Nutcracker: Crayon with Texture Rubbing

Here is the most budget conscious version of my Nutcracker project, using just good old-fashioned crayons on white paper. I added a twist of placing a plastic needlepoint tapestry underneath when I was coloring the red suit to give my guy some extra texture.
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Giant Paper Mache Nutcracker, Part 3 and 4

Last week my giant nutcracker project was completed, just in the nick of time for the school’s holiday show. 

White paper towels were paper mached over the newsprint. The next day students painted a layer of red, black and peach acrylic paint. The face, buttons and belt were added when all was dry, and white fur beard pinned at the end (one minute before curtain, to be exact.)

The kids loved working on this project, and a smart 2nd grader already suggested how we could recycle him after the holidays – turn him into Abe Lincoln for President’s Day! Does our school have clever kids or what?
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Nutcracker: Colored Pencil on Black Paper

Here is a sample of my Nutcracker project using metallic marker and colored pencils on black construction paper. I used black construction paper from Michael’s (it’s very black) and Prang Metallic markers (about $1 each from Staples) and Dick Blick Student grade colored pencils. A bit more expensive than your average supplies, but the results are amazing.
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Nutcracker: Watercolor Painting

I like to have students create one really special piece of art for the holidays, and I remember having good results with this nutcracker drawing last year. My only dilemma is figuring out which media to use. I have some Crayola Mixable Watercolor trays and watercolor paper, so this is a sample of how that media would look. I like the vivid red, the only catch is that a lot needs to be mixed (combining the violet and orange) and I’m not sure if I’ll get a lot of splotchy nutcrackers that way. More tests to come...
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Nutcracker: Oil Pastel on Black Paper

 This is a breakdown of my Nutcracker drawing project, this time using oil pastels on black construction paper. I tried the steps shown in my diagram and had really good results, and lots of proud smiles to go with them.
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Klutz Craft Books Giveaway

My friends at Klutz are sponsoring a great giveaway – an assortment of craft books plus a $25 gift certificate, all valued at over $100, for TWO lucky winners. Two new Klutz books are included, Draw DC Universe and Stamp Art, both which come with detailed instructions and all the supplies needed for their fun projects. The cartoon book even has transparent pages inside so kids can practice tracing their favorite characters.

Two (2) winners will each receive Draw the DC Universe, Stamp Art, Pom-Pom Monster Salon , Friendship Pixies and a $25 Klutz.com gift certificate.

To enter my giveaway, leave a comment with contact info by Tuesday, November 29th at 12pm midnight, PST. Continental US shipping only. Good luck everyone!
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Homemade Christmas Card

There’s nothing like a homemade holiday card. I tried this method to make a quick “quilted” card that didn’t actually call for any sewing.
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How to Draw Thanksgiving Pumpkins

Students can learn how to make circles look like spheres when they practice drawing pumpkins. I’ve broken my drawing into steps to show how even just lines can be used to make a flat shape look dimensional.
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Abstract Snowman Card

I needed a simple and quick card project, and was inspired by some stock snowman art. After deliberating on all my options, I settled on using Sharpie markers to get the brightest color for the least amount of cost.
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Stained Glass Hanukkah Menorah Mural

This year's Hanukkah celebration, the Festival of Lights, begins on Dec. 1st. My Hanukkah Menorah Mural consists of a 30 pages and measures 45" x 48" when complete.

You can purchase my pdf file with instructions for just $5. Click the “Add to Cart” button below to make your payment and receive your download instructions.

Add to Cart
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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Day Card

This my gift to all you super-busy creative types who still want to make a homemade Thanksgiving Day card, but are flat running out of time. I’ve collected a bunch of decorative letters from clipartETC.com and arranged them on a jpeg file that you can just print, color, fold and deliver. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Click here for the rest of my post.
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Turkeys from Brentwood, CA

Volunteer art docent Tricia, from Brentwood, CA sent these beautiful turkeys painted by 4th graders. Based on my "One More Turkey Drawing" project, she had the students draw them on 12x18 white paper with Sharpies. They added oil pastel accents and finished with water color from edge to edge. Absolutely beautiful use of color! Thanks so much for sharing them, Tricia.
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Turkey “Hand” Print

The idea of turning a hand into a turkey has been around for awhile. Here’s a twist using a craft foam hand and acrylic paint to make a simple and easy monoprint.
Prep: Craft foam hands are sold in lots of craft stores. Glue each with craft glue onto a large (10" x 13"ish) piece of corrugated cardboard. Let dry overnight.
1. The students each get their own cardboard with hand, flat paint brush, and several pieces of letter size paper. With my young students, I opted to walk around and squirt a bit of brown acrylic paint on each board. The students used their brush to spread the paint around and spread out any puddles. They placed a piece of paper on top, rubbed it with their hand, and lifted to make a print. They were able to make several prints to get one that they really liked (clean shape with minimal splotches).
2. After the prints were dry, each student used a black Sharpie to draw just a few details on their turkey. Shapes were colored in with pencil crayon when finished.
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Burlap Weaving Bookmarks

Weaving lessons can come in many forms, the simplest being with just plain paper. My preference though is using actual fabric, and burlap has the most open and visible weave for beginners to work with.
1. Give each student a rectangle of burlap, about 3" wide by 9" tall. They are to pull about 5 threads from all four sides, one a a time, to make a decorative fringe.
2. To make some room to add new yarn, about 3 consecutive horizontal threads are pulled out.
3. The students thread a tapestry needle with some colorful new yarn, and run it through the new open row in the burlap, weaving up and down as often as they could, the ideal being over or under every thread. The yarn is pulled through and the ends trimmed when finished.
4. This process was repeated as often as possible until the end of class. I had a 2nd grader that did 13 rows!
UPDATE: I wanted to add that this has been one of my most successful projects to date. About 300 second through fifth graders completed their weavings last week, and not one of them went away feeling frustrated or deciding that weaving or sewing (as some called it) was not for them. Teachers loved it too, asking for more when school gets back in session. After the investment of the tapestry needles (metal are best), the cost is about $7 for a class of 24.
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How to Draw a Turkey

I found this turkey shape in a stock art illustration, and I think it works well for a basic turkey drawing lesson. It also uses radial symmetry, which is one of the Arts Standards for the 2nd grade.
1. I plan to have the students follow along with my drawings steps as shown in my diagram. The most important thing is that they draw large and fill up the paper they are given.
2. After the pencil drawing is complete, they will trace all their lines with a black Sharpie. I like the variety of using some thick and some with fine points.
3. This turkey is actually painted in with instant coffee and then sprinkled with salt before it dries. The salt soaks up bits of the water and leaves a cool textured look behind. A bit of red orange paint completes the picture.
4. When the coffee is completely dry, brush off the crystals to reveal the texture pattern behind.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Two
2.5 Use bilateral or radial symmetry to create visual balance.
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Paper Mache Pumpkins from Barcelona

One of my favorite blog finds has been “Fem Manuals” from Barcelona, Spain. This teacher always seems to have amazing and unique projects. So, imagine my surprise when she contacted me about her latest post – one inspired by my paper mache pumpkin project! I just can't get over how well her kids made these, and what gorgeous colors they used. I think it’s the perfect blend of nature and art. Thank you so much for sharing these Cristina.
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Warhol Hand Prints

I’ve started a new afterschool print class, and this Warhol hand print turned out pretty well, for even my young kinders. The watercolor background (quick drying time) allowed for the project to be done in one class.
1. I had pre-drawn the grid on the 11" x 15" watercolor paper, but the students had to trace it heavily with a dark crayon. Afterwards, they painted each rectangle a different color. I had them use my liquid watercolors in spill-proof cups to speed up the process.
2. The watercolor sheets were taken away to dry and the students practiced making leaf prints with white acrylic paint on black paper. It was quite messy, as I knew it would be, but they did all have a lot of fun.
3. After about 20 minutes of leaf printing, I set up a station with one plate of black acrylic paint and one with white. I wiped any excess paint off the hands, and the students made hand prints on the watercolor paper. The hands were flipped for the bottom row to make a checker pattern.
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Kinder Watercolor Resist Snowman

This is another kinder art + book match that I feel is about as good as you can get. “The Biggest, Best Snowman” by Margery Cuyler not only tells a great story about friends, it involves the actual creation of a snowman. This is helpful to little ones that may have yet to build one of their own.
1. Each student started with a 9" x 12" sheet of watercolor paper and pencil. I gave my students a roll of masking tape to trace (the inside) to establish the bottom circle. The middle and top circle were drawn freehand by the students. The arms, face, hat, scarf and ground line were added.
2. After the snowman was finished in pencil, he (or she) was traced with a dark crayon. Any small shapes like the hat and scarf were colored in with crayon.
3. Using a white crayon, I asked the students to draw lots of snowflakes around their snowman, either as crisscross stars or small circles. Whichever shape they chose, they just needed to use lots of pressure to make sure thick white lines were created.
4. I had recently gotten hold of some blue Dick Blick Liquid Watercolor Paint, and I watered it down a bit (maybe 30%) before letting students paint over their sky. I love the shade of this blue, but I’m sure others would look fine too.
Note: I used this project for my school’s artwork fundraiser with originalworks.com and so far have some very happy parents to show for it. I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes the simplest projects create the best results.
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Turkey Pinch Pot

I found this pinch pot in Arts & Activities magazine and it's a great project for 1st graders on up.
1. Give each student a lump of modeling clay about the size of a small apple. Point out that softening the clay is an important first step and this is done by wetting the clay and squeezing it until it becomes warm. They then roll it into a smooth ball.
2. To form the pinch pot, the students press their thumb into the middle of the ball and pinch the sides until a bowl is formed with sides about the thickness of a pancake.
3. The students then pinch together one side of the bowl to form the turkey head. On the opposite side, the clay is pinched flat and curved to form the tail. When the shape is complete, feathers are etched into the sides.
4. Fire the clay, paint with glaze, and fire again. A very cute addition to your Thanksgiving table!
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Creativity for Kids Giveaway

And the Creativity for Kids Giveaway winners are. . .

Briana who wrote...
My little girls would love either one of these!

and katiebird who wrote ...
My little girl would love either of these! What a neat opportunity. Thanks!

Congratulations winners, I have your email addresses and will be contacting you shortly.
Thanks again to Creativity for Kids for sponsoring this generous giveaway.


ABOUT CREATE YOUR OWN ENCHANTED STORYBOOK
This adorable castle-shaped book comes ready to decorate with markers, glitter stickers, color-in-stickers and rhinestones. Write your story on the lined pages then use the blank pages for your illustrations. Open the drawbridge door and personalize the story with your name. You can add your picture to the tower window too!
Age Range: 5 – 95
$17.99

ABOUT DIVA PUPPIES
Pamper 3 pooches with paint, sequins, flowers, ribbons, heart charm collars, fur, boas and tutus. Time for a nap? Each puppy has a soft furry bed to curl up on. Each bobble-head pup measures 5" x 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", all packaged in an adorable doghouse style box.
Age Range : 9 – 99
$17.99
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36 Strathmore Art Journal Kits Giveaway!

I recently tried out a great new art journal, the Art Journal Kit made by Strathmore® and designed by Artterro®. They've teamed up to create these inspiring journal kits, complete with examples of how to make your own beautiful pages.

Strathmore will send one winner 36 Art Journal Kits, with a retail value of $400. This prize will make a wonderful gift for any classroom or art journal party.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment that includes your plans for using the journals and your contact information. This giveaway is limited to the continental US and one comment per entrant, please. Comments must be posted by Wed., Nov. 9th at midnight PST.

For more ideas on how to use these journals, I will be posting my own Art Journal Kit pages through Wednesday. Good luck everyone and thank you to Strathmore for this fabulous giveaway!
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Strathmore Journal Kits Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the 36 pack of Strathmore Art Journal Kits Giveaway is...

Samantha B. from Somerville, MA

Congratulations Samantha, I hope your students have a wonderful time with their journals. Thanks to all who entered my giveaway, I have more planned for the holiday season so check back often!

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