Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Marbleized Paper

I love marbleized paper but never really had much luck when I tried to make it in the past. I recently stumbled across the directions in a book for children's crafts so I thought I'd give it another try. The directions said to thin oil paint down with paint thinner and drip a few drops of a couple colors in the water, drag a toothpick though it to make designs and carefully lay the paper down to pick up the paint. Sounded easy so I played with it a bit in my studio. At first I had the paint too thin the directions said the consistency of cream so eventually I got it right. I wore gloves to lift the paper up after it touched the paint floating on the water. The results were beautiful. I let them dry and then brought them home but noticed they smelled strongly of oil paint and thinner even though I used Turpenoid instead of regular paint thinner.


Then my assistant Jeanne gave me a kit with supplies that were non toxic and water based. That prompted me to do an internet search and I learned about a method that uses liquid starch and watered down acrylic paint. Beautiful! I couldn't wait to try it. It worked really well once I got the paint to the right consistency. Now the kids could pull the paper up by themselves without having to worry if they got it on their hands and it smelled great, like fresh laundry.

Here's Shannon showing us the beautiful results. The kids loved it. I read that you should wash the starch off so we passed the prints though a tray of water after letting them dry a bit. I also just read that a 1/2 teaspoon alum mixed into 2 cups of starch helps the paint to adhere to the paper. I'll try that next time.



Sidney's using some tools from the kit to make patterns in the paint.

I started with a color story for each tray like red, yellow, orange in one tray and blue, green and purple in another tray.



This is April experimenting with all the colors.
I was worried that the starch would become too saturated with paint to be used but some of the paint sunk to the bottom and I freshened up the top with a bit more starch as needed. We were able to keep the same trays going for 3 hours.


Sunday, July 11, 2010


ACRA stands for Arden Community Recreation Association. This association was founded in 1948, and provides recreational, educational and social activities throughout the year to residents of the three Ardens. The summer program is free to children 3 years old though entering 8th grade. The summer program, which runs Monday through Friday from 9:30 to 12:30, provides sports activities, a game room, outdoor free play, art and music, field trips and many visiting artists from the community as well. Freedom of choice reigns at ACRA and children are allowed to go from activity to activity as their free spirits move them.

In the art room we provide fun art experiences daily. One experience I wasn't expecting this week was when I went to the shed to get supplies I was stung not once but twice by a very angry wasp. I apparently disturbed a nest above the door of the shed and the irate insect stung my finger and then on second pass dove right into my face and stung my eyelid. Ouch, is not all I yelled, believe me. So everyone on staff helped me set up the art room for junk art day as I barked orders while holding an ice pack on my eye. The kids didn’t seem to notice that anything was amiss as they plowed past me to get first dibs on the best junk and be first in line to use the hot glue guns. I was stung on Thursday but my finger and eye didn’t really swell until 2 days later. I’m having trouble typing this with one explosively fat finger and one eye swollen almost shut!

I love these junk people the kids made.



They make me smile and remind me why I like being the art director at ACRA. My job is to put out supplies, make suggestions, be ready to assist as needed and know when to step back as their creativity revs up to warp speed and takes off. I often forget to take pictures as I mentioned last post but here are some of the kids working on their papier mache projects last week.


Shannon and April


Phoenix, Madi, and Shane


Maddie and Riley