Kids are always eager to draw pictures. They know firsthand the pleasure of putting crayon to paper (and to the occasional wall or two) to express what's in their imagination. Enhance your children's natural creativity and love of art by offering them new experiences using basic art supplies and unexpected items to challenge and surprise — in this case, crayons in bright colors and sandpaper out of the toolbox.
The texture of the sandpaper will create a beautiful picture made up of tiny dots that resemble pointillism, a painting technique used by postimpressionist painter Georges Seurat. He used thousands of dots of color that you can see up close but that blend into an image when you step back, away from the painting.
Try these steps to create a wonderful piece of pointillist-like art in seconds. What's the magic ingredient? A dot, your kids might say? Uh-uh. An iron! Here's how:
• Pick out an array of bright crayons. Vibrant blues, greens, purples and reds are great.
• Create a drawing on a sheet of medium-grain sandpaper, pressing very hard as you color. Designs that use blocks of color rather than thick lines work best here. Again, press hard as you fill in the shapes with your crayons.
• When you're done, turn the sandpaper over on top of a plain, white piece of drawing or construction paper. An adult should heat up an iron on low temperature and then iron the backside of the sandpaper as if ironing a hanky. Pass it over the back evenly and slowly for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove iron.
• Count to 20 with your kids, and then slowly pick up the sandpaper to reveal the picture on the paper in dot form. There it is. Sandpaper pointillism! Never mind French postimpressionists for the moment. You'll have your own very "impressive" artist in residence.
• Encourage your child to look closely to see the dots, then step away and discover how they blend together. Note how crayon melted on the sandpaper, too, providing a "two for one" art project.
"The grandkids are coming!" tip: Plan a follow-up activity and take your grandkids to an art museum in your area to see an exhibition of French impressionists. Or, visit your public library and find large art books with paintings of impressionists and postimpressionists.