Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Product Review: Master Kitz Paint Kits

I came across these kits quite some time ago at the Creative Kidstuff toy store. They looked so neat!
I received one for Christmas a couple years ago and one of my daughters received one for her birthday. This summer we decided it was time to break these out and give them a try. Unfortunately, I do not have a lot of in-progress photos of both kits. But here it goes:
The first kit we did was the Starry Starry Night Kit. The kits come with the instructions, paint, applicators, paper, and stickers provided. All you add is the newspaper and creativity. The instructions are easy to follow and very visual so an older kid could definitely do this on their own without much supervision. The thing I think is really neat about this is that it introduces kids to layering paint. Admittedly, I've never actually taken a painting course (just other generic art courses) so my knowledge is limited to what I've observed. But I do know that artists paint their images in layers and this is a great way to teach kids about layering color together!

The way the Starry Night kit works is that you place removable circle stickers down, then apply different shades of blue paint with the stamped roller applicator included. You remove the stickers and tape down a stencil. You roller black paint over the stencil to create the town. Then using your own creativity you layer on pastel color to create the details of the stars and town. Here is my 10 year old's version of Starry Starry Night:
I absolutely LOVED how she didn't just copy what she saw on the box. She created her own masterpiece with her own color choices. She asked to use our pastel colors so she would have a wider variety of color to pick from than what was included in the kit.

I give this kit FIVE stars and HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! Here are a couple more details:
Another thing I truly love about this kit is that there is great TEXTURE in the paint application. Just like Van Gogh's work!
I visited New York City this past spring and had to see MOMA. I can't tell you how excited I was to see Starry Starry Night in person and to be able to get up close and really "see" it!
But to be honest, I kind of like my daughter's version better. Ha! ;-)

Now onto kit #2: Gustav Klimt's Tree of Life. I have more in-progress photos for this one:
This kit was admittedly, quite a bit less involved. You placed the stencil over your paper to start. And then apply the included gold paint with the roller brush.
After that, you use a darker brown and stamp over the gold paint:
This created patterns and shapes on the gold paint.

You remove the stencil and add the included stickers wherever you like. And then you have a finished Tree of Life!
And here they are on our art wall:
All right, I'm going to be 100% honest here and say, the Tree of Life kit was kind of a disappointment TO ME. Now, my 8 year old daughter enjoyed it. But when the PROCESS of this kit is compared to the process of the Starry Starry Night kit, the Tree of Life kit was a letdown. There were more steps in the Van Gogh kit and there was more room for the child to be more creative.

I think the Tree of Life kit is perfect for ages 6 and younger. I think the Van Gogh kit is better overall for any age (with help). But especially for ages 6 and up. I'm glad I wasn't having my 10 year old do the Tree of Life kit or I think she would have been easily bored with it. The only complaint I had about the quality of the kit is that our black paint in the Van Gogh kit was unusable. It was very clumpy and you could tell just sort of old. Luckily I had some black acrylic paint here so it wasn't a problem for us. But for someone using this kit that doesn't have access to a fully stocked art room like we do, it would have really changed my perspective on the kit.

Overall, not a bad gift idea for a creative gift. But I definitely recommend the Van Gogh Kit over the Klimt kit. I would be curious to try the Water Lilies kit and the Matisse kit just to see what the process was like for those kits. Anyone out there try those?? What did you think?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Polar Vortex: Playing Catch-Up

Well, if there is any advantage to living in the Polar Vortex in Minnesota, it's that I have a little time to try and get caught up on 6 months of blog posts. Or at least attempt getting started writing posts. This first post is just a catch-up post of a couple projects to ease my way in. ;-)

First, here's a duct tape notebook my 8 year old made all on her own last summer. She didn't look at anything on Pinterest or online. Just had the picture in her head (my little right-brained learner!) and created this!
Look at that ear detail! It's 3-dimensional!

We had a wonderful nanny last summer and we made these fun little gifts for her as thank you gifts:
She was heading to Virginia Tech for school so we attempted to make her a rainbow loom bracelet in the right colors (really the school color is a little more maroon, but I digress). I just gave the girls some 5 x 7 canvas boards and asked them to make a fun picture, but that I wanted them to use different lines and patterns so here's what they came up with. They used permanent markers to color these.
The bright colors and happy drawings make me think of summer and warmth! :-)

My girls school has an art class once a week after school. Each girl will be artist of the week once during the term. Here are the girls' artist of the week creations for the fall:
These paper sculptures were really cool! I love the 3-dimensional quality of them!
(Sorry the quality of the photos isn't the best, I took them on my iPhone). ;-)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Craft Project: DIY Nail Polish Wash Necklaces & Magnets

Have I mentioned that I am my younger daughter's Girl Scout troop leader this year? Well, actually one of four leaders. We are doing a co-op leader thing, which has been great! Every year, our service unit puts on a holiday boutique for the girls. Troops create something to "sell" at the boutique and each troop has a booth set up to sell their wares. Each girl brings an envelope with some amount of money up to $20 in it. The girls walk around to the different booths and buy different crafts to give other people for the holidays. When they spend their money, they are done shopping and they get to eat holiday cookies. :-) The money collected is donated to a charity of the hosting troop's choice. This year the 363 Day Program was chosen. And can you believe it, in just under 2 hours, our service unit collected $3,127 for this charity! 2 hours, people. That is just amazing to me!

We gave the girls four different options for craft projects to create for the holiday boutique. They chose to create washer necklaces and gem magnets. These were soooo easy to create! And at minimal cost too.

Washer Necklaces--
What you will need:
--different size washers (I even found a mixed-size container of washers at the Dollar Store! But they aren't as nice of quality as the washers I bought at Home Depot)
--colored nail polish (again, I found this at the Dollar Store! GREAT find!)
--glitter nail polish
--clear nail polish
--string, yarn, twine--something to string the washers on for necklaces

Step one:
You can either spray paint the washers ahead of time. We did this for the girl scouts, but not the necklaces I painted with my daughters. Either way works just fine. The sprayed painted necklaces have a nicer finish on the back side. So it just depends on how picky you are with the finished look.
Here is a great tutorial for spray painting them.

Step two:
If you haven't spray painted the washers, paint a nice thick base coat of one color on the washer. Or, start using multiple colors to create stripes or a design. Let dry several minutes (Usually 10 minutes max was good) and you can then paint other designs or layers over the base coat. Sometimes you may have to put on more than one coat.

Step three:
If you like, once your design dries, paint a layer of glitter polish over the top to give it some sparkle!

Step four:
Once all layers have dried, paint a nice thick coat of clear polish over the top to seal it all and give it a nice shine.

Step five:
Leave it overnight. The next day, hang them on a string or chain of some kind and you have a great necklace!

Here are all the AMAZING necklaces my girl scouts created! These are seven and eight year olds!

--You can layer multiple sized washers to make your necklace more interesting
--You can add beads to the string if you like
--My daughters were intrigued when I showed them this post. They set out to use toothpicks to swirl the paint. And it turned out amazing! The problem with taking pictures and then posting later is that I cannot seem to find where the photos are that I took. I know I took close-up photos of this but can't find them now.
--You can use a hair dryer to dry the layers more quickly if you're in a hurry.

You can see the toothpick swirl technique used in these Mickey Mouse necklaces we created. (We found this idea for the Mickey necklaces here.)
For the swirl technique, we just painted on a base layer of white nail polish. We were liberal with the application, then add about 4 dots of color evenly around the washer (we just used red with these Mickey necklaces, but you can use multiple colors and swirl together). Add the dots of color immediately after you paint the base color. Use a toothpick to gently swirl the colored dots around the white. Sidenote: To finish the Mickey necklaces, I used wire from a picture hanging kit I bought at the Dollar Store.
You can also see how we displayed the necklaces both for the girl scout boutique and for holiday gifts for family. I just cut up thick scrapbook paper. Added 2 slits on the top. I twisted the excess necklace on the back and secured it with a piece of tape. For the gifts we gave to family, we added our "Created by" stamps.

My older daughter is currently in an "all things Minion" stage, so of course, we had to make a Minion necklace too! ;-)
And if the links above didn't satisfy you, here are two more for you to see: here and here.

Gem Magnets--
What you will need:
--clear glass gems (may be able to find at the Dollar Store, otherwise Michaels carries these)
--round magnets (Michaels sells two sizes, get the larger size. The smaller size will not hold much to a magnet board as the gem is too heavy)
--colored nail polish
--glitter nail polish
--clear nail polish
--E6000 glue

The gem magnets were even easier than the necklaces. Here's a link to a tutorial. All you have to do is paint a layer of glitter paint first. Let that dry for a few minutes. Then paint colored nail polish over the glitter layer. You can create patterns if you like. You may have to paint a few coats to get the polish thick enough to not be see-through. Once dry, you can seal with a coat of clear polish if you like. Let sit overnight. Once dry, use a small dab of E6000 glue to apply the magnet to the back.

Here are the girl scouts' creations:

I LOVED both the necklaces and the magnets! We created both for many people we gave Christmas gifts to, including teacher gifts along with a Starbucks gift card. We received wonderful feedback that everyone really liked them. I highly recommend this project for nearly all ages!