Art at Home: Low Mess, Little Resources, Big Creativity
Doing art at home has nothing to do with accuracy, skill or ‘fine-art-degree’ perfection. Your children just need to create, they just need excitement and fun and colour and expression. Most of the beauty of creating art with your kids is the ability to be present and open to discussion and conversation. You do not need an excess of materials, a separate room or specialist materials to have an artistic home, you simply need a little time and a focus on the process rather than the product.
Two tips I’ll give you before we begin…
1. Never answer ‘Is it good?’ with a statement about their product. Talk about what stands out to you, ask them what they like about it, and what stands out to them in the process and the work. Children don’t need an art critic.
2. You should be doing the art as well… creating art beside them is far more beneficial than watching over them.
Click through the gallery for the art how-to guide to make recycled murals at home!
Art At Home: Dye and Marker Art
This project is an amazing start for sculpture and is also a really wonderful way to up-cycle waste, or no longer used household objects. The key to this is deciding on a theme, and ensuring that you have a variety of objects, textures and shapes. A great example would be making a sculptured canvas for the kitchen out of all or your broken or unused kitchen utensils, or a piece of bathroom art out of hotel shampoo bottles and toothbrushes, combs etc.
What You’ll Need:
- Recycled objects,
- Cardboard / wood / plastic / recycled bags
- White glue (PVA)
- A hot glue gun (Optional – if you are gluing heavier objects)
- Paint – Acrylic or house paint – not tempura or poster paint as the coverage is not great.
- White Paint, for shading and mixing
First, collect all of your materials and come up with a layout. Choose a baseboard. This can be card, or canvas or wood — just ensure that if it is going into a wet or damp environment that the base won’t become soggy or fall apart. Now position and glue your objects on your base.
If making a sign, you might want to write the words first and then position your objects over the words. String and wool works well too, as does textured card or plastic. Work together with your kids to fill the base as much as possible. Be intentional with your use of empty space, you don’t want too many blank spaces. If you are using PVA glue be aware that it needs a day to really dry, and that it can be frustrating when things don’t feel like they are sticking. They will, it just takes time. Heavy objects, however, may become unstuck over time, so that is where hot glue is really helpful. Please be careful with hot glue and children, it burns.
Once your creation is glued and dry, give it 2-3 base coats with your paint. I always think one solid colour is a good place to start. Once you have made more than one, you could explore using different colours, textures or strategies but to begin with, just several even coats of a single colour will be effective.
You can use hairdryers to dry your work. This is always fun with the kids, but do be careful of over heating or bubbling paint. When your work has a nice solid colour and you cannot see the original colours or gaps shining through, you are ready to dry brush and finish your work.
Dry-brushing is a very simple but effective painting strategy. You need to create a lighter shade of the base coat colour. You can either purchase this, or simply mix in white gradually (while stirring) until you get the tone you want. To dry-brush, dip your brush into the paint, and then scrape it off again, removing as much excess as possible. Now move your hand and wrist quickly and brush lightly over the painted surface. This new colour will highlight raised edges and textures.
It is best to do this lightly, without much paint as you can always go over multiple times until you get the effect you want. If you have a test piece of object you can practice dry-brushing on first, it always helps, as you can refine your technique first. If you or your child have been too heavy handed, just wipe the paint off, repaint with the darker shade, and try again when dry. You can do several shades, going over lighter with each passing. This will give real depth and texture to your art.
Try doing this project with different themes and intentions, and you’ll create some beautiful projects. Get creative. You don’t have to create flat art… an old pair of shoes, or lampshade or plastic bottle could become a featured sculpture within your home.
All images by Inspired Arts