image_rotate_testThis past Friday we hosted an art play date at our house. I was asked by my dear Friend Bethany to host the event and do the art I had previously done with her 5 year old daughter Ella. Bethany owns the franchise locations for Stroller Strides/ Fit 4 Mom in Southlake, Keller, and Trophy Club, TX. I hosted this play date for those Moms in our workout group who wanted to attend with their little ones. We had about 10 Moms and even more kids participate. It was a hot July day here in Texas, but people didn’t seem to mind. My husband put up our beach shelter in the yard to provide us some shade.

Ella’s artwork was the inspiration for this play date. She created her artwork with my instruction for her family’s playroom/ rec room. She did all the work. I did not touch her canvas. She did all the work her herself!  It took less than hour to make! The canvas was purchased at hobby Lobby from their masterpiece collection using their 40% off coupon, which you can pull up on your phone any day of the week. It cost about $35 for this 36″ by 36″ canvas, if my recollection and math are correct. Paints are cheap enough. I purchased acrylic paint. I like buying them from Walmart. Their cheap kind runs about 77 cents per small bottle. For even a large work of art you only need 3-6 bottles of the small acrylic, from my experience in creating this art work.  Here is Ella’s artwork:

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So how did Ella create this and how did the kids at our playdate do the same in an easy, 15 minute version?

Supplies needed: Gallery wrapped canvases, acrylic paint, water, cups, art smocks/old t-shirts, paint tarp or plastic to go under the art work in progress, and a hair dryer or two.

1. I asked all the Moms to bring a gallery wrapped canvas for their child to do their art work. You can find them anywhere. Walmart, Ross, Hobby Lobby, Michaels. For my daughter and niece to participate in this play date art I purchased a 5 pack of 11″ by 14″ canvases at Ross for $9.99. Every Mom came with a canvas in hand of whatever size they chose. Bethany and I supplied the acrylic paints. “Gallery wrapped” simply means you can’t see the staples on the sides of the canvas. They wrap the canvas around the wood frame all the way and the staples are on the back. No frame is needed. These canvases can hang on the wall, exactly as they are!

2. The paint is acrylic so it STAINS AND IS PERMANENT. I had all the kids wear smocks or the t-shirts that Lindsay and I provided. Lindsay usually plans all our Stroller Strides play dates and activities, so she came and helped with this one too. We both worked with one child at a time to create the art. We worked one on one simply to contain the mess and provide them with basic instructions. Instructions were simply pour and then use the blow dryer to move the paint on the canvas. No paint brushes needed!

3. The acrylic paint was mixed in clear cups so the kids could select their colors. For small canvases I recommend using only 3 colors for a couple of reasons. One of the primary reasons is because when they use too many colors they all start blending into the color of mud. It is best to use one color at a time, dry it a bit and then pour the next color onto the canvas. The paints were mixed with half paint and approximately half water. I like using vibrant colors because they show up better on the canvas. If the paint is not diluted it won’t move on the canvas. It will just sit as a blob undiluted. Water helps the movement happen. More water makes the paint more diluted, which means weaker color. Therefore, bright colors work the best. Below are the first batch of colors I mixed. By the end we had more than three times this many mixed, but this was the start. We did use a pale pink at my daughter’s insistence, but it really didn’t show up that well on the canvas. I tried to explain this to her, but pink is her favorite and she was being an insistent three-nanger (I will be using this term often over the next few months, I just have a feeling), so I thought I would let her learn what I am trying to explain through her own experience. She saw it was very watery and didn’t show up well, so she picked more vibrant colors after that. Whew…crisis averted and no melt down in front of our friends during the play date.

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4. After the kids had the appropriate smock and they chose their 3 colors they were then handed one of the cups of diluted paint and they could pour whatever amount they wanted onto their canvas. Some will be extra cautious and only pour a dab, so I tell them they can pour more, others start dumping rather than pouring, so I had them slow down and pour a little less. It really doesn’t matter much though. It you are concerned about your child pouring too much then you can divide the diluted paint into Dixie cups. These work great, I just happed to be out of them in my pantry. The biggest over pourer we had was my sweet niece. She is 7, so I was kind of letting her do her own thing. Unfortunately, she had some of that “mud” look from over blending. Simple solution was that we let it dry and then worked over it. Acrylic goes over acrylic quite nicely. No harm done and her artwork turned out awesome in the end. Way to go Chandler!

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Brielle also had a big canvas to do for our own playroom. Hers turned out nice. I like it. She wanted to get back to playing and didn’t like the drying, but she managed to get through it. After all, it only took 15 minutes for the entire project. Almost any 3 year old can handle that.

art play date (8) Here is Brielle creating her art work. She is drying one of her colors and moving the paint simply using the hair dryer. Chandler was there to chat with her, as hers was drying in the sun. Next to Brielle is Lindsay and her son. Both her sons created cool works of art for their home. Once again, they did the work! I did not pour or use the dryer. They did it all themselves! For some of the smallest kids (2 year olds) the moms had to assist them. They are more easily distracted and the dryer was intimidating I suppose. But they did participate with Mommy’s help.

5. Pouring and drying continues until your work of art is complete! Like I said, 3 colors works best for the small canvases. For Ella’s large 3 foot by 3 foot painting we used a total of 6 colors that all went well together and matched their play room décor. I didn’t allow kids to hold the dryer and pour at the same time because if they ever did both at the same time the paint can really begin to fly around! I made this mistake myself a while back and realized that pouring should not happen when a dryer is on or near the paint being poured. It literally will splatter on anything and everyone nearby. It didn’t happen at our play date, thank goodness! It can be quite the mess. Like I mentioned before acrylic paint STAINS AND IS PERMANENT. It does NOT come off clothing. Does it come out of hair? Yes, after a few good washings, as acrylic is water soluble. Once again, it does NOT come out of clothing, so use proper art smocks or old clothes when using this paint with kids. In all likelihood, they WILL get it on their clothes. I got some green in my hair at the playdate. I have a small streak that still remains after time in the pool and 3 washings. I guess I can look like I am trying to be trendy for a few more days.

Here is Brielle’s work of art completed along with several of the other kid’s working on their masterpieces.

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It was a fun way to spend a Friday morning with friends! We now have some artwork for our playroom too!