Coffee Filter Flower Card

One of my art teacher roles is often to teach my students that the hand made gifts are truly the best. This is an easy project that is fun for all ages.  You should have seen my seventh grade students working on this yesterday – the enthusiasm made my day. 
If your peonies don’t like mine do right now, then make your own for Mother’s Day!

Start with plain white paper coffee filters.  Draw on them with water-based markers.  Try multiple colors, different designs, and even coloring the entire coffee filter with color.

Spray with water in a spray bottle. I recommend doing this over newspaper to catch any colored water that will inevitably soak your work surface. 

 Your designs will turn into watery, tie-dye like motifs. Allow the filters to dry completely. 

 Once they are dry, you can now begin to cut them up, layer them, and create your flowers.

 Fold the filter in half, then in half again, and then into a pie slice shape. 

Cut designs along the top curved edge – like a paper snowflake.  These cuts will form the petals of your flowers, so experiment with different cuts.  Once the petal designs are cut, open the flower up, pinch in the middle, and twist.  This will create the base of the flower.  Now you can add a stem out of pipe cleaner, or glue them onto a piece of paper for a card. 
Add some leaves, a garden or vase, a background, and a nice note and you have a card.  Wasn’t that better and more fun than buying a card in the store?
This flower was made with two different filters layered within one another.  Go ahead and make a bunch of these filters so you have extras for mistakes or multiple layered flowers.  Just remember that your colors will run into one another so choose your colors based on how they look after they mix! 

Crayon Batik + Fluffer Nutter Hot Cocoa

This is a fun and easy art lesson you can do at home on a weeknight, a Sunday afternoon over hot cocoa, or even with your students.  My 6th graders are working on this project next week.  I love to cultivate a love of crayons – too often they are dismissed as elementary, and I believe they deserve a ranking of at least under graduate.
Step 1: Create a drawing using crayon.  Fill the entire page, corner to corner, edge to edge with crayon drawing.  I left the eye slits on the cat face exposed white paper, this way when I painted, they black paint would fill in, making the eye slits appear black.  Anything you want to stay white must be colored with a white crayon.  Also, try using a variety of colors and pressures.  The hard coloring vs. light coloring will be an important factor for resisting watercolor.  More on this resist technique is coming up.
Step 2: Cover entire paper in black watercolor paint.  You try other darker colors as well, but black will create the most vibrant contrast.  The paint will not stick to the waxy crayon, but rather resist and bead up on top of the crayon.  The paint will fill in small areas left untouched by crayon.  My students always ooh and aaah over this resist technique – it truly is magic!
Step 3: Blot any excess puddle of paint off of paper with a rag or paper towel.  Then, crumple the paper into a ball.  This crumpling is what will give the look and feel of fabric for the batik style.  Notice the outline on the table – if you are a neat freak, put newspaper or the likes down before starting this project.  Otherwise, watercolor paint is very easy to clean up.  A wet rag will suffice.  
Step 4: Open the artwork up, smooth onto table top.  Add more paint.  The paint will collect in the creases of the paper and create the look of fabric that has been dyed with the batik method.  Allow to dry.  Once dried, you may color over it again, using light crayons to bring out highlights.
Hang in window or display on fridge.  I, personally like the window display because it gives this artwork the look of stained glass.
I suggest you make some decadent cocoa to go with your art-making project.  I seriously wish I could serve cocoa or something of the likes to my art students, I think they would be able to concentrate better with a fresh snack in their bellies.
Fluffer Nutter Hot Cocoa – serves 1
In a mug: mix 4 teaspoons cocoa mix (such as Ovaltine Rich Chocolate mix), 1 teaspoon peanut butter, and 1 teaspoon marshmallow creme.  Fill mug with milk product of your choice.  Microwave about 2 minutes or until hot.  Stir well and serve with a marshmallow.
Note: there will be peanut butter chunks at the bottom, so if you prefer smoother cocoa you may want to heat in a saucepan on the stove top, whisking to create a smoother texture.
My opinion: Crayola Crayons truly is the best crayon brand.
You can’t beat Prang Watercolors either!


Melted Crayon Art

Untitled, mixed media on mat board, 2012. 
This is a lesson that came about from Pinterest.  I needed a short filler lesson for between major units and this one was a smashing success.  Sometimes I think I come across as a staunch neat freak to these kids because they were so excited that I was encouraging them to melt crayons instead of color with them!  This is a great use for all those little crayon nubs that just cause frustration during drawing units.  
Step 1: Glue crayon pieces onto a board with school glue.  Peeled crayons will melt faster, if you leave the wrapper on, you will have a wrapper glued in place, but the wax will still melt away.  I had pieces of mat board cut in advance for them to choose from.  Consider designs or using objects to block and direct the melted wax. 
Step 2 : If using blocking objects, tape them in place.  I used a cardboard tube held in place with masking tape. 

Step 3: Place on newspaper, and preferably inside of a box.  The box will help catch the hot molten wax that will spray you and will burn. 
Step 4: Turn hair dryer on to high heat and point at crayons.  Hold 6 inches or so away form crayon.  Point the hair dryer in the direction in which you wish for the wax to flow. 

Within a few minutes you should see the crayons start to soften and melt. 

You can also use pieces of cardboard to block wax and direct the flow.  If you have a helper, be careful of their hands as well. 

Once the wax starts to flow, direct it with the hair dryer.  If crayons begin to come off, use a pencil or popsicle stick to hold them in place or move.  If your hair dryer has a cold air setting, use that to set the wax more quickly. 

Step 5: Allow artwork to cool completely before moving.  Remove blocking objects carefully so as not to remove wax as well.  
This melted wax design reminded me of a wave, so I added the watercolor ship design in later on. 
As we discovered through trial and error during this unit, some designs work better than others.  This circle just turned into a mess of colors and was not very interesting.   
This heart worked well because the student directed the wax with the hair dryer to the outside edges.  She then filled in the interior of the heart with collage.  

This piece turned into an almost Chagall-like stained glass window of colors.