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NOW CLOSED: Share your cheap art tips for children - you could win a £100 voucher from Barclays

(119 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 06-Aug-12 19:12:31

Please note the Barclays Mini Masterpiece Competition closes at midnight on 31 August 2012

We've been asked by Barclays to find out your best tips for cheap art projects for children - whether its something you set up for them or just arty things your children enjoy doing. And when they're finished, what do you do with the artwork?

For example:
Do you send them outside with paints or allow them to get 'creative' on the dining room table?
What works well as a cheap art option?
What's the most mess they've ever managed to make? Or do they manage to keep it all in one place?
What do you do with the creations? Are they more likely to be stuck on the fridge or assigned to the recycling?
Are you someone who keeps everything, nothing or some special creations? What makes you keep some but not everything?

Whilst we are talking art (and the future uses of it) we wanted to highlight (and you may have seen it already) - the amazing competition Barclays are running.

Barclays (via their pages on Mumsnet as well as on their own site) are on the look out for those special art pieces (from children in your family aged 12 or under at the time of entry) for their 'Mini Masterpiece' competition.

Barclays say "We're looking for fantastic artwork by kids to celebrate the launch of the new free Barclays Personalised Card Service. You don't need to be a Barclays customer to enter the Mini Masterpiece Competition and we've got fantastic prizes to give away, including a family holiday (worth £2000) and lots of arty goodies for kids.

"The judges, Carrie Longton (co-founder of Mumsnet), and Lauren Child (creator of Charlie and Lola), will choose a winner and 20 runners-up - deciding which images they think would make the brightest, most original and vibrant debit card designs"

There's more info, full T&Cs and details on the prizes here

If you add an arty story or share a child art related tip on this thread you'll be entered into a prize draw where one winner will get a £100 Amazon voucher.

Do also let us know on this thread if you've entered or will enter the Barclays competition - good luck to all entrants smile


NoKnownAllergies Mon 13-Aug-12 20:43:29

DD makes pebble and cobble paperweights. She writes her name on them in glue then throws on glitter. We have loads of them decorating our garden borders. I bet the 'fucker snails' are alarmed as they crawl over them!

BonzoDooDah Mon 13-Aug-12 21:00:07

We love our blackboard - they can get as creative as they like and you just wipe it clean - nothing to feel you have to keep, no recycling. If it is amazing I photograph it.

Old magasines and catalogues make great collages - a pair of scissors and some glue and it makes some great time. And quite interesting which pictures they chose to cut and which not.

Most mess is when I left DD(2) in her highchair painting while I nipped to the loo and she'd painted her entire arms up to the shoulders - black!

I keep meaningful things like first proper drawing, unusual or a style change (dated on the back). I photograph some of them - the rest I am ruthless.

missorinoco Mon 13-Aug-12 21:21:20

We paint inside; a workman once left a huge fabric sheet that he used to collect spills, so I put that on the kitchen floor and let them paint. I haven't yet let them paint unsupervised, so they wouldn't go outside alone. The baby would probably end up rainbow coloured.

I keep a selection of old cards, and let them desecrate them. Also cereal boxes, loo rolls, cardboard boxes, etc. DS made a great car once from boxes, card and milk bottle lids for lights.

What's the most mess they've ever managed to make?
Too scared to answer, it sounds like a challnge for the children to better it.

What do you do with the creations? Are they more likely to be stuck on the fridge or assigned to the recycling?

I try to recycle as the collection builds up, but sopme items are deemed too special by the children; I have one creation for over two years ago that I am still working on the removal of.
Some of it goes on the wall.

Why don't I keep everything? How much space do you think I have?! It requires little heart setting to recycle the crayon scribble on most pictures, my heart goes out to the poor tree more.

My tidy tip is to let them chalk out on the tarmac. No cleaning required.

narkynorks Mon 13-Aug-12 21:31:36

I have a big craft box for the kids. Anything I'm throwing out that might be useful sometime for art and craft goes into it - it's surprising what you can use for art. At the minute it has cardboard rolls from the loo paper, feathers from an Easter basket, cereal packets, a bath sponge, lots of little snippets of leftover wrapping paper, ping-pong balls, and newspapers. There's so much household stuff you can use.

RustyBear Mon 13-Aug-12 21:37:36

When my two were very small, I used to save deodorant roll-on bottles and filled them with paint - they make great 'paint crayons' that are easy for small hands to use.

They are now 24 and 22, but I still have some of their artwork in a drawer of the filing cabinet!

Most mess ever was luckily not at home - DD and her friend told the playgroup worker that they didn't know what to paint. "Why don't you paint each other" she said.

So they did.

firawla Mon 13-Aug-12 21:58:56

we keep magazines and things like that to cut up and stick, also sweet wrappers if we ever have anything like quality street with the shiny wrappers - saves having to buy shiny things for cutting and sticking and the pictures look quite nice with it.
also tend to find the pound shop good for cheap arty things

stealthsquiggle Mon 13-Aug-12 22:14:05

My DC have an 'art cupboard' which I periodically muck out tidy. Having a designated cupboard downstairs keeps pens, paints, etc out of their rooms. Since people know they both like art/craft they get given lots of stuff, but I also buy stuff in pseudo - bulk from Baker Ross and the like. Packing paper (as used by removal men) makes great scribbling paper.

Most mess? Bloody moon sand. More recently, DD was painting something with gold acrylic paint and decided to come and show it to me when it was still wet.

There can't have been much paint, but it is everywhere - on my phone, my laptop, the tiled floor, the sink, the table... DH went to make me tea the other day and came back to report gold paint on the teaspoon, FGS.

gazzalw Tue 14-Aug-12 09:42:03

We always do art activities in the garden in the summer if the weather permits as it's just a lot less messy.

Always recycle picture parts of birthday cards to re-use too - DD loves going into her craft 'suitcase', finding a cute picture and customising it into a brand new card!

yousankmybattleship Tue 14-Aug-12 11:20:50

Another fan of lining paper here! When mine were little I used to lay a long piece down the garden then put paint on big trays and let them walk through it and then walk all over the paper They LOVED doing it and one of the pieces was so effective we had it on the wall for months! Now they are older they can take ages drawing on a long sheet of lining paper. It looks like the Bayeux tapestry by the time they're finished!

By the way, I have also tried quite a few times to submit a picture to the Barclays thing and have not got a message back so I assume it hasn't worked. Have now given up which is a shame because it was a corker of a picture!

emilymc Tue 14-Aug-12 11:27:54

We've been making birds from cupcake cases... I'm going to write a blog post on it soon... so much fun and so easy! Just a few snips of the scissors and kids can have fun decorating them with whatever they find. There is always something around the house you can use for arts and crafts. Keep a big box of bits like ribbons, boxes, old wrapping paper – it all comes in handy! I'm going to let my daughter loose with some paints this weekend and hopefully enter the Barclays competition, looks great fun.

Last time I left her alone for 5 minutes with a felt tip pend while I made a cup of tea, I came back in and she'd turned her face into a zebra. I had to try so hard not to laugh! xx

MaryBS Tue 14-Aug-12 12:15:39

We store their artwork from school, so we can look back at it. Some of the artwork makes it onto the kitchen wall, if they ask to put them up there. A recent Olympics poster was put up without consent on the living room wall (hmm). Biggest art "disaster" recently, was my son painting his bedroom wall with dark green acrylic paint (left over from an art project of my daughters). Prior to that he has written on a blank wall "because it was boring" (also hmm to both of those).

Generally we try to keep messy stuff in the kitchen, doesn't always work though!

I buy up craft stuff when it is on offer, eg christmas stuff after Christmas, Easter stuff after Easter etc... some of it can be used at other times anyway!

StealthToddler Tue 14-Aug-12 14:16:17

if its hot and sunny my DC like to paint the paths with water - I send them outside with a paint pot of water and some paint brushes and they like to draw with water on the path and see how long it lasts.... would hasten to add they are very little...but it is something I liked doing as a kid too.

mumah Tue 14-Aug-12 15:24:00

Best arts and crafts tip is to find your local scrap store. They are full of donated paper, materials and colours. There is usually a small membership fee but you can buy giant bags of sugar paper and the like for just a couple of pounds. Stock up now and pull out on a rainy day.

AnaIsAlwaysShocked Tue 14-Aug-12 15:38:54

Best mess free creative activity we do is send the DC outside with different size paint brushes and a cup of water, they then paint/draw on the house floor, fence. they love it and it doesn't need any tidying up after. They also like chalking on the driveway.

When doing xmas cards or using finger/foot paints we do that in the bathroom and when their really little in the bath, then they can make as much mess as they like.

I also allow them to paint on themselves with water paints, bellies normally turn into faces and arms and legs have flowers on them

Fillybuster Tue 14-Aug-12 15:45:54

I'm an inveterate hoarder, but having 3 dcs bringing home their artistic endeavours on a daily basis has forced me to rethink the habits of a lifetime smile

Any really good efforts get put up in the family room and downstairs lav for a few weeks additional viewing. Apart from that, I allocate a large cardboard box with a lid (the sort that come flat-pack from Ikea) per child for a 2 year period - everything they bring home goes into their box, and then I have a thorough sort-out (when they aren't around) every so often to reduce the amount down to something manageable. When the boxes are full, we go through and look at everything together, then they go away in the attic.

If my experience is anything to go by, the boxes will sit in the attic untouched for the next 30 years....when we finally need the space (or move out), we will deliver the unopened boxes to each child in turn whose dp will put the whole lot still unopened in the bin 12 months later

I love doing arts and crafts activities, and the dcs keep the things they have 'made' (photo frames, clay animals etc) displayed around their bedrooms. The rule is to keep them tidy, throw away broke items and have a clear out on a regular basis. I do think its lovely that they are so proud of their creations smile

We stock up on cheap stuff all year round, and I keep it in my magic crafts cupboard - the 'make your own' kits from the 99p store can be excellent, so I will buy a batch of those if I spot them. We've had some great playdates with summer, with 6 children at a time decorating tshirts, key rings etc, using those.

The children have got a plastic table in the garden and a small unit in the summerhouse full of paint and glitter which they can play with relatively unsupervised outside, which keeps us all happy. Crayons, pencils and pens are allowed inside and I try to limit play-dough to the kitchen.

No major incidents so far, but I'm a scary-mummy (TM) - and monster-child (dc3) is only just 2 - so I'm sure we have it all to come!

Somersaults Tue 14-Aug-12 15:54:33

You can make great fireworks pictures on black paper/card by squeezing a blob of paint onto the paper and then dragging a glue spreader/wrong end of a paintbrush/any type of stick outwardly from the blob to make an explosion. Lots of different colours looks really effective.

Robins and penguins can be made really effectively by finger painting. A thumbprint of brown for the robin's body, a little finger of red on top for his tummy and then when he's dry use a felt top to draw beak, wings, feet on. Same for penguin but with black and white paint. On the right coloured paper these can make nice Christmas cards for grandparents etc.

Handprints in brown paint make good trees and you can fingerprint green leaves all over them. Or orange, red and yellow leaves in autumn.

Somersaults Tue 14-Aug-12 15:59:50

Oooph also you can make amazing elephants using the tops of milk bottles. Cut off the top third, including the handle which will make the trunk. Cut archways into the four sides of the bottle to make legs (this is much more likely to make sense if you're looking a a bottle while you're reading I think!). Cut off the sticky up screw bit where the lid goes on, it will leave a hole in the elephants back but don't worry. Cover the whole thing in tissue paper and PGA glue. Make ears with paper, or wire if you're feeling really adventurous, then all you need to do is cut a rectangle of felt to make a rug for his back to cover up the hole.

ouryve Tue 14-Aug-12 16:31:38

He's less interested now, but when he was younger DS1 used to get a lot of mileage out of cutting up old magazines or catalogues to either decorate tissue boxes or make collages. Yes, there was a lot of mess and he tended to be as quick to dismantle his creation as he was to put it together.

He might be less interested, these days, but we still have a big box of coloured pencil, scissors, glue sticks etc and plenty of plain paper to hand for when he does have a moment. He will often sit and quietly doodle in a notebook with a biro. It's always the same things (streetlights and houses) but he finds it quite soothing.

insanityscratching Tue 14-Aug-12 17:26:50

Do you send them outside with paints or allow them to get 'creative' on the dining room table?
Dd's easel is in the play house so she can paint out there if she likes. What she really likes though is to decorate the walls of the playhouse with murals. Every six months or so dh emulsions in there as a base and dd then creates her scenes sometimes with friends but often alone. It's great to see how her skills are growing as each time the paintings get more sophisticated. She does use the table too I tend to cover the chairs and floor with dust sheets first though
What works well as a cheap art option?
A roll of lining paper and her crayons, felt tips and watercolours or junk modelling and poster paint or the maize shapes that you stick with water.
What's the most mess they've ever managed to make? Or do they manage to keep it all in one place?
She did once strip naked and painted herself in a spiderman suit and was so pleased with herself she ran through the house to show us all and got to me last by which time every room had paint somewhere.
What do you do with the creations? Are they more likely to be stuck on the fridge or assigned to the recycling?
I throw all of them eventually, some are displayed for a short while first though and I take photos of the good ones and put in a photo album for dd
Are you someone who keeps everything, nothing or some special creations? What makes you keep some but not everything?
See above

nextphase Tue 14-Aug-12 18:21:37

Poundland is great for stocking up.
We've also had some good kits from Grafix for £2 each at Asda - the most sucessful with DS1 (just turned 3) was lots of squares of tissue to screw up and stick on pre cut sticky paper, so you could only stick where the backing paper had been removed.

On really cheep, as above, a bucket of water, a paintbrush, and paint the patio or fence.

My 2 also adore getting value lining wall paper, and laying a big sheet on the floor, and getting someone to draw round them while they lie on the paper, and then letting them loose with the crayons.

nextphase Tue 14-Aug-12 18:22:41

Oh, sorry. We keep the best things, and "firsts", and the best recent things go on the kitchen door. If the door is full to the level where the 1 year old can rip them off, we start again at the top, so only 8 pics max can be out.

Gethsemane Tue 14-Aug-12 21:28:41

Its always difficult to know where to draw the line in terms of the maximum permissible amount of mess. I usually end up the wrong side of the line - with paint all over the chairs and a colourful mixture of rice and hundreds and thousands all over the floor (which incidentally makes the floor rather slippery). All in a good cause though eh?!

My one year old DS puts everything in his mouth - so the other day I tried 'play dough' using coloured fondant icing coupled with all those edible sparkly cake decorations instead of the regular 'play dough' brand stuff. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it turns out that one year olds learn pretty quickly. He immediately figured out that it tasted gooood, and that somewhat curtailed the artistic aspects of the project... Oh well.

Gethsemane Tue 14-Aug-12 21:34:26

Oh yes, and artwork goes up on the wall where it can be admired by all and sundry (though not low enough that DS2 can rip bits off and eat them...)

We only keep the kids 'signature' pieces grin)

Making an olympic collage tomorrow using cutouts from all the free london newspapers from the last couple of weeks...

Artwork is usually done inside out of the wind.

allagory Tue 14-Aug-12 22:12:28

We recycle school artwork into birthday cards for people. We sometimes do life sized pictures. Get a big roll of paper, get the kids to trace round each other and fill in the details.

Luckystar96 Wed 15-Aug-12 08:31:43

A favourite of my daughter's (and mine) is scrunching up lots of little bits of coloured tissue paper and making a collage. I may help her draw an outline and she will glue and stick the tissue to create an amazing picture. Keeps her/us busy for ages! Makes great cards too.

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