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Honour the Child

Blog Archive

BTRT Patterns (on Etsy)

Thursday, 25 August 2011
Create a 3D, mixed media butterfly garden with your kids.
A great craft for teaching basic principles of art and painting!
We have been planning this craft all summer and finally got it done!
We built a playdate around it, as there were several steps at which we had to wait before we could go on with our project.  It worked very well with two busy almost Grade One girls on a rainy afternoon.
If you planned for a dry and sunny day, things would go much more quickly!

This craft is fairly supply intensive... but you could adapt it to make it much simpler for younger children, or to suit your supplies on hand.  After the kids were finished making theirs, I made one, too, it looked like so much fun...

♥ Watercolour paper
♥ Watercolour paints
♥ Sponge
♥ Paint brushes
♥ Acrylic paints
♥ Palette
♥ Water
♥ Canvas in size of your choice (we found ours at the Dollar Store)
♥ Butterfly punch
♥ Tacky Glue (white school glue would work as well)
♥ Drop cloths and paint aprons as needed

1) Painting the Canvas: Begin by choosing a few colours of ACRYLIC paint for the canvas~ keep it simple to allow the butterflies to stand out at the end.  Water the paint down to a wash. We began this step by discussing perspective... if we painted a tree on our canvas, the butterflies would be gigantic in scale... imagine lying in the grass on your tummy and looking through it.... When finished, set aside to dry completely. Wash out your palette and brushes and put away your acrylics.

2) Painting the Watercolour Paper: We began by choosing colours ~ and a lesson in colour theory... primary, secondary, blending and how to avoid making muddy brown!  Blend your pigments with water to create a thin wash. 

Use your sponge to dampen the watercolour paper (increases the flow of the paints over the surface) ~ wet your sponge, wring, and blot it over the paper (you'll know if it is too wet as it will tear!).  As the girls applied the colour we watched them blend and move and discussed our results. 
When the paper is fully covered, set aside to dry. One 9 x 12 sheet was more than enough butterflies for our 9 x 12 canvas.
Tip: if you are painting on a humid day, as we were, you can hasten the drying of the paper with a dry iron or a blow dryer.

3) Butterflies: Once everything has dried, use your butterfly punch (the bigger the better!) to cut out as many butterflies as you can from your sheet of watercolour paper.

You can use the leftovers for making cards or other crafts~ the girls here put theirs in a bowl and spent a happy hour flying butterflies off of a top bunk. 

Next, fold your butterflies in half, colour side to the inside. Apply glue to the fold on the back and place the butterfly on the dry canvas as desired, pressing down the center/ body portion to ensure good contact between glue and canvas. 

Allow to dry. Add hook to the back and hang, or simply prop up for a beautiful burst of colour where you need it!

The girls were so proud of their finished work~ and so intrigued by colour theory that we ended up reading a book about it (Color Chaos, by Lynn Rowe Reed) and drawing our own color wheels after carefully choosing and lining up the appropriate crayons!
{Draw a large circle. Divide it into 12 equal pie pieces. Begin by adding the primary colours (red, yellow blue). Then the secondary (purple, green, orange) and finally the tertiary (Crayola makes it easy with red violet, blue violet etc.).}

Have fun making your own works of art with your little ones, and please do share int he comments!♥♥


Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful idea! I need to get one of those butterfly punches. All I've got is Mickey Mouse.

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