Felt Pencil Pillow
Pencil pillows are always welcome in the classroom, who says you and the kids can’t be comfy? I replicated this pillow from this year’s Target dollar spot and I think I nailed it! Ok, so just like all the other teachers out there this time of year, I am beyond excited to be off for the summer but as soon as the stores put out their back to school stuff I can’t help but get exited! For the past couple years the Target dollar spot hasn’t disappointed, they really have some fun, useful and cool stuff, yep I’m a sucker for it. This year they have a pencil pillow for sale but I haven’t been able to find it so I thought why don’t I make my own and share how I did so.
I’ve also collaborated with the wonderful Trixi Symonds over at colouredbuttons.com for Sew a Softie month! It’s July and it’s time for you to pick up a needle and thread and learn how to make some simple stitches. You can learn a whole lot from Trixi because she’s the expert, check out this link as well... sewasoftie.com. Sew a Softie month is a campaign to encourage kids and their parents or teachers to make more art involving sewing, and for me this will alway be one of my favorites to make with my art classes! The kids really learn a unique skill, it helps them focus, stay on task and become better problem solvers on their own.
So on behalf of Sew a Softie month I’ve put together this pencil pillow tutorial, you’ll be needing a few things including my pencil pattern which you can download in this post below.
Step 1. Fist you’ll have to decide how big you’d like your pillow, mine is about 18”x7.25”. My pattern is designed to print on 8.5”x11” paper so you will have to enlarge it if you’d like but it’s a very simple pattern and shouldn’t be an issue to just freehand your own pattern on a large piece of paper.
Step 2. Cut out your pattern and attach it to your felt, I like to just staple it but you can pin it if you like. Then cut out your shapes with fabric scissors they work best. Be sure to cut two layers of the large yellow piece.
Step 3. Next prepare your needle and thread with the embroidery floss. Use a running stitch to attach all of your pieces to the top layer of yellow felt only. Be sure to stitch on the seems that are inside the shape, don’t stitch the edges.
Step 4. Stitch on any other details you’d like, then stitch all around the edges, I used a blanket stitch for this, it’s much stronger and looks nice too. Leave an opening at the end to stuff with fiber fill.
Step 5. Fill your pillow and stitch up the remainder and bam! You have a cute little pencil lumbar pillow!
Have you found everything you wanted from the Target dollar spot? Did you make one of my felt pillow projects? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Plush Felt Mermaid Tail
Hello everyone and welcome to the summer season, I’m celebrating with FinFunMermaid.com to bring you this felt, plush mermaid tail! Sewing and stitching is such a great summer activity to do with the kids and it will definitely keep them busy and entertained.
How cute is this green and teal mermaid tail, make it any size you'd like using my template, it'll be a great addition to any under the sea themed celebration. You could even turn this little tail into a key chain!
Making little stuffed plush projects is a lot of fun and it’s a truly unique way to make art, I highly recommend trying this type of activity, you don’t need a whole lot of materials either. So get your felt and try a new project today!
I’ve partnered with Fin Fun Mermaid and created this special project inspired by their fun, real mermaid tails you could wear in the pool! Just check out my template and see my video tutorial below for full instructions on how I put this felt project together.
Here’s what you’ll need.
Be sure to check out FinFunMermaid.com for fun accessories and super cool gadgets for summer fun in the pool! Also, share the felt projects you've made, I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!
Felt Donut Stuffed Plush
Felt donuts... or is it doughnuts? Hm whichever one, these sweet confections are sure to satisfy your craving for a sugary treat! See my quick video tutorial and directions on how to make your own felt plush donut in this post!
Hello there everyone, it’s been a while, I have to say that lately I’ve been in a creative blog, project, art making slump but I’m back with these awesome felt foods. This time I’m sewing again with my students and surprisingly they are really into it, it’s kind of cool seeing teenagers (yes, I teach high school now) all staying engaged and working nicely on making a felt food! We also took inspiration from Lucy Sparrow a fantastic U.K. artist who’s made thousands of felt plush projects by hand, it’s incredible, check her out!
So these days I’m teaching High School but it doesn’t stop me from doing fun, interactive and creative projects like this with teenage students. It does seem as if they enjoy it, don’t quote me though. Even if at the end of the day a student feels like “what’s the point of this?” or “this is dumb” or “this isn’t for me” at least I know that through these feelings they’re at least learning some fundamental skills like how to do a simple stitch, which might come in handy one day, ya never know! Plus they are learning some problem solving skills and just some basic concepts about assembling materials to achieve a final product, most of which comes incidentally. So if you’re having second thoughts about teaching felt, stuffed foods to the older kids then don’t worry, they’re going to like it a lot! Most of them anyway! Haha
Ok, so my tutorial video below was rather long so I sped it up quite a bit, it gives you a quick overview on how to make one of these donuts. There are also tons of other resources on the web for you to reference as well so feel free to add your own tricks to these kinds of projects. My friend Trixi over at colouredbuttons.com is a wiz at sewing and she has some great tutorials if you’d like to get started there on learning how to sew.
Step 1. First decide what you want to make, it doesn’t even have to be a donut, could be any food or an animal perhaps. Then create a pattern out of paper. The pattern for a donut is probably the most simple, it’s just a circle with a smaller circle in the middle. Use the donut pattern to help you make a separate pattern for the frosting. I also suggest avoiding small or narrow details when designing your felt plush, they’re difficult to work with.
Step 2. I like to staple my patterns to the felt so they don’t move while I’m cutting them out, you of course can use pins to keep your pattern in place if you have them. Pins are not an option for me in the classroom, a staple or two works fine and they barely effect the felt.
Step 3. Be sure you have the correct number of layers! So for the donut I need two layers of the cream colored felt, these two layers get stitiched together and the fiber filling goes in between. You also need a layer of felt for the frosting which gets stitiched to the top layer of cream colored felt first.
Step 4. Stitch on sprinkles in several different colors using the running stitich. Don’t forget to stitch on the frosting as well along the edges.
Step 5. Stitch the two layers of cream colored felt around the perimeter using the blanket stitch, it’s much more secure and visually it looks nicer.
Step 6. Stuff your donut with fiber filling before stitching the donut closed, then complete the stitching to seal the opening.
Enjoy making your felt foods, I hope you make lots of fun desserts! Remember to share your ideas and creations with me here at The Art Dream!
Cookie Cutter Clay Unicorns
So have you worked with Model Magic yet? If not then definitely start here with these easy to make unicorns using a cookie cutter! If you like the one I used then check it out here at Sweetapolita. This is such a fun way to keep the magic of the holidays alive and going because who really wants to let go? I don’t! So make a whole tray of these (just don’t eat ‘em) and get them decorated to give out to friends and family. Kids will also love making these at home or in the classroom.
I’ve also worked with RedTedArt.com on Maggy’s “31 Days of Love” crafting extravaganza to bring you these little clay uni’s, you can see the post there along with a bunch of other wonderful crafts made by some talented artists and crafters.
If you’re looking for a great art material to work with then definitely try Model Magic by Crayola I’ve raved about it before and I will again, it’s very versatile, clean and easy to work with. Grab your favorite art materials and the kids to get them started on creating their own unicorn pet. They will also make great Valentine’s for the whole class.
Step 1. First choose your clay, I love Model Magic by Crayola, it’s soft and malleable while being super clean for projects at home.
Step 2. Roll out your clay on a smooth, flat surface, try to keep it even like you would for cookie dough.
Step 3. Press your cookie cutter firmly into your clay, remove the excess first and then carefully remove the clay shape from the cookie cutter.
Step 4. Allow your clay to dry before painting, typically 24 hours is sufficient enough.
Step 5. Brush your entire unicorn with glue and sprinkle on super fine glitter. Then add a chunky glitter to details like the horn, mane and tail.
Step 6. If you’d like you can make a hole (for hanging) in your clay by using a plastic straw or you can glue on a magnet to the back.
Enjoy making your clay unicorns, be sure to get creative in the way you use them, perhaps glue them to the front of a card, hang them from a small tree, glue a magnet to the back to put on the fridge or simply put them on display. Also, be sure to share your creations with me in the comments below!
Paper Lantern Inspired by Enduring Issues
This paper lantern is a symbol for finding the light in the face of darkness. My students are focusing on conflicts that we have faced time and time again. Make a beautiful lantern with glowing images that have meaning and purpose. Lanterns have also always been one of my favorite things. They have been around for millenniums and have really become a symbol for hope and change.
We as and nation and throughout the world have always faced challenges but I feel like now more than ever these challenges should be things of the past. It really is sad to see that “enduring issues” are a topic for every social studies, government or history classes. What makes an issue “enduring”, well it’s the fact that there never was a solution. If we can’t come to an agreement on something like racism, then what are we doing? I suppose the question is why? And how do we ever get to a place where “enduring issues” just become a matter of the past?
For this project I used my Cricut machine and a simple lantern pattern which you can find on the system if you search “lantern”. I cut it out as big as I could using the 12”x24” mat. I drew four images on a transparent piece of paper. You could use something like vellum or even tracing paper then add color with markers or colored pencils. Cut or trim your images if you have to in order to glue them into the frames of the lantern. Then, assemble the lantern and place a flameless tea light candle inside!
The subjects you choose to depict are of course totally up to you, I have chosen to show balance of power, civil rights, environmental issues and gun violence.
Take a close look at how I’ve assembled this project in the video below. I hope you guys enjoy it!
Halloween Model Magic Sculptures
It is Halloween time again folks, my all time favorite! And I’ve recently been obsessed with molding Model Magic by Crayola. This clay like material is so versatile and fun to work with, it’s very malleable and the best part is that it’s super clean, so you can let the kids make art with it at the table or in the classroom without the mess that’s made from other clays. Here I’m going to show you a few examples of the spooky Halloween sculptures I’ve made. However, I didn’t make photo tutorials for these but I will tell you all about ‘em!
Above is this chic and scary scene, I think I went a little modern spooky on this one and I’m so happy with how it turned out. So don’t forget that Model Magic works great in molds. You can of course buy silicone molds online but I went to the dollar store and bought hollow plastic decorations like skulls and pumpkins too. The plastics are cheap and thin enough to cut with an Exacto knife or craft knife so that they can be used as molds. Ice trays are also fantastic for molding Model Magic and creating your own sculptures.
The frames are a silicone mold I bought on Amazon, they are great and came in a set of 7. After you press the Model Magic into your molds just pop them out and let them dry overnight. The Model Magic doesn’t fully harden for at least a week or two but you can start painting the next day. Paint the Model Magic with craft paint and embellish how you’d like. For my skull above I glued on some plastic gems!
Check out my photos below for a quick look at the rest of the materials I used!
Check out this guy laying exposed in his grave, poor soul! Ok so for this guy I casted my own mold using something called mold gel. The skeleton is one of the little plastic decorations you find in the dollar store. You mix the mold gel according to the directions, pour it into a small, deep tray or receptacle and then place the plastic toy/decoration or whatever it is you want to cast into the mold gel, let it dry then pop the plastic figure out, the remaining result is a mold very similar to a store bought silicone mold. You can then use it to create your sculptures. The tombstone and pumpkin were molded from an ice cube tray.
I just love this little spooky scene! It’s like a complete piece of Halloween heaven! Oh and I’ve also added some glow in the dark paint to this sculpture for a bit more of Halloween magic!
Definitely the most gruesome of them all is this zombie head. I took one of the larger plastic skulls from the dollar store, cut it in half and used it as a mold. After I had my skull I added Model Magic features like, eyes, ears and a nose. This helped it to look less like a skull and more like a zombie’s face. All of the details help too like the flaps of skin, lips and some texture like forehead lines and the holes in the chin. Some great tools to use for sculpting are plastic palette knives and toothpicks!
Be creative and have fun, Halloween is also about imperfections so remember that your sculptures don’t have to be perfect!
Halloween Tree & Treetopia Giveaway
Ever since I was a kid I could always remember being absolutely enchanted by Halloween, there is such a fascinating magic about it's uniqueness and the traditions we’ve grown to love. I truly love this time of year and kind of wish it would last forever!
I’ve partnered with Treetopia.com to create this mysterious black Halloween tree which really brings that feeling of the spooky season into the room, the orange lights, the skeletons, pumpkins and paper houses all compliment this fantastic Halloween tree. In this post I’m going to share with you a few things, one, my cute little Halloween paper houses which you can find in the shop here at The Art Dream! And two, this awesome giveaway presented by Treetopia!
Ok, so for the giveaway, just visit me on Instagram for all of the rules and to enter, the prize is a $100.00 gift card for Treetopia! Good luck and Happy Halloween!
I just love these little paper haunted houses for Halloween, I think they hold such importance for the season because without our loving neighborhoods where would the kids go trick or treating? These houses are a symbolic reference to the neighborhood we love all haunted and ready for Halloween! Houses play such a pivotal role in our communities, they’re our homes and where all of the memories of Halloween are made. I’ve created many of these houses over the years and this time they’ve ended up on my Treetopia tree as ornaments. If you like these paper haunted houses then you can find them in the shop here at The Art Dream!
I’ll show you how I’ve added the bases and bottle brush trees as well as how to construct the houses themselves!
Take a look at my video tutorial for constructing these houses, it seems complicated but it’s really fun to do and so rewarding when they’re all finished!
If you’d like to turn them into ornaments for your Halloween tree then check out my photo tutorial below.
Step 1. Cut out equal numbers of both cardboard and black cardstock paper circles at about 3 1/2 inches.
Step 2. Paint your bottle brush trees like candy corns with craft paint, let them dry while you work on the rest of the project.
Step 3. Spread tacky glue evenly on the cardboard circles and glue on a black circle.
Step 4. Spread glue on top of the black circle and sprinkle on glitter, allow the circles to dry well. You can even sandwich them in a book to be sure they dry nice and flat.
Step 5. Lastly, hot glue your houses to the base along with your bottle brush trees. Glue on string or ribbon for hooks. Add whatever other details you’d like!
If you want to check out the tree I used in this post then just visit this link here to Treetopia!
Elements of Art Poster Set
Have you been looking for some elements of art posters and always end up finding the same ol’ thing? I do, that’s why I created these fun posters to hang in my classroom so my students can reference them any time! The elements of art are the foundation of art making which is ever changing, let’s change our reference right along with it!
If you like these posters then get them here in the shop at The Art Dream! Might as well check out my other fantastic printables while you’re at it!
So yep, I’m kind of bored and tired of the elements of art posters I find in art supply catalogues, aren’t you? They’re all the same and they don’t reflect my art making or teaching style. Plus they are dated and not very pleasing to look at in my opinion and they are so expensive!
So I thought well I’m a creative artist, why don’t I make my own? Although they aren’t going to be the biggest posters, they’re still 7 of them which is great for a small bulletin board or a tri-fold foam core board display, something I could whip out when needed. I actually have a long and narrow bulletin board along the top of my classroom that is too short for posters so these will be perfect to occupy that spot!
There are 7 posters included in this purchase, color, line, shape, texture, form, space and value. All of them designed by me to convey the elements in a fun and trendy way. I want my students to be able to look at these posters and immediately understand why each element is important so they can apply the techniques to their own artwork!
These posters can be stapled right to a bulletin board, trimmed down, laminated, framed or however you choose to display them! Be sure to put a big “Elements of Art” sign above them so everyone knows just what they are. Have fun and be creative.
The download can be found in the shop, just follow the link!
Fortnite Loot Llama Plush
Are your kids into playing Fortnite? It’s a fun online game but it’s a bit violent, so for those of you who don’t really know what it is then parents be advised. The idea of the game is to battle your opponents on an open field using weapons ultimately eliminating your enemy. There are several game options... a solo mode, groups and large teams. Teams work together to eliminate the other team including using a building strategy hence the “fort” in Fortnite where you use materials to create a protective wall between your character and your opponent.
Anyway, that’s the gist of it, here is a little stuffed felt project inspired by a piñata llama that you can find in the game, when it’s opened gear falls out for you to collect such as weapons, ammo and healing items. Your kids will know what it is!
The game is a pretty good source of discussion, I could probably go on and on about how kids are obsessing over a game where you have to shoot other people to eliminate them or “kill” them. It’s a topic that feels very sour rolling off the tongue for such as we live in a very violent world especially here in the United States where school shootings are all too normal.
So how do we rationalize a game such as this? Do we use it as a tool to discuss the differences between pretend and reality and let the kids have a healthy dose of harmless video game playing? Or do we speak out against such games that promote violence? The game is given an ESRB rating of “T” for teen which is deemed suitable for kids 13 and over, so it’s up to you as a parent to decide what’s appropriate for your youngster.
The visuals of the game are very cartoon-y and colorful making it appeal very much to young people and something like the Loot Llama only helps to draw in a young crowd with its childish cuteness. So you can see how the developers are very smart in their strategy for captivating a wide audience including adults.
As a video game player myself I’ve always understood the difference between fantasy and reality. I think it’s ok to escape into a video game for a bit and “shoot the bad guys” but let’s teach the kids and make sure they aren’t conflating reality with video games. Healthy competition is a good thing and sometimes kids have to learn how to handle a loss... this is big with online play, taking a loss can be very difficult for kids, just look it up on YouTube and you’ll find some pretty angry kids haha!
I’d love to hear what you think about this topic so feel free to comment on this post below!
Pull kids away from the game once in a while and create a fun project like my stuffed felt Loot Llama, it’ll teach them a new skill (sewing/stitching) while still feeding their appetite for Fortnite! We have to learn to pick our battles too so why not take some of their current interests and turn them into fun, engaging art projects?
The llamas above were created by myself and my 11 year old niece! She did an amazing job, and it was completely made by her with minimal help from me!
I’ve collaborated with Trixi Symonds over at colouredbuttons.com on this project for “Sew a Softie” month. You can find some great sewing tutorials and tips from Trixi so be sure to visit Coloured Buttons for more info on how to sew. If you’d like to see my full tutorial and get the pattern for this loot llama then keep reading!
This guy is such a goof but his likeness has taken over the gaming world, you’ll only need a few things to get you flying into action!
1. First print out the Loot Llama pattern. Cut out the shapes.
2. I like to staple my pattern onto two pieces of felt but you can pin them on if you’d like. Cut out the felt so that you have two shapes that are exactly the same.
3. Remove the pattern. Now you’re ready to sew. Use your favorite stitch to stiitch around the edges, I used the blanket stitch.
4. Leave a nice size gap before you finish stitching to fill the llama with fiber filling. Then stitch it closed. I made sure my gap was at the belly.
5. Cut out 1 inch strips of felt, then using document shredding scissors cut fringe into the strips.
6. Hot glue the strips onto the llama starting at the bottom overlapping as you make your way up.
7. Cut out details like the saddle, eyes, mouth straps etc and glue them right on with hot glue.
Butterfly and Bee Printable Crafts
It’s the perfect time to make some fluttering friends with the kids, students, your family or even your friends! Just try my free printables from The Art Dream! All you need is a toilet tube and some imagination. If you like these then check out my shop too for even more fun and exciting crafts for everyone!
I’ve gotten such nice feedback on these cute butterfly and Bee papercrafts and I thought with the nice weather finally approaching that it be nice to share these crafts with you again. So grab some materials and get outside to make these little bugs.
Download the bee below right here at The Art Dream! If you like the butterfly then visit the link to hellowonderful.co for the download!
Above is an example my friend Cara from raisingkinley.com created with her daughter Kinley! They came out great! So glad t0 hear you guys had fun making the butterflies!
Please right click the file and save it to your computer before printing. If you are having trouble with the printed size of the image, make sure that you select "fit to page" or "print actual size" in your printer options window. Do not print from the open window of your internet browser after clicking on the file, your printout will be very tiny!
Step 1. Print the color your own bee, then color with your choice of markers, crayons etc.
Step 2. Cut with scissors or a craft knife.
Step 3. Wrap around a toilet tube. Secure with glue, tape or a stapler.
Step 4. Fold back tabs on wings and glue them to the sides of the tube.
Step 5. Add your own details if you'd like.
I'm John, an artist and art educator. The Art Dream is here to spark creativity and inspire the little artist inside of you!
Ice Dragon Head Printable
Feel the icy breath of this mighty dragon, it’s a dance of fire and ice that’ll leave you in awe. Just add your own streamers to create that blast of blustery snow!
Mermaid Tube Craft Printable
Who would dream about the world above the sea when you could dream about the world that is under the sea, where such beautiful creatures like this mermaid must exist! Don't they? I've started your journey of crafting this beautiful sea creature, it's up to you to add magical hair and dress up her fins!
NEW Unicorn Head Tube Craft Printable
This makes my third style change for my super magical unicorn head toilet tube craft! This version truly represents the whimsical nature of these mystical creatures. Add your own colorful streamers to make this easy tube craft printable!