In my last post, I talked about finding beauty. Creating beauty through art is another way to bring gratitude into the day. Art helps me appreciate what I have, get out emotions, and remember the developmental state of the little people around me. When I see how different each child’s art is, it reminds me how different each of them are in personality, ability, and age which then helps me manage my own expectations. Plus, the outlet helps them, too! Honestly, though, art is one of the things I have long had a hard time fitting into my life and homeschool rhythm. Crafts are nice and all, but the clean-up and storage are things that drain me. In the long days at home with COVID-19, though, art has arisen as a way to fill time. As we plumb the depths of our closets and cabinets to find some sort of novel activity, the art supplies have been just sitting there begging to be used. (And begging to actually be used up. Does anyone else struggle with being stingy with the supplies because they might run out?)
We had fun making a chalk museum in the backyard and sidewalk art in the front. We recently wrapped up the last Mo Willems Lunch Doodles and started on Art for Kids Hub at the advice of friends. I keep eyeing the gorgeous curriculum from Waldorfish. We have been whittling and constructing out of tree branches. One morning, I let* the four year-old use as much paper as he wanted for watercolor painting, and—news flash to Pamm–the world didn’t end! (*OK, let is an overstatement. I gave him a couple of pieces and the clever kid went and found a whole tablet of paper while I was doing a Restore Your Core video. It was worth it!)
Our artistic pièce de résistance thus far, though, has been egg carton art. We normally save our egg cartons so our farmer can reuse them, but in this minimal-contact situation she cannot accept them. So, what’s a family to do with dozens of egg cartons? We turned them into flowers! Normally this kind of project would drive me batty. It required bins of supplies and days of work. But, there was something about this quarantined time that made this project worth the two weeks (on-and-off) of work.
Here are the steps:
- Cut apart each carton cell. This is no easy task. Spring-scissors were key for my sensitive wrists. Save a few carton lids for flat details, like leaves.
- Cut each cell into a flower shape. My 7 and 9 year olds liked this part and spent a couple of afternoons in their treehouse cutting away.
- Paint each flower. We all liked mixing up color after color, especially the 4yo. Mix small amounts of paint for maximum variety and thin the paint with water. You’ll need a tarp or paint cloth for these to dry on. If you would like to add leaves, paint some of the flat cardboard pieces. You can cut these to shape and size later.
- Prepare your mounting surface(s). I cut wreath-circles out of scrap cardboard and made vases out of toilet paper tubes mounted on flat cardboard. To make the circles, I made a compass.
- For wreaths: lay out the flowers then adhere. My original plan was hot glue, but I was out of glue sticks. So, I used a tacky craft glue instead. Ultimately, I liked that it gave me some time to reposition and has a bit of flexibility to it. Cut and insert leaves as desired. To make a hanger: cut three inches of ribbon and glue each end of the ribbon to the back, top of the wreath, leaving the middle part unattached to fit over a nail or hook.
- For stemmed flowers: To make the flower-center, thread a craft stem up one hole of a button and down the second hole. Poke two small holes in the bottom of the flower cup with a darning needle. If adding leaves, cut these to desired size and poke a corresponding hole. Thread each leg of the craft stem through the top of the flower (and then through any desired leaves) and pull gently until the button settles in place. Twist the stem legs together to secure the button on and make a sturdy stem. We made bouquets by twisting five completed flowers together and placing in a “vase” of painted toilet paper roll and glued-on cardboard base (wrapped in tissue paper).
- To add dimension to each flower, I hand-painted on additional details, like color in the middle, light striping, or darker edging. For the wreaths, I did this after they were mounted. For the stemmed flowers, I did this beforehand.
Click any picture for a larger view
We ended these many hours of effort with hanging up our wreath and the fun of delivering a dose of beauty to the porches of a few lucky recipients! We admire the wreath on our door every day. It is a sign of spring and hope for me. But, the best of all was the excitement of those who we delivered flowers to. It was the best kind of doorbell ditch, though in this case we ran to our van to watch and wave rather than running away.
About More Green for Less Green
Hi, I’m Pamm. Welcome to my little slice of the web! As both a pastor and crunchy homeschooling mom, I’m never quite what anyone expects of me. But, hey, that’s what makes blogging interesting, right? Join me as I try to wholeheartedly parent my three little boys, slowly fix up the trashed foreclosure we bought in 2009, and live simply.