Art gifts

Two Easy Kids Art Hacks for Lazy Fall Weekends

The approaching fall makes lazy afternoons and weekends even more relaxing, but also sometimes a bit boring for the kids.

When boredom strikes before all the seasonal activities have started, here are some easy art tips for spending an afternoon without sitting on a tablet or phone.

Pearl Painting

All levels of artists and crafters can create abstract art with paint and old bead necklaces. All images: Lisa Tate

This is the “chain” art hack that has been popular for artists on social media, but it’s really too easy and fun, not for all ages.

You will need an inexpensive art canvas (I bought mine at a dollar store), different colors of acrylic paint, and some old party beads. These shouldn’t be hard to find.

First, give the canvas a thick coat of your chosen background color. You don’t need to let it dry, as the wet paint will help the draw go smoother.

Next, cut a few strings of beads. Use any number you like, but I’d keep it between three and six. Make sure these aren’t necklaces you want to wear again, of course. They can, however, be rinsed and reused for painting.

One at a time, lay each string on the canvas, in a serpentine fashion, making sure the bottom ends meet and hang down from the edge.

Pour a few different colors of paint separately into small paper cups. Carefully pour each color onto the chains. Don’t worry if the paint runs together.

Give a plain canvas a thick coat of paint. Add the beads and colorful paint and drag them onto the canvas for a cool pattern.

Now for the fun part! Grab the end of the beads at the bottom and pull them gently across the canvas.

The result will be a cool pattern that looks like some kind of underwater animal or space plant.

Spray some clear acrylic caulk for extra projection, if desired.

If you want to make a miniature, you can use a single string of beads (or even a piece of yarn) on a small piece of canvas or heavy watercolor paper.

cloud characters

Use a cloud as a guide to create a fantasy character or scene.

I used to imagine doing this thing even when I sat in the back seat of my parents’ car on long car trips, and now I see people doing it all the time.

The idea and the method are extremely simple and, well, the sky is the limit.

All you have to do is watch the clouds. Take a photo of the one you find beautiful or interesting. Print it out and draw the character or image you see directly on the image. Use a marker, pencil or colored pencil and be as detailed or minimalistic as you want. You’ll be surprised at what’s hidden in the clouds once you take a closer look.

Printing on card stock keeps the image cleaner, but plain old paper is fine.

Take a photo, print it and draw on it. That’s all we can say about it!

Speaking of road trips, that’s also something a kid can do on a tablet while driving. Take the photo, draw it in an art app like procreate, and walk away. I like to print it out if you’re not on the road, because keeping the kids away from those devices is what these home projects are all about.

Like many art hacks and easy family projects, it’s tempting to do more than one, and I strongly encourage it. Create a whole series for your room or save a few to make homemade gifts.

Fall is right around the corner, but that also means gift-giving season is right around the corner.

What better way for kids to get a head start on gift giving while having fun doing it on a fall afternoon?

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