These “pinecone forests” were made with a drip painting technique that every child, no matter the age, loves!! The little ones get a really good hand workout, and the older ones take time to layer their colors and watch them blend. This painting invitation cost very little but has so much going on that it seems extravagant. Let me tell you how to set this up in your own home or school.
An invitation to paint, or to make art in general, is exactly the kind of creative exploration that I love to teach. I can’t even really call it teaching because once I set it up, it’s all driven by the child thereafter. I am only there to facilitate. An invitation works best for younger kids so they don’t have any pressure of making anything “wrong”. There are no models to look at, their limits are only that of their imagination. In the end, everyone’s creation looks different and reflects their own personality and interests.
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Supplies needed for Pinecone Forests:
~ Pinecones (mine are collected from the yard, but you can buy them if you don’t have any pinecones where you live)
~ Wooden surface (I used whatever I could find in my basement – I had some leftover wooden pieces from other projects. You can purchase wood circles, or you can ask your local high school woodshop if you can come in and take some leftover cuts from the bin, or you can go to Home Depot and get some planks cut down into smaller pieces.)
~ Tempera paint in squeeze bottles (mine are from IKEA)
~ White school glue
~ Glitter (optional)
~ Plastic trays (optional)
How to set up your Pinecone Forest invitation:
1. Start by gluing the pinecones to your wooden board. This can be a little tricky depending on the shape of the pinecone. Some are kind of pointy at the ends which makes it hard for them to stay upright. I used a little saw to cut some of the ends flat, but even this was difficult. I finally just used a big glob of hot glue and then held the pinecone in it until it was completely hardened. This seemed to work.
2. Place each forest on a tray. If you don’t have a tray, then just use a big piece of cardboard.
3. Let the kids start squeezing the paint!
There were varying degrees of success with the drip painting. The taller, skinny pinecones that had a smoother exterior were easier to work with to create an “oozing paint” feeling. I imagined all of the pinecones being covered in paint, but in reality some of the younger kids got tired of squeezing. Which is why I left these out for the entire day (this was during art camp) so they could keep coming back to them, which they did.
4. Once they have been squeezing bottles of paint for a while and seem to be slowing down, bring out the other materials and glue. They can take a break from squeezing and add some pom-poms and beads to their creations.
I just love the way these turned out! I didn’t end up bringing out the glitter because I was having second thoughts about the clean-up factor in my dining room. But glitter would be an amazing additional embellishment. Another way to extend this would be to bring out watercolors to paint the wooden base. Although I do love the natural wood look.
Tag me on Instagram if you do these! I’m @artbarblog.
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