By: Susan Jackson, County Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Science
Since school has been out for several weeks now, the kids may be starting to get bored. There is still time for projects with children and grandchildren or a neighborhood playgroup. Here are a few ideas for making chalk & crafts using materials found in nature- directly from the AnswerLine at Iowa State University, Extension and Outreach. Enjoy.
Make your own sidewalk chalk and play dough
To make sidewalk chalk start collecting empty paper towel and toilet paper tubes. Wrap one end with duct tape. Use freezer paper or waxed paper to line the inside of the tube. To make the chalk mix in a large empty yogurt container 1 cup water and 3-4 Tablespoons of your favorite color tempera paint. When that is mixed, slowly stir in 1 ½ cups of plaster of paris. The mixture will start to thicken but you still want to be able to pour it into your sealed and lined tubes. Let set until firm when squeezed (1/2 to 1 hour) then, remove the outside liner and let it sit until dry, which may take a couple of days. The end result will be colorful sideway chalk that is both fun to make and fun to use!
By making your own sidewalk chalk you control the size and shape. Larger pieces won’t break as easy as thin ones plus it is a fun project to make. The author of this site plans to share her chalk with her sister who has a wall painted with blackboard paint for her grandkids to enjoy.
PAINTING ON SAND
Fine construction sand, tea strainers/flour sifters, glue, tempera paint, brushes, scrap boards or heavy cardboard, felt tip pens
1. Spread glue evenly over board or heavy cardboard. A scrap of cardboard can be used to spread the glue.
2. Using sifters or strainers, sprinkle sand over glue surface. Let dry.
3. Paint design on sand. Felt tip pens can be used to add details
Cardboard bolts, scrap fabric, glue, scissors, nature material such as twigs, leaves, flowers
1. Have child gather dried plant materials (leaves, twigs, feathers, etc.) that can be glued to a flat surface.
2. Cut cardboard bolts in 12-15” lengths. Cover boards with fabric.
3. Arrange nature materials on board. Glue down. Allow to dry.
Yarns, found nature items, 2 sturdy sticks 12” long, 3-ply jute or cotton packaging cord, comb, T-Pins, cardboard bolts
1. Cut 12 to 18 pieces of jute or cotton 30 long. Fold each piece in half and attach with a half hitch to a stick. Pin stick and strings to top of fabric bolt.
2. Tie ends of jute or cord to second stick which is pinned to the bottom of cardboard.
3. Weave over and under cotton jute cords (warp) with other pieces of yam (weft). Insert pine needles, leaves etc. at random to complete design. Weft yams do not need to be tied. Open areas of warp may be left. Use comb to pack weft yams.
4. When finished remove T-pins from cardboard. Sticks will stay attached in weaving.
Try some of these ideas the next time you hear “I’m bored”. You may find a budding artist in the family.