We create a lot of art around here. Some we keep. Some the kids send as mail. Some gets recycled. Each of my kids have an art journal that is primarily used for nature journaling. However, they also tend to create lots of loose page art – watercolor drawings, sketches, etc. This year I decided to try to keep it all more organized in page protectors in 3-ring binders. Last week, we worked on customizing their binders.
Recently, DecoArt asked if I would like to participate in a promotion of their new Mixed Media line. Most of the bloggers participating are working artists. My passion lies in creating art with my kids, so I was excited for the chance to share a different way to use the products. My kids like functional art – meaning they want to create things they can use and take with them. So, instead of using plastic binders for their art notebooks, we did a mixed media project on cardboard binders.
In art, photography and life we can often get stuck in a rut of doing what is easy and comfortable. Mixed media art combines different materials and approaches to art – this combining of things I knew would come easy for a couple of my kids and would be really difficult for a couple. I wanted to push them all to try something new and allow themselves to ‘mess up’. I could see the struggle already forming for my oldest!
I explained to them what art ‘media’ includes and we talked about how typically we just do one thing – just draw, just paint, just use watercolors, etc. Next, I got out the supplies and began showing them the differences.
The DecoArt Media line is available at JoAnn Fabric stores and at JoAnn.com
The fluid acrylics are highly pigmented and thin. We mixed them with a tinting base to thicken them and soften the colors. We also used them without any mixing. I showed the kids how to mix the paint, how to use misters (small spray bottles) and how to add other items like newspaper clippings to their binders. We also discussed how the misters are best used at the very end – this is important to emphasize with kids!Then, I set the kids loose to just start layering and painting. I couldn’t find all our painting aprons…excuse the shirtless boys. Less laundry.I saw this next trick either on the DecoArt blog or DecoArt education page. To get bigger dots of paint than what the sprayer typically makes, take the lid off the sprayer bottle. Next, tap the tube on the lid to make paint drop. This can be a bit messy, but my kids LOVED experimenting with this process.The girls really liked the misters. Really liked…as in I had to cut them off before EVERYTHING was covered in white paint mist.We used Decoupage to glue the newspapers and magazine cuttings to the binders. Another trick I learned on the DecoArt site is to use the mister bottle tube to ‘draw’. This looked especially good with black paint as a very last step.
I sprayed each binder with a gloss glaze to protect it and help make sure all those magazine and newspaper clippings didn’t tear off them.
This guy got into the project the most. He was cutting, gluing, painting, spraying and drawing up a storm. The lack of ‘rules’ and ‘do it this way’ provided a creative oasis for him. His older brother – not so much. It is so interesting to watch how differently my kids respond to different things. I love the way our personalities and gifts are so strong even at the very earliest years of life. You can also see how his love for animals came out in the way he created his binder. Ninja Kitty & Black Belt Beagle.
She liked the way the paint would drip each time she picked up her binder.
I wish I had ordered 6 binders. It was really hard for me to just step back and let them create in any way they wanted. I was tempted to step in and paint some myself…all the layering and paint mixing was calling my name. I might try a canvas next. What are some of your favorite art projects with kids…ones that push them a little out of their comfort zones?
Dot Products (the binders we used)
“Dot seeks to change the face of poverty for children all over the world. With every school and office supply we sell, we’re paying for a child to attend school for half a day, including uniforms, supplies, and school fees. We’ll send you a picture of the students who benefited from your purchase, and each time you see Dot Products on your desk, you’ll know you’re a part of changing the lives of children around the world.” ~ Dot website