Arts and Crafts

Craft Idea: Easy St. Patrick's Day Friendship Bracelets

March 17, 2017

My daughter wanted to do an original craft for St. Patrick's Day—the only criteria were that it was something she could do by herself, she could wear it, and that it was green. I remembered my son making a simple bead friendship bracelet a few years back, so we decided to make St. Patty's day versions. They're super easy to make, even for littler children, and are a perfect way to wear your green on St. Patrick's Day.

To make the bracelets, you'll need green plastic beads and green pipe cleaners. I found both of these at the Dollar Tree, but they're also available at most craft stores, like Michael's or Beverly.

Fine Art Summer Camps in Marin & the Bay Area

March 16, 2017

While many summer camps in Marin offer arts and crafts activities in their programs, you'll find a few that specialize specifically in art. Here's a list of specialized fine art camps in Marin and San Francisco for your budding Rembrandt or Georgia O'Keeffe. Some of the camps are actually held by museums! To find more fantastic camps, visit our 2017 Marin Summer Camp Guide. Popular camps can sell out early, so reserve your spot as soon as possible!

Studio 4 Art's Fine Art Camps

Locations: Mill Valley, Novato & Fairfax
Ages: 4–14
Dates: June 12–August 18
Cost: $265–$480 per week

Studio 4 Art's camps take place at their studios in downtown Novato and Mill Valley, where professional artists introduce campers to new and contemporary art techniques, procedures and processes. This summer they're holding a special "pop-up" camp in Fairfax. Some of the topics taught will be wheel throwing, cartooning, mosaics, sewing, fashion design, sculpture, pottery, acrylic painting, watercolor painting, oil painting, printmaking, photography, and pastels. Camps take place from 9:30 am until 12:30 or 3:30 pm;  drop-ins available depending on space. For more info visit www.studio4art.net or (415) 596-5546.

Make a Beautiful Valentine's Day Tissue Paper Wreath

February 8, 2017

Valentine's Day Tissue Paper WreathLooking for a cool kids' craft for Valentine's Day? This tissue paper wreath looks beautiful and is easy to make for all ages, with a parent's or caregiver's help. To make the tissue paper puffs clustered on the wreath, we wrapped tissue squares around our fingers, but you can also just crumple them up, too. It makes for a fun craft for a rainy day or group activity for playgroups, classes, or scouts.

To make this craft you'll need:

Four Fun and Easy Homemade Valentine's Day Cards

February 2, 2017

Butterfly valentine's day card

My kids always love to make their own unique Valentine's Day cards to give to friends and classmates every February. Here are four fun and easy card projects to make at home with common craft supplies that you probably have on hand already. We think these really beat the store-bought Valentines, since they're handmade, beautiful, and "from the heart."

Children of all ages can do most of the steps in these crafts, but grown-ups may want to help with cutting and gluing, depending on children's ages and skill levels.

Butterfly Valentines

This butterfly-shaped card that we made is designed to hold either a candy stick or a pencil, and is easy to make and decorate. We cut out the butterfly shape with scissors and decorated the card with stickers. You can embellish yours with whatever you like, such as crayons, markers, glitter, or paint. You'll need:

Fun and Easy Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

January 28, 2017

Dragon paper craftThe Chinese Lunar New Year, marking the start of Year of the Rooster, begins today, January 28. To kick off your celebration, create some neat Chinese New Year crafts, like these cute paper dragons and lanterns. They're easy and fun to make and perfect to decorate the house, and make great playdate, school, or scout group activities. They'll also be perfect to have on hand while you watch the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade on February 11 Have your own parade through the living room!

Paper Dragons

Here’s what you’ll need to make your dragons:

  • Gold stickers or paint (red and gold are traditional colors for Chinese New Year)
  • Crepe paper in red, yellow, or orange
  • Dragon head template (download here)
  • Heavy white paper or card stock (letter size)
  • Markers or crayons
  • Wooden chopsticks or other thin but sturdy sticks
  • Tape

Make Your Own Pink and Red Playdough for Valentine's Day Fun

January 19, 2017

Play doughSculpting with Play-Doh is always a favorite activity for kids, and it can be even more fun to make your own quick and easy Play-Doh style modeling clay (AKA "playdough"), especially on a rainy day. You probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now!

We colored our latest batch pink and red for Valentine's Day projects. You can, of course, use any color you like. If you want multiple colors, it's best to make more than one batch, as you add the food coloring during the mixing stage to make sure the color is distributed evenly.

Pull out your Valentine's Day cookie cutters to make heart-shaped cutouts. Just roll out the dough and let the kids go to town with cookies cutters or by hand.

To make your own dough, get the following ingredients together:

Create Your Own Heart-shaped Crayons for Valentine's Day

January 12, 2017

DIY heart shaped crayons for Valentine's Day

Creating these beautiful DIY custom crayons is a fun craft project that everyone in the family can do. This project really takes minimal effort, so it's perfect for all ages, and the results always exceed our expectations! These make a fun and pretty gift for Valentine's Day, as well as neat party favors. They even look great as decorations around the house.

If you have kids (and you probably do if you're reading this article), you most likely already have the materials for this lying around the house, in the form of broken crayons. So the first step in this project is to round up all the old crayon bits and pieces in your house. If your home is like ours, this should not be very difficult.

Easy Handmade Holiday Bead Ornaments

December 8, 2016

Your kids can exercise their holiday creativity by making these easy and festive bead ornaments for the Christmas tree. They also look great attached to wrapped gifts as a little holiday extra.

These ornaments are simple to make, although the candy cane ornament is easier to put together than the star and probably a better project for younger children. All you'll need to make these are pipe cleaners, plastic beads in various colors and shapes, some ribbon, and scissors.

Make Your Own Holiday Gingerbread House

December 6, 2016

Gingerbread House

Every year we create a gingerbread house using the nice kit sold by Trader Joe's, but last year, after constructing a house from the kit, my daughter decided she wanted to take our gingerbread house building experience a step further and create another one—this time from scratch! Fortunately, as we found out, it's easy to do and fun.

First thing you have to do is come up with a design for your house. We created a template for a basic gingerbread house that's simple to create and put together. (You can download our template, formatted for two letter-size sheets of paper; get page one here and page two here.) You can embellish and elaborate on this little house and make it your own special creation.

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