Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Craft FAIL

At some point in the fall, I saw leaves in Mia's classroom that had colored paint streaks on them, which I assumed were made with marbles. When I asked about the process, she confirmed that they had done some marble painting, and I decided that we were going to try it for a Christmas craft. This was not my greatest plan.

I am not sure if the biggest mistake was using acrylic paint (knowing full well that the marbles would go flying at some point and almost certainly land on our carpeted dining room, which I HATE, but that's another story... or perhaps, it's why I wasn't too concerned about the issue of using paint that stains in the first place.) The other problem I had was not being sure of what kind of container to use to hold the paper and marbles. I decided on some clear storage bins that we have because they were large enough to hold the paper, but small enough to fit on the dining room table.

So, here is how we did this, and I am warning you up front that this is obviously not the best way to go about things. I can share this now because it's been long enough that I am no longer annoyed with myself, and I am not in the stress of the immediate situation of flying paint covered marbles. There's an image for you, right? Anyway, I figure it's good to be able to laugh at myself, plus it helps clear up any misunderstanding that you may have that I am Super Mom. Nope, just a regular mom who has some kooky ideas, some of them more successful than others.

{Christmas Tree by Logan, Age 3}
  • clear plastic container/s
  • green construction paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • plastic cups
  • spoons
  • red, green, and yellow acrylic paint
  • marbles
  • newspaper (optional)
  1. Fold your green construction paper in half like a hot dog. Draw 1/2 of a tree shape on one side, (Start at the top center and make increasingly larger triangular branches. When you have about an inch left at the bottom, draw the last line back toward the center crease and then down to the bottom of the paper to make half of the tree trunk.) and keeping the paper folded, cut it out. You now have a symmetrical tree. If you don't like how it looks, you can always re-fold it and trim some more as desired. Tip: If you are making more than one tree, use the first one as a template to save some time. Lay your tree shape into a container.
  2. Pour a small amount of paint into cups. We used red, green, and yellow acrylic paint and added just enough to each cup to cover a marble completely. Tip: You may want to do this with a washable paint such as tempera paint. Tip: Gold would look nice in place of yellow, but we didn't have any gold paint. Tip: If using acrylic paints, have kids wear old clothes or a paint smock. Each of my kids has an old t-shirt of mine that we use for painting projects.
  3. Use a spoon the scoop the marble out of the paint and gently set it on top of the paper inside of the plastic container. Let your child roll it around to make designs on the paper. Tip: The marbles don't always stay put, so if you are concerned about paint getting spilled, you may want to protect work surfaces with newspaper first. Repeat as desired with other colors of paint. Allow paint to dry before displaying your Christmas tree, which should now look like it is adorned with colorful garland. Tip: You can lay it on newspaper for this.
Additional Notes and Words to the Wise:
You can make other shapes besides trees. We did bells on the same day. It's not my favorite, but I think that is because I wasn't thrilled with my bell shape that I came up with. You can find templates for these types of thing online, if you prefer, but I usually save time by making my own, and in this case I wasn't too excited by the results.

{Bell by Mia, Age 5}
Since this interesting craft catastrophe took place, I learned a helpful tip. Logan made a marble painted paper ornament at Story Time last week. I am sure it was no coincidence that the ornament was a circle, the same size and shape of the container being used for the marble painting (round cake pans). This is sheer genius, people. And now, you know how I will be doing this in the future, if I am ever again feeling brave (or crazy, you pick) enough to attempt marble painting with kids.

{Logan's ornament has a folded paper topper -- glued on either side of the paper -- and yarn for hanging.}

The nice thing about this project (see how I can find good in even my goofiest flub-ups?) is that you can do it with almost any age child. The marble painting itself is very simple and toddlers can manage it just fine. There is some prep work that an adult will need to do, but overall, it is easy.It is the stress caused by flying marbles that is the parental concern here. Don't attempt this at home if you know it will put you over the edge.

No comments:

Post a Comment