Posted on Leave a comment

Rainbow Class – For Kids!

I had the pleasure of opening up my craft room these school holidays for a group of four young girls, aged 8, to spend an afternoon learning about the basics of card making. I thought I would share here how I curated the class and how it all went on the day, so you might feel inspired to invite kids to your craft space too.

I have taught classes for adults at my local store for the past couple of years which has been a huge learning curve. Those adult classes are heavily technique based, so the class attendees can take the skill and apply it in their own craft space. Teaching kids is a whole new proposition I noticed however! The kids want to have the fun of learning a new skill, not necessarily to go home and make more, because for them this is considered simply a fun activity. However, hopefully they would want to come back and make more with me again some time.

I think one of the most appealing things about making cards from a beginner’s perspective is that splash of colour, the ease in which you can have beautifully cut shapes and letters, stamping cute images, adding sparkle and pretty finishing touches. That’s all before you realise you can share the fun by sending your creation along to a friend or loved one!

The two cards and the sweet treat candy pop we made in class.

Having thought about what might appeal to young girls to make up as cards, I settled on a rainbow with pink tones, a card with an embossed background together with a simple coloured image, and the most appealing thing of all – sweets! What kid can say no to candy? In fact, there was MUCH debate during the class about who they’d give their cards to, but they were unanimous in the intention of sending the candy treats to themselves!

Basic skills covered in class were die cutting, stencilling with glitter paste, stamping with both black and coloured inks, watercolour painting die cuts, copic colouring a simple image and a die cut, and embossing a card panel. Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? You are right.

Prep, Prep, Preparation is Key

I wanted the girls to actually experience the ‘doing’ of certain skills, so I chose components of the cards that I thought they would enjoy seeing come to fruition, that were important steps in the process. I really wanted them to have the satisfaction of creating art and seeing their work come together in their finished projects.

At the age of 8, the girls are more than capable of achieving most steps of the card creation. Preparation of their kit did include die cutting many components, trimming cardstock to the correct size, pre-stamping some things where I could, simply because of time constraint and trying to ensure the pace of the class didn’t make them feel overwhelmed or (worse!) bored.

Here’s a photo of what was contained in their kits. The larger pieces include two Neenah Classic Crest Solar White #110 card bases, two card fronts in Bazzill Icy Mint (one was trimmed down to 5 3/8 x 4 1/8″, the other was a standard 5 1/2 x 4 1/4″), a Bazzill Sour Lemon piece large enough for The Greetery candy top, a white candy bottom including the ripper circle and a Lawn Fawn stitched cloud edge panel.

The smaller components include Taylored Expressions rainbow pieces, The Greetery candy spiral and candy ends in watercolour paper, a second candy spiral in white sparkle glitter paper, three Happy Birthday circle die cuts and a stamped Narwhal image from My Favorite Things, a white circle to fit onto the Happy Birthday circle, and holographic circle cut slightly smaller. Finally, a plastic bubble for their candy pop was included – they are 1/2″ deep, 2″ in diameter, purchased from either The Greetery, Simon Says Stamp, or Papertrey Ink.

Craft Room Set Up

My craft room is my dining room generally – handily close to the kitchen for snacks lol, and clean up (tour it here for a better view and even some storage inspiration). I often have friends over to ‘play’ and we have craft dates, plus my own daughter Amélie loves to join in with crafting sometimes.

You can kinda see I have my table generally in the centre of the room (pushed a little towards one corner today to allow more space for me to get around the occupants at the table). I use my TV for Youtube (i.e. Jennifer McGuire!) and having movies/TV shows on in the background whilst creating. I did cast a photo via Google Photos of the cards we were doing so the girls could see them clearly without risking the actual cards amongst the mess.

Before it all started – Amélie at the back, Journey at the front, my cards on the telly!

There is enough space at my table for four participants. I ended up with four paying participants, so Amélie had to step aside and become an official helper on the day (which she happily did). She is just 7, and a very keen cardmaker, so we did a special session the night before where she created the cards for herself, and therefore knew how to help on the day.

Actually it was great we did that, because based on that session, there was a step in the process I decided to skip entirely (heat embossing – thought I’d save that for another day), and I realised if some of the more fiddly glueing was done, that would save A LOT of frustration (and glue I imagined) at the end, without taking away from their learning. (I like to stack die cuts on my cards, so pre-glueing a few components definitely saved some time).

Each station has a tray with a kit, paint palette, cup of water, glue and a glass mat

Each girl had a wee tray with their kit (I use these little square trays in my adult classes too and they are invaluable for keeping small pieces contained and saves mixing kit bits up with their neighbours.

They also had a little plastic paint palette with a dab of each of the four colours of Nuvo Shimmer powders, a cup of water and a paintbrush.

I also had a box of selected Copic markers and a pack of baby wipes in the centre of the table – we certainly went through those!

Stamp platforms all lined up!

I placed stamps into various stamp platforms lined up on my cabinets ready for them to stamp. I felt that using acrylic blocks would result in mistakes and frustration for young beginners (for adults I always get them to stamp with an acrylic block first before introducing them to a stamp platform).

I had pairs of stamps set up for the Happy Birthday on the rainbow card, the sentiment and stars for the candy pop, and decorative stamps for the Rainbow pieces. We ended up not stamping the rainbow decorations in the end, mainly because the girls painted their rainbows in various colours rather than simply copying mine (which was awesome, but didn’t match my stamping ink! ).

The Projects

For the Rainbow Card, I thought the girls would really enjoy stencilling with glitter paste (like, who wouldn’t??). I pre-taped the stencil with painter’s tape, so all they had to do was line it up over their light blue piece of cardstock, press it down onto their mat and gave them the spatula. They really did quite well, and I simply swiped up the excess paste with the Stencil pal, giving them the smooth final finish and returning excess paste to the jar. They lifted the stencil and passed it on to their neighbour. I actually had two very similar MFT stencils, so this process went reasonably quickly. Stencils and spatulas were dumped into the kitchen sink for clean up.

They then painted the pre-cut pieces from watercolour paper (the rainbow, plus the candy pop swirl and ends).

We used Nuvo Shimmer Powders to paint with – something different from the standard kids’ paint palettes they may have been used to in their own art collection. Nuvo Shimmer Powders are great because the colours are bright and vivid with immediate results, they are shimmery, a little powder goes a long way and they can learn to darken or lighten the colour with water as they desired. They even got bold and mixed colours, resulting in some fun rainbows.

After they had fun stencilling and painting and all those pieces were set aside to dry, we moved on to adding colour with markers. I chose a simple image and a pair of light and dark copic pens for them to learn to add a little basic shading. Narwhals of various colours emerged here too.

I had pre-glued the fiddly Happy Birthday circles together to create a stacked element. They just had to add colour to the letters in whatever palette/pattern they wanted – some very pretty pastel rainbows came out!

They die cut the Narwal image with the matching die – those who got a bit carried away with their colouring were relieved they still had a cute image once cut, and one girl was particularly happy hers still had that white edge, just like my sample.

They had a yellow piece of cardstock in their kits, and they die cut the top half of the candy piece – I had the two dies taped together to cut the main shape and the circle window at the same time.

They then stamped the sentiment with black ink, and some stars with Delicata silver shimmer ink with stamps already set up in the two stamp platforms.

They also stamped the Happy and Birthday onto the cloud panel for the rainbow card set up in the other two platforms. (Be prepared for a bit of a clean up of stamps later!)

Lastly, I had the Big Shot set up so they could send their second (slightly smaller) pale blue piece of cardstock through with the Memory Box Waves Embossing folder – they were thrilled with the ease and amazing result they got!

The main rush of ‘doing’ was over, we had pretty much completed all major components and they were able to settle in and glue things together. All of the above had taken around an hour and fifteen minutes, so I was feeling pretty confident that we were going to complete everything within the 2 hour window I was aiming for – despite various visits from my two nosey dogs distracting the girls who wanted to cuddle them desperately! Motivation was retained by reminding them about the Skittles Smoothies I had to fill their candy bubbles!

I let the girls loose with my Art Glitter Glue (I would recommend decanting your glue into four smaller bottles with fine tips, I just happen to have a ridiculous amount of this glue as it is a fave, and used in my adult classes all the time). They quickly learned they didn’t need much, and that they could control the flow with the fine tip quite well. I gave them the option of not stacking their rainbow die cuts to save a step, but they saw the difference having that stacked dimension gave, and all four chose to do that extra little bit of work for an improved final result.

Journey with her finished cards and sweet treat! Didn’t she do well?

I didn’t really need to have much input apart from encouragement after that – they happily referred to the photograph of the cards and candy pop on my TV screen so they could all see what the finished product should look like. In the end, all their projects were almost exact replicas apart from some small colour choices of their own that they had made at the start.

We were all done comfortably within the allotted 2 hour time slot, and the girls went home with their finished projects – still talking about who’s birthday was next coming up and when they’d eat the treats!

Argh, I didn’t manage to get a photo of the final results of the other girls’ projects in the excitement of finishing, tying of strings, hugging of dogs and the arrival of mums and aunties – but rest assured, they were amazing!

OK, a summary of advice:

  • keep the projects reasonably simple but not too basic;
  • stick to a simple, vibrant colour palette;
  • some of the ‘wow factor’ elements really are the simplest – embossing, die cutting and using quality products to get quality results;
  • pre-cut, pre stamp, pre-glue things that are time consuming where possible – let their time be spent doing the fun stuff;
  • allow for individuality – colour or layout choices for example – and a little experimentation (kids love trying things out!);
  • a two hour class is probably the absolute maximum time you’ll keep their attention.

Thank you for taking the time to visit! I hope this post inspires you to encourage young people to craft too.

For more in-depth information about the best value supplies for your craft table, from cardstock to the handiest tools, check out my Best of the Basics series.

Follow me on my social media channels:

Posted on 1 Comment

Christmas Trees!

Much like reindeer, I can’t help myself when it comes to Christmas Trees! And I fell in love with this Christmas Tree for sure.

In addition to a card making class being taught this month at Scrapbook Central Petone, I thought I would outline here some of the extra cards I made using the same Christmas Tree die used in class.

In the class (pictured left), the Echo Park Merry Christmas Tree die set is used, along with a chipboard set from Celebra8. The class covers ink smooshing, textured tissue and heat embossing to create these three bright and fun Christmas cards.

However, I have had a bunch of fun with the Christmas Tree die itself!

The die set includes the tree, a tree trunk, a die that cuts 6 round circles for baubles/ornaments, the star for the top and the Merry Christmas sentiment.

I really like the fun, whimsical shape of the tree, and the font of the Merry Christmas. It really is a great value set to add to your stash.

Firstly, I spent some time creating a couple of background pieces using strips of scrap cardstock from my stash. Whenever I create a card and cut down my inked, heat embossed and stamped panels, I keep the leftover pieces that would normally be thrown away, and store them to be cut into strips for times like this.

Check out how I store these scraps, along with general cardstock organisation ideas.

I pulled out all my green pieces and cut them into strips, about 1/4″ wide.

Using a piece of copy paper or refill paper (anything thin and lightweight), I used some Stick-It adhesive sheets to cover the entire piece with the strips. You could simply cover the same panel with glue, or glue each strip separately. Placing the strips on a diagonal does help alleviate the stress of trying to keep all of the strips straight.

Strips using plain green cardstocks.
Strips of various green leftover pieces and some gold glitter.
Strips of various green leftover pieces

OK, my bright and fun background pieces are ready to be cut down and used for cards. Because I used thin paper, they will die cut perfectly easily.

The plain green cardstock strips are basically of three different widths – 1/2″, 1/4″ and 1/8″ – glued down 2 each, dark to light, top to bottom.

I trimmed it down so I had reasonably even margins on both sides and the bottom and glued it to the top of the card base. I added a couple of pieces of scrap cardstock beneath for that extra dimension.

I cut trees from white cardstock, along with Merry Christmas in white cardstock with a gold glitter one on top. I added gold Nuvo drops to finish.

I cut down the bright striped panel using the mid sized Pinkfresh Studio Elegant Banner – such a pretty shape!

I also cut the stitched larger banner in white to sit behind the green striped panel for gentle added interest. I did lift the green panel with some scrap cardstock for that extra dimension.

I cut three white trees and glued them together. The die set includes the star which I cut from the same gold glitter cardstock used as strips in the background. The sentiment is from Lawn Fawn “Say What Christmas Critters” – used in last year’s Christmas Tag class.

I think this tree is perfect for Christmas Tags – and you know I LOVE tags!

I created a striped background on a smaller piece without the gold glitter and cut the tree from it.

I simply added the tree onto a Lawn Fawn tag, along with a white Merry (stacked three times for dimension), a gold twine bow and a white ribbon on the top for finishing.

I also had some further fun with the tree, in other ways.

This was FUN to do! I wish I took more process pictures, but I will try to explain how I achieved this finish.

I smeared some Rustic Wilderness Oxide ink onto my craft mat and anda dab of white embossing paste. Using my spatula, I mixed the two together to create a green paste.

I glued two die cut trees together (actually the top one was of light green cardstock), added a scrap cardstock temporary handle, and smeared the green paste all over it – I found a solid spatula to be easier to use than a rubber one.

Using my solid plastic/metal spatula, I made flicking motions through the paste to try and mimic the fall of the branches. I added more ink to my paste to add darker colour streaks to my tree branches.

It’s a little hard to see from the photo, but I did add a sprinkle of Nuvo glitter whilst creating the branches, adding a pretty, shimmer to the tree. The glitter does need to be pressed into the paste somewhat to stick, so it’s easier to add this while working with the paste.

I clear heat embossed some Bazzill Pomegranate Splash cardstock with the My Favorite Things Christmas Words background stamp. I then cut three Pinkfresh Studio oval frames from white cardstock, and added them to the front. I slotted one of the leftover oval pieces into the frame and glued the tree inside, I coloured the trunk with brown copic markers.

This is one of those occasions where I am loathe to put anything on the front, as the tree is too pretty to cover up! – but may consider a fine black die cut Merry Christmas when I next delve into my stash.

In this one, you can see I had some fun colouring the die cuts with Copic markers. I also used the cute Echo Park Christmas Reindeer – I am in LOVE with this guy – he will feature in next month’s Christmas Tag class too.

For the background, I simply added white embossing paste over a Celebr8 abstract line stencil, not quite getting out to the edges.

I arranged the elements above a black strip with gold heat embossed sentiment, along wth a couple of cute wee gifts with gold ribbon. And probably went a little overboard with gems!

Not quite last, it turns out trees aren’t just for Christmas!

I went full rainbow here, and inked up each die cut tree with a Distress Ink – Festive Berries Carved Pumpkin, Mustard Seed, Mowed Lawn, Prize Ribbon, Salty Ocean and Wilted Violet.

I then clear heat embossed each tree with a fine floral stamp from Carta Bella. You could use any stamp you have in your stack for this. I wiped the ink away with a baby wipe, leaving a resist – the darker ink is trapped beneath the clear embossing, leaving a clear stamped impression.

I arranged four trees along the back, directly onto the card base and three trees to the front row. The three in the front are lifted with a couple of extra die cut trees beneath.

I then added a strip along the bottom with a stamped Happy Birthday and a thin strip of gold glitter cardstock for a nice finish.

Last one, I promise! For today anyway 😀 (Did I mention how much I love this tree??)

These strips are left over from a previous session I had – all coloured with Nuvo shimmer powders.

The background is created just like we did at the beginning, and the tree cut from it. I stamped directly onto the tree with back ink, an MFT sentiment, and a bow made with silver cord. A white ribbon finishes of the top of the tag as well.

If you’ve reached this far, I do thank you! I hope you are inspired to go off and create today too!

For more in-depth information about the best value supplies for your craft table, from cardstock to the handiest tools, check out my Best of the Basics series.

Follow me on my social media channels: