Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Little Artists Quilt - The Beginning

Many of you have been really curious as to what I've been up to with the preschoolers the past couple for weeks. Well now I'm going to tell you. Here's the story:

My kids attend an independent school (that is a story for another day). In order for the tuition to be kept affordable, the school holds a few big fundraiser events each year. The biggest of them all is the annual Silent Auction dinner. All of the items are donated plus each class creates a class project too which is part of the Live auction that evening. The event is at the end of April. Last summer Jammer's pre-K teacher from last year (who is beyond fabulous btw) emailed me that she wanted me to somehow help her class make an art quilt to be auctioned off. Of course I immediately said Yes!

Because the cost of the class projects are paid for directly by the teacher themselves, the total had to be kept down as much as possible. After rejecting one really cool idea that would have cost way too much, I went on a mission to find an alternative that would come up with the same result for less money. After a ton of hunting around on the web I came across a post by That Artist Woman about her version of kid-friendly batiks. Perfect! Easy enough, totally do-able with 3 and 4 year olds and pretty inexpensive.

We started with some acrylic paint, the little jars from any big box store or craft store will do just fine. The post instructed to water it down but didn't say how much so I squirted enough paint that when it spread out it was approximately a 4" diameter pile and then added one teaspoon of water and mixed thoroughly.
  We also needed this: Elmer's Blue Gel Glue. It has to be this glue and this glue only. Regular glue will soak into the fabric whereas this one does not. It isn't the easiest to find in the stores, I went to a few, but I found that the bigger Joanns here had it in stock. It can also be ordered online. And make sure it is new bottles not old ones....the old glue does not flow well at all.
I did have a old bottle of this at home so before I ordered the fabrics, I tested the method out to make sure it worked. It did (very cool btw) and so we set out to make this project a reality. We started out with white muslin cut into 10" squares. If you want to do this, determine the final size you want your blocks to be and add 1/2" to each side to account for shrinkage/trimming and seam allowances.

Knowing that the preschoolers would likely not be able to "draw" with the bottles of glue, they drew their pictures on paper instead and the teacher traced over them with the glue onto the fabric. We let the glue dry a full 24 hours.
Next step is painting. We let the kids do whatever they wanted but make sure the glue lines are completely painted over. And make sure that there are no huge gobs of paint anywhere. Another complete 24 hours of drying time was required before moving onto the next step.
This is a resist method so in order to see the result, you have to soak the pieces in hot water. Since I was working with a lot of pieces, I used the tub. Get the water as hot as you can stand it and let them sit for at least 20-30 minutes.
The glue will melt away and the drawing itself will be revealed. Don't be afraid to scrunch the blocks a bit to help soften up the painted areas and either hang or lie flat on a towel to dry thoroughly. Tomorrow I'll show you the 1st set of completed blocks and what I'm doing with them.

8 of you added your own colorful comments:

  1. Very interesting project. Looks like fun for the kids too.

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  2. Fun, affordable, interesting. I no longer teach little ones, but in case I do again, I'm saving this post.

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  3. very creative , looks to be fun to see come to life.

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  4. I can't wait to see! I LOVE projects like this...I am sure it is going to be a hit at the auction!!

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  5. I love this idea! I am excited to see how it turns out.

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  6. Very, very cool! Can't wait to see what you are going to do with it.

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  7. so precious, I love painting with my Gandbabies, I am Gandma to them, and they know where they can come and be creative.

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  8. I made a fall door hanging of leaves with the kids like this once. I think we got the idea from Family fun, but it seems like we just used regular Elmer's glue. I don't remember using the blue. I still have the door hanging!

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