Art Blast! Fun Lessons for Kids and Aliens #6

Weave On!


When Beep is stressed or bored, he can spend hours weaving! (He can also spend hours eating, but that’s another story.) By weaving you can make cloth (or little blankets for Mini-Beep!)


If you want to weave, you’re going to need a few things: Yarn (don’t pull apart your mother’s sweater without permission), cardboard, tape and scissors. If you don’t have yarn, you can order a skein (oblong ball) of yarn for only about three dollars at many craft stores. It may seem complicated at first, and you may need some help (I recommend this for 3rd graders and up, though younger can try), but you’ll totally get the hang of it, I promise!


Step 1: Cut a piece of cardboard to become your simple loom. The one Beep is using is 4 and a half inches by 7 and a half inches, but you can vary the size (if you don’t have a ruler, make it about as long as a pencil). Measure and mark 8 short marks at a half inch (or about the width of your finger tip) on the top and 8 on the bottom using a marker or pencil, like this:


Step 2: Cut on the lines, making 8 notches on each end.


Step 3: Cut a long piece of yarn (any color, it will disappear as you go), about six feet long (as tall as your parents plus probably some more). Note: For longer cardboard, you’ll need longer yarn.


Step 4: Tape one end of the yarn to any corner on back of the cardboard. You can use clear tape too, or any kind.


Step 5: Now stick the yarn into the notch on any corner (like flossing a tooth) and string all the way down to the opposite notch on the front.


Step 6: On the back, pull the yarn into the notch next door (again, like going around a tooth).


Step 7: Pull down again on the front, into the opposite notch.


Step 8: Keep repeating until you have eight tight “guitar” strings on the front and stiches around the notches on the back.


Step 9: Cut the extra yarn and tape the end on back, like so:


Step 10: Your loom is done and you’re ready to weave! (Note: Playing air guitar at this point is optional, but fun.) Now cut another piece of yarn, anywhere from 3 to 5 feet long. This will be the first color of your cloth!


Step 11: Tape the yarn end on back (any corner). Note: This is the last time you’ll have to use tape.


Step 12: Now to begin the actual weaving. Weaving is an under/over/under/over pattern. Think of the end of the yarn as an inchworm or snake, and make it crawl under the first guitar string (technically called a warp, but you get my point.) Then have it crawl over the next string. Then under the next. That’s weaving! You’ll be slow at first, but believe me, you’re going to get fast!


Step 13: When you get to the end, pull the piece of yarn all the way through until it tightens (that’s why there’s tape on the back, to hold in place) then go back the other way, in the same under/over/under pattern.


Step 14: Keep going until you only have a few inches of yarn left.


Step 15: It may look like you’ve weaved a lot, but that’s because you haven’t yet combed or, as I call it, smooshed the yarn down so the warp isn’t showing. Do this with your fingers:


Step 16: To add the next piece, tie in a square knot and trim near the knot. You may need help if you don’t know how to tie knots. Or you can just start weaving the next color without tying, and just trim the ends later. Note: it’s perfectly okay to make your cloth one single color.


Step 17: Even though it’s a new piece of yarn, it’s the same under/over/under pattern. Weave until it runs out, smoosh it down, and add your next piece.


Getting the hang of it? You will! These were a lot of steps, so I’m going to wait until the next post to share some tips and tell you how to remove the cloth from the loom once you’re at the end. Weave on!



Always Be Creative and Have a Blast!

Beep Says Yay to You!


More soon…

Art Blast! Fun Lessons for Kids and Aliens #5

Designing the Coolest Shoes Ever


I told Beep our next art lesson is designing the coolest shoes ever, and he said, “Yay! What are shoes?” I gave him a pair to try out, but he and Mini-Beep are still getting the hang of it.


You know what shoes are though. And you probably have your favorite styles and brands. When I was a kid, one of the most popular styles was Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars. Though they only came in white canvas at first, kids liked them because they could decorate them. Unlike most styles from back then, they’re still popular with kids today!



Did you ever wonder what goes into making a shoe? Like all objects, shoes start with an artistic process: design. A design is a plan that answers questions: what type of shoe? What features? What colors? And most importantly: what will kids think is cool?

To design a shoe of your own, first draw the outline of what type of shoe you want: low top, high top, flip flop, high heel, or any style you want. Here are some templates to copy or trace if you need:












Now it’s time to add details! Personally, I would like treads that walk on water; also a headlight; and a cool logo:


Oh, also magnets; self-tightening laces; G.P.S.; a secret money holder; rocket blasters; and even a nifty self-destruct button on the back! (Wait, self-destruct button? What was I thinking?!)



Then, of course, you can add color:

If your design is really cool, maybe you can start a company and make lots of money! Just remember the most important part: to send me a cut of all your profits!!


Always Be Creative and Have a Blast!

Beep says Yay to You!


Another lesson soon…

Art Blast! Fun Lessons for Kids and Aliens #4

The Hand from the 3rd  Dimension


Drawings are two-dimensional (2-D, or flat). But you probably want most things you draw to look 3-D, like they do in life (people, objects, planets and orange swirl ice pops – Beep’s favorite – all have height, width and depth). Are there tips for making things you draw look three-dimensional? Of course! We’re going to draw hands today, and we’re going to make them look like they’re popping out of the paper! Here are some examples by awesome 3rd graders:

Ready to try one yourself? Step one is to trace your hand lightly with a pencil. (note: there may be a bump where your wedding ring is, haha.)


Step Two, using a marker or crayon or pen, start at the bottom and draw a straight line in the background (you can use a ruler if you want) until you touch the hand outline; then you draw a curved line from one wrist to another; and then straight again in the background. Repeat.


Guess what Step Three is? That’s right, keep repeating, using straight lines for anything in the background and curved lines for the hand. You do not have to use black, as shown. You can use any colors to make any pattern (see Beep’s example at the end).


Tip: You can do all the straight lines first, or all the curved. Sometimes that makes it easier.


Keep going and going and soon:


Pretty cool, huh? Of course, you don’t just have to do your hand. If you have a flipper-style arm, you can make that look 3-D, too!


Beep likes a cool color pattern.


Just remember: straight lines make things look flat, and curved lines make things look round.


Always Be Creative and Have a Blast!

Beep Says Yay to You!


Another lesson soon!

Art Blast! Fun Lessons for Kids and Aliens #3

Drawing Elmer!


Beep loves showing mini-Beep how to draw his favorite characters! Beep enjoys Elmer the Elephant because he can get creative with the patchwork decorations (plus it teaches mini-Beep some fancy words like vertical and horizontal).


Elmer is an elephant who is not ordinary elephant color, but patchwork. Though he wants to be like other elephants, in the end the other elephants show they want to celebrate Elmer by all decorating themselves and having a parade. (If you don’t know the book, you can find a read aloud on YouTube.) To draw your own awesomely decorated elephant, start by sketching a small c and a big C:

Next add a face, trunk, tail and legs.



Now it’s time to make a patchwork grid. First draw lines going across Elmer. These lines are horizontal.



Then draw lines up and down. These lines are vertical. See how they make a grid (or chessboard or intersecting parallel lines or patchwork).


Finally, time to start adding some color! You can use markers, pens, crayons, colored pencils, whatever you like. You can fill the spaces with solid color or you can draw stars, zig-zags, rainbows…any designs Elmer would like (and he likes them all!)


Once you fill Elmer, can you also make a patchwork sky? Or a patchwork city? Or patchwork outer space? Of course. It’s art! You can even draw a patchwork Beep! (He’d love to see it.)



Always be creative and have a blast!!

Beep says Yay to you!


Another lesson soon!

Art Blast! Fun Lessons for Kids and Aliens. #1

My characters, Beep and Bob, go to school in space. Up in space school, you can always look out the windows at the infinite wonders of the universe. But that can get pretty boring after a few minutes. So what to do?Beep’s answer is: ART! Beep loves to draw and always carries a sketchbook. But he also likes the lessons from his art class. Sadly, they don’t paint or use glue much in zero gravity, but even with simple materials like white paper, pencils, crayons and/or markers, there are a universe of possibilities for fun and creativity!

For those times you’re home and looking for some fun art ideas, I’m going to share some of my successful lessons from my 21 Earth years so far as an art teacher. Hope you have a blast!

Art with Words #1


Words are used for writing and speaking. But did you know that words can also an element of visual art?

Beep really, really likes to write his name. But he really, really, really likes to make it fancy and colorful. You can, too. Here’s how:

1. Write your name with a pencil in the center of the page. The letters can be uppercase or lower, block or bubble, straight or squiggly; it’s your art and personality, have fun! 2. Trace around your name, to make the word into a shape. 3. Now trace around the shape of your name; and do it again, and again, and again, until you hit the edges of the page.


4. Now it’s time for color and patterns. Markers are fun to use for this, but you can also use crayons or colored pencils. First, trace your name and fill with a regular (a/b, a/b/c, etc.) or random pattern. 5. Trace the concentric shapes. 6. Fill those with colorful patterns, too!


7. Keep going until you fill the page. Looks pretty awesome, right?!


Note that the patterns do not have to be “perfect”, pencil lines can show, and so on. Art is very flexible that way! Also, if you only have a pencil, black and white art can be pretty cool too (I’ll do a post on pencil art later).


Once you’ve done your name, try other styles with other words or phrases: your favorite teams, characters, or – hint, hint – even subjects you like (such as this example by a 4th grader):


Always be creative and have a blast!!

Beep says Yay to you!


Next up: How to make art with hundreds and hundreds of words!