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Fun Popcorn Projects For Rainy Weather

On those days when the weather is lousy, children can get rather bored and unsettled. As a matter of fact, you may even get a little restless yourself. When the weather conditions keeps you inside it's great to plan a few crafts for some great family time. Even if you're running low on art supplies, you can frequently find anything you might need in a cupboard in your kitchen. If you have a bag of un-popped popcorn, you will have enough supplies to entertain both you and your kid for the entire afternoon. The following are some great tips for some straightforward crafts you can do with popcorn.

Colorful Bean Bags

While they aren't called "corn bags", you can still use popcorn as a replacement for beans in these creative little baggies. In reality, they can even be easier to use than beans because they are not as big. Get a few fabric scraps and sew them into small bags. If you are particularly creative, you could actually make them into special shapes, for example cars or critters. But if you choose to keep it simple you can just make plain squares, but make sure you leave roughly 2 inches open on just one of the sides. Don't forget to put the right sides of the fabric together before sewing, so that you will be able to flip them before filling them. After you sew the bags, dump your popcorn kernels into a large bowl. Your children can then fill up the bags with the popcorn. This process is easier if you use a funnel. After you have filled up the bag about two thirds full, you can sew it shut. You can then put together a few fun games which can be played indoors, such as a competition to see who is able to toss the most bean bags in a box or pail. Or you can play another tossing game with the bean bags, like "Hot Potato". Don't forget to take some pictures of these fun memories which are being made, so that you will be able to place them in some picture frames.

Mosaic Artwork

If your popcorn is multi-colored, mosaic art is a great thing to create. Give your youngster a square of lightweight cardboard, such as a piece of poster board. Then they can draw easy designs on the cardboard as a guide for putting on the popcorn. Cover each part of the design with white glue. Then apply the popcorn to the wet glue. Apply different colors of the popcorn to different parts of the drawing until the whole design is covered. After they dry, you could even put a few of these pieces of art in picture frames, presenting them on the wall. Or, make us of the mosaics as eye-catching trivets.

Popcorn Strands And Necklaces

Stringing popcorn is often a lot of fun, even when it isn't the holiday time of year. Pop a big bowl of popcorn. Then hand each kid a yarn needle threaded with quilting thread or lightweight string. They can then string the popped kernels, alternating with some dry cereal rings if they want to for variety. You can then drape the pretty strands around your house as decorations. Or, create shorter strands, knotting the ends together to form popcorn necklaces. Take some shots of your sweet youngsters wearing their lovely popcorn necklaces, and then place them in a few fun picture frames.

So if you're running out of fun crafts on a rainy day, then don't worry. You and your children will have a great time with all these artsy popcorn projects.


Graffiti Art

What do you think of when you hear the word graffiti? Disturbing, violent messages spray-painted on walls? Truth is graffiti is an art form with a long, fascinating history.

Millennia before the Italians coined the word 'graffiti', human beings have been scrawling messages and pictures on various surfaces. Ancient rock carvings are the first instances of graffiti. From simple, striking imagery, graffiti acquired more nuances during the Age of Reason.

Beneath the perfectly preserved ruins of Pompeii, archaeologists discovered graffiti that, when deciphered, rivalled modern street art in humour and vulgarity! In ancient China, it was hard to find a wall that wasn't completely scrawled over.

Modern graffiti art has its origins in the 1970s, when spray-painted tags, predominantly political messages, began appearing in New York City and Philadelphia. Since then, graffiti has spread to cities worldwide, evolving into complex, stunning artwork on trains, subways and urban walls. For years, civic authorities frowned upon these colourful, sometimes subversive but always eye-catching works executed in secrecy with great panache. Today, with ordinary citizens wholeheartedly endorsing the validity of informal street art, urban authorities even commission graffiti artists for specific murals.

Strategically placed, interesting graffiti art can brighten up the most boring of localities. A famous example, the graffiti art of Banksy in Bristol (UK) that became a tourist draw.

Graffiti art has its own lingo and specific styles. The most basic style is the single coloured tag, typically, the writer's name, executed with spray cans, pens or markers. Throw-ups consist of large, colourful bubble letters. Stencils, favoured by graffiti artists like Banksy and Blek le Rat, portray detailed, multi-coloured images.

Wildstyle, a complex, stylised writing technique with 3D effects in fluorescent hues was created by New York artists like Stay High 149, Tracy 168 and Zephyr. A 'piece,' shorthand for masterpiece is a full-blown painting, requiring much time and effort.

Blockbuster graffiti features enormous block letters, executed with paint rollers and 2-3 colours. 'Heaven' is graffiti art done in inaccessible locations like freeway signs or near the top of high buildings. Such risky sites win graffiti artists' considerable respect from their community.

Advertisers are increasingly drawn to street art for promoting brands. Not everyone approves, deeming this a deceptive tactic to hitch a free ride on the popularity of street art.

In 2005, Sony recruited graffiti artists to spray-paint images on urban walls in several American cities, marketing strategy for its Playstation Portable (PSP). The campaign encountered enormous protest and criticism.

Graffiti has come a long way from its origins as a primitive form of expression to a school of art that is recognised and feted in art galleries for its breakthrough techniques and ability to make powerful statements.


Acrylic Painting Tips For Beginners

Hello fellow artist. Welcome to wonderful world of Acrylic Painting!

Since you are new to Acrylic Painting, you will certainly benefit from the tips I will be sharing with you in the following article.

One of the more important points a new acrylic painter should be aware of is the quick drying time of acrylic paints. Since acrylic paints do dry so quickly, it's important to only squeeze out enough paint for that particular session, otherwise you will be wasting a lot of paint.

To keep your acrylic paint moist, you will need to have a special palette that will keep your paint workable during your painting session. There is a really awesome palette on the market that was made just for this purpose called the Masterson Sta-Wet Handy Palette. This palette is a good buy and will keep your paint in a good working condition for a longer period of time while you paint.

If you do not want to purchase a palette, another solution is to buy a handful of small 35mm film canisters and store your paints inside the canisters. The caps on these canisters will screw on pretty tight and keep most of the air out.

Some artists also keep a spray bottle handy and spray a light mist of water over the paint while they are painting.

Another issue you may be faced with is deciding what type of acrylic paint you should purchase.

My advice is to choose a good quality student grade acrylic paint in the beginning. There is no need to go out and buy the most expensive acrylic paint right away, as you are just beginning and experimenting. A wonderful paint for beginners is Liquitex Basics Acrylics Colors. These are high quality, affordable paints. These are also great for experienced acrylic painters who may be on a tight budget. I know of a lot of artists both beginners and experienced who love working with these acrylics.

Make sure you take good care of your acrylic paint. When you close your paint tubes, make sure you clean the cap and the threads of the tube thoroughly. If you leave any paint on the cap or on the threads, it will dry and form a strong bond. It will be quite difficult to pry the cap off. Make sure the cap is also sealed tight, otherwise some of the paint in the beginning of the tube will dry also, making it very hard to squeeze out the fresh paint underneath.

To improve the flow of your acrylic paint try adding a special medium to the paint, instead of using water alone. If you only use water as a medium to improve flow, you will find that it diminishes the brilliance of your colors. Purchase a medium like Liquitex Acrylic Flow Aid, which works very well for improving the flow of your acrylic paint.

To care for your brushes, make sure you store them properly after washing. There is ite a bit of controversy over the best way to clean and store your brushes. I have found that when I hang my brushes with the tips pointing down, gravity does most of the work by pulling the water from the brush. Water can really damage your brushes if it builds up on the ferrule, so it's important to dry your brushes well.

Go out and buy some wooden clothespins. Clip the pins to the end of the brush and then hang them off the side of a table or desk. Lay a towel under the brushes to catch the dripping water.

The next best thing to hanging your brushes is to lay them flat.

NEVER let your brushes soak in any type of liquids.

When choosing a palette for your acrylic paints, make sure it is a non-porous surface. If the palette is too porous it will absorb the water from the acrylic paint.

NEVER mix acrylic paint with oil paint or paint acrylics on top of oil paint

I hope these tips have helped. Remember to never give up and happy painting!


The Basics Of Making Quilts

If you have never done any quilting before, you might be forgiven for thinking that it looks pretty easy. The fact is that it necessitates a lot of patience, skill and diligence to make a quilt. It certainly is not as easy as it looks. It takes practice and attention to detail. Given that, you must use good quality fabrics if you are contemplating manufacturing a quilt.

Cotton is fine for the job, but it ought to be the lowest you will go. No polyester or other man-made fabrics. If you do use these cheap fabrics and spend weeks making your first quilt, you will only regret it. If you make mistakes, but the fabric is good at least there will be that one saving grace.

Once you have selected your fabric, you can select the style or design that you want. This might seem backwards, and that is OK. If you want, you can select the style first and then a fabric to match, but I would recommend that you just stick with cotton for your first quilt.

Next, you have to get hold of a pattern. This is very straightforward. You can either become a member of a local quilting group, where people will give you conventional patterns or sell you modern ones; or you can go on line and look on Google or Yahoo for 'free quilt patterns' or you can go to your neighbourhood craft shop and buy one that suits your requirements.

You will also require a good set of tools to make your quilt. It is a good idea not to scrimp on these tools as they are not costly; will make your job a lot easier and will last a very long time. You will need at least one rotary cutter. 'At least one' because the large blade cutters are very good for straight cuts whereas a small blade cutter is better for corners or shapes. By the way, these rotary cutters look like pizza cutters.

Because these cutters are sharp, you will also require a cutting board. This can be as simple as a sheet of plywood, trimmed to suit your table top or you can simply lay it on the floor. Without a board, you will damage your table or carpet. You will also need dress-maker's scissors and large shears. Further requirements are pins, needles, cotton, straight edges and markers.

Your pattern will explain batting and a back cloth and you should pay a great deal of attention to the suggestions in your pattern.

This piece cannot be a 'teach yourself quilting' manual, but I hope that it has shown you that you do not need a great amount of equipment to make very passable bedding quilts. However, with just a little adaptation of the pattern, you could make some beautiful duvet covers. Not many people make duvet covers, so you could either make them solely for yourself or sell them.


Craft Fair Gold Mine

You have a hobby? Have you ever thought that you can turn it into a gold mine by selling the goods you make? Yes, this is possible and one of the great opportunities you will have is to present your goods at a craft fair.

Many people have interesting craft hobbies such as quilting, needlework, pot making, drawing over glass, making candles, and so on. They have always treated this is a nice way o spend their spare time and probably have never thought that what they create can be a real treasure for others.

Yes indeed it sounds a little strange to start selling the things you make just for pleasure but on the other hand it is quite normal and in fact a lucky situation think for a second how many people you know really love the job that makes their money?

Having a craft hobby is great and you can present what you are doing at a craft fair. There are many craft fairs annually in different parts of the world so the only thing you need to do is to find one in your area. Of course you can participate in a craft fair abroad. The news about upcoming graft fairs is published in the press and of coursed there are many recourses with such information in the internet.

Another good idea is to make a simple website and print business cards or some kind of brochures that present your craft. This way your participation in a craft fair can be turned into a gold mine. All of the people who were interested in your goods will have way to reach you later or take a look at all of your products.

Another crazy but absolutely realistic idea is to turn your craft hobby into a real home based business. This can easily happen again through a craft fair. The only thing is to make as many people interested in what you are doing. Absolutely achievable task, that only requires a bit of advance thinking of how to make your presentation unique. The ways to do this are numerous.

Why don't you use your craft as your presentation materials for example? If you are doing needlework, make small napkins with your name and your contact details. If you are doing candles, make colorful candles that feature your name and contact details. Really this cane be time consuming task if you want to make hundreds so you can make an ordinary printing materials for the craft fair and just add a little something to visualize what you are doing.

Even if you really do not want to turn your craft into a business craft fairs are a great way to meet new people and spend some time in a really artistic atmosphere. May be you will gather even more new ideas for your hobby and defiantly will enjoy being there.


Stained Glass Pieces - Made at Home

Stained glass is fabulous, that is a fact. It can add a lot of luxury and charm to your home. Learning how to make it is not that difficult and you will see how in the following lines.

How to do it yourself.
As you have read stain glass production is a hard thing and you cannot do it at home. However there is an alternative that will allow you to make wonderful stained glass pieces.

The first thing you will need is the pattern. There are many patterns available in the internet so just spend some time and find the one you like the most.

Once you have your pattern number it and cut it apart. As you ca see stained glass is made of various small colored glass pieces so the pattern should correspond to this idea.

The cut and numbered pattern is than traced onto the glass. Use glass of different colors for ach part of the pattern. Break the pattern into pieces and foil them together. When all pieces have been foiled, place them into the assembly jig.

The next step is to solder the pieces together. It is important that you solder all foiled joints to create the metal web that holds the glass pieces. Use solder and soldering iron and fill carefully all joints.

In fact your stained glass project is finished. All you need to do is to clean it using water and a soft cloth. You can also add an ancient look by applying some patina solution after the cleaning.

Fake stained glass.

If the above sounds too complicated or you do not have the time and the tools to achieve it, try some fake stained glass projects. You can get some glass and pint it with glass paints to achieve the look of original stained glass.

You can buy glass paints from every craft shop. Usually they come along several stained glass patterns. If you do not like the patterns provided search for new ones in the internet.

Working with glass paints is not that difficult. All paint glass sets come along a transparent foil that you can place over the pattern and trace it. After the paints are completely dry you should peel of the pattern and stick it to the glass.

Another option is to cut the pattern and trace it on the glass. Than you can pain straight over the glass.


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