Monday, January 12, 2015

Building a Fort

DIY Upcycled Translucent Blocks

DIY Upcycled Translucent Blocks aWe are always looking for ways to repurpose, reuse and "upcycle." After one of our family dinner excursions, I was inspired to make these DIY  Upcycled Translucent Blocks to use on our light table.  Please note that this post contains affiliate links. 

cream tower

When we go out to dinner, my family often entertains each other by building structures with the various things on the table at the restaurant while we wait for our food. We have made some very interesting towers and creations with the coffee creamers and the single serving jam containers. After one of our recent ventures, I was thinking about different things we could use to build at home... and voila..... the inspiration:

baby food containers

Empty plastic baby food containers! However, I didn't just want to use them as is. I know they are fun to build with without doing anything with them, but I wanted to add some color and make a nice set for our light table. So, I gathered my supplies. (If you remember we have used the lids from these containers before to make suncatcher ornaments).

You will need:

  • Acetone Fingernail Polish Remover

  • Cotton Balls

  • Empty Plastic Baby Food Containers with Lids

  • Suncatcher Paint

  • Paintbrush

First, I used the fingernail polish remover and a cotton ball to remove the ink from the plastic container. This is not absolutely necessary, but I wanted to remove the label. I was inspired by this post by Sweet Pennies from Heaven.  Instead of using a cloth, I opted to use a cotton ball being that the ink area was quite small. I dabbed a bit of the acetone nail polish remover on a cotton ball, held it on the ink for a few seconds and then gently rubbed to remove the ink completely. Then, I washed the containers well with soap and water.

After the containers dried, then it was time to paint them up! I opted to paint the inside of the containers because I did not want heavy use to cause the paint to chip.

suncatcher paint blocks

I squirted the paint into the containers and lids, used a brush to cover all interior surfaces and waited for it to dry. Most of the containers needed at least 2 coats and each coat took at least 24 hours to dry each time. It is a matter of personal preference how many coats of paint you would like to use (and I would imagine would be different based upon the type of paint you have). I also thought about coloring the inside of the containers with permanent markers, but I haven't tried that yet :).

diy upcycled translucent blocks

After the containers were completely dry, I placed the lids on them and set them out near the light table!

playing with new blocks on table

I have thoughts of making some more of these blocks with random things inside.... now to tinker with a good glue option to keep them sealed!

(If you are looking for information about our DIY Light Table, you may want to check out these links: Our Homemade Light Table Revamp, DIY Light Tables)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Painting at the Easel with Hand Drills

Painting at the Easel with Hand Drills

With the extreme weather this week, we have not been able to spend time outside. (When I say extreme, I mean that the windchill has been so cold that the local public schools have closed). With the extra indoor time, our easels have been busier than normal! Today, one of the "paintbrushes" of choice was a hand drill.  The set up for this is quite simple, instead of using a drill bit-- screw a paintbrush into the drill, set out for exploration and... sit back and watch!

paint with drill at easel ccs

It usually takes a bit of concentration and tinkering to figure out how to make the drill work. Sometimes the paint never makes it onto the paper as it is quite engaging to spin the brush in the paint.

paint with hand drill ccs2

The drills are always available for us, and having them at the easel is a very different experience from painting with them on the table or floor. A different muscle set is required to hold the drill up to paint on the easel.

hand drill painting ccs3

hand drill painting

I cannot remember for sure where I first saw this idea, but I'm pretty sure it was inspired by Teacher Tom.  What is your favorite item to set out for use to paint at the easel?

If you like to paint with non-traditional items- you may enjoy this older post I put together with a 101 Ways to Paint Without a Brush

or you may enjoy my Pinterest Board WE LOVE PAINT! 

Looking for a hand drill???? You can find one here (affiliate link):

Thursday, January 1, 2015

14 Photos from 2014

Life has been wonderful, amazing, and super busy! One of my goals for the new year is to get myself back into a regular blogging schedule where I can share a bit of our world with you on a more regular basis!

For now, please enjoy a look at 14 seconds,

14 photos from our play journey over the past year.















(If you are looking for more photos, hop on over to our Facebook Page)

Thanks for sharing in our journey, and hopefully I'll be back soon to share more of our adventures in as we learn through play!

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...