Saturday, May 26, 2012

2011: Project 11--Mandala Drawings

Playing a little catch up today. I'm spending some free time getting prepped for our art projects this summer and realized I didn't post this mandala project. I did this project with the girls in Summer 2011. It was the last project and school started up. I just never got back to it. They seemed to enjoy this quite a bit. I had come across a CD mandala project on both Art Projects for Kids and Mrs. Picasso's Art Room

I gave the girls a little background on mandalas. The wiki explanation of mandalas compares Buddhist and Hindi mandalas with rose windows in Christian churches. That was the perfect thing for me to discuss with the girls. It piggybacked well with the stained glass project we created earlier in the summer. I didn't get into a major discussion on the symbolism in mandalas. I just explained to them that there are other religions besides Christianity and Buddhism and Hinduism use mandalas as part of their religion, like Christians use stained glass windows. It was the easiest way I felt I could explain this to the girls. I showed them these examples (sorry, I don't have the sources anymore, but I did find them through a Google Images search for mandalas).
Instead of explaining the symbolism behind mandalas, I spent more time discussing the characteristics of the mandala. The circular shape, the pattern all the way around. I showed them examples from both of the blogs above. And then we got busy!

I started by dividing the CDs up into even spaces for the girls. I just used a permanent marker to draw the lines on.
This is how the girls found their workspace when I started the project:
After explaining to them that they would be creating the same pattern all the way around the CD. I gave them the paper with the "pie" piece drawn on it. I asked them to draw out a pattern, anything they wanted. Since we were using permanent marker on the CD, I wanted them to work their ideas out first.
I even had them color in their pie piece first so they knew what their colors would look like before starting on the disc.
Then I had them repeat their pattern on the disc with a fine-point permanent marker.
Here was my 5 year old's disc before coloring in:
And my seven year old's:
And finally, they colored in their mandalas. I gave them the option of continuing a pattern on paper outside the disc. But they both were tired after just doing the disc so we kept it at that. I used glue dots to adhere the discs in their art journals.
Here are the finished pieces:

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Handmade Holiday: End of the Year Teacher Gifts

Here is what our End-of-the-Year teacher gifts will look like this year:
They will receive a small pour-painted flower pot, an alcohol ink painted tile coaster, and a handmade card (alcohol ink stamped onto glossy scrapbook paper) with a note that says:

Thank you for helping me "grow" and "coast" 
through kindergarten this year! 
I had a wonderful year with you!

Craft Project: Pour Paint Flower Pots

What a fun project this was!! Along with the alcohol ink coasters we made, we created some pour paint pots to also give the girls' teachers. This project was sooo easy! Though it did take a tiny bit of experimenting to get the whole flower pot covered, but if you aren't particular about the outcome, it's so easy!

These two posts inspired us from Dilly-Dali Art and In Lieu of Preschool. Both of their projects turned out amazing! They created larger pots than we did. Ours were just 3" diameter terracotta pots, perfect for a pencil holder (or a very small window sill plant).

Here's what you need:
 I got both the metallic and glitter Creatology Tempera Paint from Michael's. This paint worked AWESOME! I highly recommend it.
I taped the hole in the bottom of the pot. You'll see later in the post, but once you start pouring the paint, it seems as if you'd never be able to get the tape off. The paint is so thick. But once it is dry, the paint really thins out and you can easily remove the tape.
I learned from Genny at In Lieu of Preschool that suspending the pots works well. And boy does it! We used our Colorations BioColor paint bottles to suspend the pots. You'll see in other pictures, I wrapped a paper towel around the bottle before putting the pot on and it worked really well!

I was able to do this project one on one with my girls, which I think was a good thing in hind sight. Both Aleacia from Dilly-Dali Art and Genny advised that less is more when it comes to squeezing the paint. I think if both girls were doing this at the same time, we would have had more paint poured than we needed. :-)
All you have to do is pick your colors and start pouring them one by one into the center of the pot. As the paint covers the bottom of the pot, it will begin to pour over the side in layers.
My older daughter (pictured above) didn't want me to help at all so I just let her go and didn't offer any suggestions or anything. My younger daughter was a little more amenable to my suggestions. Instead of just letting the paint fall where it wanted, we let it pool a bit.
Then I picked up the paint bottle it was suspended on and tipped it just a bit to get the paint to cover the bare spots on the pot. We repeated this technique a few times to get most of the pot covered.

We went from this:
To this:
I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE how they turned out! We will definitely be doing this project again. Quick, easy, and beautiful result!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Craft Project: Alcohol Ink Tiles Part 4: Sealing and Protecting Tiles

(4/28/2014 EDITED TO ADD) I found a SOLUTION!!! At least I think I did! I tried using Krylon's Clear Polyurethane spray ( on alcohol ink on ceramic tile! It worked! I sprayed one coat, waited about 30 minutes and sprayed a second coat. I let it sit for 2 days. Ran it under hot water, cold water, rubbed it....and nothing came off!! It was sealed! The only thing I noticed with using it is that it speckled the alcohol ink just the tiniest bit. Nothing that looked bad. Just sort of added to the charm of the tile.

(2/5/2014--EDITED TO ADD) The gloss spray didn't work for some people. There have been a lot of comments on this post. There are a lot of things various people have tried. I really love the community on this post. Everyone has really provided some great insight on the sealing process. It's wonderful to see what others have tried and what has worked or not worked. This is what I think is so amazing about the blogging world! So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment. And keep the sealing ideas coming!


We have now reached my least favorite part of this project: sealing the tiles. This is the tedious portion of the process. You have to do many layers and wait...wait...wait.

I found this process in the comments section of Aimee's "Fun with Alcohol" post. It was shared with her by someone else. And I asked Aimee if it was okay if I posted it again, she said no problem!

Here is what you will need:
---Krylon Workable Fixatif
---Krylon Matte Finish (though I wonder why you couldn't use Gloss...I may try that next time)
---Pledge Vinyl & Tile Floor Finish with Future Shine
---a foam brush
---a well-ventilated area

I had a bit of a tough time finding all of these products easily. You can get the Fixatif and Matte Finish in the spray paint section at Michael's. But I had to go to two different Michael's before I found it (and I started off looking at Home Depot and Walmart before I got to Michael's). I got the Pledge Floor Finish at Walmart only AFTER I made the mistake of buying Pledge WOOD Floor Finish. I bought the first bottle on Amazon because I have Amazon Prime and I was sick of driving all over looking for supplies so I thought it would be easier to just order it and have it show up at my door. I didn't realize I had ordered the wood floor variety (I was in too big of a hurry to notice).

Step One: Spray a light mist of the Fixatif over your tiles. I held the can about a foot away. If you hold the can too closely or put too much on, you will notice some speckling in the ink on your tile (this could actually be a good effect if you want it). Let this dry 45 minutes to an hour.

Step Two: Spray a light mist of the Matte Finish over your tiles. Wait 15-30 minutes and repeat. I added four layers total of Matte Finish. And let the final layer dry for a couple hours before doing the next step.

Step Three: Using a foam brush, apply a layer of the Pledge Vinyl & Tile Floor Finish to each tile. The floor finish is VERY thin. So you do not need much to cover the tile. You will also notice some tiny bubbles when you first apply. These actually disappear when the tile dries. I waited 8 hours or so between applications and I did three or four coats (I can't remember now) total.

Your tile will have a matte finish in the end. This is where I'm wondering if you use the Gloss Finish instead of Matte in "Step Two" if the tile will end up shinier. But they look great! And I've been using one for a day already and it hasn't scratched or anything so hopefully the seal will last for awhile and not scratch the ink off with use.

Some things I learned:
--I did use the wood floor finish on one set of tiles before I realized I had the wrong kind of floor finish. And the wood finish made the alcohol ink really run. So some of our taped tiles where we had white left were no longer white and the colors mixed together more. BUT, I was able to salvage this by using a Q-tip to scrap away on the white lines and start the sealing process over again. I used the correct floor finish and these tiles seemed to seal properly after this.

--It is important to wait for all steps to dry properly. If not, the inks may lift up or spread or mix together when you add the Floor Finish. I probably waited longer than I needed to, but I wanted to make extra sure the ink was going to stay.

--Press lightly with the foam brush, even though you can let everything dry properly, I still discovered that the warmer ink colors (Watermelon and Wild Plum) were particularly susceptible to spreading and lifting up onto the foam brush. The tiles that I sealed properly from the beginning did not have as much of this issue as the ones I did wrong. But, the Wild Plum ink still came up a tiny bit.

(EDITED TO ADD 6/8/12)--My mom used her coasters with a glass with cold liquid in warm weather. The glass sweat and made the ink rub off. :-( She was so disappointed! So I guess this method only seals against mugs with warm liquid in them and regular glasses with room temperature liquid in them. I will have to continue to play with finding a more permanent seal.)

I've also heard of people using Mod Podge to seal their tiles. I would be VERY curious if anyone else has found another solid way to seal them (maybe one that is less time consuming). But this process does seem to work pretty well. Not sure I would put any of this through a dishwasher or anything like that. I wonder how long these tiles will last with this seal. Maybe I'll come back to add that in after using my tile for awhile.

Finally, we added foam pads in each corner of the tiles and I had the girls sign and date their work. Now, it's ready to be wrapped up for Mother's Day!

Overall, the girls and I LOVED this project and already have plans for more projects with the alcohol inks.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Craft Project: Alcohol Ink Tiles Part 3: Mini "Masters" tiles

Working with the alcohol ink sort of reminded me of impressionist paintings in a couple ways. One, the way the colors blended together and two, the "quick" nature of the artwork. The Impressionists painted their images in a quick manner trying to catch the moment. Sort of moment (or movement) frozen in time. You have to work relatively quickly with the alcohol ink before it all dries. The way some of the colors blended together made me think of Monet's Waterlilies and this image below, "Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge" (1899).
I had come across this project for a tape resist of the bridge on The Crafty Classroom blog. Once I had experimented with tape resist on the tiles, I thought it wouldn't be too difficult to recreate a tile version of this painting.
I used Citrus, Sunshine Yellow, and Stream on the "green" portion of the tile. Using the Alcohol Blending Solution and the felt pad applicator.
I let that dry for a couple minutes and then I used a new felt pad to apply a mixture of Stream, Sailboat Blue, and one dot of Citrus. After covering the tile with that, I added one drop of Wild Plum to sort of put purple waterlilies in the water.
Let it dry for a bit, removed the tape, and Voila! Monet's Waterlilies and Japanese Bridge a la Alcohol Ink Tile.
My 8 year old wanted to know how I made the Monet tile, but didn't want to do the bridge. So here is her version. BUT, check out something else NEW we learned! Do you see those swirls in the blue??? Does that make you think of another famous artist and painting???
When she made those swirls, we both breathed in really quickly and looked at each other excitedly. She turned to me and said, "Van Gogh!!!" Yep! This inspired us to try and make a Starry, Starry Night tile.

 We put a drop or two of Sunshine Yellow ink on the tip of a Q-tip and just touched it to the tile to create the stars. She is planning to give this tile to her art teacher as an end-of-the-year gift. :-)
Though this next one she made wasn't intentional, it reminds me so much of Georgia O'Keefe's work!
Isn't it beautiful!

I began to think about what other artists' work would translate well to this process. Mondrian was easy enough. I just taped off some vertical and horizontal lines and used red, blue and yellow to fill them in. This one had a learning curve though. I had to redo the tile three times before i was happy with it. I figured out that by having a Q-tip ready when I filled in the smaller areas, I could soak up excess ink before it spread over the tape into the other shapes. I also did not use Alcohol Blending Solution for this, just straight ink on tile.

I think a Keith Haring tile might be fun. I came across this work by him:
I thought this could be translated pretty well. I made the tile with similar colors. Then I used a Q-tip dabbed with the Memento archival ink and drew the dancing people.
 I had to repeat the ink process about 4 times to end up with this:
I might have to try this one again sometime. It was REALLY hard to remove the alcohol ink where it was thicker, where two or more colors had mixed and settled. I think if I did this again, I might apply a lighter layer of ink applied with a Q-tip or something. Then, the stamp resist with the Q-tip would work out better. But it still gives a nice representation of Haring's painting.

I've also become familiar with Romero Britto's work recently. Super fun, bright and blocky! Perfect for this sort of project. I found this image:
I taped the bold lines off except for the wings. Applied the ink to the different areas. Then I used a Q-tip with one or two dots of the same ink on the top and created the pattern designs by running the Q-tip over the first layer of ink. No Alcohol Blending Solution was used for this tile. Once the background was done. I let it dry for a few minutes. Then I used a Q-tip dabbed with Memento Archival Ink to draw in the wings.
I rinsed the tile with water and the ink was removed (MUCH easier than the Haring tile).
 I removed the tape. Then I dipped a Q-tip in the StazOn black ink and drew with it on the tile over the tape lines. I tried to do one consistent line as much as I could. If I lifted up at all or went back over something, the ink lifted up a bit or wasn't quite as dark.
 And there you go! A Britto-inspired work on an alcohol ink tile!
What other artists do you think would be fun to try with this process???