Check out our easy tutorial below for how to make your own marbled paper using some common items you probably have around the house:
  • shaving cream
  • liquid watercolors or food coloring
  • eye droppers, medicine droppers, or pipettes
  • pie plate (we like the light weight aluminum ones)
  • wooden skewer (or something to stir with)
  • paper shapes
  • squeegee
For older artist, the results are stunning and the design possibilities are endless.  For younger artists, the process of squirting out the shaving cream and dropping the color is great for fine motor development (not to mention, it's fun to play in the colored shaving cream when your done!).  

For a edible version, try whipped cream instead of shaving cream.  The colors aren't as bright, but it's safe for the really young artists to put in their mouths.


Step One: Squirt the shaving cream into the pie plate.  
You need complete coverage but it doesn't need to be deep.  We usually look for about half an inch.  You can use a spatula to spread it evenly around when your done squirting it out.

Step Two: Drop color onto the shaving cream.  
I think small drops work best.  We usually use 3-5 colors.  We don't dilute our watercolors for this activity.  You don't need much at all--maybe two teaspoons of total color!
Step Three: Swirl the colors together.  
The keyword here is SWIRL.  Not stir.  Not mix.  You're looking for swirls of color.  Using a thin stick (like a wooden skewer or even a toothpick) help ensure that the colors don't get too mixed up.  Hold the skewer perpendicular to the table surface and think of cutting and dividing up the dots of color instead of mixing.
Step Four: Place your paper shape on top of the shaving cream.  
Press down to make sure that the two surfaces connect at all points (press harder than you think).  
Step Five: Lift paper out of the pie plate and use a squeegee to scrap all the shaving cream off.  
If you don't have a squeegee, try an old gift card or expired credit card (or hotel key!)
Afterward, you can drop in more color, swirl again, and repeat the printing process.  Or, you can just enjoy the shaving cream as a sensory play invitation.  
We recently use our shaving cream prints to make planets. We splatter painted a piece of black construction paper with white paint and then glued on the marbled planets. 
These printed papers are perfect for collages (think spring flowers, fall leaves, etc).  They also make a beautiful set of notecards!
All of our March classes have been exploring PRINTMAKING.  Our preschoolers have had MANY opportunities to explore this concept through relief prints, stamping, and mono prints.  Check out some of our favorites:


Rainy Day ARt


by Allison May Jensen
{This post first appeared on Allison's blog, Miss Allison's Art}
We spent the afternoon making art in a warm rain shower!  We used a combination of neon food coloring and washable markers--plus the rain--to create some very colorful pictures!

Not a whole lotta explanation needed here.  It was wet and messy and fun!  Enjoy the pictures!

We're spending our January the preschool room by focusing on science and art.  We've got a full line-up of colorful chemical and physical reactions that produce art.  On of our first experiments is making monoprints with bubbles!  The result is a lacy, delicate painting.


You'll need:
A pie plate, a small bowl, or something similar
Food coloring
A Straw
Dish soap
OPTIONAL: We used a cookie sheet under the bowl for all the "runaway" bubbles!  
>> Read more about our uses for cookie sheets here

Combine the food coloring, water, and dish soup in the bowl.  It only takes a couple drops of dish soap to make some really great bubbles.  The amount of food coloring you use will determine how dark or light your print is.

Blow bubbles using a straw.  Our young artists/scientist really liked blowing the bubbles until they overflow the sides of the bowl (hence the cookie sheet).  

Press the paper on top of the bubble-bowl.  Voila!

Video Clip of Bubble Printing

Use spray bottles to saturate your watercolor palettes! Brilliant! No more spilled water cups. Plus, it's really fast and kids love spray bottles. [Orange Easel Art]
Water cups on the tables can be a pain with little ones.  Especially little ones who like to play IN the water.  (Don't misunderstand us...we love waterplay.  But during a painting lesson, sometimes it's better to remove the water distraction!)  

We've eliminated the risk of a cup of water spilling all over someone's art work.
Use spray bottles to saturate your watercolor palettes! Brilliant! No more spilled water cups. Plus, it's really fast and kids love spray bottles. [Orange Easel Art]
Often times in our preschool classes, our instructors use spray bottles to wet our watercolors while the little ones paint.  You can saturate all the color cakes with just a few sprays.   The paint is ready quickly, which is important for sometimes-impatient lil' artists.  

 If we have a smaller class and time allows, we let the artists spray their own paint palettes.  Preschoolers love spray bottles.  

These small bottles are from from Dollar Tree.  
If you've never been inside our studio, we'd love to give you a peek into one of our most special spaces.  This is our preschool art room.  We have ten classes a week in this room!  This space is especially designed for our 12 -month-olds through our five-year-olds and can be used for group instruction as well as creative exploration. 
Our decor is inspired by the principles of Reggio Emilia approach to the learning environment.  Click the link below to get a short video tour: 

Playdough Trees


Fall Preschool Activity: Playdough
Because ALL kids like to play with sticks.

We've had fun making these "trees" with our toddlers and preschoolers.  Fall colored playdough and sticks.  

Could it get any easier? 

If you wanted a playdough that smelled like fall, you could use our Fall Playdough Recipe.

Once we had the trees constructed, we even added some "leaves" by tearing the playdough into bits and pressing it onto the "branches."
Fall preschool activity: Playdough
Last month we needed 20 rolling pins for our young artists who were learning to roll out clay slabs.  Well, we didn't NEED 20 of them, but we didn't want them to have to share; we're not opposed to sharing, but in this case, the down-time would mean less practice and learning time.   And we only have 60 minutes together.

Rather than purchase a bunch of rolling pins, we fashioned our own from pvc pipes.  They worked perfectly.  They are smooth, durable, fairly light weight and inexpensive!  They can be cut to any length.  (Ours are approximately 12 inches.)  We used a miter saw to cut them.
Since making our rolling pins, we've learned that they are also wonderful for rolling out playdough and for rolling out paint!
Here's a fun portrait activity for preschoolers and young elementary artists.  It's a great way to reinforce the placement of facial features on future portraits!
For our classes this week, we taped color photos to the table using packing tape.  

Another option would be to laminate your photos or to place in plastic page protectors.  

Using dry erase markers, the artists can trace eyes, noses, mouths, ears, eyebrows, hairs, etc. Just for fun, we also added mustaches, glasses, hats, and other accessories!

We erased our drawings with colorful pom poms!

With Halloween around the corner, we're doing quite a bit of dress-up play in the Orange Easel studio.  

Wait...what?  Dress-up?  Is this ART???
Preschool Art Class getting creative with our dress-up play {}
Playing dress-up exercises the imagination through role playing, acting, and plot development. Done properly, the game of dress-up demands a large selection: garage-sale-treasures, out-dated accessories, old Halloween costumes, and dance recital dresses.  

But, we believe that the dress-up bin has the potential to include a variety of homemade (CHILD-made) items.  There's the possibility for CREATION.  And THAT is the Art.
Making hats for creative time. {}
These are the types of invitations we're setting-up this month in the studio.  Yes, there's still an Ironman costume, and a tutu, and a sword and shield.  But where the supply is lacking there's the possibility of creation too.  Encouraging the children to make their OWN costumes for play fosters an attitude of self-sufficiency, confidence, and independence. 

So, ORANGE EASEL doesn't have an Elsa costume?  Let's make one!  
(And we're not talking about the picture-perfect one that you see on Pinterest that is a 24 page pdf pattern that Momma sew together.  We're talking CHILD-directed, CHILD-created.  It isn't going to look like something from the store.  And that's okay.  Actually it's better.)
One of the best gifts we can give our children is the belief that they can be MAKERS.  If something isn't accessible, they can MAKE it exist.  If something isn't readily available, they can FIND it and MAKE it.  

We are called to be makers...inventors, creators, and problem solvers.  Make it.  And be proud of what you've created.  These handmade articles should be kept alongside our manufactured items and given the same value, if not more. 

Below is a list of dress-up play items to get you started creating items for your dress-up bin.   Make a few with the kids to get them started THINKING about costume creation.  Once they know it's a possibility, they'll be coming up with their own patterns and designs!
10 Dress Up Crafts that Kids Can Make. And WHY they SHOULD. {}

Build your Dress-Up Bin

This is an easy mask from Picklebums that we're doing this month with our preschool classes. The cardboard egg cartons are a wonderful material to paint on!  

Our little artists are having fun adorning them with glitter glue, gemstones and feathers.
From One Savvy Mom
All you need is an old tshirt and some scissors to make a new cape!
So many animal options.  Just a paper plate and an imagination!
Can you imagine a herd of these creatures running around the house?  And roaring?  Maybe this could be just the beginning?  Next, dragons.  Or unicorns.

Paper plates can become crowns, alien antennas and more!
Toilet paper rolls become watch bands in this costume creation.

Where would your kids fly with just a couple soda bottles and some duct tape?
Teach your kiddos how to make these vest and there's no limit on what costume they can create!  Check out the adorable Tiger costumer from Home With The Boys.

Glittering wands are the perfect accessory for ANY costume.  As a bonus, these wands are guaranteed to double as swords.

Pretend to be a head chef or award-winning baker with a simple paper hat.

If your kids really get into making costumes, you can encourage this creativity and independence: keep a stash of recyclables, scrap fabric, old clothes, construction paper and craft supplies near your dress-up station!

What's the favorite item in your dress-up bin?