Toddler Craft Collaboration Tutorial

For Mother's Day, Buggles, Moon Pie and I worked together on some art pieces for the Mamas in our lives. We were pretty happy with the results and decided to make a tutorial! No artistic education or skill required. You can get pretty resourceful with supplies!

Step 1 - The first thing you want to do is prep your surface. I found that it was a nice way to use up mat board scraps, so I cut them to size and primed by brushing on a thin layer of gesso. You can also use acrylic paint if you don't have gesso. I tried doing one piece un-primed and while I like what it did with the colors it warped the board a little more than I was comfortable with. You can also have a little fun with the texture. Come to think of it, there's no reason why you can't use canvas board, card board, old tiles... Use your imagination!

Step 2 - After the primed layer dries, put a smock on your kid and let her go to town! Make sure you use a washable paint, cause it's gonna get messy.

My toddler is a weirdo and HATES getting paint on her fingers, so she gets to use Mum's fancy brushes. I give the babes a little guidance to make sure we get a fair amount of coverage on this layer, and then after they have finished a smooth out the surface slightly if there are very raised areas. Too much texture can be tricky for the top layer, and lots of paint equals lots of moisture, which will warp your board. 

If you're going for a specific look, feel free to limit the pallet. For instance, you may want to avoid using complimentary colors since they become muddy when mixed together. Or you may just want something a little more monochromatic. 


Step 3 - NAP TIME! And let those suckers dry. 


Step 4 - Mask the entire surface. When I did this project the first time around I used frisket film, but since I realize that's not necessarily something most folks have in their craft closets, we're going to move forward with painter's tape! Just the regular old hardware store variety will be fine. Really any low tack masking tape will work too. 

Step 5 - Draw your image on top of the tape. This was kind of nice with the frisket, because it's easy to trace a silhouette onto, and placing the image is easier when you can see through the masking. Here's where you remind yourself this is a children's craft project and you need to simmer down and just let it happen.

Step 6 - Using an X-acto knife or sharp utility blade, carefully cut around the edge of your image. You don't want to push too hard, or you'll end up peeling off part of the mat board. Peel off the area that you want to be filled in with more color. 

Step 7 - Using either more paint, gesso, or whatever medium you prefer, help your child paint over the open area. Make sure you get good coverage here. The finger paints I have aren't very opaque, so I used oil pastels on a few of these, or mixed the paints to get a darker tint. 


Step 8 - If you used paint for the top layer, let it dry thoroughly. Then peel the remaining tape off. 

Step 9 - If you're happy with the look, you're done! If not, move on to the next step.

Step 10 - With the oil pastels and the translucent paint, I wasn't happy with the contrast,

 Exhibit A

Exhibit A

so I went back in with more oil pastel and colored pencil to bump things up a bit around the edges.

 That's better

That's better

Ta-da! I really love this project because it gives the wee ones some freedom, but you are able to exert juuuuust enough control to help them create something specific for a loved one. 

If you try this out with your own kids, I'd love to see photos.