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-by-Step

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!
 
 
Not everyone can make it over to the studio over Christmas Break so we brought some art ideas to you via Facebook Live.  All of these tutorials use the basic art supplies and stuff we figured most people have around the house. If you need a new activity to keep the kids occupied, check out our tutorials and let us know how they go!

MONDAY - Paper Mosaic Art

Perfect for the older kids, these mosaics use magazines to create a sophisticated and texture-rich piece of artwork.

SUPPLIES:
  • Magazines
  • Glue
  • Paper or cardboard backing

TUESDAY - Ice Art

Sensory fun for the younger artists.  We even show you our trick for an inexpensive light table.

SUPPLIES:
  • Ice
  • Food coloring
  • Droppers
  • Salt

WEDNESDAY - Salt Dough Sculpture

Easy to make, clay or playdough substitute!  If you bake it, you can even finish your sculptures with paint.

SUPPLIES: 
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • Water

THURSDAY - Fun with Weaving Art and Pom Poms

Use whatever you've got: yarn, ribbon, scrap fabric, etc.  Over-under-over-under...this weaving process is great fine motor practice for small kids, while the big kids can make a stunning piece of unique art.  

SUPPLIES: 
  • Yarn, ribbon, scrap fabric, material
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors

FRIDAY - Griddle Art 

One of our ALL TIME FAVORITES.  We love this way of "painting" with crayons.

SUPPLIES:
  • Flat electric griddle
  • Crayons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Paper
 
 
We're always looking for new ways to display art around our home.  These ART CANDLES are easy and low cost.   They make unique and art-ful gifts--perfect for grandparents and teachers.  

Artwork is completed on tissue paper and then melted to the candle using a heat gun.  (Some  tutorial will say you can use a hair dryer.  We don't recommend it.  It doesn't get hot enough to do the job quickly.)

Check out the video links to see how easy it is.  The video on the sidebar is really short; the one on the bottom is a full tutorial!

Our Open Studios on Saturday mornings during November and December are featuring all projects that are "gift worthy."  These candles are in the line-up!  If you don't want to try this at home, you can simply drop the kids off to make them with us!

VIDEO TUTORIAL FROM MISS ALLISON

 

EARTH DAY IDEAS

04/07/2015

 
Looking for new ART ideas for Earth Day?  These are three of our favorites that focus on REDUCING, REUSING, and RECYCLING materials in a new way!

 

Monotype Printing

03/12/2015

 
A simple printmaking project that you can try is a monotype (you can only use your template once!). 

This monotype is made by removing color to create a subtractive image.  It challenges us to draw the negative space!

Supplies used:
  • Cookie sheet (or other smooth, non-porous surface)
  • Dark-colored paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Brayer
  • Paper
Picture
Quick printed landscape made using a monoprint method (see video below)

 

Grid Drawing

01/15/2015

 
Our Drawing Fundamentals class has spent the last two weeks focusing on ACCURACY.  Accuracy in rendering a subject, either from a photo or from still-life, is one of the first skills that we work on.  Angles and shapes fit together in the proper scale and proportions.  

Talented artists who can render accurately have amazing EYES.  It's not just the hands that draw.  We would even argue that hands aren't even the most important tool in drawing.  Drawing begins with the eyes and an awareness of how these angles and shapes fit together.  
One of the best ways to train our eyes to SEE these relationships is through drawing on a grid.  

Grids break up the large page into smaller, more-manageable spaces.   They give us a roadmap to follow.  It's easier to plot a point and hit the target if we narrow the playing field!
Below is an example of a simple grid drawing.
The original line drawing is on the left and the artist's rendering is on the right.  Completing this drawing without a grid, is much more difficult! (We know.  We tried!)
Our artists found it easier to work in one square at a time and to "jump" around, instead of working in neighboring squares.

We followed a 1:1 ratio on our grid drawings so that we could check our accuracy after we were done by overlay our drawing over the original.  

We used simple line drawings, but this exercise works with photographs as well.


Click here to download a printable grid and simple line drawing that you can try at home!
(Easter-themed, because we're dreaming of spring!)
 

SPlat Painting

10/26/2014

 
Splat painting is a FAVORITE activity of our Orange Easel artists (and instructors).  It involves throwing paint-soaked cotton balls at a wall.  When the paint balls hit the wall, there's a very satisfying (and surprisingly loud) "SPLAT" sound and the paint flies in all directions.  

We do this at the beginning of all of our Studio Art Birthday parties.  

We even did it once with ACRYLIC paint as a permanent installation:
Splat Painting is a wild, messy, large-scale art project for a group. Great for kids birthday parties if you've got the space for it! Outside maybe? {ORANGE EASEL ART}
Our SPLATTER-painted speech bubble in progress
Splat Painting is a wild, messy, large-scale art project for a group. Great for kids birthday parties if you've got the space for it! Outside maybe? {ORANGE EASEL ART}
Finished speech bubble with chalkboard
Want to know how we do it?  It's really an easy set-up.  (Clean-up is another story)

HOW TO SPLAT PAINT

Step 1 - Cover your wall in butcher paper.  
Understand, the paint will splatter outside of this paper.  Paint splatters EVERYWHERE.  We wash our walls every weekend; we have a glossy paint on the walls, and the paint wipes off with elbow grease and water.  Cover your baseboards if they are white.  Nothing worse than scrubbing baseboards.  If you don't want splatters on your ceiling, cover it about five feet out from the wall. 

Step 2 - Fill containers with paint.  
You'll probably want to use washable paint.  If you're looking to do something permanent like our speech bubble, you need to spend LOTS of time on step one.  We use a washable tempera paint made by Colorations.  Thin the paint slightly with water.  The thinner the paint, the better the splatters.  But, if you get it too thin, you'll have dripping, running paint on the wall.  Think of the consistency of melted ice cream.  

Step 3 - Get some cotton balls.
We use about 100-120 cotton balls for five cups (40 fluid oz) of paint.  It usually takes our artists about 10 minutes to get through 100 cotton balls.  We use regular size cotton balls, but the jumbo ones work too.

Step 4 - Set up a clean up station. 
We think it's easier (and faster) to do clean-ups with a basin of water instead of sink.  You're really just looking for "clean enough".  (i.e., Clean enough to grab another cotton ball)  We have a dish pan from dollar tree that we fill with a couple inches of sudsy water.   Place some towels under the bucket to catch any water that gets splashed outside.  Place a couple hand towels (or bath towels) nearby to dry hands.  This keeps the floor safe--more on that later.

Step 5 - Go over the rules.
Our only rules are that:
You aim at the wall (we understand that sometimes we miss).
You look before you throw (no throwing paint balls at other people).
You WALK instead of run, skip, gallop, spin, sprint, etc (the floor gets slippery)

Step 6 - PAINT!
We like to turn up the music really loud for this part.

Splat Painting Video

Safety, Best practices and clean-up notes

Our floors get really slippery.  
It's caused by the combination of paint splatters from the wall, paint drips from transporting the paint balls, and watery hands from artists who are too eager to dry them off thoroughly.  Our instructors constantly wipe the floors with large bath towels.  We're not trying to CLEAN the floors.  Just dry them off! 

Barefoot is best.
In our studio, we go barefoot for splat painting.  Our paint is washable.  But that doesn't mean that mom wants to wash your shoes.

Document it.
Action shots are really fun but hard to catch.  We like to take video to catch the action.  Afterwards, we ALWAYS take a group photo in front of our masterpiece!  

Mop the wall.
In three years of splat painting, we've cleaned a lot of walls.  At the Orange Easel studio, we clean up our walls by mopping them!  We have a large wet mopping pad from Norwex that we use; it reaches the high corners and the large scrubbing pad covers a large surface area on every swipe.  

If you splat paint, we'd love to see that photo that you took...send it to us so we can see your masterpiece!
 
 
We made some watercolor handprints in the studio this morning.  If you haven't used this type of paint to make handprints, you should give it a try!  
We used a washable watercolor paint tray from Michaels.  Using a spray bottle (from Dollar Tree) we saturated the paint cakes.
Then we placed our hands flat on the tray, being sure to press as many fingers into the paints as possible.  

Quickly, we moved our hands from the paint tray to the paper and voila!  

I love the rainbow the colors that make up the handprint and the little splatters that just happen!




 
 

Because Everything Should Smell Like Pumpkin Spice

We love the sensory experience of all the seasons at Orange Easel. This playdough smells like Fall--give a fresh batch to the kiddos to play with and it works better than any scented candle or plug-in to make your home smell yummy!

RECIPE:
1 C flour
1/2 C salt
1 Tbsp Cream of Tarter
1 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
1 C water

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.  Heat slowly on stovetop, stirring constantly.  Once the dough forms and mixture is no longer sticky, remove to counter top and knead with flour until smooth.  

Store in an airtight container.  
 
 

A beginners tutorial

Our first Open Art session, we chose metal stamping.  

I love painting, but there's something really special about working with metal.
  
We choose basic zinc coated washers that you get from the hardware store.  I also had some blank dog tags and copper squares that were left over from a previous jewelry project.  The thinner squares and dog tags didn't stamp as well as the washers. 

Materials needed:

Washers of any size.  We used these.
Steel bench block
Metal stamps
double-sided tape
Sharpie
The metal stamps that we have in the studio are from Harbor Freight and Hobby Lobby.  They are relatively inexpensive (under $15) and come in a variety of sizes and scripts.  
Picture
they are never in alphabetical order
The bench block is important for making sure that you have a underlying surface that isn't going to "give" when you hammer on it.  In absence of a stamping block, try hammering your washer on smooth concrete.  We got our bench blocks from Hobby Lobby for around $11.00.

The double-sided tape is optional but it really helped to stabilize the washer on the block; the process was tricky enough without having to worry about the washer sliding around on the block.

The process:

Step one: Pick out your washer and secure it to the bench block using the tape.  We used our bench blocks on the floor.  I felt like the kids had a better success rate working on their knees verses sitting in a chair.  

Wider base of support and better core stability = more likely to hit the target.

Step two: Decide what you're going to spell and pick out your letters.  You can get really technical on how to space your letters and do the math to make sure that your word is perfectly centered on the washer.  

With the kids, we were just happy to get the letters stamped clearly!
.


Picture
getting all set up...floor, steel block, washer, letter stamp, hammer.
Step three: Hammer away.  You have to hold the post really-really-really firmly on the washer.  And then make sure it doesn't move.  And, you have to hit the stamp post squarely and with a decent amount of force.  In a perfect world, it only takes ONE strike.   Ha!
The instructors here found that our artist were most successful at striking the post if someone else was holding it.  We had them hammer it more than once in order to really make the letter "stick."  

Holding a metal post next to a metal block and giving a child a hammer sounds more dangerous than it really is.  Keep your fingertips curled under and it doesn't smart when they miss.


Really, my fingers are just fine.
Picture
one of our instructors holding the stamp for a young artist to hammer
Step four: Once you have your letters punched, use a sharpie marker to color in the grooves.  Wipe the excess marker off so that ONLY the deep grooves of the letters are colored-in.  


Step five: Finish with string, beads, and other adornments.  Some of our kiddos made necklaces and some made bracelets.  

We made paper beads for many of ours.

Have you ever made paper beads before?  Stay tuned for a tutorial for that project! 
Picture
example of our paper beads

Other Metals projects for kids:

Picture
Recycled Can Robots from Spoonful
Picture
String and Nail Art from Wedding Window
Picture
Painting on foil from Picklebums
Picture
Foil Figures from Mrs Knights Smartest Artists