TinkerLab http://tinkerlab.com Creative Experiments for Makers and Tinkerers Tue, 03 Mar 2015 20:29:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Engineering Kids | Rube Goldberg Machine http://tinkerlab.com/engineering-kids-rube-goldberg-machine/ http://tinkerlab.com/engineering-kids-rube-goldberg-machine/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:09:57 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=18848 This project has long been on my to-do list with my kids. We are long-time fans of marble runs (see the resources page for recommendations), and extending our love for rolling balls and ramps into the world of Rube Goldberg was a no-brainer. And triple hurrah for projects that celebrate STEM and STEAM learning. About Rube Goldberg […]

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Easy Steps for building a Rube Goldberg Machine with Little Kids | TinkerLab.com

This project has long been on my to-do list with my kids. We are long-time fans of marble runs (see the resources page for recommendations), and extending our love for rolling balls and ramps into the world of Rube Goldberg was a no-brainer. And triple hurrah for projects that celebrate STEM and STEAM learning.

About Rube Goldberg

For the uninitiated, Rube Goldberg was an American Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer, and inventor, and his work is a classic example of the melding of art and science. Goldberg began his career as an engineer, and later became a cartoonist who drew elaborate illustrations of contraptions made up of pulleys, cups, birds, balloons, and watering cans that were designed to solve a simple task such as opening a window or setting an alarm clock. Interestingly, Goldberg only drew the pictures, and never built any of his inventions. However, these pictures have since served as inspiration for makers and builders who want the challenge of making wild inventions to solve everyday problems. Rube Goldberg definition

And apparently, Rube Goldberg is a now an adjective in the dictionary! You can read more about Goldberg here.

Suggested materials for building a Rube Goldberg Machine with Little Kids | TinkerLab.com

Build a Rube Goldberg Machine with Kids

So, are you interested in building a Rube Goldberg-style machine with little kids? This post will give you a few tips and ideas to make your own complicated machine.

 

Step 1: Get Inspired

First things first, you’ll want to watch some Rube Goldberg contraptions in action to get inspired. My kids and I LOVE this video from OK Go. It’s incredible complicated, but oh-so-amazing, so don’t think for one hot second that you’ll be able to replicate this with little kids.

Step 2: Solve a Problem

Next, come up with a simple problem that you’re trying to solve. For example:

  • Ring a Bell
  • Pop a Balloon
  • Open a Door
  • Shut a window
  • Put out a candle

Once you have a problem sorted out (and don’t worry – you can change this later if you want), gather supplies…

Step 3: Gather Supplies

You can print out the following list here.

Collect a bucket-full of supplies and then lay them out so they’re easily seen. These can largely be found in your home or classroom — start with what you have! You will most likely start with some of these basics, and then forage your home or classroom for more supplies as you go. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Things that Roll

  • Marbles
  • Balls: Tennis, Baseball, Bowling, etc.
  • Toy Cars
  • Dominoes
  • Skateboard
  • Roller Skate
  • Mousetrap

Things that Move

  • Mousetrap
  • Dominoes
  • Toaster
  • Fan

Ramps

  • Toy Train Tracks
  • Marble Runs
  • Books
  • Trays
  • PVC pipe
  • Plastic tubing
  • Gutters

Recyclables

  • Cardboard
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Cardboard Rolls
  • Plastic Water Bottles
  • Cans
  • Aluminum Foil

Household Materials

  • Chopsticks
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Ruler
  • Wooden Blocks
  • Bowl
  • String
  • Tape
  • Sand
  • Pins
  • Hammer
  • Balloons
  • Water
  • Fan
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda

Step 4: Build Your Machine!

Once you have the supplies ready, start building. While the OK Go video (and others like it) includes some pretty complex machines and concepts, keep this simple for preschoolers. The basic concept that we’re exploring is that of a chain reaction, so anything that tips something else over (and so one) is what you’re going for. Don’t worry too much about building things like pulleys and levers for young children.

Take a look at our machine to get a sense of what’s possible.

Our Rube Goldberg Machine in Action

5 Tips for Success

  1. Success breeds enthusiasm, so keep the steps to a minimum. You can always add more as you go.
  2. Keep your expectations low
  3. Ask your child for ideas and input
  4. Work collaboratively
  5. Aim to have fun

A Note on Failure

As you test and try out different set-ups, you’ll undoubtedly fail a few times. I could have filled a 20 minute video with outtakes from all our misses (the balloon is a good example of that). But this is great news! Failure is an intrinsic piece of the invention process, and without these mistakes we won’t learn how things really work. So embrace failure and celebrate it as part of the learning process.

Next Steps: Full STEAM Ahead

  • Ask: What other simple problems could we solve?
  • Ask: What materials could we use?
  • Ask: Why didn’t that work? How could we fix it or try it again?
  • Encourage your child to problem solve by seeking out materials and moving objects.

Did you enjoy this project? Join the semi-secret Club TinkerLab on Facebook to swap and share more ideas like this.

Easy Steps for building a Rube Goldberg Machine with Little Kids | TinkerLab.com

More Projects like this one

DIY Paper Tube Marble Run

Fort Building Kit

DIY Water Wall, it’s like a marble run, but with water!

Build an easy light table

Make Gumdrop Sculptures

Activate Learning with STEAM

If you’ve been a loyal TinkerLab fan (thank you! you mean the world to me.) you’ll know that I’m happiest sharing projects that live at the intersection of disciplines. Too often we’re quick to separate science from writing or math from art, but when we seek out ways to make interdisciplinary connections, learning can be more meaningful and novel discoveries can be made.STEAM Activities | Teabag Hot Air Balloon

In that vein, over the next few weeks I’m joining a creative group of engineers, scientists, educators, and artists to launch a new series called STEAM Power, which celebrates interdisciplinary learning with projects that circle around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) ideas. This week’s theme is REACT, and you can see the other reaction-related ideas here:

Stixplosions | Babble Dabble Do

Smoosh Painting | Meri Cherry

Color Changing Chemistry Clock | Left Brain Craft Brain

Zoom Ball | What Do We Do All Day?

Glowing Hands | All For The Boys

Rainbow Reactions | Lemon Lime Adventures

Colorful Chain Reaction  | Frugal Fun for Boys

STEAM on Pinterest

You might also enjoy following my STEAM + STEM Activities board on Pinterest for more ideas like this.

Is this your first time here?

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TinkerLab Newsletter

In case you blinked and missed it, TinkerLab rounds up all the great stuff on the internets on keeping you and your critters creative and wraps it up for you in a tidy newsletter! (And throws in some secret giveaways for good measure!)  – Yuliya P., San Francisco, CA

Join our community and you’ll learn:

  • How to simplify your life and make more room for creativity
  • How to make hands-on making a part of your everyday life
  • Easy, actionable ways to raise creative kids

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March TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge http://tinkerlab.com/march-tinkersketch-sketchbook-challenge/ http://tinkerlab.com/march-tinkersketch-sketchbook-challenge/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:34:38 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=18831 After an awesome month of the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram and Facebook, we’re ready to try another round in the month of March. Over the past month I have received many notes of appreciation that shared how this challenge: Was personally transformative Brought families together Added a meaningful shared art experience in a science-based high […]

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Sketchbook Challenge from TinkerLab.com

After an awesome month of the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge on Instagram and Facebook, we’re ready to try another round in the month of March.

Over the past month I have received many notes of appreciation that shared how this challenge:

  • Was personally transformative
  • Brought families together
  • Added a meaningful shared art experience in a science-based high school
  • Created an opportunity for child-parent bonding
  • Created a ritual of making that was easy to achieve
  • Created accountability for making
  • Brought creative and supportive people together who enjoyed sharing art together

And this makes me feel great! I firmly believe that we all have creative ideas inside of us, and that drawing skills are not a requisite for creativity. Challenges such as TinkerSketch celebrate processes of creativity and a spirit of trying new things. It’s not the product, but the process that’s important.

So here we go…March madness in the form of a new sketchbook challenge.

March Sketchbook Challenge

Sketchbook challenge from TinkerLab.com

If you’re new to the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge, this challenge takes place on Instagram, so you’ll want to start by following TinkerLab over there.

If you’re not on Instagram, but like to call Facebook home, join our closed Facebook group, Club TinkerLab, where you can also play.

Sketchbook Challenge from TinkerLab.com

Sketchbook Challenge FAQ’s

Next, you’ll want all the details. Read here for more.

 

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Art for Kids | DIY Stamps http://tinkerlab.com/art-for-kids-diy-stamps/ http://tinkerlab.com/art-for-kids-diy-stamps/#respond Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:40:35 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=18298 DIY Stamps and art supplies, oh, how I love you! Making our own art supplies has done wonders for helping my kids develop their resourceful muscle. As a result of turning corks into stamps and chopsticks into painting tools, I’m constantly catching my girls rescuing cardboard from the recycling bin and saying things like, “let’s […]

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DIY Stamps and art supplies, oh, how I love you!

Making our own art supplies has done wonders for helping my kids develop their resourceful muscle. As a result of turning corks into stamps and chopsticks into painting tools, I’m constantly catching my girls rescuing cardboard from the recycling bin and saying things like, “let’s turn this into art!”

In that spirit, I pulled this list of DIY stamp ideas together as a resource for all of the busy teachers, enthusiastic recyclers, and crafty parents (or any combination of the above), I hope you’re find this list of upcycled materials helpful and inspiring.

DIY Stamps from Household Materials:

DIY Stamps with everyday materials such as cork, cardboard rolls, and buttons

Sunflower Cardboard Roll Stamp, Crafty Morning

Cardboard Roll Heart Stamp, TinkerLab

Cork Stamps, Happy Hooligans wraps corks into groups, dips them into paint, and then turns the designs into flowers by glueing a button in the middle.

Cosmetic Wedge Stamps, TinkerLab

More DIY Stamps from Household Supplies

DIY Stamps with everyday materials such as cork, cardbo

Potato Masher Stamp, No Time for Flash Cards

Button Stamps, What do we do All Day?

Cardboard Stamp, Housing a Forest

Dice Stamping, Housing a Forest stamps out math problems with dice.

DIY Stamps from Food

DIY Stamps with food such as apples and celery

Potato Stamps, TinkerLab

Apple Stamps, TinkerLab

Lettuce Stamps, Housing a Forest

Celery Stamps, TinkerLab

Stamp with Okra, Curly Birds

Bell Pepper Shamrocks, Crafty Morning

DIY Stamps with Foam Stickers

4 different DIY homemade stamps with foam

Foam Sticker Block Stamp, TinkerLab also draws on the stickers with special rubber stamp pens for a unique and individual stamp effect.

DIY Name Stamp, Mama Papa Bubba

Jar Lid Craft Foam Stamps, No Time for Flash Cards cut out their own unique shapes from large sheets of craft foam

Corks and Craft Foam Stamps, Happiness is Homemade

DIY Homemade stamps with foam

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Kids Science: Flying Tea Bag Hot Air Balloon http://tinkerlab.com/kids-science-flying-tea-bag-hot-air-balloon/ http://tinkerlab.com/kids-science-flying-tea-bag-hot-air-balloon/#comments Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:25:27 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=17491 My kids are fascinated by things that fly, and today I’m sharing the flying tea bag hot air balloon, a fun hands-on flying activity as part of a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) series. More on that in a second…   Flying Tea Bag Experiment This is a quick activity that only requires […]

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My kids are fascinated by things that fly, and today I’m sharing the flying tea bag hot air balloon, a fun hands-on flying activity as part of a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) series. More on that in a second…

 

Flying tea bag hotair balloon experiment| Kid Science

Flying Tea Bag Experiment

This is a quick activity that only requires a fire-safe area and a few supplies you most likely have at home. My husband laughed after he saw the video of this activity (below) because he thought our space was most definitely NOT fire-proof. I disagree, of course, but I will leave it to you to find a safe space for this!

Because there’s some trial and error involved in this activity, it can encourage children to test theories and think like a scientist. See the Next Steps section below for ideas on how to extend this activity.

Flying Tea Bag Supplies

  • Tea bag (traditional style)
  • Scissors
  • Dish: Glass or Ceramic
  • Cup
  • Matches or Lighter

A Note on Safety

  • Be sure that children are supervised by adults.
  • Conduct this activity in a fire-safe area. We don’t want anyone setting their house on fire!

Flying teabag hot air balloon set up | Kid Science

Flying Tea Bag Steps

  • Cut the tea bag open.
  • Pour the contents into a cup and save for later.
  • Open the tea bag up and form it into a cylinder.
  • Stand the teabag up on the dish.

Science for kids | The simple flying tea bag exploration with materials you probably already have at home

 

 Activate the Flying Tea Bag

  • Light the top of the cylinder
  • Step back and watch it fly!

Watch our Video to see it in action:

Be sure to follow my YouTube channel to be the first to see more videos like this.

What’s happening?

As you probably know, heat rises! Hot air balloons work at lifting a balloon off the ground by making the air inside the balloon hotter, and ultimately less dense, than the air outside. Similarly, this tea bag flying machine lifts off once the fire burns the tea bag into lightweight ash. The rising hot air current lifts what’s left of the bag and blows it into the air.

Next Steps: Full STEAM Ahead

  • Ask: What do you think will happen if we light the tea bag on fire?
  • Ask: What could have caused the tea bag to lift off the plate?
  • Ask: What is it about the tea bag that makes it lift off the ground?
  • If it doesn’t work the first time, ask, “what could we try differently?” We initially tested this with a similar technique where we twisted the top of the tea bag. It didn’t work! And my 4-year old found it hilarious.
  • Ask: Do you think this would work with a different kind of paper?
  • Gather a collection of paper, form them into cylinders, and see if you can make them fly. Some ideas: Newspaper, copy paper, toilet paper. You’ll probably realize that lighter weight paper works best. Why is that?

More Flying Activities

How to Make a Paper Airplane

DIY Straw Rockets

Exploding Diet Coke and Mentos Experiment

DIY Spin Art Machine (we used the flying mechanism from Snap Circuits for this spin art activity)

Activate Learning with STEAM

If you’ve been a loyal TinkerLab fan (thank you! you mean the world to me.) you’ll know that I’m happiest sharing projects that live at the intersection of disciplines. Too often we’re quick to separate science from writing or math from art, but when we seek out ways to make interdisciplinary connections, learning can be more meaningful and novel discoveries can be made.STEAM Activities | Teabag Hot Air Balloon

In that vein, over the next few weeks I’m joining a creative group of engineers, scientists, educators, and artists to launch a new series called STEAM Power, which celebrates interdisciplinary learning with projects that circle around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) ideas. This week’s theme is FLY, and you can see the other fly-related ideas here:

Dancing Balloons | Babble Dabble Do

Parachutes | Meri Cherry

Whirly Twirly Flying Birds | Left Brain Craft Brain

Indoor Boomerang | What Do We Do All Day?

Paper airplane | All For The Boys

Rockets | Lemon Lime Adventures

M&M’s Tube Rockets  | Frugal Fun for Boys

STEAM on Pinterest

You might also enjoy following my STEAM + STEM Activities board on Pinterest for more ideas like this.

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Rubber Cement Watercolor Resist Painting Technique http://tinkerlab.com/rubber-cement-watercolor-resist-paint/ http://tinkerlab.com/rubber-cement-watercolor-resist-paint/#respond Sat, 21 Feb 2015 19:08:17 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=17575 The thought of rubber cement always takes me back to the 6th grade. The smell! I’m not sure that schools offer rubber cement to kids anymore (kudos to them if that’s the case), but us adults can still try this favorite watercolor resist technique in a well-ventilated area. If you art journal or if you’re keeping […]

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The thought of rubber cement always takes me back to the 6th grade. The smell! I’m not sure that schools offer rubber cement to kids anymore (kudos to them if that’s the case), but us adults can still try this favorite watercolor resist technique in a well-ventilated area.

Rubber Cement Watercolor Resist Painting Technique, perfect for art journaling and sketchbooks

If you art journal or if you’re keeping a sketchbook, the rubber cement watercolor resist art technique is a fun way to add some variety and texture to your pages. It’s also a magical way to play with negative space and positive space. As you’ll see in the video, rubber cement will pour off of the dispenser brush in a haphazard way, and it can be hard to control the flow of it. Keep this in mind if you’re thinking of using this technique for detailed work. I’m sure there’s a way around it and encourage you to experiment!

Rubber Cement and Kids

I don’t recommend the use of rubber cement with young children and suggest using your best judgment for yourself and others in a well-ventilated space. If you’re like to try this with kids, an adult could do the rubber cement step and once dry, the child could paint over it.

Supplies

This list includes affiliate links

Rubber Cement Watercolor Resist

I’m dipping my toes into the world of video. Would you let me know what you think? There’s sound, so be sure to turn the volume down if you’re in a quiet place :)

Be sure to follow my YouTube channel to be the first to see more videos like this.

Steps: Rubber Cement Resist

  • Drip rubber cement onto watercolor paper.
  • Wait for rubber cement to dry.
  • Paint right over the rubber cement. It will resist the paint!
  • Once dry, rub the cement away from the paper.

 

Rubber Cement Watercolor Resist Painting Technique

More Art Technique Experiments

Clear Tape Image Transfer

String Painting

Cling Film Art Experiment

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Drawing Ideas: One Minute Drawings http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-ideas-one-minute-drawings/ http://tinkerlab.com/drawing-ideas-one-minute-drawings/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 20:23:13 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=17150 I’m always looking for drawing ideas and have a fun creativity prompt to share with you today. My family tested this out on Day 8 of the first TinkerSketch sketchbook challenge, but I didn’t take time to share the results of the process. This drawing prompt invites you to draw as much as you can in one […]

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I’m always looking for drawing ideas and have a fun creativity prompt to share with you today. My family tested this out on Day 8 of the first TinkerSketch sketchbook challenge, but I didn’t take time to share the results of the process.

This drawing prompt invites you to draw as much as you can in one minute!

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

My 4-year old and I spend a lot of time at our art studio while her older sister is in school, and today she suggested that we make some one-minute drawings. It’s been a few months since we’ve tried this fun creativity prompt, and I was game. I also enjoy the challenge of making art with my kids, and when they have an idea I try to run with it.

Of course she wanted to use Sharpies (affiliate), so we covered the table with fresh paper. We use Pacon Kraft paper (affiliate), in case you’re looking for something similar…it’s great stuff!

I cut up 9″ x 12″ sheets of drawing paper into four pieces, gave us each a stack, and we were ready to go.

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

I set the timer for one minute and then we faced the challenge to draw as much as we could (or wanted to) in that time span. A minute goes by surprisingly fast!

So fast, in fact, that after that first lightening round, my daughter asked for more time. While she was on more of the 6-minute track, I continued to crank out 1-minute drawings. One of the best things about this exercise is how you don’t have time to judge your drawings — the point is not to be brilliant but to get some marks on the paper.

Benefits of 1-Minute Drawings

  • It’s fun!
  • You work too fast to be judgmental of your work
  • One idea leads to another. When the first drawing ends, it prompts new ideas for your next 1-minute drawing.
  • If you keep going on to make 40, 50, 60, or more drawings, you may start to run out of ideas which pushes you into new territory

I thought you might like to see the progression of a series of nine of these quick drawings, and how one idea lead to another: connected triangles led to connected circles, which led to connected quadrilaterals, ovals, more triangles, and finally dots.

Drawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

While my little one didn’t stick with the one-minute drawing plan, she enjoyed creating the beginning of a book about panda bears, and working side-by-side is always something I look forward to.

One minute drawings collageDrawing Ideas: Make one minute drawings to spark creativity

More Drawing Ideas + Creativity Prompts

If you’re looking for more prompts like this for kids, you’ll enjoy this list of Simple Creative Invitations.

And if you’d like to join the fun, experimental TinkerSketch sketchbook challenge that I host on Instagram and Facebook, you can find more info here.

You might also enjoy slide drawing, drawing with art dice, and the word drawing game.

What do you think? Will you try this?

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Cling Film Art Experiment http://tinkerlab.com/cling-film-art-experiment/ http://tinkerlab.com/cling-film-art-experiment/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 07:58:06 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=15892 I’m having the BEST time with this month’s TinkerSketch Challenge. How about you? This Cling Film Art Experiment ties in with the Day 4 prompt to “Squirt Paint.” These TinkerSketch prompts can be interpreted in any number of ways. For example, you could draw a tube of paint, squirt paint on paper, squeeze paint on […]

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The Cling Film Art Experiment with Jewels | TinkerLab.com

I’m having the BEST time with this month’s TinkerSketch Challenge. How about you?

This Cling Film Art Experiment ties in with the Day 4 prompt to “Squirt Paint.” These TinkerSketch prompts can be interpreted in any number of ways. For example, you could draw a tube of paint, squirt paint on paper, squeeze paint on your hands and then finger paint. So many possibilities!

If you want to try your hand and combining paint blobs with cling film, keep reading!

Supplies for Cling Film Art

This post contains affiliate links

  1. Paint – I used acrylic. Liquitex Basics is a good beginner set that’s a great value.
  2. Paper (or other substrate)
  3. Cling Wrap – I used Glad Cling Wrap

Steps for Cling Film Art

  1. Squeeze paint on paper
  2. Cover in cling wrap
  3. Press it down and smear around
  4. Reveal your creation!
  5. Repeat as desired.

How to try the Cling Film Art Experiment with Cellophane and Acrylic Paint | TinkerLab.com

After my 4-year old saw all the fun I was having, she wanted in. Here’s her experiment…

How to try the Cling Film Art Experiment  | TinkerLab.com

When she was done, she added jewels and told me that she would be selling these for $5.99. But because I’m her mom, I would get one for free. Score!

The Cling Film Art Experiment with Jewels | TinkerLab.com

And a look at how we finished my sketchbook entry together. I’m a fan of collaborative art…

How to try the Cling Film Art Experiment  | TinkerLab.com

After adding about three layers of blobs and cellophane, I smeared the paint around with the pealed off cling wrap.

Once dry I’ll have a cool background to draw or paint on top of. Or maybe I’ll just leave it the way it is. By the way, it’s hard to tell in the photo, but I went ahead and glued the cling wrap right to the paper. Why not?

What do you think? Are you up for making some cling film art? 

Enjoy your art experiments, and if you come up with any riffs on this technique, I would LOVE to hear about it!

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The Artful Year, a New Book by Jean Van’t Hul http://tinkerlab.com/artful-year-new-book-jean-vant-hul/ http://tinkerlab.com/artful-year-new-book-jean-vant-hul/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:00:30 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=15849 One of my VERY FAVORITE people in the world is Jean Van’t Hul who writes the popular kids’ arts and crafts blog, The Artful Parent. Her blog is chock full of inspiration, and if you’re not already following her, you might want to go ahead and do that now! Today I’m thrilled to help Jean kick off the […]

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One of my VERY FAVORITE people in the world is Jean Van’t Hul who writes the popular kids’ arts and crafts blog, The Artful Parent. Her blog is chock full of inspiration, and if you’re not already following her, you might want to go ahead and do that now!

Today I’m thrilled to help Jean kick off the Blog Tour for her newest book, The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Crafts and Recipes.

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Jean’s highly acclaimed first book, The Artful Parent has been a terrific resource to families who want to infuse their homes with art activities, and now, dear friends, she’s assembled yet another book, The Artful Year. It is so good!

While her first book rocks, this book is sheer brilliance. Why is that? It delivers projects and recipes that are organized by SEASONS, to help us busy parents and caregivers come up with ideas that connect directly to what’s happening right now, be it spring, summer, autumn, or winter.

My children are always tuned in to seasonal events, and I can already see how handy this book will be when it’s time to dye Easter eggs or when pumpkins start to show up in our market.

Shall we take a peek?

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

Since we’re on the edge of Spring, why don’t we begin with the Spring chapter. Each section starts with an introduction to the season, followed by tons of art activity and recipe ideas that can be done with children.

Shown below: Easter Eggs with Food Coloring, Melted Crayon Easter Eggs, and Leaf Stickers

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

The Summer section includes 11 Summer Crafts, 15 Recipes, and 10 projects that encourage outdoor creativity.

Shown below: Blueberry Hand Pies and Sand-casting. We’ve tried both of these and they are STELLAR projects.

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

Come Autumn, you’ll undoubtedly be inspired by leaves, changing trees, pumpkins, Jack-o’-lanterns, spiders, and Thanksgiving. This section has your back!

Shown here: Melted-Crayon Leaves and Fill in the Jack-o-Lantern Faces

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

Since Winter is a time to hunker down and get cozy indoors, the Winter chapter of the book is enormous and delivers projects for Christmas, the New Year, general Winter crafts and recipes, and a huge section on Valentine’s Day.

Shown here: Crushed Candy Cane Topping for Hot Cocoa or Cookies (I just LOVE the hammering involved with this and can’t wait to try this with my kids) and Tiny Gingerbread House

The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul | A Book Review by TinkerLab.com

Testing out The Artful Year with my Kids

After pouring over this book, I had to test one of these projects out with my own children. While we are constantly making things, as you might imagine, there are so many projects in this book that I have yet to try. One that caught my eye is called Foil Heart Valentine Cards.

We had a playdate and I asked the kids if they wanted to try drawing on a heated cookie sheet with crayons. They were skeptical at first and asked to see the book for inspiration. In hindsight, my question probably raised a red flag in their minds — why one earth would I invite them to draw on my cookie sheets??

I shared the book with them and they were game! So I covered three cookie sheets with aluminum foil, heated them in a 350 degree oven, set up some crayons and thick towels to protect my table, and we were off…

How to make Melted Crayon Valentine Cards | From The Artful Year Book by Jean Van't Hul

The basic idea here is to heat the cookie sheet until it’s warm enough to melt crayons. Draw on the foil. Reheat the sheets if they cool too much, and then add your creations to cards.

This was a super fun and original project, and I’m so glad the kids gave it a go.

More from The Artful Year

You can pick up your very own copy of The Artful Year, which happens to be the #1 New Release in Crafts for Children on Amazon, wherever books are sold.

Guess what?

26 MORE BLOGS will be sharing their sneak peeks into The Artful Year, and you won’t want to miss them. Some will share interviews with Jean and others may be giving away books. It’s a fun month ahead, and I hope you’ll check out The Artful Year in these other places, too!

The Artful Year Giveaway!

What is your favorite season and what do you hope to make from Jean’s book?

There are 2 chances to win!

Chance #1: Leave a comment in this post with your favorite season, and what you hope to make from Jean’s book — you can find the full table of contents here. Note: this giveaway is open to residents of the US, UK, Australia, and Canada.  This giveaway will end at midnight EST on Sunday February 8, 2014. Winners will be chosen by random.org, and notified via the email attached to the comment. Thanks and good luck!

Chance #2: Be sure to sign up for the TinkerLab newsletter (it’s filled with creative inspiration, 100% free and it comes out once a week) for yet another chance to win a copy of this book (details will be sent out later this week).

THE ARTFUL YEAR BLOG TOUR FEBRUARY 2015

The Artful Year Blog Tour February 2015February 3 :: Tinkerlab

February 4 :: Creative with Kids

February 5 :: Toddler Approved

February 6 :: Tiny Rotten Peanuts

February 7 :: Art Bar Blog

February 8 :: Meri Cherry

February 9 :: Teach Mama

February 10 :: Playful Learning

February 11 :: Fun at Home with Kids

February 12 :: Mother Natured

February 13 :: Red Ted Art

February 14 :: Picklebums

February 15 :: tba

February 16 :: Left Brain, Craft Brain

February 17 :: No Time for Flashcards

February 18 :: Buggy & Buddy

February 19 :: Nurture Store

February 20 :: Kids Activities Blog

February 21 :: MollyMoo Crafts

February 22 :: Let’s Lasso the Moon

February 23 :: Childhood 101

February 24 :: Handmade Charlotte

February 25 :: Babble Dabble Do

February 26 :: I Heart Crafty Things

February 27 :: The Imagination Tree

February 28 :: Inner Child Fun

Date tba :: Hands Free Mama

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Clear Tape Image Transfer Technique http://tinkerlab.com/clear-tape-image-transfer-technique/ http://tinkerlab.com/clear-tape-image-transfer-technique/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 04:39:53 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=15863 This is a useful and entertaining technique for turning photocopies into transparent images, which you can then layer into collage art. It’s been ages since I’ve done this, and I’m excited to share it with you as part of the TinkerSketch Challenge that’s happening this month. If you don’t know about it, I’d encourage you to check […]

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This is a useful and entertaining technique for turning photocopies into transparent images, which you can then layer into collage art.

Super easy clear tape transfer technique | TinkerLab.com

It’s been ages since I’ve done this, and I’m excited to share it with you as part of the TinkerSketch Challenge that’s happening this month. If you don’t know about it, I’d encourage you to check it out!

 

The prompt for day 3 of the challenge is “tape.” If you’re participating in the challenge, you can interpret this prompt however you like, but because I think everyone should know how to achieve this clear tape image transfer effect, I thought I would take this opportunity to share the it with you today!

Ready? Let’s go!

Supplies for Clear Tape Image Transfer

This post includes affiliate links

  • Photocopy image
  • Clear tape – gift wrapping tape or packing tape
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge, gel medium, or white glue. I like to use Mod Podge, a non-toxic, water-based, glue-like decoupage sealer that doesn’t feel sticky once dry.
  • Paint Brush
  • Water

1. Clear Tape Image Transfer: Select your Image

  1. Choose an image
  2. Photocopy or laser print it. This will NOT work with inkjet images.
  3. Cover the image with clear tape, overlapping the edges of the tape
  4. Burnish the tape to the paper, or, in other words, press the tape down hard
  5. Cut the image out (optional)

Super easy clear tape photocopy image transfer art technique | TinkerLab.com

2. Remove the Paper

  1. Place your tape-covered image under running water or submerge it in a bowl of water until the paper is soaked through. This should just take a moment.
  2. Gently rub the back of the paper until it rolls and pills off the tape.
  3. This will leave you with a clear image.

Super easy clear tape image transfer technique | TinkerLab.com

3. Attach Image Transfer to Paper or Wood

  1. Choose a substrate (paper, wood, etc.) for your image
  2. Paint or decorate the background if desired. One of the nifty things about this process is that the see-through nature of the image will allow anything in the background to show through. Something to keep in mind!
  3. Decide where you want to paste the image.
  4. Paint a thin layer of Mod Podge, gel medium, or white glue to the paper. Place the image on top of it.

Easy clear tape image transfer technique with mod podge | TinkerLab.com

4. Final Touches

  1. Paint another layer of Mod Podge over the image to secure it well.
  2. Add any other painting, drawing, or images to the paper.

Easy photo transfer technique with clear tape | Super Easy | TinkerLab.com

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TinkerSketch | Daily Sketchbook Challenge http://tinkerlab.com/tinkersketch-daily-sketchbook-challenge/ http://tinkerlab.com/tinkersketch-daily-sketchbook-challenge/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:03:25 +0000 http://tinkerlab.com/?p=14878 You guys…I am so excited to say that the TinkerSketch challenge is back! Brace yourself for another round of fun and easy-to-achieve sketchbook challenges for the month of February. Will you join me? First of all, this challenge takes place on Instagram, so you’ll want to start by following TinkerLab over there. Next, you’ll want all […]

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You guys…I am so excited to say that the TinkerSketch challenge is back! Brace yourself for another round of fun and easy-to-achieve sketchbook challenges for the month of February. Will you join me?

First of all, this challenge takes place on Instagram, so you’ll want to start by following TinkerLab over there.

Next, you’ll want all the details. Read on for more…

If you want to jump-start your creativity and start your art journal practice, join us for the FREE TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge in February 2015 at TinkerLab.com

What’s the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge?

TinkerSketch is a daily sketchbook practice that invites you to experiment and play with ideas and materials in a low-stress, fun, and mind-stretching way.

Who is this Sketchbook Challenge for?

If you’d like to jump-start your creativity with a daily mark-making routine or establish a more regular art journalling practice, this challenge is for you. The stakes are low and it’s super easy to do, even if you have no experience or low confidence with making. And if you’re busy, the time commitment is minimal.

You might have had some time to nurture your creative soul at some point in your not-too-distant past, but with kids, work, chores, responsibilities, name your excuse, you don’t have a lot of time for the creative YOU.

The goal of this challenge is to make time (even if it’s just a tiny bit) to celebrate your creative self through hands-on making.

painting on sketchbook

What’s the Point?

If you join this sketchbook challenge, you’ll:

  • Improve your drawing, painting, mark-making skills
  • Try and explore new ways of art-making
  • Land on new ideas that wouldn’t have emerged otherwise
  • Have fun
  • Model creative thinking for your child (if you’re a parent or teacher)
  • Celebrate the imperfection of your ideas
  • Think creatively
  • Give yourself the gift of time

How long will it take?

While you can spend as much time at this as you like, just set aside five-ten minutes each day aside for making, creating, and experimenting and you’re in business.

Great, but 5 minutes is still a lot!

There are so many ways to do this. For example, you could:

  • Wake up a little earlier than usual, brew a pot of something warm, and curl up with your sketchbook for a few minutes before the rest of your home wakes up
  • Carry a sketchbook in your bag and pull it out when you’re waiting in line
  • Designate “creative time” where you and your child draw in sketchbooks side-by-side

Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com.

I’m REALLY not an artist. Are you sure this is for me?

“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” – Michael Jordan

This is for everyone, truly, and you are not expected to make a masterpiece with this practice. Rather, the point is to unleash your creative energy. Your creations don’t have to be works of amazing art, and in fact they probably shouldn’t be all that spectacular, especially if you’re pushing yourself to try something new, experiment, and be bold. Be confident with whatever you create, knowing that you’re on a journey to feed your creativity.

What Sketchbook and Tools will I Need?

While you can certainly go all-out and buy a ton of stuff for this month’s challenge, it’s not necessary. I’ll share some of my favorite tools in a minute, but you will basically need just a few things, and there’s a good chance you already have them:

  • You will need a sketchbook or a ream of paper
  • Some mark-making tools like pens and pencils
  • Paint and brush
  • “Attaching” materials such as glue and tape will come in handy
  • Collage materials such as scrap paper, newspaper, old homework, or magazines.

This list contains affiliate links

Sketchbooks

My best advice is to visit an art store and test out sketchbooks to see which one feels right to you. That said, here are a few tips.

  • Size. Find a size that fits your situation. If you think you’ll take your sketchbook on the road, find something small enough to travel in your bag
  • Paper. Choose paper that is heavy weight and designed to withstand water and wet media. Look for the weight of paper in terms of how many pounds it is: the higher the number, the heavier the weight. Something over 70 lbs. should do the trick
  • Spiral or book-bound. Do you think you’d enjoy a spiral-bound book or traditional binding more? I recommend spiral binding because the pages lie flat easily. Some people like traditional binding more because they can design/paint/draw a double-page spread without having a gap between the pages.
  • My favorite Sketchbooks. I have two favorites in this category for working with both wet and dry media. Both of these books can handle paint. Strathmore Visual Journal is made of heavy duty paper (90 pound weight), perfect for mixed media, and comes in a few sizes. For easy, on-th-go journaling, I like the 5.5″ x 8″ journal at $6.89. I also like the Canson Mix Media journal that’s 7″ x 10″ for $8.19.  A friend just gave me a Stillman & Birn Zeta series and I love it. The paper is 180 lb.

My Favorite Mark-Making Tools

Get yourself a few pens that you love to use, and be sure to have at least one waterproof, archival pen in the mix so that you can paint over your pen lines without worrying about your drawing bleeding with water. Micron Pens are a designer favorite (and mine, too!), and they come in tons of sizes and colors.

See our Resources Page for a full list of recommended supplies for tinkering, art journal keeping, and art making with kids.

Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com.

Will there be any support?

For each day of the challenge we’ll share our own daily entry on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me!), along with a few extra ideas in case you need a little bit of inspiration. I encourage everyone who joins the challenge to leave supportive comments on other participants’ images. Since it can be hard to put ourselves out there, it’s always nice to receive a friendly pat on the back when pushed outside our comfort zone.

Do I Have to Share my Work?

No sharing required! Some of us are motivated by sharing, since having others look at our work holds us accountable and we enjoy the feedback and community of sharing. However, you can follow the daily challenge, even peek in on other people’s work on Instagram, and never share a thing.

Can I do this with my Kids?

Yep!

Join the TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge at TinkerLab.com. Kids welcome!

Can I see Examples of How this Works?

To see images from TinkerSketch past, click over here or search Instagram for #tinkersketch. You’ll see so many inspiring entries.

I’m in! How do I do this?

  1. Print out or bookmark the list you see at the top of this page or below. Each day has a new prompt that will inspire you to make something.
  2. Interpret the Prompt: You can interpret the daily prompts however you want. “Drips” to one person may mean flicking watercolors off a toothbrush and to another person it might mean covering a page in marker and then leaving the page outside on a drizzly morning. You can take them literally or not — this is completely up to you. If you’re really at a loss, leave a comment below and we’ll help you noodle through it.
  3. Make stuff: You could put all your ideas into a sketchbook (it is called a sketchbook challenge, after all), loose leaf paper, post-it notes, or something else.
  4. Share it! This challenge can be a totally private affair and you never have to let a soul know that you’re working on it, or you could share your creations with others. I’m a private person, but I find that sharing things like this actually motivates me to work harder. If you’re up for it, we invite you to share your daily sketches on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus. Basically, wherever you like to drop your social media mat. Simply tag your image or post with #tinkersketch, and you could also ping us at @tinkerlab to let other people know about the challenge
  5. Tell others. If you could use some back-up, share the Sketchbook Challenge calendar image from this post on Instagram or with a friend, and encourage others to join you on this fun, creative journey.
  6. Support others. Take a moment to cruise around and look at other images that are tagged with #tinkersketch, and leave a supportive comment to build community and basically make someone else feel great about the effort they’re putting into their creative journey.

Printable TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge Prompts

Anything else?

If you have any questions about the prompts or other parts of this challenge, drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

And if you’d like to share this with your friends, feel free to pin or share this image…

If you want to jump-start your creativity and start your art journal practice, join us for the FREE TinkerSketch Sketchbook Challenge in February 2015 at TinkerLab.com

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