Tag Archives: DIY

DIY Art Kits

Here is a fun and affordable DIY Art Kit for travel, hiking, art classes, or to use around the house.

We have two birthdays coming up and both birthday kids have requested a set of Thin Stix paints for their birthdays.  We recently reviewed these fun tempera art sticks and the kids had a lot of fun.   Be sure to read about our experience reviewing Thin Stix.

So in addition to adding these to our art supplies at home for art classes and crafts we make, I have also ordered additional sets for both birthday kids.  I ordered the Neon Colors pack for my daughter and the Creative Colors pack for my son.  I am hoping they arrive in time to add into their art kits I made for their birthdays.

These Thin Stix tempera paints are “take anywhere” and “mess free” so they are perfect to take on the go in the car, or to a game, to sit outside and paint a scene from nature, or if they want they can even color in bed.

DIY Art Kits are portable, can be easily carried, and are light weight so the kids, or mom (I want to make a kit for me too) can sit anywhere and have the basic art supplies they need to create something beautiful.

Watch this short video about using Thin Stix tempera paint sticks from The Pencil Grip, Inc. to see why these are such a great addtion to your art kits.

DIY Art Kits:

For these kits, I used a re-purposed container. I saved a see through zippered plastic pouch from a bed sheet set. This container is the perfect holder for their kits, they can see everything in it at a glance, and they will fit nicely in a shoulder bag or backpack.

DIY Art Kits we made include: Thin Stix tempera paints, Mixed Media Sketch Paint Pad, Charcoal Pencils, Graphite Pencils, Colored Pencils, Pencil Sharpener, Eraser, Ruler, Gel Pens, and a small Watercolor Kit, various Paint Brushes (not pictured) and a sponge.

You can add crayons and oil pastels, a protractor, origami papers, colored tape, glue, various colored tissue papers, and and exacto knife if desired to this kit still and a fold-able easel if desired.

These costs will vary in making these kits.  Two of the kits I made cost about Art Kits $30 +/- and a larger kit I made for my older son that included more Thin Stix colors cost about $40 to include everything.

Some of the individual costs of items to put this together for example included:  Sketch Pad $8, Colored Pencils $8, Thin Stix 6pk of Neon Colors $7 and the other kit included Thin Stix 24pk of Creative Colors.  Some of the other items came from the Dollar Store and the outer case was repurposed for free.

The outer case is a zippered plastic cover that came on a couple of sheet sets we purchased a while back and I saved the covers thinking I might use them some day.  Sure enough, they are great for holding these art supplies.   Some items will cost a little more if you purchase them online from e-bay or a lot more if purchased from an art supply store.  It is up to you what you include, and the ages and needs of your kids, so costs will vary.

The paint brushes for the DIY Art Kit are back-ordered, and I am hopeful they will arrive in time for their birthdays. I wanted to keep these kits mess free and easy to use. Thin Stix are wonderful for keeping them mess free, but sometimes you want to use watercolors too. These brushes will help watercolor paints to be less messy because they hold water in the handle of the paint brush. For the watercolor brushes all you do is squeeze the brush then dab the brush onto the dry watercolor and use it.   Then to clean it just squeeze the brush again so water reaches the brush and wipe off on the sponge before you get your next color.

I think my kids will really enjoy using these homemade portable DIY Art Kits. I am thankful for the opportunity to try out the Thin Stix 6k Classic Colors tempera paints and we are excited to include them in our portable travel kits and our art supplies in our home.Stay tuned for pictures of other projects we make with our Thin Stix! They are a lot of fun, mess free, and so easy to use!

I found a cute method for downsizing all of this into one small bag that is taped (using cute paterned duck tape) to the art pad so you can hold all of this on your lap without loosing anything.  I don’t have my kit finished yet. But check out this video by Coloring Pages Bliss so you can see how to attach your zippered pouch of supplies right to your art pad and an extremely light weight easy access portable art kit.

I made two of these kits for birthdays we are celebrating next month.  I liked them so much that I made one for myself too.  And now the other four kids have requested them too.  So that is a future project.

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Garden 2017 A New Beginning

Garden Season 2017 Has Begun!

We moved last year just before planting season and didn’t put in a garden in our new location.  Moving is a big job, and it takes a while to get resettled.  It was a quiet summer, and we missed our big garden and fruit trees that kept us busy and well fed.  We didn’t want to go through another summer without a garden and thinking about all those delicious fresh fruits and veggies got us excited! We couldn’t hardly wait to get started for 2017!

Garden 2015

Growing a garden helps families in many ways.  It gives you ample opportunity to move and get some exercise, and it can improve your nutrition depending on what you grow.  If you enjoy watching plants grow, and spice up the garden with some flowers to attract butterflies and bees, and birds, then there is a good chance a garden will improve your mental health and outlook too.

Orchard 2015

With our large family, growing a garden helps reduce the costs of the weekly grocery trips. Though the initial cost of planting a garden can be expensive, you see a return when you are able to harvest during the summer and fall.

Berry Harvest 2015

Starting Over

The homestead we moved to is a quiet lovely location, with tall trees and rolling hills.  But it is a much different environment from where we lived before where we had mature fruit trees and rich soil for a huge garden.   Where we live now, it is hard for grass to grow and it goes dormant very early in the growing season.

We are basically starting over.  One of the biggest needs in this yard is to rebuild the soil.  That can take a while and requires a lot of input of compost. Our current home is surrounded by pine trees, the soil is dry and hard and there is less rainfall here, and it also has has a high clay content .  The soil is quite acidic and there is not much top soil to grow in.  The previous residents had built a few raised beds to overcome these disadvantages, but it has been many years since they were used and the wood has rotted and fallen down and the beds were full of weeds, moss, and small volunteer trees.

Old garden beds

Old garden beds in disrepair

As soon as the weather cooperated in March we got busy mending and expanding a couple of the old broken down raised beds and made them into our new garden.   The one advantage these beds do have is some depth of soil piled on top of the clay that will give room for the roots of plants.  With a few new longer boards put around the sides, and some nutrients added, we will be ready to grow.

I’m going to be honest.  I was discouraged at first.  It was hard to wrap my mind around relying on the broken raised beds when I was used to gardening in a large tilled garden with 100+ foot long rows in rich soils, abundant rain, and fertile crop land.  That garden and orchard was quite large and produced a lot of great fruits and vegetables for our family for several years.  Last summer it was hard for me to wrap my mind around how I was going to grow a garden here in this poor clay soil and in a small space. But now I am excited now that I have some new inspiration with these raised beds to help address these issues.

We put in some new longer boards expanding the size of the beds from 10 x 10  to about 12 x 16 feet.  We will make a second bed not far from this one.   Due to the small size of these beds, we plan to grow more intensively.  In the past we used long long rows with walking paths, but in the raised beds there is not enough room for that method.  Instead we are going to plant the garden with the “square foot” gardening method and not have well defined rows.  We will use as much space as we can in a square foot.  This method allows you to plant a lot of produce in a small amount of space. 

It was a big job to pull off the rotted boards, pull out metal rods and nails, and the heavy shredded matting.  These beds were neglected for many years and in poor condition.  We started off with a shovel to break open the dirt across the entire bed.  We also bucketed many many loads of dirt to the garden. We didn’t have a wheel barrow for this project so my son used my mop bucket and our dolly.  It worked very well, but took him about 100 trips over a few days to get enough dirt to the bed.  We plan to get a wheel barrel soon!

My son took the lead in this garden re-building project, and his younger siblings helped out a lot too.  He is interested in landscaping and loves working outdoors.  He added in some bagged compost to enrich the soil.  He also added ashes from our campfire pit, and dead leaves and mixed this all into the soil very well with a shovel, a rake, and a tiller.  Then he marked off each square foot and divided the entire garden with cord so we can plant with the square foot gardening method.

The garden sits on a small hill, so we only put boards on three sides for now to hold the soil in.  We may add a row of boards to the top side at a later date.  For now, we are trying to keep the expenses of putting in a raised bed garden down as much as we can.

One advantage to leaving off the boards on the top side, is to collect more rain water runoff from the hill when it does rain.  If it had boards across the top side, it would divert the rain runnoff away from the garden.  By leaving this open to the upside of the hill, we hope to maximise the opportunity for more water to run down the hill and end up in the garden.

The soil is prepped!  This garden is ready!

We are ready for our new beginning!

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Building Beds

Well the big boys have outgrown everything, including their beds.  

They have asked for loft beds.  We searched everywhere for the right beds and couldn’t find an affordable option that could hold their “near adult” size.

So we set out to design and build our own loft beds custom made to fit each one.

Here are a few pictures of Daddy teaching the boys the beginning steps in how to build their beds.

Sanding boards smooth is a lot of work.  It took more time to sand than most of the other steps.

The boys are learning hands on carpentry skills from a master carpenter. These lessons will last a lifetime.

Be sure to check out the next story about DIY Loft Beds.

 

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Fall Tile Art At Homeschool Coop

Creating personalized seasonal art is a great activity to do as a homeschool project. We participated in this project for homeschool coop. My kids had a blast learning how to make Fall Tile Art and will treasure these creations for many years to come.

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To make the Fall Tile Art project, you will need to cut out pictures with a fall theme. This is fun for kids to do and gives the project a personal touch because they chose their own special pictures. We cut out our pictures from fall themed paper bags, but you could also use magazines, wrapping paper, or print them off the internet, etc. You will also need ceramic tiles, modpoge, small felt cushions that stick on one side and are soft on the other, and a sealant.

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Next have the kids place a rough draft of their pictures on their tile so they can see where they want to place them or if they want to change the arrangement. Once it is stuck in place, they won’t be able to change their mind, so now is the time to decide where they want to place their pictures.

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Next have the kids remove the pictures from the tile and place them in the same arrangement on the table. Then have the kids brush modpodge all over the tile. Next place the pictures back in place. Then they need to brush the tiles again a second time, with modpodge and gently brush over the top of the pictures. Set the tiles somewhere to dry. It took our tiles about an hour for the modpodge to dry. We let the kids play games in the gym and exercise while the tiles dried.

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When the tiles were dry, we added small cushions to the four corners of the back side. The cushions are made of felt and are very soft.  If you don’t have cushions, you could glue or stick on a piece of felt too.  Finally we applied a clear spray sealant over the tile. For safety (breathing, etc), the sealant was sprayed onto the tiles by an adult outside in an open area. The sealant will help these masterpieces resist moisture and last a long time.

The tiles are lovely to display, and could be given away as wonderful homemade gifts too.   They can be used to decorate your home for whatever season you chose as your theme.  You can display them flat, or hung up.  The cushions on the bottom should help protect your furniture from scratches, or you could display these in a picture easle, plate display holder, or hang them on the wall.  To hang them on the wall you will need to ad a picture mount of some kind.  If you wanted to keep your expenses down, you could hotglue on a soda can tab as a picture mount and it wouldn’t cost but a few pennies for the hot glue you use.

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Botanical Art At Homeschool Coop

We made the coolest Botanical Art project at Homeschool Coop.  This is such a great project to do with kids.  You can frame these, and hang them on your wall, or give these as gifts, or even use them to create other art projects with.  Or you could make really super-duper cool homemade wrapping paper too.

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We did this art project outside. You need to be outdoors or in a well ventilated area for this project as the spray paint has a strong odor and also can get blown around by wind. It is a good idea to take turns and not have too many kids spray painting at once and be sure they are spaced a little distance away from each other. Adult supervision and safety measures should be taken with a project like this.

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The kids picked out colored paper.  They also picked out various plants and flowers they wanted to use.

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They laid out newspapers on the ground and set their colored paper on the newspaper. Then they placed their plant of choice on the paper, and spray painted over it. After a minute or so, they carefully lifted off the plant from the paper and the result was a beautiful reverse silhouette of the plant.

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I love these beautiful masterpieces the kids made! I hope to get them framed for the wall in the near future.

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