Coral Reef Week!

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Coral Reef Week!


Coral Reef Patterns

What You'll Need:

  • Crayola Construction Paper Crayons
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Cup of water
  • Watercolor paper

1. Draw different types of coral using Construction Paper Crayons. We love these crayons by Crayola because the colors are super vibrant.  Draw lots of different shapes and patterns.  Fill up the whole paper with patterns.

2. Fill in your whole paper with color using watercolor paints.  The watercolor will resist the crayon lines.  


Coral Reef Printmaking

What You'll Need:

  • Washable paints in neon colors
  • Wide paintbrush
  • Wooden stylus
  • Scratch foam paper or piece of styrofoam
  • Construction paper

1. Etch your design into a piece of foam paper using a wooden stylus.  We love using Melissa & Doug brand scratch foam board and wooden stylus.  You may also use recycled styrofoam from food containers or to-go boxes and a dull pen or pencil.

2.  Cover your etched plate with paint.  We are using Crayola brand Washable Neon paint.  The colors are bright, we trust the washability and love that it is non-toxic.  Stamp your design on the paper.  Feel free to repeat using the same etched plate over and over with new colors!

Coral Reef 3D Sculpture

What You'll Need:

  • Neon Kwik Sticks
  • Cardstock
  • Collage paper
  • Recycled materials
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Model Magic clay
  • Hot glue gun (optional)

1.  Coral reefs are too beautiful to have not done a three dimensional project.  First, decorate your cardstock with Neon colored Kwik Sticks  (we sell these in the studio for $6, they come in thick and thin widths).  

2. Find different types of collage paper - construction paper, recycled painted paper, tissue paper, etc.  Experiment with different folding techniques.  Rolled paper, folding paper accordion style, and cutting paper into fringe and then rolling it all work great.  Glue them down to your paper. 

3. Make coral reef using Model Magic clay.  Clay will air dry.  Add any remaining details using recycled materials.  We love recycled baby food pouch tops in our studio!  


Tropical Fish Collage

What You'll Need:

  • Bleeding tissue paper
  • Scissors
  • Cardstock or Watercolor paper
  • Glue/Water mixture (1:4 ratio)
  • Paintbrush
  • Plain glue
  • Pencil/eraser
  • Wiggle Eyes

1. Sketch out your fish shape using a pencil and an eraser.

2. Cut out pieces of tissue paper to fill in your collage.  Start with a large piece to cover the whole shape of the fish.  Paint the glue/water mixture on your paper and stick the tissue paper down. 

3. Begin to layer in different pieces of tissue paper to create fun colors in your fish.  Continue to cover tissue paper with glue/water mixture as colors will bleed together.  Use plain un-watered down glue if you do not wish to have the colors bleed.

4. Fill in the background with tissue paper.

5.  Add an eye for the fish.

*TIP: Consider using "warm" colors such as pinks, reds, oranges and yellows for the fish and "cool" colors such as blues and greens for the water.  This will make the fish really pop.

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Baby Animals Week!


Baby Animals Week!


We know...  Strange name for a week, but how else do you describe little lambs, adorable chicks, ducklings, piglets and rabbits!   Check out the projects below!  As a reminder, the projects are always out during Art Free Play. 

Collage a Lamb

What You'll Need:

  • Bubble Wrap
  • Washable Paint (pink, white and black)
  • Detail paintbrush
  • Oil Pastels
  • Scissors
  • Collage Paper
  • Glue
  • Sketching Materials - pencils, markers, etc

1. Collage the background by cutting paper and gluing it to the paper. 

2. Sketch your lamb on the back of a piece of bubble wrap.  We have a template provided in the studio, or kids are welcome to make up their own!  Cut it out and glue it to your paper.

3.  Paint the bubble wrap lamb using washable paints and a detail brush.

4.  Add any additional details to your scene using cut paper and/or oil pastels. 


Watercolor Ducklings

What You'll Need:

  • Oil Pastels/Construction Paper Crayons
  • Watercolor Paints/Brushes
  • Watercolor Paper
  • Sketching Materials (pencil/eraser or Sharpie)

1. Sketch out your duck using a pencil/eraser.  We have provided a simple step-by-step duck drawing (see below). Next, outline the duckling using crayons.  Be sure to add fuzzy texture to your animal using the crayons.

2.  Add in flowers and grass using oil pastels & crayons.

3.  Paint in your duck and the background using watercolor paints.  The watercolors will resist the crayon lines. 

Baby Chicks

What You'll Need:

  • Yarn
  • Fork
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Construction Paper
  • Kwik Sticks
  • Cardboard
  • Wiggle Eyes

1.  Make puff balls out of yarn.  See our Halloween blog post to see our step-by-step instructions of how to make a yarn ball here!

2. Add any additional details to the chicks using wiggle eyes, pipe cleaners and glue.

3. Make an environment for your chicks using cardboard and Kwik Sticks.  Make grass by cutting thin strips of construction paper and folding them accordion style. 

Paint With Baby Amimals

What You'll Need:

  • Washable Fingerpaint (we always like to mix our Crayola fingerpaints with a little white to brighten them up)
  • Paper
  • Plastic animals (We love these animals by Learning Resources.  They are great to paint with as well as teaching older kids how to draw)

1.  Dip animals in paint & make them walk on the paper.  Experiment making different textures and marks with the different animals.



Sock Bunnies

What You'll Need:

  • Sock (this is a great use for mismatched socks)
  • Yarn
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Construction Paper
  • Permanent Marker
  • Stuffing for the bunny (we used recycled tissue paper from gift wrap)




Instructions below. 


Garden Critters Week!


Garden Critters Week!


Spring weather is finally here!  Flowers are blooming.  People are back in their gardens.  Pollen is everywhere.  

We thought this would be a fun week to celebrate garden critters.  We have projects depicting snails, ladybugs, butterflies, and caterpillars.  We also created a sensory bin with PlayVisions Play Dirt and some plastic snakes.  In addition, the little guys painted with flowers and plastic frogs in Baby Art this week, and the toddlers painted caterpillars using balloons.  

Here is a run down of some of the fun projects: 

Mixed Media Snails

Snails are my 19 month old's favorite critters right now!  In this project, we hope to introduce kids to using more than one material to make an image.  We also hope it encourages kids to think about their creature - a good 3D Art technique.

What You'll Need:

  • Air Dry Clay (we use Crayola's Model Magic)
  • Glue
  • Cardboard or other thick paper
  • Kwik Sticks
  • Colored permanent markers

1.  Roll ball of Model Magic into a long tube-like shape.  Next, roll it into a coil shape.  This is a great basic 3D skill for kids to learn.  Now they have created their snail.

2. Take a piece of cardboard and draw the snail's environment.  Good prompts to facilitate kids' creativity are: where do they live?  do the snails have friends?  what is the weather like?  what do they eat?  Encourage kids to fill up the entire piece with color.

3.  Glue clay figures onto the cardboard.  

4.  Add patterns to the snails using colored permanent markers. 

Butterfly Mosaic

This project was inspired by looking at garden art made with ceramics. 

What You'll Need:

  • Colored paper (we used recycled paint chips from interior designers)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pencil/Eraser

1. Sketch out the shape of your butterfly using a pencil and an eraser.

2. Cut lots of geometric shapes out of paper.  

3. Cover your whole butterfly with glue and begin to stick down your shapes.  Continue until the whole butterfly is covered with color and pattern. 


Watercolor Caterpillars

Most kids have read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so they are used to the cartoon version of a caterpillar.  We thought it would be fun to have kids really look at a real caterpillar, study the patterns on them and then create their own caterpiller using watercolors and oil pastels.

What You'll Need:

  • Crayons/Oil Pastels
  • Watercolors & brushes
  • Drawing materials (pencil, eraser, Sharpie)
  • Watercolor paper

1. Sketch out your caterpillar using a pencil/eraser or a Sharpie.  Make sure to include the caterpillar's surroundings.

2.  Outline your caterpillar and fill in the patterns using a mix of crayons and oil pastels. 

3.  Paint in the color using watercolor paints.  Kids can paint right over the oil pastel, crayon or Sharpie lines as they will resist the watercolor. 

Ladybug Rocks

This project was inspired by the #901Rock movement in Memphis.  If you are not familiar with it, check it out here:  Kids are loving painting, hiding and finding rocks around town.  We decided to turn rocks into garden critters. 

What You'll Need:

  • Rocks
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Glue
  • Kwik Sticks
  • Triple Thick Paste & Brush

1.  Paint your rock using Kwik Sticks.  These dry in 90 seconds so you can work in layers.  Once the first layer is dry, add details on top.

2.  Give your critter some wiggle eyes.  

3.  Optional:  Seal your rock so it is weather proof.  We like Triple Thick Paste because it adds a nice glossy top coat and makes it waterproof. 


Storytime & Craft

This week, we read Eric Carle's The Grouchy Ladybug & made a fun ladybug collage.

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Forest Animals Week


Forest Animals Week

Forest Animal Week

Collage A Forest

What You Will Need:

  • Collage Paper (we use recycled paintings!)
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Oil Pastels

1. Cut out shapes for the forest.  Use triangles for trees and a circle for the sunset. Begin to lay them on a piece of construction paper.  Put the sun on first, followed by the largest/tallest trees, and smaller ones in the front to give a sense of dimension.  Secure everything with a glue stick.  Decorate the trees by adding patterns with oil pastels.

2.  Draw your animal on a piece of collage paper.  Cut it out and glue it down.  Use oil pastels to fill in details. 

4.  Feel free to add any additional elements in the front such as flowers, shrubs, mushrooms, etc. 

Model Magic Clay Hedgehog

What you will need:

  • Model Magic Clay - you can either purchase brown color, or for a fun color mixing lesson, get a set of primary colors (red, yellow and blue) and mix them all together to make your own brown.  Model Magic will air dry in 24-48 hours. 
  • Wiggle Eyes
  • Glue
  • String for the quills.  We used a waxy string 
  • Permanent markers
  • Optional: hot glue & cardboard

1. Roll your clay into a ball.  Pinch off 4 equal and tiny pieces for the legs.  Form an egg shape using the larger piece.  Using your fingers, pinch out the pointy nose.

2. To form the legs, roll the 4 pieces into tiny balls & pinch to make the leg shape.  Attach them to the body.

3.  Add details.  Use glue to attach the wiggle eyes (this sticks better than just sticking them into the clay).  Cut tiny pieces of string and stick them in the hedgehog to form the quills.  Add any remaining details using a Sharpie or permanent marker.

OPTIONAL:  Attach your figure to a piece of cardboard using hot glue.  This will help it stand up better as it air dries.  You can also decorate the cardboard to form the hedgehog's habitat.

Fox Printmaking

What you will need:

  • Foam plate.  You can use styrofoam or we like Melissa & Doug's scratch-art foam boards.  This is a great material for teaching kids the basics of printmaking without the need for sharp objects or expensive materials.
  • Wooden Stylus
  • Paint - we used acrylic because it dries fast and is bright.  However, if working with kids under the age of 5, we'd recommend Washable paint!  We love Crayola brand. 
  • Rubber brayer or a foam brush (you can get these really cheap from the hardware store)
  • Collage paper - recycled paintings or construction paper works.
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors 
  • Sharpie or other black marker
  • Tray

1. Etch into your foam paper using a wooden stylus.  Fill the whole plate with pattern.

2.  Pour a little bit of paint on a tray.  Apply the paint to the foam board using either a rubber brayer or a foam brush.  Make sure paint has coated the paper evenly.

3.  Stamp it on your paper.  Experiment making multiple prints or "ghost" prints.  A "ghost" print is made by making a 2nd print without re-applying any additional paint.

4.  Draw your animal out on a piece of collage paper.  Cut it out.  Next, layer in any details by cutting additional collage paper and/or using a black marker.

Watercolor Forest Animals

What you will need:

  • Oil pastels & crayons - we love Crayola's Construction Paper Crayons because they are bright and come in fun colors.  They are also great to use when doing watercolor resist because they don't flake off.
  • Watercolors/brushes
  • Pencil/eraser

1. Sketch our your animal using a pencil/eraser.  Outline your pencil marks with a crayon.

2.  Fill in your animals with lots of different patterns.  Use a white crayon to draw trees and foliage in the background.

3.  Fill in color using watercolor paints.  Paint right over the crayon lines, as the watercolor will resist them. 

Storytime & Craft

Each week, we do a Storytime & Craft on Tuesdays and Fridays.  This week, we read one of our kids' favorite books - I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen.  The main character in the book encounters beautifully illustrated Forest creatures.  For our project, we let kids paint with rubber frogs.  It is always fun to see the excitement on kids' faces when they get to paint with something other than a paintbrush!


Dr. Seuss Week!


Dr. Seuss Week!

In honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday on March 2nd, we thought it would be the perfect week to dedicate each project in our studio to a Dr. Seuss book.  Dr. Seuss books provide so much humor, imagination and creativity.  These projects were fun to work on! 

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

This book is so fun to read with kids.  We thought it would be fun for kids to come up with their own silly fish or silly pet.  We were given a giant roll of recycled pool covering - it is like bubble wrap that cannot be popped.  This project seemed like a great time to use it.  Kids first sketch out their fish or animal on the bubble wrap.  Next, they cut it out and arrange it on a piece of paper with other collaged elements around it.  Finally, kids paint the bubble wrap and add any additional details using felt, feathers, markers, wiggle eyes, etc.

The Lorax

This book is full of so many bright colors so we decided to break out the neon paints by Crayola and the liquid watercolors.  We use Dick Blick brand liquid watercolors because they are super bright, non toxic and more washable than some of the other brands we've tried.  First, kids will draw in the trunks of the "Trufula Trees" using oil pastels.  Next, they paint in the background using liquid watercolors.  The watercolors resist the oil pastel lines.  Finally, we created our own "Trufula Tree" paintbrushes with straws, hot glue and puff balls.  Kids dip these "trees" into bright neon paint and create the tops of their "Trufula Trees."

Green Eggs and Ham

We always like to try and include projects for the youngest of artists.  After seeing lots of plastic Easter eggs in the grocery store last week, we thought it would be fun to simply have kids paint with green eggs!  We cut out cooked egg shaped paper and taped it down to the inside of a tray.  We squirted some green fingerpaint in a tray, threw the eggs in and let kids roll them around.  Kids ended up just moving them around with their hands.  This is one of those projects where it is more about the process than the end product!

The Cat In The Hat

This book is my 18 month old son's favorite.  He especially likes the fish!  There are SO many Cat In The Hat projects out on the internet.  We were afraid kids have already done many of them in their school classrooms.  So, we thought it would be fun to keep it simple and just do some step-by-step drawing instructions for the main characters.  Kids can then color them in and collage them on construction paper.  


Mardi Gras Projects!


Mardi Gras Projects!

Mardi Gras Week!

Memphis is so close to New Orleans - how could we not get in on the fun!!  Here are our Mardi Gras projects for the week!  We'll have them all out until next Tuesday.  

Paint With Mardi Gras Beads

We love simply letting kids play with art.  Painting with unconventional items is a great way to do just that!  This is also a great project for the little guys to experiment with making different types of textures and marks on their paper.  Simply dip the beads in paint and have at it.  We used fun Mardi Gras colors.  Just be sure not to mix the purple and yellow together too much or you'll get brown!

Make a Model Magic King Cake

After beads, King Cakes are one of the first things that come to mind when thinking of Mardi Gras.  We thought it would be fun to make one out of Crayola Model Magic Clay and use glitter or sand for the "sugar."  Simply divide ball of clay into 3 pieces, roll them out long and braid them together.  Next, form your braid into a circle and pinch to secure.  Finally, paint glue or glossy Mod Podge on top and sprinkle with colored sand to look like sugar.  You can also use glitter if you don't have colored sand on hand.

Make a Parade Float

Kids love working with recycled materials, so we thought it would be fun to have them build their own Mardi Gras float.  First, find materials - we found Mac and Cheese boxes to be a great size.  Wrap box in paper.  We made "fringe" for the bottom of the float by taking long strips of construction paper and cutting feather like slits in it.  We finished our float by adding glitter, tissue paper and painted toilet paper rolls. 

Collage a Fleur De Lis

We provided kids with a template of a Fleur De Lis and lots and lots of fabric/paper scraps in Mardis Gras colors.  After it was finished, we thought it needed an outline.  We used Crayola's Metallic Markers to do this.  You could also add glitter!

Mard Gras Mask

Of course, you can't have a Mardi Gras week without a mask!  We provided a template for the mask & poster board.  Younger kids will need help cutting the eyes out with scissors or an x-acto knife.  We wanted kids to have instant gratification and be able to wear their mask immediately, so didn't want to use too much glue or glitter.  Instead, we gave them Kwik Stix and Crayola Glitter Markers.  Kwik Stix are fabulous because they are tempera paint that dries in 90 seconds.  After the mask is decorated, tape on a feather and a craft stick and it is good to go!

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Valentine's Day Projects!


Valentine's Day Projects!

Valentine's Week

Valentine's Week starts next week.  Each of this week's crafts is designed to be a fun and different way to make handmade Valentine's cards for friends and family.  Below are some of the highlights!  

Heart Collage Animals

We love these!  Check out the below examples of heart animals.  Kids can simply cut a bunch of different color hearts and see what type of animals they can make.  Kids can use construction paper, find fun patterned paper or, our favorite, recycled artwork!  

Embroidered Heart

This is a fun project for both kids and adults.  Embroidery for kids is a great exercise for fine motor skills. First, sketch a heart shape using a pencil.  Make sure the heart is big enough for the pencil line to be in hole-punching range.  Next, punch small holes around the heart shape and erase the pencil lines.  Thread yarn on a plastic embroidery needle and tie a knot at the end.  We found some really fun space-dyed yarn in bright colors to use.  Stitch yarn across the heart until you've filled the whole space.  

Heart Tissue Paper Collage

We love tissue paper collages and the fun stained glass effect it makes.  For this project, we followed the same process but used cut out heart shaped tissue paper in various sizes.  To start, you first need to make a mixture of glue and water.  We do 1/4 water to 3/4 glue.  Speaking from experience with kids, make sure to get WASHABLE glue.  The All Purpose glue is difficult to clean off trays, clothes, tables and paint brushes!  The water helps the tissue paper colors bleed together.  Next, brush the glue mixture on your paper and begin to stick the hearts down.  Continue to layer hearts together until the whole paper is colored.  Make sure to play with layering hearts on top of one another and don't be afraid to paint glue on top of the hearts. 

Valentine Thumbprint Art! 

We almost always have a thumprint table out at The Art Project.  We love Melissa & Doug's washable rainbow stamp pads because of the large surface area and the washability factor.  This week, we have special Valentine's Day themed examples out.  They make really cute cards, whether you make them yourself or let us turn them into customized cards for all your child's friends (see below). 

Custom Valentine's Cards!

Let us turn your child's artwork into one of a kind Valentine's Day cards!  All text, artwork and colors are fully customizable.  Pricing starts at just $20 for 12 cards and includes cards and 1 crayon or piece of candy attached.  Add $1 each for applesauce pouches, cheddar bunnies or fruit snacks.  Shipping for out-of-towners not included.  Get your order in by February 7th!



Train Week!


Train Week!

All Aboard Week!

This week's projects are REALLY fun.  We have a nephew/son really into trains and we wanted to do something fun for kids of all ages.  The concepts aren't hard or new, but put together they make a fun and beautiful collection of artwork!  

Making the Train

First, we have to make the train!  If kids need it, we have a step-by-step drawing of a locomotive and it's cars.  Have kids draw the train and then it cut out. We wanted a paper train that could drive on a bridge, climb a hilly road, and traverse through mountain passes.  The easiest way to achieve this (without making three trains) was to have kids secure each part of the train with a piece of yarn.  This enables to the train to "move" in each drawing. 

Snowy Mountain Pass

Then kids can collage a snowy mountain pass.  We first drew mountains in the background using Kwik Sticks.  We cut triangles out of leftover artwork to make the mountains and the track.  Obviously, kids can use any kind of paper, but we always have old artwork to "recycle".  Have kids then glue the smaller mountains in the back, glue the track in front, and save the biggest mountain to secure around the track.  To make the "pass," only place glue on the top and bottom of the biggest mountain, so the train can move through the snowy mountain pass.  Then we have kiddos using white Kwik Sticks to color in the snow.

Train Rolling Through Farmland

We love having the train able to go up an down hills.  First, have the kids draw the farm scene in pencil starting with the hills.  Have kids draw the track going up the closest hill (for the train to go up).  Then have kids make a smaller track going up on of the hills in the back.  The kids can fill in with decoration.  On our tables, we include a step-by-step of cows, pigs, and sheep.  Next, simply fill in color with a mix of markers and oil pastels.  We used Crayola's oil pastels.  For the older guys, have them press hard with the oil pastels and experiment with blending colors.

Bridge and Sunset

We love having a painting element in each of our weekly projects.  For this project, we are using watercolors.  To start, kids can draw a bridge for the train to cross using oil pastels or crayons.  Then use watercolors to fill in the color - reds, pinks, yellow and oranges for the sky, blacks and whites for the bridge, and blues and greens for the water.  Kids can paint right over the crayon or oil pastel lines.  It will resist the watercolors.  Next, for fun, we crumbled up white tissue paper for the smoke and green tissue paper for more landscape. 

We hope your kiddos enjoy these projects as much as we have!!


Pop Art!


Pop Art!

Pop Art Week!

This week, we are so excited to bring Pop Art into our studio.  Each of our table projects are inspired by a different well known pop artist.  We've had fun introducing kids to different artists they may have never seen before.   Plus, the bright and fun colors are perfect for a dreary January week!

Andy Warhol

This project was inspired by the art of Andy Warhol.  We cut square 8" x 8" paper and divided it into 4 quadrants.  Andy Warhol is known for taking a simple or ordinary object and recreating them.  Have kids draw the same object 4 times.  The younger kids can draw simpler objects, like shapes, while older kids can draw something more complex.  Next, have the kids outline the pencil lines with a black Sharpie marker.  And finally, fill in each quadrant with color.  We love Crayola's Washable Neon Paints (we sell these for $7.99).  The colors are so bright and fun.

Claes Oldenburg

Many kids are not familiar with sculptor Claes Oldenburg.  He is best known for his public art installations typically featuring large replicas of everyday objects.  Pictured below (on the right) is Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985-88), which is located in Minneapolis.  We thought it would be fun to have kids recreate the famous sculpture out of materials found in our studio.  To begin, kids can take a 4" x 4" square piece of cardboard and draw the landscape on it using Kwik Stix (we sell Kwik Stix for $6 for a 6-pack and $12 for a 12-pack).  Next, the kids can form a spoon shape using aluminum foil.  Finally, kids can find scraps of paper to make the cherry and secure it all with a little hot glue.  

Keith Haring

This week we also highlight Keith Haring, who was an American artist best known for his graffiti-inspired drawings.  He used a lot of bold lines, vivid colors and active figures.  Next, we are encouraging kids to draw their own figures inspired by the style of Keith Haring.  We then have them outline their pencil lines in thick black marker and, finally (and most fun of all) have them fill it in with color.  We used bright neon colored markers and colored pencils by Crayola and neon colored Sharpies to complete the piece.   Highlighters could also be used.

Roy Lichtenstein

On the right is Roy Lichtenstein's Sunrise from 1965.  Lichtenstein is best known for a painting style inspired by advertising and comic books.  He developed a technique of using dots to comprise his images - the type of dots you'd find if you were to enlarge and magnify a comic book strip.  For our project, kids can first sketch out a landscape using a pencil.  Next, have them outline it in Sharpie.  Finally, kiddos can fill in the color by dipping a wooden dowel in paint and making dot marks on the paper.  Makes for a fun piece!

Pop Art Drawing Station

We set up a table of still life scenes for kids to draw.  We set up a tower of Campbell Soup can's, inspired by Andy Warhol and a tray full of balloons for kids to draw with chalk pastels, a la the balloon-like sculptures of artist Jeff Koons.  Of course, we had to tape the balloons to the table to keep curious two year olds away from them!  We find chalk pastels to be a great medium for drawing the light and colors in the shiny balloons.  Just be sure to spray your paper with hairspray or any fixative to keep it from smudging!


Figure Drawing Week


Figure Drawing Week

Figure Drawing Week

Figure within a Figure 

This is a fun one.  Kids can grab a pencil and draw a figure over and over again.  Once the figures are drawn kids can outline the figures with a Sharpie, then fill in all of the different sections with different color and patterns using markers, crayons and colored pencils.  Makes for a fun effect! 

Cut Your Friend's Silhouette

We have always been memorized by Clay Rice.  In like 30 seconds, he is able to look at your child's silhouette and cut it out perfectly.  No pencil, no pen, just scissors.  We thought it would be fun to try the same thing.  This is a two person project.  We prompt the kids to look at their buddy, sibling or parent and try to cut the silhouette.  It's hard, but give it a try!!

Paint Gestural Figures

We've set up a wooden armature.  If you live near an IKEA, they sell a wooden armature for $5.99. Well worth the drive!

This project prompts kids to paint figures using only circular shapes.  The kids can move the legs and arms of the armature and paint the figure in so many different ways.   

Self Portrait Station

Do you all remember when you learned that your eyes were in the middle of your head?  We remember it being around 7th grade.  We thought we'd try and expose kids a little earlier.  Here is our attempt at doing a step-by-step face drawing.  Let us know what you think!


Arctic Animals Week


Arctic Animals Week

Polar bear.jpg

Orca Whales & Iceberg Watercolors

This is a great project to teach kids about "cool colors" and some basic watercolor techniques.  First, have the kids draw a "water line."  Then have them draw their arctic scene using a thin Sharpie (if desired, they can start the sketch with a pencil).  Using only "cool" colors, have them fill in color using watercolors.  Kids can experiment using "wet on wet" technique to create the watery effect.   


Collage a Walrus

We started out with this great lavender colored construction paper.  Next, have the kids find scraps of paper to cut into desired shapes.  It is easiest to start with the larger pieces and layer in the smaller elements.  Finally, add any additional decorations using markers and Crayola Construction Paper Crayons. 

Draw a Polar Bear

This project also teaches kids about "cool" colors as well as perspective.  First, have kids sketch out the water.  Next, have them add in the polar bear's head and the icebergs behind.  The animal's head is much larger than surrounding icebergs to give an illusion of space.  Finally, add in patterned snow in the background.  Kids will then add color using a mix of markers and crayons.  Encourage kids to only use "cool" colors like purples, blues and greens to create the cold environment. 

Paint with "puffy" snow paint 

We created a "puffy" paint by mixing equal part glue to shaving cream.  First, have kids paint the snow on the ground and in the air.  Next, kids can create an animal using cut paper and glue.  "Paint" will dry puffy to create a snow-like texture.

Arctic Animal Sculpture

We love Crayola Model Magic in the studio.  It is a great medium to introduce the little guys to 3D art and color mixing.  This whale is a easy shape for kids to make.  We made this lavender color by mixing red, blue and white.  Kids will roll the clay into an egg-like shape then begin to pinch out the tail and nose.  Next, they add the fins.  Finally, add in any details with a Sharpie and wiggle eyes.  Model Magic clay will air dry when left out overnight.  Or, if kids want to continue playing, it can be smushed back into an air tight container.


Happy New Years!


Happy New Years!

Happy New Year!

We are ringing in 2017 with lots of fun wearable New Years Eve crafts.  All of the crafts culminate in a "photo booth."

We've got sparkly New Years hats....

Sparkly wish wands.  We've got...

Noisemakers.  We had tons of leftover bells and craft sticks from the past few weeks.  We decided use them to make New Years Eve noisemakers!  We simply tied the bells on the craft still with a little yarn.  (They make a prettier sound if they aren't hot glued!)  And, of course, you need a little glitz for New Years, so we stuck the end of the craft stick in some glitter and glue!  

Bow ties.  These are obviously no Mo's Bows, BUT we've got a fun "bow tie" making station.  We have provided a bow tie template for the younger kids to use.  We then cut a toilet paper roll into four separate rolls narrow rolls to secure on the back of the bow tie.  Since there is no actual knot, this helps bump the bow tie out a bit.  Then we tied a piece of yarn through the tube to secure the bow tie.  It works perfectly if you have on some sort of collared shirt.  If not, you've got a fun bow tie choker :).  

More party hats.  No earth-shattering new craft here, but have y'all tried Crayola's new glitter pens?  We are loving them!

2017 glasses. 

If you are in Memphis this week, come on in to the studio!  If you aren't in Memphis, hopefully these crafts help inspire some fun ideas to get your kiddos ready for New Years!


Katherine & Anna's Art Project Holiday Gift Guide!

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Katherine & Anna's Art Project Holiday Gift Guide!

Below are Anna & Katherine's personal picks for top gifts from The Art Project.  They've been tested by thousands of kids at the studio, but more importantly their own kids (ages 1, 2 and 5).

AND, now through Monday, mention this blog post to receive 15% off any products listed below (excluding gift certificates).  This makes most of these products significantly cheaper than Amazon or Target!

Can't make it to the studio this weekend?  Give us a call with your credit card, 425-3434, and we'll have the item gift wrapped and waiting for you to pickup at your convenience!

1. Model Magic

Our kids love Crayola Model Magic.  Especially Anna's 5 year old!  It is non-toxic, air dry clay that comes in resealable tubs.  Kids can keep the clay in the air-tight container to play with over and over again or if they make a masterpiece, it will air dry in about 24-48 hours.  

Model Magic 3 Count Packs $10.58
Model Magic Modeling Tools $4.25


2. Mess Free Glitter

Glitter and the mess it creates was part of the inspiration for The Art Project.  When you can't make it to the studio but your child wants to make a sparkly creation, these are great products to have at home!

Glitter Glue, $6.99
Glitter Markers, $7.96
Washable Glitter Paints, $7.99


3. Squigz

The company calls these toys "fun little suckers."  They really are.  They stick to windows, tables, floors, high chairs, and more with use of mess-free suction.  We love them for car trips and restaurant play.  They also come in a jumbo size for babies that rattles and makes a great teether!

Squigz Original Size, $25
Squigz, Mini Size, $20
Squigz, "Pips" for babies, $20


4. Magnatiles

These magnetic blocks are an Art Project favorite.  Anna's 3 year old and Katherine's 1 year old are both getting a set of these for Christmas!  They are fun to build with, use on the refrigerator, or explore color mixing!

32 piece set, $51.50


5. Kwik Stix

These are a great way to have paint at home without water, messy brushes or wet paint!  They are brightly colored tempera paints in a stick that dries in 90 seconds!  Comes in basic colors as well as neons & metallics!

$6 for a 6-pack or $12 for a 12-pack


6. Spin Art

Spin Art provides endless hours of fun.  We love Alex brand because it is hand powered so no batteries are required.  And it is super sturdy.  We've tested a few brands out at The Art Project and Alex is the one that has held up over the past 18 months to being used daily by tons and tons of kids.  This set comes with 4 bottles of refillable paint and a stack of pre-cut 4" x 4" paper.   For mess-free fun at home, try spin art with markers or crayons!

Spin Art Machine, $30.00
Spin Art Refill Set, $13.00

*If you purchase spin art from us and run out of the square paper, just ask us for extra next time you're in the studio!


7. For Adults!

We love coloring books by local artist's Jenean Morrison & Sarah Baumann.  They make a great gift paired with Crayola's Fine Line Markers (Katherine's favorite) or Colored Pencils.  

Memphis Coloring Book, $20.00
Jenean Morrison Coloring Book, $12.00
Fine Line Markers, $5.99
Colored Pencils, $6.04


8. Gift Certificates

Membership gift certificates are a gift that last the whole year.  We also sell gift certificates for classes and Art Free Play.  

Click here to purchase a gift certificate online, or you can stop in or give us a call!

Be sure to check out our full schedule of winter classes for kids and adults here.


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Holiday Projects!


Holiday Projects!


This week we are kicking off two weeks of holiday projects.  Here are a couple of fun examples from this week! 

Collage An Elf And Trees

Collaging is such a good use for all of the little scraps of paper laying around.  It also makes for such fun artwork!  This week we are inviting kids to collage an elf and/or trees!

Penguins Wearing Sweaters

This project was inspired by our amazing studio windows, painted by artists and Art Project staffers Grace Porter & Devin Culpepper. Follow our step-by-step how to draw a penguin guide.  Next create a fun patterned sweater for your penguin.

Paper Garland

Sometimes we find projects on the internet that we just can't pass up.  This week, we chose to make fun holiday light garland inspired by a version we saw on Subbornly Crafty blog.  Their blog provides a great tutorial to make your own at home!  We'll have all the paper and materials pre-cut and ready to go during Art Free Play this week.

Draw a Winter Scene

Use a variety of drawing materials such as pencils, markers and crayons to create a fun wintery scene.  We provide lots of examples on the tables.

Pictures From Our Holiday Workshops

We've had a fun week of holiday workshops, including wrapping paper printing, ornament making, wooden gingerbread houses and a Christmas themed birthday party!  Below are some pictures.  We have more Woodworking Gingerbread House Workshops coming up next week.  Check our class schedule for times & to sign up!


Red Grooms Week


Red Grooms Week

Red Grooms!

The Red Grooms Exhibit at The Brooks Museum was unexpected.  It was child-friendly, adult friendly, whimsical, colorful and interactive.  We wanted to bring a little of that color and whimsy to The Art Project this week and teach kids that art doesn't have to be a flat, square piece of paper.  We also have TEN FREE PASSES to give away to go visit The Brooks Museum and the Red Grooms Exhibit!  Our hope is that children are able to visit The Brooks, then head over to Overton Square to come make Red Grooms inspired art!

Here is a little taste of the projects:

Shadowbox-ish Sculpture

On the left is my daughter sitting inside of Red Grooms' Thimble Theatre, 2014. Walking into Thimble Theater was like walking into page of a storybook.  He was able to meld painting, sculpture and a playing movie reel to invite you into a different place.  

We tried to recreate this feel simply using Kwik Sticks, a piece of construction paper, a toilet paper roll, and some scissors.   Simple project.  Creates a similar feel.  Invite kids to put their favorite character inside the scene.

Low Relief Sculpture

On the left is Red Grooms' Chicken Little (2002).  It is acrylic on wood.  We created a station where kids use cut up pieces of cardboard, masking tape, glue and paint to create their own low relief sculpture. 

Cardboard Bus and Paper Dolls

At The Brooks, The Bus (1995) is the first piece of art you encounter when you head into the exhibit.  It is literally a fully boardable city bus full of all sorts of characters!  You can see my daughter seated among the characters.  While the scale of this one is hard recreate, we thought we'd give it a try.  The color and shape of the characters and clothes were conducive to paper dolls!  And, kids love to build out of our recycled materials area - perfect for building the bus! 

Ticket Giveaway

Comment on our blog with your name and how many tickets you would need.  We'll draw names on Friday!!!  Good luck!






We love our Thanksgiving windows by Devin Culpepper and Grace Porter!

Step-By-Step Turkey Drawings

We wanted to do a few different step-by-step turkey drawings.  These are always fun for kids of all ages!

Collage Corn

We always have tons of left over scraps of paper.  We used a small circle puncher and paper of different shades of brown, orange and yellow to create this beautiful piece of corn!

Thanksgiving Printmaking

Kids love printing!  For the turkey prints, we cut out small piece of foam and taped to a piece of cardboard.  We used a foam brush to paint the foam and print on construction paper. Then we used foam core to scratch out a little turkey.  We then brushed a different color paint on it as well and printed.  We think turned out fun!

Thanksgiving Fingerprint Art

Printing Turkey Feet

We couldn't tell if this was a little creepy, but we went with it anyway :).  Fun printing for the little guys!  We used pipe-cleaners to form little turkey feet.  Dipped in paint and printed. 





Learn to draw!

We have step-by-step drawings of astronauts & rockets for kids to create their own space scene!

Constellation Collage

We have a fun star shaped paper puncher & used it to punch out pretty patterned paper.  Most of the paper we used is recycled or unwanted kids artwork (we have TONS of it on hand).  Kids first glue down the stars then connect them together using crayons or oil pastels.  

Collage an Alien!

Spin Art Planets

Who doesn't love spin art?  Here is our twist on it!

We like using crayons with it as a fun alternative to paint.  For these "Spin Art Planets", we used Crayola Twistable Fun Effects Crayons because of the fun neon colors.  After the kids finish with their spin art, they can then simply cut out their designs and turn them into planets.

Constellation String Art

This is a fun use of different materials.  The first step is to draw pencil dots as a pattern for your constellation.  Next, punch holes where the dots are.  Finally, thread a plastic needle with yarn and connect the dots creating a constellation. 

Planet Thumbprints

This is a fun add on to our regular thumbprint station.  Simply stamp your finger into the ink & press onto the paper.  Use a thin Sharpie to add any details to the planets.  *TIP: If you can't find good stamp ink colors, just use a washable marker & color directly on your finger.



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We've had an unusually warm October here in Memphis, so leaves are not quite as bold as they normally are this time of year.  But they're still starting to change and fall so we thought it would be a good week to celebrate leaves!  

Leaf Collage & Drawing

Let leaves inspire your art!  Search for different types of leaves & glue them to your paper.  Turn your leaves into something fun using a pencil.  Outline your pencil marks using a Sharpie.  Finally, finish your picture by painting on a layer of glossy Mod Podge.  This will help seal the color of the leaves.  And don't worry - it dries clear!

Leaf Silhouette Watercolor

Choose a fun shaped leaf & put it on a piece of watercolor paper.  Fill up spray bottles with either liquid watercolors (diluted with a little water) or make your own watercolors using dried up markers.  We used spray bottles normally used for travel sized hair spray.  Spray watercolors on your paper & on top of the leaves.  It works best to hold the bottle about 12" off your paper.  Experiment with different colors and see how they blend.  Finally, pull the leaf off the paper to reveal the silhouette underneath.

Paint with foil 

We're always looking for new things to paint with in the studio.  Kids love experimenting painting with things other than paintbrushes, so we decided to give this a try.  First step is to crinkle aluminum foil into a ball.  Next, dip your foil into different colors of paint & roll it onto the paper to form the leaves.  Finally, use your finger or paintbrush to paint a trunk in.  


Leaf Garland

This is a great project to use as a holiday decoration at home.  We also had a 5 year old little girl make herself a necklace this morning. The first step is to cut leaves out of fabric and felt.  We collect tons of fabric scraps, mostly leftover from interior design samples, so we have lots of fun patterns and colors of fabric to choose from.  Basic felt works too.  Next, thread the needle with embroidery floss. Younger kids will likely need help threading the needle.  Use a simple running stitch to string the leaves together (see below diagram).  This is a great way to teach kids a running stitch because it doesn't require too much control & they can work on a wide scale.  Continue adding more leaves until you've reached the desired length.

Leaf Rubbings with Watercolor Resist

This takes traditional leaf rubbings to a new level.  Find leaves with fun vein patterns & lay it underneath your paper.  Rub on top using crayons and/or oil pastels & experiment with blending different colors.  Paint on top using watercolors, it will resist the crayon lines and create a beautiful image.

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We have a fun week of Halloween projects this week!  We've got pumpkin painting, bat/monster origami, mummy dolls, monster, witch paper dolls, burlap scarecrows, yarn garland and more!  Here are some of the highlights: 

Burlap Scarecrow

Kids use an embroidery hoop to embroider the scarecrow's mouth and nose using yarn.  Next, they find fabric to use for the eyes.  Older kids can use embroidery floss to applique the eyes on.  Younger kids can just use glue.  We finished the scarecrow with some wiggly eyes.  The final step is to add some stuffing and a backing for the doll.  Older kids can stitch the scarecrow closed.  Younger kids can glue it shut.  


Patterned Pumpkins

This project was inspired by the patterned pumpkins of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Kids sketch the pumpkins using a Sharpie.  Next, they fill in patterns using oil pastels & Crayola Construction Paper Crayons.  We're encouraging kids to fill in patterns on each of the pumpkins, the table and the background.  Last, they use watercolors to fill in color on the entire paper.  We like to encourage kids to leave no white on their paper.  The watercolors will resist the Sharpie, crayon & oil pastel lines. 

Recycled Marker Monsters

As you can imagine, we go through lots and lots of markers in the studio.  Once a marker dries out, we usually make watercolors with the tips.  This leaves us with lots of marker caps.  We're always looking for fun ways to create with them.  For this project, we wrapped marker caps in yarn and decorated them using wiggly eyes, pipe cleaners, tissue paper and construction paper. 

Tissue Paper Monsters

We make lots of tissue paper flowers in the studio.  For this week, we decided to turn them into fun monsters by decorating them with construction paper and glue.  See below for a tutorial.

Witch Paper Dolls

Anna and I both remember making chain paper dolls when we were kids.  We thought this would be a fun decoration for Halloween!  Kids can use our witch template, or come up with their own shape.  See below for a simple tutorial.

Halloween Garland!

We took a basic yarn puffy ball and turned it into a fun Halloween decoration.  Below is a how to guide for making yarn balls.  This is a great skill for older kids to learn, as they can be turned in to all sorts of fun projects.   

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Memphis Boo!


Memphis Boo!

This week kicks off two fun weeks of Halloween projects! 

For this week, the projects are inspired by the new children's book Memphis Boo!  As kids work their way through each of the projects listed below, they should end up with their OWN haunted Memphis book, complete with a ghost to haunt each page!  Here are the highlights!

Ghost Station

Our first stop is to make ghosts that can haunt each of the scenes.  We're giving kids a few different templates they can trace, if needed, or kids are welcome to create their own ghost.  The kids can take the templates, trace and fill in using Sharpies on tracing or vellum paper.  This gives the ghosts a fun see-through appearance.

Woodruff-Fontaine House Collage

The Woodruff-Fontaine house is a beautiful 19th century Victorian house in downtown Memphis.  This house is rumored to be haunted making the perfect backdrop for a Halloween house!  Kids can collage using painted paper (we use unwanted/unclaimed artwork) and construction paper to cut out imperfect shapes to make the Victorian-style haunted house!

Earnestine and Hazel's Jukebox & "Mojo Bones"

Earnestine and Hazel's Jukejoint is another Memphis haunt that is fabled to be haunted.  Kids can use a step by step guide to draw "Mojo Bones," the main character from Memphis Boo!  Or kids can create their own skeleton.  Color your skeleton in and cut him/her out.  Next we are collaging a jukebox!  (Hoping kids understand what a jukebox is... :))

Elmwood Cemetery 

Elmwood is a beautiful cemetery in Memphis.  School groups visit Elmwood for the beauty and for its amazing history.  Here, kids can draw the cemetery scene using a mix of colored pencils and crayons.  This is a great project to help teach kids about perspective drawing.  Kids can ask any of the staff if they have any questions. 

Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater is another Memphis spot fabled to be haunted.  Here, kids can start by drawing a theater scene using Sharpies.  Next, kids can layer in color using bleeding tissue paper and a mix of glue and water.  Makes for a fun effect!

Corn Maze

The Mid-South Corn Maze is always a fun fall event Memphis.  Kids can use rolled up pieces of construction paper to mimic the corn stalks and build their own maze for the ghosts to fly through!