Easy Peasy Rock Painting

rock painting

This is such an easy project and my kids (almost 4 and 20 months) have gone crazy for it. And I have to confess that I really enjoyed it too. Very addictive. I chalk their enthusiasm (and mine) up to a couple things:

  1. Painting or drawing on a 3-dimensional surface is a fun challenge
  2. The colors of the paint markers are vivid and opaque (i.e. pretty), and very easy to use.

rock painting

There are lots of ways to paint a rock, for example, we recently painted a big rock with watercolor paints. But the method I’m sharing today is so easy and the mess is minimal.


  1. Selection of smooth river or beach rocks
  2. Paint markers. We used Elmer’s Painters Pens
  3. Covered table (the markers leave a mess on the work area that you’ll be happy that you prepared for it).

rocks rock painting

If your markers are new, you’ll want to shake them a bit and depress the tips until the paint starts to flow. Just follow the directions of your paint. 3-year old N wanted to make each of her rocks unique.

rocks rock painting

And her sister, Baby R, enjoyed the challenges of learning to hold the marker and controlling the lines as they hit the rock.

rocks rock painting

N was so proud of her creations, and actually hid her favorites (not seen here) in a closet for Father’s Day. Phew, guess I’m off the gift-giving hook.

The rocks really are spectacular and seeing them makes me so happy.

A small clean-up caveat: the ink will get all over your kids’ hands, but don’t fret. The mess would have been much worse if you’d given them a bowl of acrylic paint and brushes. And it will all come within a day or two.

More Rock Painting

rocks magnets

Jen at Paint Cut Paste shows you how to make thumbprint rock magnets. Tweet Tweet.

rocks rock painting

This is one of my first posts: Rolling Rock Painting. It’s like rolling ball painting, but a little bit more unpredictable.

rocks rock painting

I love homemade games, and this rock domino set from Martha Stewart would make me so happy.

Have you or your kids painted rocks? If you’re a blogger, feel free to share a link in your comment.

How to Press a Flower

Do you have a bounty of flowers in your garden? Have you ever wanted to press a flower, but weren’t sure where to start?

how to press a flower

Pressing flowers just requires a little bit of patience for the flowers to actually dry, but the process is quite simple and doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment.

how to press a flower

Start by collecting some flowers. Big thick flowers like roses are hard to press, but delicate flowers like pansies are the perfect candidates for this project. My suggestion: Make an experiment out of the process and try a bunch of different flowers to discover what works best.

We thought that daffodils would work out great, but they stuck to the press and lost a lot of color. So experiment, make guesses, document your ideas, and make some discoveries.

how to press a flower fridge

If you’re not pressing right away, store your flowers in the fridge to keep them fresh.

how to press a flower

Flower Press

I used a very inexpensive product, the 4M Flower Press Kit (Amazon). The press comes with nifty straps that you can tighten and hold the whole thing together, and I didn’t have to spend a lot of time cutting cardboard. However, you could easily make your own press with the following materials: a stack of cardboard, photocopy paper, and a heavy book. 

how to press a flower

Place one piece of cardboard down on your table. Cover it with a piece of photocopy paper. Place flowers on the paper in the way that you want them to dry. Add another sheet of paper on top of this, and then another piece of cardboard.

how to press a flower

Keep stacking: Cardboard, paper, flowers, paper. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Until you’re done. Place one last piece of cardboard on top. Cover the whole thing with one or more heavy bricks to smoosh it down flat.

how to press a flower

This is where you have to be patient: come back and check the flowers in two weeks. We pressed these two weeks before the grandparents came for a visit, which created a natural moment in our lives for uncovering our dried treasures.

how to press a flower

If you’d like to glue these to a card, pour some white glue, Mod Podge (Amazon), or Glazing Medium (Amazon)
into a small bowl. Paint the glue to the card (not too much if you care about the glue showing) and adhere the flowers to your paper.

how to press a flower

You can use your pressed flowers to make collaged cards, framable art, or add a bowl of them to a table and see what the kids come up with.


Which reminds me that our next Creative Challenge for kids is coming up on June 4, and the material is: Flowers! I hope you’ll join me. Start collecting those flowers and have fun with this one.

And if you’re looking for a reason to make your own art and would love the company of others to motivate you, I hope you’ll consider joining the fun Double Page Spread Challenge. We just started last week and there’s already a ton of inspiration on Instagram (type in #tinkersketch to follow) and on Facebook.


Have you pressed flowers? Any favorite pressing flowers? What else could you do with dried flowers? And any other tips that I missed?

Painting Birdhouses

The last time my in-laws visited, they left my girls with these cute little wooden birdhouses. I tucked them away to paint on their next visit, but my 3 year old couldn’t wait that long. In fact, about a month after I stored these, and an hour before leaving the house to meet friends in the park, my daughter suddenly remembered the birdhouses that were, as far as I could tell, out of mind.

“I want to paint birdhouses today!” she said. After explaining, for the 80th time that starting a sentence with “I want” isn’t okay with me, I further shared that there was no way we could get the materials out, set up, paint, clean up, and be out the door in time.

Well, in case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, it can almost be done. We were ten minutes late.toddler painting birdhouse


  • Wooden birdhouses. My MIL found these at Michael’s, and I think they’re very reasonably priced.
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paper Plates
  • Bird seed
  • Funnel or paper + tape for a DIY funnel

toddler painting birdhouse


Squeeze paint onto throwaway paper plates. Paint as desired. The challenge of painting a 3-D thing is entirely different from painting a flat surface, and there’s something magical about it. If you have a child who doesn’t normally enjoy painting, I’d suggest you try painting something with width and depth and see what happens.

By the way, acrylic paint will almost never wash out of clothes, so be sure to cover up properly.

birdhouse materials

Fill with Seeds

Unless the paint is quite thick, acrylic paint dries really fast and you could move on to this step within an hour. When the paint dries, the bird house is ready to be filled. If you don’t have a funnel, you can easily make one by spinning a piece of copy paper into a cone shape and taping the side shut.

filling birdhouse with seed


The last step is to hang it. If you have squirrels be sure to hang it somewhere that squirrels won’t reach it. Our squirrels are sneaky and go almost anywhere birds go, so unfortunately our seed has been poached…once again. But I’m determined to attract some cute little songbirds around our house one of these days.

More Bird Feeder Inspiration

Juggling with Kids made these cool cookie cutter birdfeeders

If I were a bird, I’m not sure I’d venture close to this feeder

Biodegradable Orange Bird Feeder from the lovely Rhythm of the Home

Recycled bird feeder, made from a plastic bottle and a couple wooden spoons, over at Heck Fridays

Spring Art: How to Make a Bunny Garland

Yesterday I shared how to make watercolor paintings with kids. And from those paintings, I cut out these cute little bunnies.

bunny garland

This was all my daughter’s idea.

She mapped out a plan for Spring decorating, and one of the things on her list was “a bunny garland, with bunnies that are the same shapes as the ones in in the mobile in your bedroom.” She tends to cut right to the chase.

spring art bunny garlandI asked for some advice here and on Facebook, on how we could turn our watercolor cut-outs into a garland, and you came back with some great ideas. Jen from the amazing blog, Paint Cut Paste, shared a Pinterest Board dedicated to all-things-garland, M Wall suggested that we use small clothespins, and Megan S. gave me the idea to add small paper clips and hang them from baker’s twine.

When I was out in the morning I did a quick hunt for tiny clothespins with no luck (that would have been cute, eh?), but I like how the colorful paperclips that I found ages ago at Daiso helped pull this together.

spring art bunny garlandI clipped them all up, leaving a few inches between bunnies, and then strung them in the garden.

The very windy garden.

And they lasted about three minutes before they were scattered all over the lawn and plants. Hmmm.

spring art bunny garlandSo we brought them inside where they’re safe and sound, helping us welcome Spring on this cool and windy Spring day.

To those of you who celebrate, Chag Pesach Sameach and Happy Easter!


Valentine Garland + Some Other Stuff

It’s February! And you know what that means? Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and we get to geek out on hearts, pink, and glitter. I’m over at the Kiwi Crate blog today, sharing this Valentine garland that my three year old and I made together. It’s so simple and turned into an excellent activity for practicing hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and home decorating. Home decorating is a life skill, right?!

Are you getting ready for the Paper Bag Creative Challenge (February 6-29)? If you need an excuse to get all DIY crafty, look no further! Jen from Paint Cut Paste and Cathy from The Nurture Store shared these mysterious work-in-progress shots of their kids in action. I love the paper bag hat, although Cathy says that’s not even the project, and it looks like there’s some painting going on over at Jen’s house. You don’t have to be a blogger to play…this invitation is open to parents, teachers, grandparents…anyone, really, with some sort of paper bag and an enthusiastic, imaginative child.

There’s also a big prize attached to this challenge, which promises to make it a lot of fun. Interested? Click here for more details.

AsSeenIn-Feb2010 And finally, I just got the official word that Tinkerlab has been selected as a Top Mom (and Dad!) Craft Blog for Kids. If you’re looking for inspiration, I discovered some fab new-to-me blogs like this one and many of my favorites like this one!

What are your Valentines plans? Will I see you at the Creative Challenge next week? And what fun plans do you have this month?