This is a two-part art project; a festive garland to hang in a doorway, across a wall, in front of a window, wherever you need a bit of cheer! Yummy's garland is intended as a gift, but it would be a wonderful homemade birthday or party decoration as well.
We used beet water to colour our coffee filters, since we have an excess of the vegetables right now (and I enjoy using natural materials for art when possible), but you could definitely use another kind of paint to dye them. I didn't realize that beet paint would be so very pink -I thought it would be more of a rich autumn red. However, Yummy is quite delighted with the colour result!
Part One: Dyeing the Coffee Filters
You will need:
- Coffee Filters (we dyed 100, but only used 21 for the garland)
- A jar of canned beets (or you can boil up some fresh ones and use the cooled red beet water after they are cooked) Alternately: you can use watered down tempera paint in the colour of your choice
- A stainless bowl or pan big enough to dip the coffee filters into
- (disregard the scotch tape!)
Dump the red water from your jar of beets into the pan (leave the beets out -chunks are no good). Dip the coffee filters in, let them drip off a bit and place on a cookie sheet or tray in a stack. We started off by dipping one filter at a time, but found that it worked fine to do a small stack of 5 or so at a time, and it went a lot quicker too. 100 coffee filters used up the entire quart jar of beet water, the last few just soaked up the dregs so they were a bit lighter.
After all the filters were dip-dyed, I carried the wet stack on a cookie sheet, over to the workroom where I had spread out a vinyl tablecloth. I spread them out in thin stacks to dry and pointed a fan in the general direction. They were dry by the next morning. I closed the door while they dried to keep Dooter from exploring.
Part Two: Assembling the Garland
You Will Need:
- Dyed Coffee Filters
- Thick Thread
- Sewing Needle (I used a pretty big one)
- Child-sized Scissors
- Scotch Tape
Take a coffee filter, fold it in half. Fold it in half again, and then one last time. Total: three folds. Yummy decided she wanted 21 "flowers" on her garland, so we did this 21 times.
Smoosh the tip of the flower together and wrap a small piece of scotch tape around the top, leaving about 1/2 inch of paper exposed at the top to stick the needle through later. Doing this to 21 flowers got to be a little tedious for Yummy (age 4), so I finished up the last half myself. Picking a smaller number of flowers would help make this a more manageable project for a small child.
Using the scissors, slice about 3 lines up the bottom of the flower. Then spread the cut pieces out a bit to add some dimension.
Thread the needle, tying a knot to secure it. If your child is old enough to manage a needle on her own, they can thread the needle through the top paper part of each flower. I knotted the thread around the first and last flower to prevent them moving on the garland.
Yummy loves using a needle and carefully threaded each flower onto the garland.
After Yummy threaded each flower on, I wrapped a little piece of tape over the top of each, securing it to the thread so they wouldn't slide around on the string.
Yummy wants to give this festive garland to her grandparents -tomorrow is their 40th anniversary (the ruby anniversary), and pink is close enough to ruby in our books! I wrapped the garland around a piece of cardboard, taping each end on, so that it won't get all tangled before they have a chance to hang it up.
There were lots and lots of pink coffee filters leftover, so I wrapped some around the bulbs on a string of white lights for our own festive banner! It lights up these dark mornings with a soft rosy glow.
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The Elements of Visual Art and Principles of Design in this activity:
1. Form: Working in three-dimensions
2. Rhythm: Using repetition in the many paper flowers to create rhythm
1. Fine motor skill practice: folding, using tape scissors, using a needle and thread
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