Sep 24, 2010

Things and stuff and you lot.

Not a project this time I'm afraid, but wait! There are a lot of links to things and stuff that you lot have done based on the projects I post on here. I know I try to do this every now and again, but dang, you lot have been busy this month and I have a lot of links here suddenly!

Before I start on that though, I want to say sorry that it took me so long to put that email subscription doohicky on the side bar! I've had people emailing me about sorting that out for at least a year! Hope it's nice and useful for those of you not using a reader. I know my posts on here are relatively infrequent and somewhat erratic when compared to the majority of bloggers, so checking back at regular intervals doesn't really guarantee you anything. Hopefully this helps with that frustration :)

Here's a picture of some gratuitous paint mess to break up all the text ;)

Right! Over to Filth Wizardry's reader's creations! Hope some of these give anyone on the fence about trying something they have seen on here, the gumption to have at it!

  • Liz at "The Quilted Turtle" made her son a tshirt with our plastic bag iron on decal method, here. (by the way, I keep meaning to update you on the longevity of these experimental decals we've done. The disney princess vest, which was the first one I did is still intact and has been through the dryer on a low heat several times too, so that's about eight months it's lasted for so far)

  • I've got three links to readers that have tried the stained glass tissue paper window. Maureen over at "Twig and Toadstool" blogged about theirs here. I love that they had several smaller windows to work with! At "Petit Papier Caillou Ciseaux" they did this project on the lower part of a window and added some cute teeny flowers, here. Over at "Scott School" they made a big version too, here. Ours is still up and going strong. I expected the colours to have faded, but they are still nice and bright, so that makes me even happier about it lasting as long as it is.

  • The craft foam bath murals have been a hit with other readers too! I guess you can't beat a craft that involves pretty much zero clean up! Here's a veritable tubfull from "Minnis Moments", and here's a windowfull over at "My Misty Cliff Musings". Nice alternative to the bath if you haven't got tiled walls. More over at "A Dream House for Trish" here. Mmm how I love your nice clean white tiles! I'm still trying to find a decent way to get oil pastels off grout by the way. It seems I may have to regrout or be really awful and just try and cover it up with white oil pastel!

  • Hooray for those of you that tried our paper pirate swords that I wrote about over on Alpha Mom! A couple of people wrote to tell me that they had made batches for preschool and for a birthday party. We made a bunch for my older daughter's 4th birthday party and I have wonderful memories of all the swashbuckling nonsense from that day :) Indie Tutes blogged about the ones they made on a chilled out Friday afternoon, here.

  • The bandana skirt craft I wrote about in that same Alpha Mom post got good feedback too, and again the crew at "My Misty Cliff Musings" had a go with the same method, but her own material rather than bandanas, here.

  • Last piratey one for today! This is a blast from the past for me! It was the first ever picture on the first ever post on Filth Wizardry that was our pancake art pirate ship, and over at "Little Page Turners" they made their own, just yesterday! Check it out with their other pirate food, here.

  • Over at "Endeavor Learning Center" they built their own wall purely in order to set up a music wall for the kids! Kudos! I love the bells that they have on there too. Check it out here.

  • I know it was only a few days ago that I posted the plasticine stamping project, but already people have had a go and found the time to blog about it too! I tell you, you're a keen lot! Look at the top notch Egyptian hieroglyph stamps over at "Re-creo de Colores", here! They did some fantastic experimentation with this over at "Six Golden Coins" here too. I love the strawberry leaf. Love it!

  • Christie at "Childhood 101" made her daughter a beginner's sewing basket, here, and included our shelf liner embroidery idea in the kit. She had a nice sized embroidery hoop for hers too, which must have made things even easier.

  • I got a lovely email from Kirstene about how she made our glow in the dark light sabers for a load of people. She blogs about her girlies playing with them here, and then she made a little kit up and sent one to her brother in law for his birthday... here. She sent me a video of her brother larking around with the one she sent him too, but I can't blasted well get blogger to upload it at the moment. If Blogger stops tormenting me then I'll share it with you, because he's got some light saber sound effect skills to be proud of ;) I love that adults are enjoying this project as much as the kids! We're actually getting a bunch of kids together to make them again in a week or so when my older daughter turns six :)

  • Lastly, I got an email from Robin about our crafts that she tried out with her kid's craft group. They tried the fairy houses and fairy wings, the tin foil toadstools and even the shelf liner sewing craft in one day with a bunch of little girlies. Robin was kind enough to share some photos with me. Cute overload, so brace yourself...

Lots of lovely links for you to peruse there. I only linked to the reader's projects, not ours, with the exception of Robin's craft fun, because I think all of the posts link back to the specific Filth Wizardry project that inspired them, so if you're curious you can go through to them and come back to us to see those.

If you have a go at any of our projects and want me to post a picture or link to a blog post that you have written about it then just let me know. I put these little lists together every now and again to spread the enthusiasm and give you all a virtual high five for mess in the name of fun. If you also have Courgette plants that are covered in blue paint then I owe you a chest bump!

If you've emailed me about anything recently, I promise I am trying to email you back, it's just taking me a while to get through them :)I'm about two weeks behind at the moment, so if you've emailed me about anything and it's been a month or something silly and I've not got back to you yet then alas I may have totally missed your email, so please feel free to resend it and don't think I'm ignoring you, I'm just a bit disorganized this end ;)

Sep 19, 2010

plasticine stamp printing

This is going to be a bit of an epic post as far as photographs go. We had a lot of fun messing around with lumps of plasticine and an old stamp pad, and I figured you'd probably like to see a load of examples of what went on, to give you lots of ideas. I've always been rather fond of rubber stamps and my kids love playing with rubber stamps too, but they are expensive, and so we only have a set of upper case and lower case alphabet ones from their great grandpa Norman and a couple of random cheap plastic ones. If you are like us and want a cheap and creative alternative to an expensive rubber stamp collection then this might be just right for you.

I started off not with plasticine at all, but with a few of the red wax wrappers from babybel cheese. I was wondering if we could use them to make our own stamps with, so I smooshed them onto a lone Jenga block and made some patterns in it.

It worked, but the wax was a bit too hard for the kids to comfortably make the shapes they wanted, so I got out the box of plasticine that we use with goggly eyes to make creatures (remember from this post from April last year?) The kids still played that game inbetween all the stamping fun. Here's the "circle time with a teacher" that my four year old made :) I think the plasticine we used was Rose Art, but it's so old that I'm not entirely sure. That's something else that I love about plasticine - it's virtually indestructable (unlike playdough, which we use for many crafts, but would be awful for this one). This plasticine is at least two years old and still going strong. I have fond memories of our primary school's plastic tray draw full of gnarly lumps of grey playdough that must have been at least as old as the teacher :)

The plasticine was much much easier for the kids to manipulate into the stamps that they wanted. I had a lot of fun with this too! The stamps that you can make in this way have an interesting property to them, in that the more you stamp them, the more the shape changes because the plasticine is so pliable. That might seem like a disadvantage, but it actually gives things a really nice organic flowing and unexpected feel that I quite like. No two impressions from each stamp are exactly the same.

I suppose if you wanted to have a stamp that remained the same for many impressions then you'd just have to stick it in the fridge for a bit to make the playdough harder. I kind of like how temporary these are though and that you have to keep making more from the older ones.

Here are a few examples...

I made the leaves and petals and stamped a sunflower with them, which Carys coloured in. Ffion had a go at making her own sunflower.

Carys asked for me to make her a sun, so I made five stamps, one for the rays (you can see how the shape changes during multiple stampings quite well from the rays of the sun), one for the mouth, one for the eye, one for the nose and one for the eyebrow. Later on she painted it beautifully and it's now up on our wall in the livingroom. I love the texture of how the ink applies to the paper with this!
We also tried rolling out a layer of plasticine onto some scrap wood for the kids to draw into and print from. That worked out really well too. We dabbed the stamp pad all over it and then squished the paper on top.

In the afternoon we stamped the kid's names using impressions from our fridge magnets. We smooshed the magnets front face into the plasticine and pulled them back out again to make the backwards letters that would print the right way around. Then we decorated the edges of each letter stamp.

The cool thing about stamping the letters in negative was that the kids could colour them in with pencils after.

We cut out a lot of our experimental stamps and they made collages and coloured them too.

Once the kids were in bed I had a play around with the plasticine and stamp pad myself and made some postcard note thingies. I'm liking how instant and yet temporary this process is. You can't make more than a couple of cards before you need to fashion a new stamp, so even though you are stamping, each card is unique. I think I might splash out on a couple of different coloured stamp pads now. White would be very cool to stamp on the brown paper! Totally a grown up craft as well as a kid craft!

Whilst writing all this up I thought I'd go have a look on the interwebs to see if anyone else had posted anything about stamp making with plasticine and to my astonishment there was only one thing I could find. A post here on Paper Crafts for Children, showing one stamp used with paint. This technique is so much fun and so flexible and open ended that I figured surely we wouldn't be the first people to wonder about experimenting with it, but there you go, so that's why I decided to put so many images in this post. You should so have a go! Using the stamp pad with the plasticine doesn't ruin the plasticine either in case you were wondering.

We've done a couple of other unusual printing techniques over the years. In case you are interested, here are a couple of links to them.

1. Printing with laser cut felt shapes (last year).
2. Printing with foam shapes on rolling pins (two years ago).

Happy stamping!

Sep 13, 2010

Craft foam bath murals

If you've been with us for a really long time then you might remember these outside paper and water murals from when the kids were quite little. This craft foam bath mural project works on the same principal. Just surface tension, which is great, because it means everything is able to be used again and again.

We don't have many bath toys, but this activity has shown no signs of getting old, because there are endless creative possibilities! I'm quite lucky in that whenever my friends get kid's craft kits that involve craft foam, they always give me the left overs :) My house has become the repository of unwanted random bits of craft foam and that's really handy for bath time!

I know you can buy chunky foam bath "stickers" that adhere to the tiled walls or side of the tub with just water due to surface tension, but they are pretty limiting in that they are all pre printed themed pieces, so there's no creating for the kids beyond imaginative play with the set they have. What you want is a load of brightly coloured regular craft foam. Not the self adhesive backed stuff, just the cheaper plain old stuff. The Dollar Tree often does decent sized packs with a few colours in and really, the cheap thin stuff is the best because it's easier for the kids to cut and is lighter, so the surface tension keeps it where they put it for longer. If I leave the mural up after their bath in the evening then only about half of it has dried to the point where it falls off into the tub by the morning!

Sometimes I cut out sets for the kids to use like the monster set that you can see below...

Other times I use up random left overs like the insects and flowers for the garden set. The kids like to be able to cut their own pieces too. The only rule is that if you're holding the kid scissors then you're sitting down. Some of the pieces like the monster eyes are drawn on with sharpie pen and they hold up pretty well to getting wet. If you have any of those shaped punches meant for scrap booking then you can get a load of good shapes quickly from those. I only have a punch for making rounded corners, so we just hand cut stuff with the children's safety scissors.

You can go geometric and abstract with shapes (this one is a city on a planet in a binary star system)...

We've also got a set based on the Duplo word blocks from a while back.

For younger kids the alphabet might be popular with lower case on one side and upper case on the other?

You don't even have to be having a bath at all, you can just give them a bucket of water to dunk the shapes in and they can stand in the tub with it cutting shapes themselves.

The kids think it's really funny to be sitting in a tub of craft foam soup, and it's easy to clear up. I just store the sets under the sink in the bathroom in ziplock bags (I don't close them though, because I guess they might get funky if they were still a bit wet and sealed shut?) Because the foam floats, you just need to scoop all the little bits off the surface of the water before taking the plug out so you don't have them escaping down your plug hole and blocking the drain.

There are loads of possibilities with this, even for older kids. They could make board games to play on the sides of the tub, or their own poetry set like the magnetic fridge ones you can buy. My youngest daughter up until she was two years old would have just tried biting chunks out of the pieces though, so I guess there's a lower age limit to this unless you can find really thick craft foam to cut yourself.

Some of the themes we'll be going for in the future are things like numbers so we can practise addition and subtraction, along with circles for counters. I think my girls would really enjoy having all the internal body parts cut out with name labels to construct the human body too. Paul suggested robot parts, which I think they would LOVE! Cut out country shapes to fit together a world map? State shapes for a US map if you're American? Tangrams? sections to build wiggly tracks around the inside of the tub that you can drive your toy cars around on like one of those vertical wheels of death? You're only limited by your own imagination with this!