Pink ink being scraped from squeegee

An A – Z of Creative Actitivies (Part Three)

The last day of the Slamseys Creative Summer Challenge 2020 and more creative projects, ideas or skills for you to try as we finally reach Z in our alphabet of creative activities.

SCREEN PRINTING

Screen printing transfers a stencilled design using a mesh screen, ink and a squeegee. The stencil can be made with light sensitive emulsion, which is then exposed, with screen blocker painted onto the screen or with paper, masking tape or vinyl.

Using a squeegee to push ink through screen to make screen print

The easiest option at home is to stick to bold, basic designs and to cut your stencil from paper. If you don’t have a screen, you can make a small screen from an embroidery hoop for screen printing (follow the link for full instructions of the process). For an even easier option, buy a mini screen that comes ready to print. Choose a design from the library or have your own image transferred to the screen.

You can screen print onto paper and fabric but also wood and glass. Depending on your stencil, you can print the same design many times and add layers of colour.

TENTS & WIGWAMS

Tents and wigwams are great places for children to play or parents to hide away. Make a simple indoor tent by slinging a blanket between two chairs or make this wigwam from an old dustsheet and decorate it with prints.

UPCYCLE

Think before you chuck! Upcycle old clothes by turning them into something useful and decorating them with print, applique or embroidery. Turn old wooden pallets into garden furniture, make sculptures from old tools, tyres or scrap, upcycle old picture frames into trays or chalkboards …

How many things can you make from an old pair of jeans? Read Celia’s article about the many uses for one pair of old jeans.

VASE

Jar of lilac and cow parsley flowers

Fill a vase with flowers, berries and leaves from the garden, fields or roadside verges. The simplest of arrangements can be uplifting and it’s wonderful to see what you can find throughout the year if you look properly, like Sam does. Sketch and photograph your collection, dissect and press some, print with the leaves or make jam from the berries. Record their decline.

VEGETABLE PRINTING

Remind yourself how much fun you can have with a potato and a pot of ink. Cut your potato to print patterns and pictures on paper and fabric. Experiment with other fruit and vegetables to produce a variety of prints. A great project to whare with children of any age, though in my experience, the children tire of the activity long before the adults.

VISUAL JOURNAL

Keeping a visual journal can improve your observational skills and be a useful way to consolidate your thoughts.

We often resist keeping a visual journal if we don’t draw or paint, but we shouldn’t! Think of a visual journal, not as a sketchbook but a place to make notes and stick in photos, postcards, tickets and other memorabilia. You might choose to include drawings and paintings, but you might not. Use your Visual Journal as a diary, a reference resource or in any way that helps you along your creative journey.  

WASHI TAPE

Use washi tape to add colour and interest to stationery and wrapping or even to colour code your electrical leads. Making decorative tape is a good way to use small scraps of paper or fabric at might otherwise get thrown away. Discover how easy it is to make your own decorative (washi style) tape

WREATH MAKING

In a nearby village, one of the front doors is always adorned with a wreath that’s changed with the seasons. It certainly brightens up the street and it made me realise that wreaths aren’t just for Christmas and funerals.

Make a rustic wreath and add garden plants or shells or toys or anything you fancy.

Wreaths can look great inside too. Hang a fabric wreath in a child’s bedroom, as an alternative to a flower arrangement in the living room or make a simple wreath from fresh herbs to hang close at hand in the kitchen.

X MARKS THE SPOT

Who hasn’t dreamed of finding a dusty old treasure map with the buried treasure marked with an X? Sadly, they seem few and far between.

Make a treasure trail and map for a family gathering or make a list of treasures to be found on a walk. Record your adventures and walks by creating a story map or travel journal using simple pictures, symbols and notes.

YARN DYEING

If you’ve already tried eco-dyeing fabric, use natural materials to dye yarn.

Yarn dyeing diary with coloured yarns

I love the dark brown shade produced by walnut hulls and the surprising variations of colours that different mordants produce.

Jenny Dean’s website and books are packed with information and instructions. I’m growing woad in the garden for dyeing and, after consulting her book A Heritage of Colour, am tossing up between using a yeast vat, urine vat or vinegar method to extract the colour.

ZOETROPE

Zoetropes are the forerunners of film animation. The viewer looks through the slits in a spinning cylinder and sees an animated sequence produced from a sequence of static images. Make your own zoetrope and find out the history of animation. Which brings us nicely back to A!   

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