Tag Archives: art project

Tuesday Crafternoon: Watercolor Flower Gardens

Watercolor Flower Garden

This week at Crafternoon, we made flower gardens using watercolor crayons and watercolor pencils. Even the littlest ones enjoyed putting color on paper and watching it move when they brushed on some water … and, of course, blowing with a straw.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Watercolor paper or “paint” paper (we like Strathmore’s kids’ paint pad — it’s less expensive than watercolor paper but nearly as sturdy)
  • Watercolor crayons
  • Watercolor pencils (optional)
  • Water in a little cup
  • Brushes (a larger one for watering your grass, a finer one for adding details to the flowers)

Step one: Prepare your paper. We used Strathmore watercolor paper cut in half.

Step two: Plant your grass. Scribble hard all along the bottom inch of your paper with whatever colors of watercolor crayon that you’d like your grass to be. Use a lot of color! Most children chose green, but we had plenty of blue grass, yellow grass, brown grass and red grass, too.

Our favorite watercolor crayons, from Staedtler

Our favorite watercolor crayons, from Staedtler

Planting the grass

Plant the grass

Step three: Water your grass. Use a brush to apply big pools of water all over the areas you’ve colored in.

Watering the grass

Water the grass

Step four: Make your grass grow. With a straw held close to the surface of the paper, blow hard to move the water up the paper and create your grass and flower stems.

Make the grass grow!

Make the grass grow!

Step five: Add your flowers, and whatever else you’d like (birds, butterflies, sky, sun, etc). We used watercolor crayons and pencils for this as well, and encouraged the children to try different techniques. You can color on the dry areas of the paper then add water with a brush, dip your pencil or crayon in water first and then draw, or paint an area with clear water and then color on top of it. It’s all fun.

Add flowers to your garden

Add flowers to your garden

A finished flower garden

A finished flower garden


Crafternoon: Salad Spinner Fireworks

Crafternoon at Pufferbellies: Salad Spinner Fireworks

Things started off calm, but the excitement ratcheted up quickly!

This week at Crafternoon we made beautiful Salad Spinner “Fireworks.” We were inspired by this post at momtastic. Of course, we had to put our own special twist on it by using our favorite liquid watercolors: Watercolor Magic from Sargent Art. We used glitter, metallic and regular colors, but the glittery ones were by far the favorite.

Here’s what you need:

  • A salad spinner
  • Some paint in a squeeze bottle
  • Paper cut to fit into the bottom of your salad spinner. We used pages from a Strathmore paint pad cut into quarters.
  • Kid power!

Here’s what we learned:

  • The pull-string type of salad spinner was easier for younger children to use than the kind you whirl the handle around and around. Both kinds were fine for big kids. The kind with a knob you push down on would probably be the easiest of all, but we didn’t have that kind.
  • The more paint you put on, the more AMAZING your “fireworks” will be. So don’t hold back!
  • If your salad spinner is the type with drainage holes in the outer bowl, set it on a cookie sheet or something to contain the mess.
  • A small bit of a Scotch brand foam mounting square will keep your paper from flying around inside the salad spinner. Scotch tape didn’t work as well.
Note for toy stores and groups: We did this project with 25 kids over the course of two hours. It took three grownups — one to handle each salad spinner and a third to run the wet artwork outside to dry on the line, and to sign kids up on a clipboard. The children needed a grownup to hold the spinner still while they spun it. This was a surprisingly un-messy activity! The salad spinners kept everything well contained; I only had a few drops of paint to scrub up off the floor at the end of the day. 
liquid watercolor in glitter, metallic and regular

We used our favorite - Watercolor Magic!

squeeze the paint onto your paper

Squeeeeze the paint onto your paper. More is better!

salad spinner art before


salad spinner art after


Salad spinner art

The string-style spinner was easier for little ones to manage.

artwork outside Pufferbellies

Some of our salad spinner artwork drying outside on the line.

Salad spinner fireworks

A few of our salad-spinner fireworks up close.

Microwave Puffy Paint at Crafternoon

Today we did a fabulous art project at Crafternoon — Microwave Puffy Paint! We were inspired by this post at Tinkerlab.

First we mixed up the paint: one cup of all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, a teaspoon or so of salt, and water (about one cup of water for each cup of flour). We divided up the batter and stirred in color — some tubs got food coloring, some got Kool-Aid, and some got a mixture of both.

We poured the paint into squeezy bottles and squeeeeezed it out onto heavy-duty paper plates. When our designs were finished, we popped them into the microwave for 30-60 seconds, depending on the amount of paint on the plate. They puffed up beautifully and got a great texture. The ones with Kool-Aid sort of smelled like Pop Tarts! The ones with food coloring smelled sort of like pancakes (even better).

Here are some pictures.

Our puffy-paint ingredients

We mixed in food coloring and Kool-Aid!

After a couple of "explosions," we decided to duct tape the squeezy bottles closed.

We squeeeeezed the paint onto heavy paper plates. Even our littlest crafters (less than two years old) loved squeezing!