Posts Tagged ‘markers’

spirograph mandalas

one of my favorite activities as a child was the spirograph. luckily, they still make these things! (only ours is called mystery spin doodle.)

mandalas, which we’ve done a post about before, are a symbol of wholeness, and as an art therapist, i’ve come to adore them and their healing properties. a spirograph produces a circular image that is much like a yantra, which is the hindu form of a mandala (mandala is traditionally a buddhist term) that is comprised of intricate geometric patterns.

(this one was done by momma)

N had i had some fun this morning trying out the spirograph with different materials. first, she tried it with colored pencils. they need to be very sharp in order to fit through the small holes in the gears. we broke a lot of pencil tips, actually…

i like the pastel look of her pencil one.

so we switched to the 3 markers that came with the kit (that have narrow and long ink tips to fit through the holes.) we were able to add in a few of the markers we had, but not many fit through the holes. N made a couple more mandalas with markers. the smaller gears are easier for little hands to coordinate with keeping it against the edges. i had to help her hand guide the larger gears (which are the ones that produce the images closer to the center.)

N loved the purple one and had the urge to draw a guy in the middle of it right after she began it.

this is what happens after the gears come off… lots of marker scribbling, but it still looks so cool contained within the circle.

we had a great time making these lovely geometric mandalas together…



printer friendly printer friendly

happy mom’s day!

N got her art on today…

to wish you all…

a happy mother’s day weekend!


thank you for everything that you do.

mommas, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers, and all of the special women who make up your tribe…

enjoy your weekend!




printer friendly printer friendly

in the flow

sometimes we’ve just gotta have free art time… without limits on materials, without “how-to’s,” without specified products. i love these moments when N just asks for watercolors or markers or colored pencils and goes for it. we’ve been doing a lot of really open, unstructured art time in our home these past coupla weeks. it’s good for the soul. we just stuck to the basics and watched the creativity floooow…

in my art therapy training, we talked about a theorist named mihaly csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “chick-sent-me-high”) who coined an idea called “flow theory.” flow is his term for the emotional state opposite frustration. flow is when you are fully, happily absorbed in an activity, completely satisfied, but not taking on more than you can handle. it is often what happens when an artist becomes absorbed in their work, and notions of time and space fall away. i relish in this creative space, and kids organically go there in their imaginal creative play. when observing a child in this state, you can usually hear all sorts of made-up stories, characters, ideas, plots spewing out – like a peek into the unconscious, coming out without a filter. such an honor to witness.



while “in the flow,” N has made plenty of tiny paintings that have become and will become cards for friends and family…

N has also worked on some larger watercolor masterpieces that now adorn her art gallery wall

"duck eating grass" & "N in a beret, about to climb a ladder"

by my nature, i’m more at home with the expressive arts than i am with the crafting. imagination plus pigment yields limitless expression!  so let it flow, let it flow, let it floooow…



printer friendly printer friendly

momma’s birds

this is just a little peek at what i did on sunday… it’s a rare mom’s art entry, as i usually only post what my little one is up to in her creative world in order to inspire other little ones out there. but today was a perfect, rainy sunday and mommy got her art on while daddy spent some quality time with N (coincidentally, at a bird sanctuary, though the birds there were taking cover from the rain. oh well.)

here’s what i did today:

drawing at the dining room table after breakfast

pencil sketch on my beloved 140 lb arches hot press

inked & inspiration

a small color study

big birds in process

in living color

finished, pre-frame

ikea-framed and hung above our bed

all in a glorious sunday… i don’t think i’ve accomplished any of my own creative projects start to framed finish in one day since N’s birth. these little birds have been wanting to hatch for a looong while now, so i consider this day a milestone for mommy!


printer friendly printer friendly

big butterfly

just a petite post about a big butterfly. last year we made these little coffee filter butterflies, that i blogged about recently.

then an art therapist friend gave me a few of these huuuuge coffee filters. so one rainy day, we colored all over one of them with markers, like we’ve done before to make coffee filter flowers.

then we set it outside in the rain. (we kept ours out there too long -while we went to ballet class- and most of the color washed away. usually you can just remove it from the rain after about 5 minutes of getting soaked.)

once it was dry, N wanted to wear it.

then we gathered it in the center, paperclipped it, and attached some twisted pipe cleaners to the center for the butterfly’s body. now N’s playhouse (<– stay tuned) has a large lepidoptera friend in the window, catching the light.

you don’t have to go big to do this — regular, human-sized coffee filters will do.


printer friendly printer friendly

clothespin butterfly

one year ago, when N was 26 months old, we went to a spring festival where they offered many crafts for the kids. this is an easy and fun one that N enjoyed making — clothespin butterflies! all you need are a few household items: a pipe-cleaner, a clothespin, and a coffee filter, as well as some markers.


first, let your child’s imagination run wild in coloring all over the coffee filters with the markers. if it is raining when you do this – you know those spring showers can be an artistic blessing – then put the colored (with a water-based marker) filters onto a cookie sheet outside for a minute to let the colors bleed, then dry them out before proceeding. you can see that effect from when we made coffee filter flowers last year. even if it’s not raining, the butterflies can be lovely. just let your child color away until his or her heart is content.


then bend a pipe cleaner (or half of one, actually) into an antenna shape. crinkle your coffee filter in the center and clip that into the clothespin along with the pipe cleaner. and there you have your winged springtime friend…

flutterby - ours got a bit wrinkled, but you get the idea


printer friendly printer friendly

cherry blossom prints

it’s march and we have pink, white, and yellow blooms all over our neighborhood here – signs of spring!

tree in our front yard

one of my favorite spring blooms are cherry blossoms. i adore their soft pink petals. with spring in our hearts, we went to a friend’s house yesterday for a playdate. N and i brought along some simple art materials: paper, sharpies, and a pink stamp pad. because the kids were going to make fingerprints, i got the water-based, washable, kid-safe stamp pad, as opposed to the dye-based kind. i have to say that it’s not very washable anyway, and i’m disappointed that the pink my store had was more hot pink than the beautiful pale color of a cherry blossom. oh well, next time.

regardless, the girls went to town making lots of fingerprints on small rectangles of white paper.

we noticed they preferred to use just one pointer finger, so we encouraged them to use several fingers at a time to cluster the pink dots, much like the tree would have clusters of flowers. (they didn’t really care about that though.)

the more random the pink splotches, the more full and fluffy the trees turn out to look. after we had several little sheets of fingerprints, the kids were ready to play and dance, so we mommas sat down with our sharpies. we made branches connecting the little pink poufs on the page to create the cherry blossom trees.

must clarify that my tshirt was a happy matching accident - must have really had cherry blossoms on the brain!

after the playdate (and lunchtime and naptime) we gathered up some materials to glue the little tree pictures to cards, and embellish them with rhinestones, sequins, and glitter glue.

the finished cards would make sweet “happy spring!” cards or even nice mother’s day cards.

an alternative to using fingerprints would be to use a paintbrush and some (pale) pink watercolors, but i figured that when making these into cards for family, they always cherish little paw prints.

happy almost spring!



printer friendly printer friendly

learning cutting by heart

at first, it seemed that the stars aligned for this activity… N just got a trio set of scissors for her birthday that she wants to learn to use and valentine’s day is approaching. thus, the obvious project emerges: cutting out hearts. a last ditch effort for a v-day seasonal craft and also one of the more simple and rewarding cutting exercises, right? (well, not in our case.)

while N napped, i gathered up some scrap papers that could pass as “valentiney”

i folded each sheet in half, drawing halves of various sized hearts on them with sharpie markers.

N asked to watch the valentine’s day episode of little bear when she awoke from her nap, where little bear cuts out hearts and gives them out to his friends as valentines. perfection, right?

after the episode, she was super-excited to make the valentines. so she tried. wholeheartedly.

now i don’t know if it is her age or if it is that these scissors work extremely well in play-doh but not on paper, but it just wasn’t happening for her. honestly, it didn’t happen for me with her scissors very well either. not with the straight-edged ones, the zig-zag ones, or the wave-edged ones. they sort of bent and shredded the paper.

we sort of gave up and i ended up cutting out heart shapes for her with my grown-up scissors so that she could give them to all of her toys as valentines, and she was psyched nonetheless.


project gone awry? yes, i post these sorts of outcomes, too. i mean the site is called paintCUTpaste and all. eh, better luck next year…

p.s. – can anyone recommend some awesome paper-cutting kid-safe scissors?


printer friendly printer friendly

color wonder

we’ve been traveling for the holiday, thus we haven’t been crafting at home or updating this blog as often. hope you all had a wonderful holiday! we did, however, find a fun, travel-friendly art material on our vacation. how many parents out there hover while your kids are creating with markers, for fear that your couch and walls will soon be decorated with doodles? well, have no fear – some clear markers are here! i know they’re not that new, but they’re new to me and N as of this trip: crayola color wonder!

crayola color wonder

crayola color wonder magic markers is sorta more like… “i wonder where the color is.” these seemingly clear markers show up only on the special paper that crayola also provides. these were absolutely perfect for the airplane, especially the travel pack that we got with (who else?) the tinkerbell fairies all ready to be colored by my little fairy.

color wonder tinkerbell


she had a blast on the plane with her new “magical markers!” after she got over the lack of instant gratification — it takes a wee bit of time before the color shows up.

color wonder tinkerbell

bonus: she didn’t scribble all over delta’s lovely seat cushions (though she totally should have! grrrrr, airlines!) and if she had, no one would have known.

color wonder



printer friendly printer friendly


there’s nothing terribly inventive about making little creatures out of tiny (or big) fingerprints, but there’s always something irresistibly cute about it!


we usually send out nearly 200 paper holiday cards each year, but this year, out of respect for our earth (and limited budget) we are creating a digital card… but then we realized that we needed a few little cards to accompany the few handmade trinkets we’re crafting for family members. so, handmade cards on recycled paper is the way to go! i got out my beloved colorbox ink in cyan and let the little one go at it, putting her little fingerprint on our cards.

fingerprint art

then, with my beloved sharpie (can you tell these are materials i adore?) i drew the most minimal features to make her cute prints into little bluebirds of happiness.

bluebirds of happiness!

bluebirds of happiness!

with a brush tip sepia faber-castell artist pen, i randomly sketched in some branches.

fingerprint art

then i used the same cyan ink pad to stamp a script “joy” on the insides of the cards (stamp from my beloved paper source – oh huge crush!) and wrote little notes (and let N sign her own name to a few) for our loved ones. a sweet, personalized wintery scene to send!

fingerprint birds

i think red birds on white stock would be a lovely holiday card, as well! there are tons of other animals and characters that can be made with fingerprints – a fun idea for cards, gifts, and art in general!

then we had all of the (few) holiday cards we needed complete in an afternoon – now we just have to dream up a digital holiday card to create for all of our dear friends…



printer friendly printer friendly

color saturation

my artsy-momma-friend just posted this paper-towel-art project on her pink & green mama blog, and i knew that we had to try out right away. anything having to do with markers and rainbows makes N squeal with glee! (if you’ll recall our last wet marker activity, she was quite excited!)

paper towel art

it’s like a little color-science experiment at home. all you need are markers (we used my faaaav mr. sketch markers so i could sniff the turquoise one like a freakshow,) paper towels, and an eye-dropper. then have your little one draw small circles onto the paper towels. (you’ll probably have to hold the paper towels in place and taut as s/he draws. otherwise there could be some frustration.) then show your little one how to use the eyedropper to drop some water into the center of the circles s/he has drawn. then let the ooooo’s and aaaah’s just come…

as my friend said in her blog, this exercise is a cool way to show how to separate out the primary colors that make up a secondary color marker. (for example, the green marker will separate into blue and yellow after the water bleeds for a while.) for us, it was fun when this worked in reverse. we drew concentric circles of two primary colors, like yellow circle inside of a blue circle. then when she dropped water into the center, they blended into green.

a tie-dye cat's eye?

a cat's eye?

mostly my little one was just psyched to “watch the rainbows grow!” and learning how to use a water dropper.

be sure to watch closely

and i couldn’t help but get in on the action with a little chakra aura image of my own. (gosh, i can’t wait to practice again!)





printer friendly printer friendly

we’ve created a (hallogreen) monster!

okay, it’s the week before halloween, so it’s time to bust out one more (or a couple? we’ll see…) halloweeny crafts. i saw this make-shift monster on the no time for flash cards blog and decided to try it with my little monster.

frankenstein craft

reason being: we already had all of the materials at home, and we love to repurpose items we already have into art and playthings. also, after doing the monster mash on jib-jab where N got to play the part of frankenstein, she’s pretty into this particular massive mutant.

all you need is stuff in your recycling bin and maybe a few tokens and art materials you can find around the home:

  • an empty toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll cut in half (for two monsters! we did it this way.)
  • green & black paint, markers, or crayons (we used watercolors)
  • golf tees, beads, or cardboard scraps (anything that can be ear-like)
  • googly-eyes, buttons, felt, or construction paper (anything that makes eyes)
  • scissors
  • glue

paint or color your toilet paper roll about 2/3 green and 1/3 black.

frankenstein craft

cut slits along the top of the black part and fold them down to make “hair” and paint the folded down flaps.

hair colorist

then poke holes for your golf tees to go through. or, if you’re like us and are not a golfing family, just glue on some beads or cardboard or whatever you have lying around for knobby monster ears. then we used buttons for eyes because googly-eyes didn’t warrant a special trip to the craft store, and why buy new when you can reuse whatcha got? i had beads left over from the stash i found for our leaf garland.

frankenstein craft

N drew mouths onto the frankensteins, and our little monsters came to life!

then we did the monster mash... wwaaahooooo...

so this frankenstein is green in more ways than one! (hey, what are blogs for if not for cheesy puns?)


printer friendly printer friendly