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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.

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Peach & Green Color Hues Challenge

I was very excited to be the Winner of the Navy & Cream Color Hues Challenge – you can check out that card here. My prize is to be Guest Designer for this challenge, yay!

I ended up creating two cards with peach and green colours, I was having fun with my new (to me) Altenew Watercolor 36 pan set – they are so nice to paint with!

Floral Garden Birthday

I die cut the Hero Arts Flower Garden from watercolour paper and leaving it all together, painted directly onto the entire panel. I found this easier to paint the delicate piece.

I cut two more from Bristol Smooth cardstock to stack behind for dimension.

I did a gentle watercolour wash on another piece of cardstock using Distress Ink Shabby Shutters, a really gentle green. I used a wide paintbrush and painted water over the panel first. I smooshed the ink onto my work surface and picked up colour with my brush, and swept it back and forth across the panel, aiming for a pretty ombre effect. Once dried, I then used the Simon Says Stamp Detail Bohemian Plate to add a little interest – the dot details kind of matched the floral shapes of the die cut.

I cut the larger heart from the Simon Says Stamp Heart Duet set (sadly discontinued, but any heart die would work), and stamped the birthday sentiment and a tiny heart towards the bottom, and a stacked Hero Arts ‘happy’ die cut on top. I finished the flower garden with some dark peach gems and gold Liquid Pearls.

Flower Fields Birthday

I have been using this Flower Fields background stamp in a number of projects lately, and decided to paint it with the peach and green colour way. I stamped the image with Antique Linen Distress Oxide for the ‘no line’ look.

I used the Altenew watercolours to paint this too, using the exact same colours as the above card. This time, I was going for a more subtle look – subtle takes practice!

I used the Honey Bee Stamps Birthday die – this little set comes with the birthday die itself, the shadow die and a further shadow die with extra piercing. There’s a matching sentiment set, and I’ll link to that below too.

I used the plain shadow die to cut the floral panel just below the centre and popped the pieces up with double sided foam onto Gina K Grass Green cardstock. I stacked the birthday die cut with gold in the space between.

I felt the white card base was too stark, so I added a lighter green mat in Jellybean Green. I finished the card with a sentiment from Simon Says Stamp Tiny Words Birthday and a few Peridot gems from Studio Katia.

I have recently discovered a new black ink pad – a friend was visiting and introduced me to the Versafine Clair Nocturne ink pad, an incredibly dark, crisp black. My new favourite for sentiments! Especially those hard to stamp solid lettering sentiments, wow, what a difference! It is a pigment ink, so not suitable for Copic colouring, but you can use it for watercolour.

This completes my pair of cards as Guest Designer for the Color Hues Color Challenge today. Thank you for stopping by! Below are links to the products I used. Some are affiliate links (not all), which simply means I may get a small commission when you shop, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support.

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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.

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Red & Pink Color Hues Color Challenge

Red and pink! Not a pair of colours I would immediately think to pair together, but that’s all part of the challenge I guess!

I know February is usually the month of Valentine themed cards – hearts and flowers easily lend themselves to red and pink tones, but I thought I would challenge myself even further by choosing not to follow those themes. Plus, I am still in need of a bunch of birthday cards as my boxes are critically low.

I also want to quickly congratulate my friend Julie – she won the Red & Grey Color Challenge and is a guest designer for this one! You can see her brilliant Red and Pink card here.

OK. So, I thought balloons would work! I used the Neat & Tangled balloon stencil which is unfortunately discontinued. (I have linked to another balloon stencil below which is similar). I used Distress Inks in Picked Raspberry and Festive Berries and inked up a BUNCH of balloons to pretty much cover my card piece. I ruled lines from some of the balloons down to the bottom as balloon strings with a white gel pen.

I cut the panel with a My Favorite Things stitched rectangle die, and also sprayed it with a bit, well, a lot, of gold shimmer spray.

I stamped and coloured a little girl from the My Favorite Things Birthday Besties set – giving her a pink and red outfit, coloured with Copic Markers. I also added a little shimmer pen and glaze to her shoes and her own balloon for shine.

I cut the image out using the matching die, and I also cut two more from scrap cardstock and stacked them together for a little dimension – this actually turned out to be faster to do than finding foam tape!

The sentiment is from the same stamp set, which I white heat embossed onto a strip of black cardstock to stretch across the card front. The card base itself is Gina K Designs Bubblegum Pink – keeping it in theme too!

This completes my Color Hues Color Challenge today! I have links below to some of the products I have used, some are affiliate links (not all), which simply means I may get a small commission when you shop at no extra cost to you. Thank you for visiting my blog today, I hope you join in with the challenge too!

This completes my card today. Thank you for stopping by! Below are links to the products I have used – some are affiliate links (not all) which simply means I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you when shopping. Thank you for your support – it means I can keep creating and sharing with you.

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.

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Leafy Heart Birthday

I wanted to enter the Hero Arts Stay Crafty Challenge – this month it is to Include A Heart. Given the time of year, a heart card would usually be associated with Valentine’s Day – but I don’t really make those cards unless specifically asked. But I am critically short of birthday cards!!

I taped five of the Hero Arts Infinity Heart dies together with purple tape, and ran them through my Big Shot machine with an embossing pad. Do this with your machine set up for embossing folders rather than a die cutting sandwich. This makes a cool impression rather than cutting and I ended up with the pretty ridged hearts in the background. I trimmed the panel down and splattered a little Perfect Gold Perfect Pearl pigment powder (OMG try saying that fast!).

I cut the Memory Box leafy heart die twice from Neenah cardstock and once from watercolour cardstock. PRO TIP: This is quite an intricate die and I found the Big Shot Chrome Precision plate to be very helpful in getting a quick, clean cut multiple times. I do have a separate review post about the chrome precision plate here.

Before removing the cut from the watercolour cardstock, I laid it down on my craft mat and sprinkled Lime Green Color Burst powder and sprayed with water.

I left that to sit for a bit – it’s quite cool seeing the colour move, and also hard to stop interfering with it! But you end up with a really cool coloured die cut, with many shades of colour, with almost zero effort. I glued the leafy hearts all together and placed it in the centre of the embossed hearts.

I placed the panel onto a piece of Hero Arts Arctic Blue cardstock and adhered it to the front of my Neenah card base. I added gems and a Happy Birthday from the MFT Big Birthday Sentiments set, white heat embossed on a black cardstock strip to finish.

This completes my card today. Thank you for stopping by! Below are links to the products I have used – some are affiliate links (not all) which simply means I may get a small commission at no extra cost to you when shopping. Thank you for your support – it means I can keep creating and sharing with you.

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: