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Glitter.  I never knew what a controversial material it was until about two years ago when I was helping my then 2-year-old niece make her Halloween costume.  She was a Grizz Girl.  Of course, this costume required glittery high top sneakers.  I coated the sneakers with mod podge and covered them with glitter.  She loved it.

A week later, I got a phone call from my brother in law.  He had imposed a new rule - no glitter (or glitter clothing) in their house.  He had been finding it all week long in all kinds of places.  Just when he thought it was all vacuumed up there was more.  I think the last straw was his boss asking him why he had glitter in his eyebrows.

This was part of the inspiration for The Art Project.  A place where kids can come freely use glitter.

We have found my brother in law is not alone in his hatred for the sparkling art medium.  One day I overheard a child, maybe 5 or 6, saying to her friend, "I love glitter but we can't use it at home.  Daddy's allergic."

It has been fun watching kids have the freedom to use such a messy material.  We've even seen kids take our bucket of mixed glitter and fling it at their paintings on the easels.  (Although, we don't really encourage that technique since scraping the mix of glitter and dried paint off the easels isn't on our list of most fun things to do).

I have found glitter in all kinds of strange places - in the pockets of the aprons (which then end up in our washing machines), in the computer keyboard in the office, on my 3 month old son's head while bringing him to work in the baby carrier.  What is most important to us, is it isn't in the parents' house.  Although we do recommend giving your child's sparkly creation a good shake before getting in your car.

About a week after we opened I got a call from my brother in law saying, "Wasn't the point of this business to get glitter out of the house?  Well, I just found it in my dryer's lint catcher."

Want to let your kids get the sparkly fix at home?  Here are a few mess free ways to use glitter in your house:

GLITTER WATER COLOR PAINT

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We make water color paint out of recycled dried up markers.  Use your finger tips or a pair of pliers to remove the tip of the marker.  Soak it in a jar of water overnight. We used 3 marker tips for 2 1/2 cups of water.

Add a little bit of Elmer's Washable School Glue and glitter, put the lid on the jar and shake!

 

GLITTER PLAY DOH

Making play doh at home is really easy.  You can also just add glitter to store-bought play doh.  Here is the recipe we use in the studio:

1. Mix dry ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup salt, 4 Tablespoons of Cream of Tartar

2. Add wet ingredients to the dry: 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, 2 cups water, food coloring (add to desired color).  For "Elsa Blue" Play Doh we used McCormick's Neon Food Coloring (http://www.amazon.com/Neon-Purple-Green-4-pack-Color/dp/B004MNYB6U)

3. Microwave for 4 minutes (do it in 1 minute increments, stirring after each minute).  Mixture will look like a globby mess as you're cooking it.  When it is done it will form a ball.

4. Let dough cool.  Knead it until it is the right consistency.  Add glitter as you're kneading it.

 

Posted by Katherine Vergos Riederer

 

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