Let your mind wander with watercolors
In this brief Museum from Home video, Mint staffer Leslie Strauss leads viewers through a simple painting and drawing activity, good for all ages. Don’t have paints at home? Grab some magic markers instead and get ready to be creative.
- Water cup and paint brush
- Watercolor paints or washable magic markers
- Sharpies, colored pencils, or any drawing tools
Get your weave on with items you have at home
All you need is a piece of cardboard and a few basic materials to create your own portable loom at home. This weaving project is inspired by John Garrett’s piece, Tales Told on a Sunday Afternoon Between Los Cordovas and the Pilar Landslide, in which he incorporates found objects from a hike he took in his home state of New Mexico.
- Large-eye blunt needle (try finger weaving if you don’t have a needle)
Gather your found objects. Searching your house and yard for found objects is half the fun! Look for things that can be woven with like sprigs of plants, twist ties, and rubber bands. Old buttons and beads are fun to thread onto yarn while weaving.
Find your piece of cardboard. It can be any size. Your woven piece can be as large as your cardboard. Think about what you want to turn your weaving into. It can be a wall hanging, bookmark, coaster, or anything else you imagine.
Use a ruler and pencil to make a mark every ½ inch along the top and the bottom edge of your cardboard. Then use scissors to cut a half-inch slit over each mark you made.
Choose a piece yarn to wrap your loom with to create the vertical elements of your weaving, or the warp. Starting from the backside or your loom, leave a 6 inch tail at the back and wrap your yarn through the first row of notches. Continue wrapping your loom until all notches have a row of yarn sitting in them. Cut your excess yarn, and leave a 6 inch tail at the back of your loom. You can tape these tails to your loom if you think they’ll be in your way.
Now you can start weaving. Simply weave your pieces over and under each strand of the warp. Under the first string, over the second, under the third, etc. If you have found objects that seem difficult to weave with, go ahead and start with those, and then fill in the gaps with your more manageable yarn pieces.
When weaving with yarn, cut pieces to 10-12 inches. This gives you a reasonable length to work with while avoiding it turning into a tangled mess. Don’t pull the yarn too tight, as this can cause your whole piece to become warped.
When you reach the end of your working yarn, tie a knot around the final strand of warp and either use a needle to tuck it into your piece, or just trim the tail off. To begin a new row, simply cut a new piece of yarn and begin again, leaving a 6 inch tail. If you have one, use a comb or a fork to even out rows.
De-stress making a mandala
A mandala is a circular geometric configuration of symbols. With roots in Southeast Asian spiritual tradition, many today use these as a form of focused concentration, meditation, and relaxation. Art making also helps to identify and express emotion. This exercise uses symbols and colors to convey feelings.
Sheet of paper or paper plate
Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
A small round object such as a penny
Ruler or measuring tape (or you can just eyeball it)
Start by thinking of symbols that you like or that have meaning in your life. You can sketch some out on a separate piece of paper.
Next, think of a list of feelings and write them down. Decide which color best matches the feeling and make a mark for yourself so that you can look back at it as you create your mandala.
Find the center of your paper or paper plate using a measuring device. Trace a small object over the top of the center point. This will give you a starting place. Working from the center, create patterns using symbols or colors that express your feelings.
Reflect on your finished piece. What colors are you drawn to? What feelings did you assign to those colors? Did you notice any change in your feelings as you progressed through the activity?
Make your own marble prints with shaving cream
This fun (and messy) project for all ages is inspired by the paintings of Harlem Renaissance painter, Beauford Delaney. Your final creation can be displayed as a print, folded into a card, or used as the background for a collage or drawing. Share what you make by tagging us on Instagram @themintmuseum.
- Baking sheet or tray (large enough to fit your paper and deep enough to hold shaving cream)
- White shaving cream
- Paint or food coloring
- Stick or toothpick (end of paintbrush works too)
- Plastic ruler or other flat edge that can get wet
- Paper towels or cleaning cloth
- Open space to lay out your prints
1. Cover bottom of sheet pan with shaving cream.
2. Drizzle paint or food coloring on top of shaving cream and use a stick to swirl colors together. Be careful not to over mix or colors will become muddy.
3. Press paper gently into shaving cream making sure to get the whole sheet to make contact.
4. Lift from one corner and remove the paper (shaving cream will stick to it). Lay it dry side down on paper towels or a surface that can be washed.
5. Starting at one end, scrape off shaving cream with ruler or flat edge.
6. Lightly blot your paper with a clean paper towel or rag and let dry. You can use the same shaving cream a second time to make a lighter version of the first. Just repeat steps 3-6.