Easy Projects for Using Painted Papers

Bull City Craft: Painted Paper

At Bull City Craft, painted papers pile up. Frances paints a lot, and other children leave behind paintings from Preschool Playcraft. Sometimes the colors are so beautiful, especially the ones with liquid watercolor, that I hate to throw them away, so I’ve come up with a few fun uses for them. Of course, you can also paint papers yourself with these projects in mind. These projects can be made for the holidays, birthdays, or just for fun!

Bull City Craft: Painted Paper LabelsJar Labels

A 2″ circle punch, a hole punch, and some pens can turn painted paper into labels and gift tags. A 2″ paper circle fits perfectly on the top of mason jar lids to dress up gifts of candy or nuts. I used a white Sharpie paint pen to write the labels. A small hole punch turns the circles into pretty gift tags.

Bull City Craft: Paper BannerPaper Banner

Paper banners are so easy and festive. We use them at our birthday parties, but you could also make them in holiday colors and hang them on your mantel or in a doorway. We made one for Frances’ birthday with paper she decorated with washi tape.

Bull City Craft: Making Banners

For a 9″x12″ sheet of paper, cut it in half, and then you can cut three triangles out of each piece (two facing one way and one the other way in between them). A paper trimmer makes for quick work because you can cut several at a time. Punch holes in the corner of each and tie with ribbon or yarn.

Bull City Craft: Paper LanternPaper Lanterns

I got this idea from Frances’ preschool teacher at Appleseeds Home Nursery. There’s a bit of a learning curve here, but once you get the hang of it, they are quite addictive. The folding is too difficult for young children, but older children can do it, or at least help with the first few folds. You will need a square paper, and 12″x12″ makes a good size for small jam jar candles. Rub the paper with coconut oil, or warm the oil and brush it on. Wipe off the excess with a towel. This will make the paper translucent. Then follow instructions here for folding.

Making a Photo Backdrop

I was planning a Valentine Photo Shoot event at the store with Raleigh photographer Elizabeth Galecke, and I offered to make a photo backdrop. We agreed it was a great idea and I jumped on Pinterest to get some inspiration. I noticed right away that most of the backdrops were not painted, but instead embellished with balloons, banners, crepe paper, glitter, and other items that can just be hung on a wall or fence. Hmmm…well, I had promised painted, so I decided to just jump in.

OK, it’s not as easy as it seems.

DIY photo backdrop

We bought a large canvas drop cloth and spread it out in the garage on top of some old drop cloths. We had some leftover chalkboard paint from recently updating the chalkboard in our store. I also had some red and pink paint sample jars that I had gotten free with a magazine coupon. First I primed the whole thing with Low VOC Kilz– it used up the half can I had, and I didn’t even reach the edge of the canvas!

The next night I measured and marked the canvas. I decided to do a simple heart about the width of two people. I sketched the heart and painted it with a combination of the red and pink. I painted around it with the chalkboard paint. I figured if it looked boring, I could always add chalk drawings or text. I also made a felt and paper heart banner and some heart wands for props.

heart wands and banner

The third night I touched up some areas and cleaned up the edge of the heart. When it was finished, Elizabeth came over for a practice photo shoot, and the results are amazing!

Elizabeth Galecke Photography

Elizabeth Galecke Photography

 

Before You Make All Those Pinterest Craft Recipes, Read This!

I’ve put together a Pinterest board of all the homemade art supplies and kids’ creativity toys that I’ve come across. Frances and I have slowly been trying them with varying levels of success. Here are the recipes you should make, the ones you should tweak, and the ones to avoid!

1. Sidewalk Paint— Make it!

Bull City Craft Chalk Paint

Bull City Craft Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint at Camp

Painting with Chalk

So easy to make, and so fun to use. As you are painting it doesn’t look like much, but when it dries (and it dries quickly), it looks great. It’s also fun to combine with regular sidewalk chalk. Super simple ingredients (just cornstarch, water, and color). I used liquid watercolors to color it instead of food coloring, and I was a little worried it might stain the sidewalk, but it washed away completely when it rained.

2. Slime–Make it, but make it right.

Clear glue slime at Bull City Craft

Slime at Color Camp at Bull City Craft

Slime at Color Camp at Bull City Craft

Definitely worth making for the fun factor, but tricky and messy. I’ve tried a couple of recipes for this, and sometimes it has worked better than others. I’ve tried it with regular white school glue and with Elmer’s clear glue; I thought the latter worked much better. I haven’t yet tried the recipe that requires liquid starch because I haven’t been able to find it.

 

3. Bath Crayons–Don’t Make it!

Yikes! What a mess. Hard to mix, even more difficult to form into anything resembling a crayon, and nearly impossible to use. Maybe it was an operator issue? I say just buy yourself some nice Crayola bath crayons and call it a day.

Good o'l Crayola bath crayons-not homemade!

4. Lightbox-Make it!

Even I like playing with this one. I don’t remember where I originally saw it, but it was easy to put together in a moment of desperation and a trip to the garage for a plastic tub and Christmas lights. I added some transparent plastic colored lids and later some awesome small transparent colored discs we found at a teacher supply store (they’re meant for counting activities). We’ve had lots of fun sorting colors, counting, and just rearranging objects on the light table.

Light Box with Colors- Learn and Play!

5. Colored rice–Make it!

It sounds too simple, but kids really love this! I have a big bowl of it with seashells in it, and everyone wants to play with it. It just feels good. The only drawback is sweeping up frequent spills.

colored rice at Color Camp at Bull CIty Craft

I’ll post more reviews as I make them!