Sunday, March 13, 2016

Giant Flowers

Spring has sprung early this year at the Barn. The snow is gone, the birds are singing and the first signs of new life are peeking through the soil. As we jump into art projects we are inspired by all that is around us, this week we made some beautiful giant flowers. I love this project because it brings together a few different fun processes for kids to explore creatively before tying it all together into these beautiful sunny flowers.

You will need:

Sheets of white tissue paper
Oven bake white clay (or make this recipe)
Clay tools - or objects that have a nice print
Paint roller
Kids glue
Hot glue gun
Any old cardboard

Step 1

Taking large sheets of tissue paper (the kind you use for gifts) we had lots of fun experimenting with paint squeezing, cookie cutter prints and symmetry. I had placed out some paint trays, cookie cutters and the paper and the children began this way but this quickly evolved following their lead into squeezing the bottles of paint, because every kid (and adult) loves squeezing paint right?

The tissue paper being thin was going to quickly become too wet so I showed the children how to fold the paper over and these beautiful butterfly prints were born.

As you can see all three activities led to beautiful results sometimes its just fun to see where a child will take you.

Step 2

While we left the painted tissue drying on the line we began making the centers of these flowers. For this we used Sculpey oven bake clay which I love because its so easy for the kids to work with once you've softened it up for them, its waterproof and once baked really difficult for them to brake. If you don't want to buy this clay you can also make you're own oven bake clay, our favorite recipe is here

We rolled out the clay and cut it into circles with a cookie cutter,

Then using various tools the children decorated the centers. I showed them a real flower to demonstrate how many spiral around and have circular patterns to them.

Once the children had created their patterns we baked them in the oven.

 Step 3

Once the centers were baked and cooled the children used a print roller to ink the top surface of their clay centers. This technique allows the clay to be printed on the raised surfaces while highlighting the dips and patterns made in the clay by the children.

We used printing ink for the centers, however an acrylic paint and roller would work just as well. I placed the ink on some wax paper, the children rolled through it to get a flat cover of color.

Then they rolled it over the dried clay pieces. We used both pink and blue paint for the centers.

Step 4

To create the petals of the flowers we cut each sheet of tissue paper in half and then folded it like a concertina. Forward - back - forward - back.

Then fold the concertina folded paper in half like a fan and glue center sides together.

Repeat 4 times (so you have used 2 sheets of your printed tissue paper). 

The final part of creating the petals is to glue along all the edges and push them together to create a circle.

Step 5

The final step is to assemble the flowers and this really brings all the separate projects you've been working on together. We began by hot gluing the clay centers to the center of the tissue paper circle. Depending on how you feel about letting the kids use a low temp hot glue gun adults may want to help, I always like to have the kids try if they want to and the low temp hot glue guns are very manageable even for younger hands.

Once you have fixed the center on the top flip the flower over. To give extra support to the flower and to have something to attach a string to for hanging we hot glued a cardboard circle onto the back. This was just a circle cut from a cereal packet.

Your flowers are now complete, 

You can attached string to the back to hang from the wall,

Or as we did on a sunny day, glue a stick to the back of the flower and go on a sunflower parade.

Beautiful, happy spring to all.