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4 Ways to Make Art at Home

Art At Home
Whether you’re social distancing, trying to regulate stress, or attempting to keep your children busy and active, art is a way we can keep our spirits up and fill our days with creativity. At Decorah Public Library, we feel grateful to live in a community that’s full of art, arts-based education, and artists. Children’s and Young Adult Librarian Rachael Button shared the following project ideas for at-home art-making:

1. Watercolor Wash

If you have:
  1. Painters Tape
  2. Watercolor paint
  3. Thick paper
  4. Paint Brushes
Then you can:
  • Create shapes (like winter trees or letters!) on your paper using painters tape.
  • Keep the tape in place while you paint the surrounding paper using watercolor paint.
  • When your paint has dried, remove the tape.
Tip: If you don’t have watercolors, but you do have painters tape you can use coffee as paint. It’s accessible, eco-friendly, and creates a beautiful brown wash.

2. One Page Zine

If you have:
  1. 8 x 10 white paper
  2. Scissors
Then you can:
  • Follow folding directions to create a 1 page zine.
  • When you’re done, fill in pages with information, poems, stories, or pictures
Tip: If you have young children whose fine motor skills are still developing, the folding and cutting may be too complicated and therefore frustrating. Instead, consider creating the booklet for them and letting them fill it in with art.

3. Paint a Song

If you have:
  1. Paint
  2. Paper
  3. Canvas
  4. Brushes Music
Then you can:
  • Paint music! Choose a song that you’d like to translate into a painting.
  • Listen to your song once or twice to decide what “colors” it is.
  • Then play your song on repeat as you begin to paint.
  • Move your brush fast when the rhythm picks up and slow when the song gets more quiet or passive.
  • Paint until your canvas is full.
  • Don’t worry about perfection, focus on expression.
Activity extension:
If you’re doing this as a family then try having some family members paint and some dance. Painters can try to move their brushes in the way that mimics the dancers’ movement. When the song finishes the painters can “show” the dancers their dance. Painters and dancers can then switch roles.
If you don’t have paint:
Try the same activity with markers or crayons. They are not as fluid (insert bad pun here) as paint but you can still play with movement, color, and expressive art.

4. Cardboard Comb Painting*

If you have:
  1. Child-friendly craft paint (finger paint works really well)
  2. Cardboard (ideally large and small pieces)
  3. Scissors
  4. Primer/White paint
  5. An old credit card or gift card
Then you can:
  • Prime a large flat piece of cardboard with primer or white paint. Let it dry.
  • While the cardboard is drying, cut different shaped teeth into small squares of sturdy cardboard (aka your “cardboard combs”).
  • When the large piece of cardboard is dry, you can either 1-finger paint it with colors or 2-drag colored paint across it using an expired your credit card or gift card. (Don’t be afraid to get messy and overlap colors!)
  • While the surface is still wet, use the cardboard comb you created to scrape or rake texture into your painting.
  • Continue to experiment with texture and color until you’ve created a piece of art that you like.
When the library opens again you can check-out the following books, which have inspired us:
  • Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee
  • The Artful parent: simple ways to fill your family’s life with art and creativity by Jean Van’t Hul
*Inspired by Paint Lab for Kids by Stephanie Corfee
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