop tray or other object as centerpiece
    9. coloring book pages to make paper cones for gift packaging
    10. planter(s) of choice
    11. imaginative outdoor setting including gnomes, fairies, mini garden decor, and forest critters
    12. maybe some gardening supplies

    TIP: Consider buying several packets of wildflower seeds as some packets may contain a very small amount (< 1/2 tsp) of seed. HINT: Your finished 'bombs' or pods of seeds will be planted randomly so look for seed packets that state your seeds may be planted with 'scattered' spacing.

    Reading several boards on Pinterest, newsprint paper was used to make the paper pulp; read an example here from Dabbles & Babbles. Other examples showing methods used varied slightly; here is another example using colored shredded paper from Apartment Therapy  who based their post on Made Everyday's Hello Spring! DIY Shredded Paper Seed Starters. Below you can read my summary of the steps I took to create my wildflower seed bombs.

    The basic steps are:

    1. shred
    2. soak
    3. blend/chop
    4. combine
    5. shape
    6. dry
    7. package/plant

    First, I shredded between 18-24 letter sized pages of newsprint paper. Newsprint is inexpensive and a good resource as a scribble pad for toddlers; easy come, easy go, so scribble on Little Ones! After shredding, I placed the newsprint paper in a pot, covered the shred with water and let sit overnight.

    Soak shredded newsprint paper in water overnight. Soak shredded newsprint paper in water overnight.

    In the morning, your newsprint will be soft. Leave in pot and remove about 2-3 handfuls of shred at a time, pull apart to make even smaller pieces and place in a blender. Add more water to cover the shred. BE CAREFUL not to stress your blender motor! Use a pulse option or low/medium speed; turn on/off frequently to check on the paper's consistency. After getting a mushy paper pulp consistency, carefully remove the pulp from blender, place mush in a colander to start draining and continue with the remaining shred.

    The paper mush will still be very wet after draining, so slightly push down on it while in the colander to remove more water. Then 'fluff' a little before you add your wildflower seeds.

    After draining and squeezing excess water out of the paper mush, it looks more like wet paper pulp. After draining and squeezing excess water out of the paper mush, it looks more like wet paper pulp.

    Combine your wildflower seed mix of choice. I purchased two different seed packets; here is the first mix as I begin to add the seeds into the pulp.

    Wildflower seed "Mix 1" is added to the khaki-colored paper pulp. Wildflower seed "Mix 1" is added to the khaki-colored paper pulp.

    For some variety, I purchased two different wildflower mixes. For an easy, recognizable distinction between the seed bombs from my two wildflower mixes, I used food coloring to dye my second batch of paper shred. Here is my second batch of paper mush as it is draining.

    For my second round of seed bombs, I added enough food coloring to create fuschia-colored paper mush. For my second round of seed bombs, I added enough food coloring to create fuschia-colored paper mush.

    After removing most of the water from the mush, I will fluff up the paper pulp and add my second variety of wildflower seeds to it.

    The fuschia-colored paper mush is "Mix 2". It is a different wildflower seed mixture than the khaki-colored seed bombs. The fuschia-colored paper mush is "Mix 2". It is a different wildflower seed mixture than the khaki-colored seed bombs.

    While researching the steps for making these wildflower seed bombs, many posts recommended using silicone trays for filling and removing the seed bombs. I do not own silicone molds so I created a different solution. I lined my mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap!

    Line a mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap, place seeded paper mush into each, then flip out onto towel-lined cookie sheet to dry. Line a mini cupcake tin with plastic wrap, place seeded paper mush into each, then flip out onto towel-lined cookie sheet to dry.

    After filling each section, I placed a kitchen towel over the tin, followed by an inverted cookie cooling rack, and finally flipped all over facing right-side up. Then I removed the tin and plastic wrap to reveal my mini seed bombs on the kitchen towel ready to dry. HINT: Food coloring is a dye and will transfer onto the towel while the seed bombs are drying. TIP: Drying can take up to 48 hours so be prepared to wait; start planning your tabletop diorama or gift packaging now!

    In addition to making a centerpiece for my patio table, I want to share my fun project as a springtime birthday present so I prepared a gift package. As part of my gift package, I included two small flowering plants so there was immediate color to enjoy. In order to demonstrate how the seed bombs should be planted in the dirt, I left a few unwrapped on top of the soil.

    The remaining seed bombs were packaged in a plastic bag and placed in paper cones made from coloring book pages (from 6808 - Art of Coloring Patterns). I placed these cones, along with gardening gloves, and one of the flowering plants in an empty pot. Another pot included some dirt, seed bombs, gnomes, and fairies, with select fairy garden items demonstrating a magical garden. You can see that the hedgehog woodland creature from my kit is about to visit the Fairy Garden over the bridge and through the arbor! Your imagination will run away with itself by using these kits in your garden or tabletop decor! See below my use of the kits and birch metal planters to make a whimsical garden display or tabletop diorama.

    Diorama complete with wildflower seed bombs, paper cones made from coloring book pages, gnomes, fairies, and birch planters! Diorama complete with wildflower seed bombs, paper cones made from coloring book pages, gnomes, fairies, and birch planters!
    Close-up of birch metal pot spilling over with seed bombs, gnomes, fairies and other woodland creatures ready for your garden or tabletop decor. Close-up of birch metal pot spilling over with seed bombs, gnomes, fairies and other woodland creatures ready for your garden or tabletop decor.

    Welcome spring; bring on your color!

    Martha

     

  • Coloring Paper Strips Make Shamrocks

    It is pushing spring with birds nesting, buds forming on trees and daylight lasting longer. Now that the calendar says March, it surely is time for remembering the fields of green soon to flourish all around us. It also means it is time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!

    Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right). Colorful shamrock examples using coloring book pages (from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone), and scrapbook paper (on left), or construction paper (on right).

    The cloverleaf is a simple design that symbolizes St. Patrick's Day better than any other. So deciding on using the shamrock as my symbol of choice was the first step. Next, I wanted an easy design with materials readily available. I turned to Pinterest to get ideas and relied heavily on this post from Sugar Bee Crafts for guidance.

    I wanted my completed project to be a little different than other shamrocks around me so I turned to my stash of coloring books. I chose two pages from Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone (Leisure Arts' item 6704) and only colored selected portions of each page. My first page had a few shamrocks along with other leaves and blooms;  the second page I chose depicted dragonflies, another example of expected blooming, warmer weather.

    Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Using a gel pen and colored pencils, I added some color to a page with shamrocks in its design; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Another page that reminded me of spring was that of dragonflies. I used a highlighter to color this page; from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Looking at examples of finished paper shamrocks on various social media sites, I knew that I wanted to use either one or two solid colored paper strips when making each shamrock. I relied on construction paper and scrapbook paper for my choices of solid colors. I always try to make a prototype of a project before its final version. So construction paper and any coloring book page whose coloring was an experiment would be perfect for the draft version!

    The measurements for each paper strip were based on the size of the pages that I chose. The coloring book pages were 8.5"w X 11"h, the construction paper was 9"w X 11"h, and the scrapbook paper was a 12" square.  Now I knew that the longest strip would be from either construction or scrapbook paper. I decided to use three paper strips for each section of my cloverleaf. Each strip would be 1"h with three varying lengths of 8", 9.5" and 12".

    Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper. Since I wanted to use coloring book pages, I made the measurements for the two smaller strips fit those dimensions. The largest strip was cut from either construction or scrapbook paper.

    One strip from each length were gently folded over with the ends held flush and stapled together. The two shorter lengths were my coloring book pages and I turned the design side towards the stapled end which will be the center of the shamrock. I did this on purpose so more of the design would be visible.

    I decided to make a three-leaf shamrock; each of the three leaves were made in two sections of three strips. Staple two three-leaf sections together to make one shamrock leaf. See the image before all pieces are glued for better placement of each section.

    Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared. Each clover leaf has been stapled and the stems prepared.

    I decided to use my extra strips to make my stem. For extra stability, I used two strips for the stem. The shorter stem strip (inside) was glued to the middle cloverleaf, each end of the longer stem strip (outside) was glued to the underside of each respective outer cloverleaf. See the additional images and close-up to get a better idea of placement.  As you will see in the photos, now is the time to cut four circles, two each in two different sizes; these circles will be the center of the shamrock. Use your judgment as to the size of circles; these will cover the glue that will hold the shamrock leaves and stems together.

    Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue. Preparing to use a glue gun to hold all the pieces together. I cut four circles that will be placed in the center of the shamrock assisting in hiding the glue.
    The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves. The gluing has begun with a little placed on the stems onto the sides of the clover leaves.

    I have included two close-up shots so the placement of the center circles and hot glue can be seen more clearly.

    A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed. A better contrast view showing the center before the hot glue is dispensed.
    This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems. This mound of hot glue helps to hold the ends of each cloverleaf, as well as, each leaf to the stems.
    Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together). Thank goodness the centered circles conceal the glue (two different circle sizes stacked and glued together).
    Both sides have their center circles placed and glued. Both sides have their center circles placed and glued.

    Now that the construction paper prototype shamrock is constructed, I practice hanging it on a door. I suspended the shamrock by only one of the larger loops. It seems to sag a little, but not too badly.

    One option is to hang on a door. One option is to hang on a door.

    Moving forward, my next step is to make my second shamrock using scrapbook paper instead of construction paper for each of the longest strips. Scrapbook paper is sturdier, so I'm wondering what the differences will be in the design of the final product.

    Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides. Second shamrock being constructed. The longest strips are cut from scrapbook paper. One drawback to my choice: it wasn't colored on both sides.

    GREAT BONUS: I took my coloring book pages from being two-dimensional pages and made them into three-dimensional projects. Now that's taking creativity to the next level -- and it was fun, not hard!

    Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Use 2-4 coloring book pages for your project. I made my shamrocks from 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR PAPER: The scrapbook paper was sturdier than the construction paper so it keeps its shape a little better when hanging by a single hook. The construction paper is colored on both sides; the scrapbook paper that I chose was not.  You can see the differences in color visibility when hanging on a wall.

    Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone. Two completed shamrocks used coloring book pages and either scrapbook paper (top left image) or construction paper (bottom right); 6704 - Natural Wonders Color Art for Everyone.
    A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each! A straight-on front photo of the shamrocks hanging on a wall doesn't show all the colors well-enough. I think I want a shamrock shower and will try suspending them from the ceiling, but I'll need more shamrocks and some assistance with the hanging of each!

    Both shamrocks are now done -- yeah; what an easy seasonal item to make! I have not tried suspending my shamrocks by string from the ceiling, or making a paper chain link from which to suspend them, so I still have some experimentation to do. I am pleased enough with this project that I would do it again -- maybe I'll make varying sizes of shamrocks using different colors of green? I have lots of future choices that will make the next round of shamrocks result in interesting variations.

    Enjoy your spring; erin go bragh!

    Martha

  • Make Coloring Book Pages into More

    As I have said over the years, I love to color! It is a natural outlet of creativity for me. A new box of crayons, pencils or markers always made me smile.  Coloring was never a phase for me; it was something that made me, me!

    Paper pumpkin from coloring book pages. Paper pumpkin from coloring book pages.

    The mass appeal of coloring has reignited! You know you can color by yourself as a means of entertainment or meditation. But don't forget coloring can be done in a group as a play date or coloring party. Whatever your preference, just relax, be imaginative and have fun!

    Holiday crunch time is here with Thanksgiving right around the corner! Families and friends will gather. They may need an outlet for their pent-up energy and excitement, especially if the weather is uncooperative for outdoor play. Coloring fits the bill. It is an activity that is not too demanding, does not require an organizer, and is not food-related.  Added bonus -- it can be done in a group setting! What a great way to offer your group gathering a stress-free, decorative and interactive activity!

    I saw similar projects to my finished paper pumpkin posted on Pinterest. I kept playfulness in mind, as I experimented with pages from my adult coloring books to make decorative paper pumpkins. After I had fun coloring, I found what worked best for me and now I'll share my steps with you.

    I used two pages from Jungle Wonders Color Art for Everyone; one page had areas colored with markers, the second page was uncolored. I'll show you how I made my paper pumpkins.

    Colored page using markers. Colored page using markers.

    I knew that I would be cutting my two pages into strips so even the colored page did not have every part of its design filled with marker. I used colors that were more fall-like to match my other seasonal decor.

    Uncolored page. Uncolored page.

    Getting my pages ready...

    Pages cut into strips - see other image for dimensions. Pages cut into strips - see other image for dimensions.

    Each coloring book page would yield five 2-inch strips, measuring the page when it was turned horizontally (landscape mode). I used two pages to make one paper pumpkin.

    Two-inch wide strips. Each with two centered punched holes, one at top and bottom respectively, one-half inch from edge. Two-inch wide strips. Each with two centered punched holes, one at top and bottom respectively, one-half inch from edge.

    With the cutting done, I marked where my punched holes would be on either end of each strip. Next, I stacked my strips and got a 12-inch long pipe cleaner ready.

    Two stacks of coloring book pages; uncolored on left, colored on right. Plus, a 12 inch long pipe cleaner. Two stacks of coloring book pages; uncolored on left, colored on right. Plus, a 12 inch long pipe cleaner.

    Making a spiral at one end of the pipe cleaner helps to secure it as the base of the pumpkin. All strips will then be placed on the pipe cleaner.

    Make a spiral base at one end of the pipe cleaner. Make a spiral base at one end of the pipe cleaner.

    Decide how you would like to order your strips. In a random order or in a sequence to create a particular design pattern. I alternated between uncolored and colored strips.

    Slide each strip onto pipe cleaner - right side down. Alternate uncolored page with colored page, starting with the bottom hole. Slide each strip onto pipe cleaner - right side down. Alternate uncolored page with colored page, starting with the bottom hole.

    After all the strips are stacked by their bottom holes onto the pipe cleaner, feed the pipe cleaner through their top holes.

    Now weave the pipe cleaner through the top hole of each strip. Now weave the pipe cleaner through the top hole of each strip.

    You might have to bend your pipe cleaner above the spiral base in order for it to stand up straight. Repeat as necessary while you are fanning out each pumpkin strip, as described in the next step.

    From the side, slide your strips down until a nice arch forms. This angle will become your rounded pumpkin shape. From the side, slide your strips down until a nice arch forms. This angle will become your rounded pumpkin shape.

    Rework the pipe cleaner as necessary so it stands up on a tabletop as you are fanning out the strips making your pumpkin shape.

    Fan out each strip from the stack starting with the innermost strip. Fan out each strip from the stack starting with the innermost strip.

    After all the strips are fanned out, and you are satisfied with the pumpkin's look, curl the top of your pipe cleaner so it looks like a stem. Wrap your pipe cleaner around a pencil to get a great curlicue shape!

    After all the strips are fanned out, curl your pipe cleaner into a stem. After all the strips are fanned out, curl your pipe cleaner into a stem.

    Yeah, all done; transformation complete. Just think how much fun making paper pumpkins would be during your Thanksgiving celebration! Young and old(er) friends and family could be coloring pages and constructing paper pumpkins at the same time.

    Finished paper pumpkin! Adult coloring books can be used to make seasonal decor! Finished paper pumpkin! Adult coloring books can be used to make seasonal decor!

    Everyone's participation creates seasonal remembrances, tabletop decor, or make-and-take gifts to be carried home. Relax during the holidays, have fun and color!

    What other fun art projects will you do with your coloring book pages?

  • Using Coloring Pages for Another Craft

    020

    What do you do when you finish a page in a coloring book for adults?  I was going to be flippant and say "You're an adult. You do whatever you want with it.", but now I'm curious about what you do with your own coloring books at home.  Do you stick pages on the fridge you own because you're an adult?  Use a page as a bookmark in a coffee table book on your grown-up coffee table? I decided to turn one of my coloring pages into a craft.  Here's a page I colored a while back.  It's a nice leafy-looking page from Natural Wonders.

    010

    And here's my gratitude tree.

    034

    I n case Pinterest hasn't told you, a gratitude tree is a fun Thanksgiving craft where you write down what you're thankful for on scraps of paper and then affix them to a branch.  I found this branch on the sidewalk while on a walk last week and brought it home just for this.  It's a little bit too large for our table, but my little girl thinks the seed pods look like bats and she loves it just as it is.  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces of paper with some scrapbooking paper and she's been practicing her handwriting while we think of all the things we're thankful for.  Last year, we did 3 or 4 leaves a day and it was a lot of fun.  I also really like emphasizing all the people we love and all the good things we have before the season of Christmas advertising and the subsequent begging for every toy in sight begins.  Look closely! There's a leaf on the right that says "Mom"!  She's thankful for me and I have it in writing now!

    024

    So back to my coloring page.  It has leaves.  I have a tree. So  I cut out a few pieces of leaves.

    011

    And wrote down a few things I am thankful for.

    017

    And as for the rest of the paper?  I cut out some vaguely leaf-shaped pieces.

    019

    It's good to have a stash of leaves.  I've even gotten ahead of the game this year and added some yarn loops by threading a tapestry needle, pulling it through the paper, and tying the ends together in a knot.  You can use Christmas ornament hooks or a hot glue gun and it will work just as well.  Because we're all adults here, and (at least when it comes to crafting) we can do whatever we want.

    But for real, let me know what you do with your finished coloring sheets if you feel like sharing!

  • Making a Burlap Wreath! I am Crafty and Rustic!

    I made a wreath!

    I usually have some kind of wreath on my front door, but it's typically something I just threw together.  I nearly mean "threw" literally.  I just stab things together, wind some wire around some things, and call it a day.  But this time I decided to try to follow the directions for the Burlap Wreath from Crafting with Florals.  I want to try more decorating with burlap, and this seemed like a good place to start.

    Once I got everything together, this probably took about twenty minutes to make--give or take the time I spent pausing to taking pictures.  That's pretty great!

    And by "everything," I mean my book, scissors, brown paper, jute, burlap, ribbon, and a wreath form.

    I repurposed a yarn-covered wreath that I made back when those were a thing. I no longer have the yarn wreath out because I got tired of it.  The yarn is hot-glued on there, so for this new wreath I decided I would just cover it up and I wouldn't do anything too permanent with my materials. If I want to do something else with this stuff, I'd like for this to be easy to dismantle so I can use it again.

    I didn't have any brown craft paper, so I cut up a grocery sack into one strip by cutting diagonally.

    Then I crumpled it so it would be a little easier to wrap around the wreath. 

    I taped down the paper at the beginning, and at the end.  This wreath is already looking pretty rustic.

    If I describe what I did next in very much detail at all, I'll pretty much be giving away the instructions.  But I will say that I really liked tying the burlap ribbon one with separate pieces of jute and having the ends stick out everywhere.  I didn't expect to like that effect, but I did.

    I messed up the top bow a bit because even though I brought the whole book to the store with me, I didn't buy all the right materials.  Still, I think I might like the wreath just how it is. 

    Well, maybe.  The instructions call for a letter to place in the middle, but I don't feel like it.  I think an artificial bird's nest would look nice--or maybe a bird's nest with artificial robin's eggs in it.  An animal skull or turtle shell would look especially rustic with all the jute and burlap, but I don't know how much the neighbors would appreciate something like that.  There's always Mason jars, if you want to be really rustic. But I think I'm leaning more toward the nest idea.  That, or maybe a cluster of pine cones.  Something simple and natural-looking.  I'm excited!
    I'm just happy to have something beside my Christmas wreath up, and this simple wreath looks really lovely and rustic in the meantime.

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