May is a busy month for celebrations – Mother’s Day, First Communions, graduations and showers will keep our social calendar full. And Mother’s Day especially tends to get overscheduled with demonstrations of love and appreciation. I think I speak for most moms when I say I’d love a day where I can relax, not have to be anywhere and maybe even indulge in a favorite activity. These paper crafts caught my eye in FamilyFun Magazine’s special issue of Create & Learn! Use spring’s first flowers - crocuses, daffodils, pansies and primrose – to make Pounded Flower Prints for cards, gift tags or works of art for Mom or the guest of honor at an upcoming celebration.
What you’ll need:
Scissors or clippers
Jar with water
Heavy board or sturdy worktable (one you can pound on)
Stack of newspapers & paper towels
Clear acrylic coating spray
Cut flowers from your yard or pick a few common and abundant wildflowers and weeds, such as dandelions. Place stems in the jar of water as soon as they're cut.
On the board or worktable, set a sheet of watercolor paper on the newspaper.
Place a flower on the paper and cover it with a paper towel. Use the hammer to tap it gently and repeatedly, making sure you tap the entire flower and the stem, if desired. Peel back the paper towel to see how well the color is transferring. If the paper towel looks saturated, the watercolor paper will be too. When you're satisfied with the color, remove the paper towel and the smashed flower, using tweezers if necessary.
To protect the colors, spray the paper with the clear acrylic coating and let dry.
For younger children, Soap Bubble Prints may be the way to go! What you’ll need:
Store-bought or homemade bubble solution
Copier paper or light-colored construction paper
Plastic drinking straws
Newspaper or plastic tablecloth
Several shallow disposable containers, such as aluminum pie tins
Tempura paints (washable formula does not bubble well) or food coloring (sparingly so as not to stain clothing or surfaces)
Cover your work surface with a thick layer of newspaper or a plastic tablecloth. Gather several shallow disposable containers, such as aluminum pie tins. In each, blend 1 cup of store-bought or homemade bubble solution with 1/2 cup of tempera paint. (To make your own bubble solution, mix 3 cups of water, 1 cup of dish soap, and 1/4 cup of corn syrup.)
Set out your paper (try copier paper or light-colored construction paper) and several plastic drinking straws. For younger children, pierce a small hole halfway up the straw with a pin; this will help prevent accidental swallowing of the paint but won't interfere with the bubble-blowing process. With one end of the straw submerged in the bubble solution, the kids blow until bubbles mound up in the container. The best time to take a print is just as the bubbles begin to overflow. Gently touch the paper to the bubbles and then lift to see your print, repeating until the paper is sufficiently covered. Blow more bubbles as needed. For a different effect, try printing one color over another. Blow more bubbles as needed. For a different effect, try printing one color over another.
For a similar project resulting in a tie-dyed effect, cover a baking sheet with shaving cream and smooth with squeegee or ruler edge. Dot it with food coloring and swirl the coloring with a toothpick or craft stick. Lay a sheet of card stock on top of cream and press lightly. Remove paper and scrap off excess with squeegee/ruler. Once papers are dry, cut into cards or gift tags or even frame as art. Larger sheets of craft paper can be used to create wrapping paper as well. Let your imagination soar!
Have fun and go easy on the Mother’s Day activities - Mom will love you all the more for it!
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