Jun 16, 2009

Permanent Markers. Eeek!

A lot of people think that younger kids can't be trusted with permanent markers. I can't ever remember being allowed to use them when I was a kid. Mum always had some for writing on tupperware and freezer bags and they were very much out of bounds for me. Maybe that's partly why I let my kids use them, who knows. I just know that with appropriate supervision, they can be extremely useful for making interesting art projects with preschoolers.

I think my youngest was two and a half when we started using sharpies in some of our projects. Mind you, any younger than that and I suspect that far too much of your time will be spent trying to stop your kids drawing on thier own hands and faces with them.

Allowing kids to use these types of pens with supervision opens up the possibilities for drawing on exciting surfaces like plastic, aluminium foil and fabric. Here are a few of the projects I've blogged about in the last year using Sharpies with the kids...

There have been a few other projects involving sharpies that didn't make it onto the blog, but now seems a good time to show you some of those too.

The kids decorated thier own $3 umbrella with permanent markers during the early rainy months of this year...

They decorated some cheap white pillowcases... We made sparkly magnetic fridge puzzles of each kid's name from sheets of Crayola printable magnets that I came across in Goodwill. Lastly, and this is still a work in progress, using the same method that we used for the cushion craft, I tape squares of old bed sheet to cardboard and let them draw away and then save them, because I'm going to use the artwork to make a quilt or throw for them in the future. Here are a couple of my three year old's pieces from a few months back and here are the wonderfully colourful drawings that my four year old has done for her quilt. Hopefully it'll be a nice keepsake showing how the style of drawings changes as they get older. We've not had any real problems with markers being drawn on things that they aren't supposed to be yet. They come off skin pretty easily if you wipe it quickly. I guess the main danger is getting it on clothing, but experimental self decoration has only ever been an issue with the kids under three and a half really, and I tend to make sure they are wearing grotty old tshirts for crafting in anyway. We're lucky that our table top is tiled and so the markers come off that with a bit of elbow grease. Sometimes we use them outdoors in the yard too, this helps with ventilation, because when I've got more than a couple of kids using markers I have the windows open to keep the air fresh.

16 comments:

Heather - CROQZine.com - Dollarstorecrafts.com said...

I know I say this for almost every post, but I just LOVE your blog!! I get so excited every time you have a new post.

This is awesome. My oldest is almost 3, but we are still not using permanent markers. (He calls them "big boy markers"). I think he would be okay with them if I instructed him not to color on his face (which he's used to doing with washables because its a./okay and b./fun). My one year-old still sucks on markers, so we'll have to wait a year or so for him.

I am so excited by all your cool projects!! Thanks for sharing them.

Karin said...

What a great way to follow up Wall-E. These posts are fantastic - some I'd seen the first-time round, some not.

And I love the idea of a quilt showing their art progression -- wow!

MaryAnne said...

I've let my daughter use permanent markers, also closely supervised. My 18mo is definitely a permanent marker no-go, particularly as he still occasionally decides to taste markers. Gel pens are quite permanent without the smell, but of course you can't color beautifully with them the way you can with the markers.

I love the art projects you showcase in this post. The quilt idea is probably my favorite, but they are all wonderful.

joel said...

If you have a film projector and film, bleach the film until it is clear and then draw on it with permanent markers. When it is run through the projector their scribbles and dots are animated and come to life. 8mm film is getting hard to come find but you might find it in rummage sales or the like. 16mm maybe, but if you have access to a 35mm projector, you can use any 35 mm camera film, bleach it and tape it together.

Kitten Muffin said...

Hi Joel, The packing tape movie reel project we did was based on the stripping of film you're talking about that I did when I was a kid. I don't have access to the materials required though and the small kids needed a bigger canvas than the 8mm film provides, so we improvised with packing tape and a projector from Goodwill.

Is it regular bleach that you use to strip the film? I'd like to know, so if I find the gear cheap we can do this proparly when the kids are older. I have fond memories of doing this project at a local art gallery when I was a kid.

LiEr said...

Hi KM - my eldest is good with markers of all kinds, and has been trained to put the markers away "on a high shelf" when she's done. My middle is in a strange Let Us Make Handprints phase and will color her palms with any medium she can get her hands on. So she's only allowed washable markers. My youngest sucks nibs so she isn't allowed any markers at all. She hates this, of course, and will scream her protest, but better the screaming than permanent lipstick is what we believe.

P.S. The quilt is awesome!

joel said...

Yes Ms Muffin, you can use regular bleach, just soak the film in undiluted bleach. I don't remember how long it took but it shouldn't take over an hour or so, just watch it. Just be careful with the bleach, wear gloves and watch out for splatters. Check out ebay for used projectors, and you might check with a local university/college visual arts department for used film or access to 16mm or 35mm projectors.
I saw this on 16mm film at the Panoply of the Arts festival in Huntsville, AL around 1984. I started doing this with my 8mm film the next year or so. I collected exposed 35mm film and scrap 35mm film for a feature but lost about 150 ft of film during a house move.

Lisa said...

I just discovered your blog (from the Italian Pane, Amore e Creatività, which wrote about the shoes you made) and I am totally inspired by the things you make with the kids! My daughter is not yet three and I always think that she's too little to start making things, but she isn't! I'm glad to get so many ideas from your blog! Thanks!

Ashley said...

Those are so pretty....you really need to submit some of their art to this blog! I've submitted my daughter's...the result it hilarious.

http://whatmykidsartsays.blogspot.com/

Lisa said...

I know I've already commented on this post, but I wanted to tell you that I gave your blog an award. I think it's been going around only Italy, but I decided to branch out! Come check it out:
http://cucicucicoo-eng.blogspot.com/

Thanks for all your great ideas!
Lisa

Kitten Muffin said...

Thank you for the award Lisa! I'll put it on the blog this weekend and I'll go visit your blog right now ;)

Lindsey said...

I love your blog, great ideas for little ones. I worked in a day care throughout college, I wish I had found you earlier! We used to have fun coloring balloons/rubber gloves with sharpies and blowing them up for wonky indoor volleyball. Fingernail polish remover is great for removing permanent marker stains, especially from skin and hard, non-porous surfaces. Tastes awful though...

pokedyoureyeout said...

Also, the Magic Eraser (http://www.mrclean.com/en_CA/magic-eraser.do) does a pretty great job of getting sharpie of most anything. I used it recently to get marker streaks my grandson left on my white iMac keyboard and mouse. Now they are both like brand new.

Princess_Sunshine said...

Just thought I'd let you know that hair spray will get sharpie out of clothing (a classmate got sharpie on my brand new sweater and my grandma suggested hair spray - and it worked! just spray it on leave it for a while, scrub it, rinse it, spray it again if needed. However the fact that my 3.5 year old niece smushed an ink pad on her face last month means I will probably hold off with permanent markers for a bit!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your blog and I admire your bravery in allowing your kids such *messy* artistic license. :-) I wish I had you as a mom (so do my kids if the truth be told...) ;-D Anyway, on smooth surfaces (like your tile and smooth plastic stuff) sharpie comes off with rubbing alcohol - no elbow grease required!

Stephanie said...

I love your blog!! I've been saving project ideas into evernote to use when my daughter gets a little older.