Halloween Creativity 2017

At A Spacious Place we believe in creating in community, because the sharing of ideas and feedback helps the creative process. Last Sunday night, friends of A Spacious Place gathered to carve pumpkins, decorate calaveras (sugar skulls), and share a meal. We cheered one another’s creations, laughed at the stories shared, and enjoyed the food offerings. Below are some of our calaveras and our pumpkins that lit the night on Halloween. Enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them.

Gutting the pumpkin…                                          Time to carve your ideas into its skin






Here are the final results

           Woodstock singing                                                         Creepy face

Ghostly face                                                “Ruh-roh, Raggy!”

Snoopy howling “Aroooo”


And calveras galore


We hope that you had a fun, safe Halloween, and that your spooky creating time was enjoyable.

Young Artist’s Club: The Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is a truly fascinating piece of both history and art.   Created around 1070 AD (really!) and nearly 230 feet long (yes really!!), it is an embroidered tapestry that depicts the Norman conquest of England.  If you’re interested in learning more I highly recommend this YouTube video explaining the tapestry in further detail (it’s meant for school groups so there’s also some excellent attempts at grade-school humor, haha).

So what did our Young Artist’s Club do to explore the Bayeux Tapestry?  Well a whole lot of embroidery, naturally!

We also did some other fabric art, including making no-sew pillows out of t-shirts, and decorating cloth duffle bags.

Finally, our club members drew their own history-inspired tapestries on long sheets of paper; they could do as many scenes as they wanted since the papers were so long!

I think this was an incredibly interesting piece to learn about; I can’t recommend the above YouTube video enough.

If you’re in the Austin area and want to join our Young Artist’s Club you totally should!  Check out our website for info on the next meeting!

What We’re Making: Mondrian-Inspired Art

Who doesn’t love them some Mondrian!  I’ve always loved the bold, primary colors and structure of his pieces.

Recently we did a Mondrian-inspired art project with our groups.  We used markers and crayons with one group, and watercolors with another.  The project can be adapted to each group’s interests and needs.

Start with a large piece of white paper and some blue painters tape.  Use the painters tape to mark off different size rectangles all over your paper.  If you cut the ends with scissors it will help keep your lines nicely crisp when we start adding color.

Once you’re satisfied with your grid layout, starting coloring in the rectangles!  Use yellow, red, and blue to stay true to the Mondrian roots of the activity.

Once you’ve colored as many rectangles as you’d like, take a black marker and trace along the edges of the painters tape.  Then peel off the painters tape.

With black marker, fill in the spaces left by the removed tape.  A ruler will help you keep the lines straight.

And you’re done!  You can use primary-colored tape around the edges of your art to form a border if you like, or leave it as it is.

Check out some of the pieces our participants made!

The world needs more bright, bold art in it; I hope this has inspired you to make some!

Young Artist’s Club: JB and Kel Brown

At this Young Artist’s Club we explored the work of some local artists: twin brothers JB and Kel Brown.  JB is a hip-hop artist; Kel is a painter.  But they work together, music influencing painting and vice versa.  Not only did our members get to learn about these awesome local artists, but we also explored the collaborative power of music and art.

(If you’re interested in more info on the Brown brothers, you can check out this great interview, or this really neat video.)

To start the day, we decorated maracas, and made rainsticks:

Then, in the spirit of the Brown brothers, we collaborated on some guitar designs:

We took a quick snack break (keeping with our musical theme):

Then each member got to design their own album cover while listening to the music of their choice.  They had to choose what music to listen to during their creative process, whether they’d do a realistic or abstract piece for their album cover, and then what medium to use.

Our club members loved the connection they got from learning about artists in their own city.  It was a very empowering Saturday!

Want to join us?  There’s more info on our Young Artist’s Club on our website.

Hopefully you’ll come create with us soon!

What We’re Making: Statue of Liberty Costumes and July 4th Rockets

Last month we did a couple of July 4th crafts with our groups, making red, white, and blue rockets and Statue of Liberty costumes.  Our participants really love anything they can dress up in, so these were a real hit.

Before we get into the How-To, let’s get some tips from Kaye!

  • For the Statue of Liberty costumes our participants made their own crowns and torches, but we provided the green drape and tablet to complete the look.
  • In advance we cut out the crown shapes and drew in rectangles to simulate windows.  If time for this craft is limited you can even glue down the cones in advance and the participants can just paint the outsides.
  • Because the paper cones are wax coated the paint beads up a bit on the waxed surface, which looks like oxidation.  You can even talk about how metal oxidizes if your group would be interested in that!
  • We also pre-cut the paper arcs and strips for the torches, to save time.
  • For the July 4th rockets, we cut paper tubes into 6″ lengths ahead of time, but you could do any size.
  • Adding the netting and ribbon before gluing on the rocket’s cap worked best.

Let’s get to making!

For the Statue of Liberty crown, each participant gets  a pre-cut paper crown and three paper cones.  Have then paint these with a light green watercolor.  Let dry.

Once dry, color in the pre-drawn windows with a black marker.

Run liquid glue along the bottom edges of the three paper cones, then glue onto the paper crown as shown:

Once the glue is dry, wrap the crown around your head and staple it in back to fit.  You can even add a strip of paper as an extender if you need the crown to be bigger.

For the Statue of Liberty torch, take a pre-cut green paper arc and roll it into a cone shape.  Staple the edge to hold this shape.

On a long strip of green paper create a design for the top of your torch.  Then wrap it around the top of your paper cone and staple it in place.

Create flames by gluing red, yellow, and orange strips of paper (tissue paper works well for this) to the inside edge of your torch.

Finally, don the provided drape and grab the tablet and strike your best Statue of Liberty pose!

We made the July 4th rockets during the times that the watercolor and glue needed to dry on our Statue of Liberty costumes.  Here’s how we made them:

Take a paper tube and decorate it with colored tape.

Using clear tape, attached ribbons and strips of netting to the inside of one end of the tube.  These will be the streamers at the end of your rocket to show it’s in flight.

Next, take a pre-cut paper disk (just a paper circle with a slit cut half-way into it) and fold it into a slight cone shape.  Staple this in place to hold its shape.

Run a bead of glue along the un-adorned end of the paper tube.  Set the paper cone on top and press gently so the glue adheres.

Once the glue is dry, poke one end of an ornament hanger through the cone.  Use it to hang up your rocket like it’s flying!

Here’s to celebrating Lady Liberty!

What We’re Making: Hot Air Balloons

Another 3-dimensional craft!  These hot air balloons are such a fun group activity since they involve drawing, spatial reasoning, and those fun, tactile, cotton-ball clouds.

If you’re doing this with a group, you’ll probably want to get the hot air balloons and foam cut out ahead of time.  To prep:

  • Trace your hot air balloon shapes onto posterboard and cut them out, two for each participant.
  • Each participant will get one shape that’s cut from the top down, and another shape that’s cut from the bottom up (see pictures below).  When cutting the slits, cut slightly longer than half way in each direction. This will simplify assembly.
  • Then take floral foam (about 1″ thick) and cut it into circles with a cleaned out can, biscuit-cutter, or round cookie cutter.

Now you’re ready to bring on the participants!

First, instruct them to draw on both sides of both of their balloon cut outs.  It’ll all be visible once it’s assembled because it’s 3-D!

Then, show them how to line up the slits so that the shapes stand up.  You can get into how they’re standing perpendicular to each other, or at right angles to each other if you like.

Next, holding the bottom of the balloon firmly, push it into the floral foam circle.  Since floral foam is much softer than Styrofoam they should go right in.  If not you may need to use a pen, scissors, or a craft knife to score the foam first.

Now ask the participants to gently pull apart some cotton balls to make them look more like clouds.  Have them use liquid glue (glue sticks don’t really work for this) to attach the cotton to the floral foam.

And that’s it!  What a whimsical piece, right?  Our participants really liked to imagine the balloons are flying; ask them where they’re flying to! 🙂

Happy making!

What We’re Making: Mexican Star Ornaments

Another of our art projects last month was making Mexican Star Ornaments.  This is a neat combination of a coloring craft and a paper-folding craft, so make sure to leave time after all the coloring is done to give instructions on the folding and assembling part.

But first, some tips from our fearless leader, Kaye!

  • I found a template for a six-pointed 3-D star, then added the interior star and tabs to fold under at the tips.  The tabs especially help to keep the 3-D shape once everything is assembled.
  • I punched a small hole in one tip and added a loop of thread to act as a hanger ahead of time.  I also folded under the tabs.  You wouldn’t need to do this for some groups. Just know your peeps. 🙂
  • I printed the stars onto cardstock, so we did the coloring portion with colored pencils, because markers can weaken the paper.
  • The streamers are strips of plastic tablecover.  You could also use strips of tissue paper, ribbon, or really anything colorful and flow-y you can think of!

Here’s the star template itself:


Once you’ve printed out your star onto cardstock, let’s get to making!

First, cut out the star template from the cardstock.  Punch a hole in one tip of the star and add the loop of thread that will be the ornament’s hanger.

Now the hard part (ha, not really!): pick what colors to use!  Color your star however you choose, pastel, neon, the colors of your room, whatever you like!

Once you’ve finished coloring, it’s time to start folding.

Start by folding and then unfolding along all of the dotted lines.  After you’ve pre-folded everything your star should be flat on the table again.

Now start folding the long lines up toward you, and the short lines down away from you.  The long lines will poke up like mountains, and the short lines will point down like valleys.

Next, flip your star over.  Glue little streamers to each tip of the star (except the one that has the thread loop for a hanger already).

For the final touch, fold those flaps on the edges back over the tip to encase the streamer.  Where the flaps overlap glue them together.  This will help the star to keep its 3-D shape.

Now your star ornament is done and ready to hang!  I like how Kaye has hers in a window, it looks so festival with all of the sunlight.

And here are our fellow artists in action!

Wouldn’t a few of these strung together in a garland look so neat?  You could alternate them with your papel picado!

Happy creating everyone!



What We’re Making: Papel Picado

Last month we did a couple of art projects from Mexico for Cinco de Mayo.  One of them was the traditional papel picado, or “pierced paper”.  I love the delicate designs you can make with this technique.

Here are some tips from Kaye!

  • I folded the tissue paper and pinking sheared its bottom edge so participants would know where the top was.
  • I cut cardboard templates for various shapes and, with colored marker, marked the edge that runs along the paper’s fold line. Since the templates are 1/2 the finished shape, I labeled each one with its shape: valentine, star, 4-point star, oval, diamond, etc.
  • I provided pencils and light-colored pencils for tracing, because markers seep through tissue paper. The light-colored pencils work best on the dark-colored tissue paper.

Now let’s get to making!

Take your already fan-folded paper and choose what shapes you’d like to put on it, and where you’d like those shapes to go:

Trace around the shape templates with a pencil.  Trace lightly, we don’t want to tear the paper!

Take your scissors and cut out the traced shapes.

Then unfold the paper to reveal the pattern of shapes!

(You can see in the above picture that, in addition to folding the papers into the fan-fold ahead of time, Kaye also added a top flap to aid in the next step.)

Now we just need to add a cord you so can hang your creation!  Lift up the top flap on the paper and run a glue stick along the fold line.

Lay a piece of string or cord along the line of glue, fold the top flap back down over the cord, and press firmly to make sure everything sticks where it should!

And now you’re done! Hang up your papel picado in a window to show it off!

What shapes would you put on your papel picado?  I like all of the star options myself. 🙂

Happy creating, everyone!

Young Artists Club: Milton Bradley

Our Young Artists Club really got their game-faces on for this one!  (I couldn’t help myself! ;-))

We had a day of exploring Milton Bradley a few weeks ago, playing some classic games and then making our own board games.  Our Young Artists got to:

Design game pieces out of clay:

Create large spinners for that element of chance:

A create their board game boards on which to play!

Our Young Artists had so much fun coming up with the ideas and creating their game boards.   Have you every made up a game?  What was it like?  We’d love to hear from all of you creative folks!

What We’re Making: Spring Collages

We’ve had a delightfully long spring here in Austin this year; temperatures have been mostly in the mid-80s so far, instead of already being in the high-90s like normal!  It’s the little things in life. 🙂

Recently we made spring flower collages with our groups, using all sort of fun colors and materials.  The main event, though, was using coffee filters to make flowers: the porous nature of the filter paper means that markers make a nice watercolor effect on them.

First up for this craft, here are some tips from Kaye!

  • I prepped the coffee filters by cutting them from the rim into the center so they fan out like flower petals.  If your group has enough time and fine-motor skills they could do this step themselves.
  • You can use any markers to color the coffee filter flowers, but to get the perfect circles you see in our pictures we used bingo markers (sometimes called bingo daubers).  They’re just markers with a flat top used for marking bingo-cards, or in our case, for creating a lovely polka dot effect!

Let’s get to making!

Things you’ll need:

  1. White and green construction paper
  2. Coffee filters
  3. Cupcake liners
  4. Candy liners (same as the cupcake liner but smaller, like for peanut butter cups)
  5. Crayons
  6. Markers and/or bingo markers
  7. Scissors
  8. Glue sticks
  9. Green ribbons, strips of construction paper, or rickrack

You’ll want to decorate your main, coffee filter flower first; the dye from the markers makes them pretty flimsy, so we’ll need to give them time to dry before we glue them onto our final collage.

Here’s the design Kaye made on hers:

Next, create another flower or two with the cupcake liners and candy liners.  You can color on them, cut the edges of the liners into a new petal shape… You can even layer them to create the look of a daffodil!

Once you’ve made all the blooms you want, we can start on our sky.  Taking an unwrapped blue crayon (or, hey, whatever color you want, it’s your sky!), rub the crayon gently over the surface of the paper.  You should get a nice textured effect from the paper.

Then, take another sheet of paper (or scrap paper) and tear it up into your clouds!  Any shape you like!  Glue them onto your sky with a glue stick.

Hopefully your flowers are dry and ready to put on the collage now.  Using the glue stick, glue the flowers where you’d like them on your sky.

(Hint: If you use glue only on the center of the flowers, the petals will stay loose and have a little movement to them, like they’re blowing in a nice breeze.)

Then give each flower a green stem!  You could draw this with marker, use a green ribbon or rickrack, or use a strip of green construction paper.

Finally, let’s add some green grass!  Cut a strip of green construction paper so that one edge looks like fringe; run your finger along the fringe gently to sort of tousle the grass.  Glue the uncut edge to the bottom of your sky.

Your collage is complete!  You can also draw on some bugs if you’d like, or add your name to your masterpiece for full artistic flair.

Here’s a sample of the great collages our groups made:

What have you been making this spring?  We’d love to hear other fun group art project ideas in the comments, or send us a message on Facebook!