Art Spaces, Kid's Art Project, Preschool Art, Process Art

Tips for setting up a kids Makerspace

For the past 5 years I have taught art and managed art studios and makerspaces designed with kids in mind. One question I am asked frequently at my job is,

“How could I set up a small makerspace for my kids at home?”

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Well today I thought I would offer a few tips to get you started. First off there is no correct way to do this. Makerspaces will be as different as are the individuals who use them. Think about your kids. What are their interests? Do they love to paint or do they prefer to build things? Do they enjoy using new tools? Drawing? The main goal is to spark their creative interest so beginning with something they are already familiar with can be a great place to start. New items and supplies can always be added or changed out as time passes. In fact changing out items can lead to new challenges, keeping the makerspace fresh and interesting!

My Favorite art supplies to begin with:

colored pencils

  • Tempera paint, I love Blick student grade paints. They are bright, offer great coverage, don’t crack, and are some of the more washable paints I have found.
  • Watercolors. I enjoy both liquid watercolors and pan watercolors. I have linked to some reasonably priced favorites.
  • Good paper. Thick nice mixed media paper is great for most painting. I prefer SAX  80# or higher grade paper. Watercolor paper is great but a bit pricier.
  • basic crayons, Crayolas are great
  • Colored pencils, Crayola work well but there are many great choices and the quality varies. Prisma Colors are my favorites but are a bit pricey.
  • #2 pencils or drawing pencils.
  • Water soluble markers, Crayola work fine for kids and are washable.
  • A black sharpie. They are great for line work and for drawings that you want to paint since they don’t run when wet.
  • Elmer’s school glue
  • Craft glue sticks
  • Low temp Hot glue guns

Recyclables to collect for repurposing:

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  • Toilet paper or paper towel tubes
  • Old Magazines
  • Small boxes
  • Flat cardboard (cut up amazon boxes work great!)
  • Tin cans without sharp edges
  • Interesting plastic, metal, or cardboard bits and pieces…
  • Corks and bottle caps
  • Other interesting tidbits, pretty much anything that can be glued to something else is fun to explore!

Nature Items to collect:

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  • Sticks
  • Pinecones
  • Acorns
  • Pebbles
  • Flat rocks
  • Seed pods
  • Flowers and grasses
  • Leaves

Other Favorite Items to add in here and there:

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  • Oil Pastels
  • Chalk Pastels
  • Buttons
  • Beads
  • Fabric
  • Yarn
  • Wire
  • Other interesting craft items, the possibilities are endless!

 

Storage Solutions:

supply storage

Your storage is going to be dictated by the space you have available and by your collection of supplies. If you have a whole craft room to dedicate great, but don’t feel that you need that much space. All of the supplies do not have to be available at all times. A small shelf can be a great place to house a smaller makerspace! You will also need a table or a desk for your child to work on (floors can work as well if tablespace is not available.)

I suggest getting a vinyl table cloth or place mat to protect and designate your child’s work space. I also enjoy having a collection tray on hand. Trays are great to hold the small items while your child work so that beads and such don’t just roll away.

Small baskets are a great way to organize kids materials on the shelf. Civilware trays work well to hold small tinkering items and loose parts. Larger boxes and wood crates are perfect for storing the larger items such as tin cans, small boxes, and cardboard items. Papers and magazines can be kept in a paper stacker.

Remember that all items do not need to be visible at all times. They can rotate in and out on the shelf if you have limited space. A storage tote can hold any excess until needed. I would recommend rotating interesting items every couple of weeks. You will always want to have paper, some type of paint, glue, and drawing materials available, but the other items can come and go as they are available or as older supplies begin to lose interest.

Note on art displays:

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If your kids are anything like mine they will make a ton of art in their awesome new makerspace! Art display and storage can get to be a bit of an issue…

Here are some ways that I have found helpful in handling this little problem.

  • Flat art like paintings, drawings, or collage can be pinned or taped to the wall or fridge for a period of time. One favorite display method is a clothesline approach. Simply hang a piece of twine and use clothespins to hold up art. Old art that has been on display for a while can be replaced as new art is made.  Old art can be stored in a folder, given away as gifts to family and friends, or photographed and then recycled.
  • Larger sculptures need to have a designated display shelf or stand to display them. Display space will likely be limited so talk to your kids and make sure they understand the size and quantity limitations for these types of projects. We display them for a week or two and then they are photographed and dismantled. Many of the parts used can go right back into the art bin for future use!

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I hope you have fun setting up and using your very own kid’s makerspace at your house. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out. I would also love to see pictures of your spaces as they are set up!

Signiture

Adult Art Project, Art Project, collage, Kid's Art Project, Preschool Art, Process Art

More fun with collage, part 2.

prompt 8 collage

In Fun With Collages, Part 1 we looked at torn paper collages, cut paper collage, and vision boards. The post was getting long, but I felt like there was still so much more to cover! So today we will look at recycled art paper collages, cardboard collages, fabric collages, and found object collages.

Just a reminder of the supplies you will need for your collage work:

  • Old magazines, Papers, Cardboard or even Fabrics
  • Glue (Glue sticks work well for lightweight papers, Mod Podge for fabrics, or a stronger craft glue for cardboard.)
  • Scissors
  • Something to glue your collage to. If you are working in a sketchbook or journal great, if not any piece of plain paper or cardboard will do.
  • Found objects and a low temp hot glue gun for our final collage project!

 

Recycled Art Paper Collage

old art collage
Old art from several different activities with kids between preschool and elementary age. I cut both geometric shapes and more organic shapes out. In many cases I let the shapes on the painting dictate what I cut out.

So in the last post we were mainly using magazine pages and other decorative papers such as scrapbook papers. Today we will be focused on recycled papers and repurposing old art work for our collage purposes. I enjoy doing a lot of process art with kiddos and myself, but you end up with a lot of art papers that really don’t have a function. So what are you to do with the ever-growing stacks of paper? Well collage of course!

 

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A quick little playful ocean life collage made from the fun shapes found in abandoned process art which was left unclaimed.

I often will cut up old art papers into fun shapes to reuse at a later time either myself or with a kid’s art class. I like to keep fun cut up papers on hand in a collage basket for kids to experiment with.

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This beautiful landscape collage was done by an elementary aged child using several of their own process art pages we had created in class throughout the year.

 

Cardboard Collage

Cardboard is a great medium for collage. Shapes can be cut and arranged on a larger sheet of cardboard to create a new image. Paint can also be used to unify the piece of art created. You can play with texture by peeling the top layer off a piece of corrugated cardboard to reveal the fun rigid texture! I recommend using either a craft glue such as Elmers or even a low temp hot glue gun as the cardboard will need a bit more sticking power!

cardboard collage

 

 

Fabric Collage

Another fun twist on collageing is using fabric scraps instead of paper. For fabric I like to use Mod Podge instead of glue sticks or craft glue because it dries flat without any ridges.  I usually will use the Mod Podge both under the fabric and as a top coat to make sure it is sealed. I usually will use cardboard for my backer but you could experiment with other substrates as you wish.

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A quick little landscape that I created one afternoon.
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Some fabric collage landscapes from a summer camp I ran. The kids were elementary aged.

Found Object Collage

The final style of collage that I want to discuss today is found object collage, sometimes refered to as assemblage art. For these projects you will need the low temp hot glue as many items are too bulky for craft glue. You will also need a sturdy backer or substrate. I often use wood or corrugated cardboard.

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This fun little bird used both old cut up pieces of art work and various found objects!

Quick tip: When working with children always be sure to use low temp glue guns. Point out the hot parts and let them know to place the glue on the backer surface and then add the small found object to avoid holding tiny items in their hand to glue which could lead to a burn. Show them how to use a small popsicle stick or some other stick like object to pres into the hot glue instead of pushing the object with their finger.

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A foun object mandala from a yoga and art camp I helped lead.

Kids love to use the hot glue, and it can be done safely even with very young kids as long as you pay attention to safety measures. Yes, small burns do happen from time to time but small injuries are a valuable learning experience. It is worth the small risk to see the sense of wonder and excitement in the face of a child who has acted independently with a tool!

bottle cap art
Remember incorporating a bit of mixed media is also a fun way to unify found object collages as is the case with this awesome flower vase with bottle cap flowers!

I hope you have enjoyed this series of collage projects as much as much as I have. I love to both make my own collages and teach collage workshops and classes! They are so much fun and the possibilities are limitless!

Signiture

About Me

My inspirations

Girl Reading Paper $80
Original watercolor inspired by a vintage photo.

As an artist I am a bit all over the place! I often describe myself as having art ADD, lol. I have never been able to lock myself down to a signature style or medium. I really enjoy trying new things. There are however some recurring themes in my art.

 

Inspirations…

I am inspired by Fashion, more accurately by vintage fashion! I even majored in Fashion Design in College. I am inspired by all types of dance. I am not much of a dancer myself, though I do enjoy dancing from time to time. I simply love the combination of strength and grace in the bodies of dancers. I am also inspired by circus arts, especially vintage circus performers!  I am intrigued by subcultures and counterculture movements throughout the various decades especially flappers, burlesque culture, circus culture, and punk culture. I draw a lot of inspiration from these and I am inspired other artists who do the same. I enjoy all things feminine and delicate yet strong, especially images of strong women.

I love to explore color and texture, combining abstract flowy forms with precise and controlled forms. I love the color green! I am inspired by the crisp geometric Art Deco shapes and patterns as well as the delicate and ornate ones associated with Art Nouveau. I love fiber arts especially wool. It is just so warm and fuzzy! My current medias of choice to work in are alcohol inks, and watercolor. As I mentioned before though I really enjoy trying out new mediums and tools so I am quite often scattered in my artistic efforts. 

My time is quite limited for doing my own artwork, but I spend a considerable amount of time facilitating process art for both kids and adults. I get to do a lot of creative play and experimentation which I love to do!

Here are a few examples of my art…

Jennifer MacIsaac Art
Tango Dancers in watercolor, Altered magazine image embroidery, Portrait of Josephine Baker in alcohol inks, Art deco gal in acrylic

My top 5 favorite artists!

These artists have all been inspirational to me in my own work.

1. Erte

 

erte collage
Images Via Web Search

Erte was a Russian born, French artist most famous for his art deco fashion designs. He designed over 200 Harper’s Bazaar covers in the 1920s and 30s. I love the use of pattern and whimsy in his designs. The Art Deco period is one of my absolute favorites!

 

2. Gustav Klimt

Klimt collage
Images via Web Search

Klimt was an Austrian artist who worked  in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He is a symbolist painter and part of the Art Nouveau movement. I am particularly inspired by his “Golden Phase” I love his use of color and pattern.

 

These next three artists are currently living and working so I have not included photos of their work since I do not have permission to do so. 

Please click on the links below to see some beautiful examples of their work from their own pages!

 

3. Cynthia Markert

Cynthia Markert is a local favorite here in Knoxville TN. She paints images of strong women and sisterhood on wood panels. She has a beautiful Art Deco style. I am inspired by her use of proportion and her mixture of large flat shapes and detailed pattern. I also love her use of color.

4. Puddleton Art

I found Puddleton art otherwise known as Alice Badgley, on Etsy one day while I was browsing and I fell in love. It is my goal to own a piece of her art one day (Update, I have a beautiful little pice now)!  I am inspired by her whimsical style and her use of mixed media to create these beautiful images of 1920s fashion.

 

5. Mimi Kirchner

Mimi Kirchner is a fiber artist from Boston. She makes these amazing dolls, many of which are inspired by vintage eras. She uses bits of old fabric and buttons in her designs. I love the vintage feel and her attention to detail. My favorites are her circus looking dolls , but they are all so unique and fun!

 

I would love to hear some of your inspirations as artists. Feel free to share some of what inspires you to create or a favorite artist of yours in the comments below!

my art
Various watercolors and alcohol ink paintings from this past year.