Christmas decorations! Quilling is so creative!




 Quilling for Kids -“GLUEOLOGY” RULES

Quilling  is the art of creating designs with narrow strips of paper that have been wound around a  quilling tool to create a basic shape.(s-shape, heart, eyeball, coil, spiral,etc) The shapes are glued together and arranged to form all kinds of snazzy designs. Some would have you believe that this craft must be done with precision, with special tools, with only that one right kind of paper, and done itty bitty. The kits and instruction books let you teach yourself how to do it.


You can do quilling with kids –and we have adapted quilling for kids! Hang loose, have fun with it, and forget precision! It’s creativity time!

This is an overview:

 GLUEOLOGY  and FLEXIBILITY are the key!

DON’T WORRY SO MUCH about the exact right paper, perfect tools or best glue.

Materials you need:

Scissors –kid size

Any paper. Any color. Construction paper can be clunky, but it still works. The BEST paper is recycled (and free). Go to a  printer and ask them for their trimmings. Their leftovers. Don’t BUY paper unless you have to. A few reams of bright copy paper is good though.

Use a paper cutter, and ahead of time cut the paper in strips that are approximately  ½ to 1 inch wide. They don’t all have to be exactly the same. Use a big enough paper cutter so that you can cut some lengthwise (11 inches long.) Cut scads of it so kids have lots of choices.

White “school glue”. The BIG important instruction about using the glue is this:”Use TINY drops of glue!” I have often put the glue out in tiny cups with toothpicks sticking out, so the kids can only apply the glue in tiny bits with the toothpick.

Sticks – little round wooden sticks, toothpicks, or pencils work, determining how tight the curls will be. Preschoolers can wrap a strip of paper tightly around a pencil.  Older kids are more successful with a toothpick.

 The Action:

ROLLING the paper: there are a variety of basic curls.(see below) You want to be constantly demonstrating these, and have a variety of completed pieces available to see. Have pictures of the basic curls printed out for people to see.

You especially want to have samples made of very basic quilling art: a mouse, a heart. A mouse is 3 teardrops, a loosely curled tail, a roll for an eye, and that’s it…or you can go the next step and fill the mousie body with lots of s shape curls. A heart: use a heavier wider strip for the outside heart, and fill the heart with shapes.

Great use of creative imagination is what helps to make this so fun,and each piece so unique!

See the basic shapes pictured below.

SCIENCE MOMENT!!!!! GLUEOLOGY! Here’s the key to your success! The science of glue is this – the reason glue sticks things together is that the glue molecules mix with the paper molecules. SO if you apply a puddle of glue, it’s harder for the glue molecules to get mixed in with the paper molecules. SO- put a teensy bit of glue on one spot, and then you put the two papers together that you want to stick together, and then you SQUEEZE the papers together, with the glue drop in the middle-wow! Quickly it sticks and you can get on with it. Important for the kids to be able to get on with it!

WEAR IT- at a fair, kids need a way to take their creations along with them. Their quilling project could be fragile. Use heavy  fishing line (oh thrifty you!).Hang their heart or mousie, butterfly or flower off it, and they wear it as a necklace. Make sure everyone has an instruction sheet tucked in their pocket, so they can get good and hooked on this marvelously creative craft!

HOLIDAY THEMES: One year I made quilling snowflakes, glittered them,and gave them as holiday gifts to everyone I knew. Halloween, Valentines Day, Christmas,Dwali,Kwanza…it works.

 There are so many ways to use quilling for gifts, ornaments, cards! This is a lifetime skill!




About Melinda Wallis,”Kids Art Goddess”-

For 20 years, we’ve been doing art with crowds at fairs, festivals, malls, camps, parties, library programs, and yes, some creative schools!

Since 1989, I’ve been inventing creative projects for kids, to give them the thrill of using materials that they often don’t get their hands on otherwise! REAL clay and clay tools, colored tumbled glass bits,  leather, yards of windsock fabric, outdated phone  equipment to make robots with… tons of interesting recycled stuff!  Doing art with crowds is a FINE art in itself, and HAVE ART WE’LL TRAVEL knows how to do it!








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A reminder: CREATIVITY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE!  Bored? Kids staring at screens like zombies? Get some yarn and make a God’s Eye. Get out the clay and make monsters. Spread a large tarp on the floor and do some painting!  Ah….satisfying!

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Halloween Wreaths – Horrible Halloween Art!

Do you dare to make some horrible art for Halloween? Nothing Cute allowed! Halloween is supposed to be scary,ugly,creepy, remember? Bats and scarecrows-yes.  Darling Puppies-no.

Every wreath will be unique! This is a very creative project…so satisfying to make your own decorations. Whether you are doing this with your family or a scout troop or classroom, it’s good to have adults assisting younger kids,especially for the glue gun.

Get materials collected a week before Halloween, and start working on it.This will take several sessions,since paint drying times are needed.

Here’s what you need:


3 wire hangers per wreath

Newspaper or packing paper

Hot glue gun(low temp is fine)

Glue sticks


Black and or Orange Spray paint (a kind that lasts ok outside)

Decorations  – such as plastic eyeballs, rubber bats, plastic spiders,and some ugly stuff: fake worms, plastic peanuts, googly eyes,straw, fake spider webs. Nothing cute allowed!

How to do it:

Straighten out the hangers. TIP- you might want to use pliers.  Braid them together,and make them into a circle by twisting the top hooks together.

Next take pieces of paper…cut or tear paper about a foot long, and wide. Pinch it in the middle and crunch it up as if you were making a flower. Tuck the “paper flowers” into the little holes in the braided wires, and pull tight. Fill up your wreath to fullness! It’s poofy!

Spray paint it! TIP- about three coats of paint is good, with 45 minutes drying time in between.(Thuis is why you start a week ahead!)

When the paint is good and dry, attach the decorations all over the wreath with the hot (low temp) glue gun! Be careful not to burn yourself!

You are done!AWESOME! Hang it up on your front door,maybe with an orange light aimed at it.

You will get compliments on your original Halloween wreath,  boo-leave me~!

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 CREATIVE CLAY CRITTERS –Successful and satisfying!

Oh,clay critters, gotta love em! What is an adaptable project for many ages and skills? CLAY CRITTERS! You can adapt this project to so many themes, and do it as a birthday party for preschoolers, or at a big fair where not only kids but teens and adults can be enticed to indulge in clay play. We’ve done this many time with crowds of folks. Learn my HOT TIPS FOR SUCCESS here!

HOT CLAY TIPS: My favorite clay: Vashon clay (from Seattle Pottery),preferably more than one color. Vashon clay dries hard in the air and  doesn’t have to be baked. It’s not real expensive, and its real. Ask me where to get Vashon clay.

Use the nifty clay wires with handles for slicing clay…cut some  clay into slices ahead of time if you are dealing with crowds and hot weather. Put sliced clay in small bucket covered by a damp towel to keep clay from drying out

HOT TIP ABOUT Other Materials: This depends on your Critter Theme. For example, “Clay Sea Critters”  can use dried split peas as scales on a mermaid tail. “Bug Eyed Monsters” are served well by navy beans, kidney beans.  Straw makes great whiskers. Fake fur. Pebbles. Twigs. Shells. Pine cones. Googly eyes. Give people lots of choices.

Ask me about where to get Oyster Shells to put Clay Critters on…if you live in Seattle area

You also need a few pens, paper towels/small lunch bags,  materials containers ,sponges, water bucket.

Tools TIPS: I like plain tools, because the kids get to be more creative. The  Basics: Kid sized rolling pins, popsicle sticks, real and not-too-sharp  clay tools (easy to lose in big crowds tho), toothpicks, dull kitchen knives.

Critter size: Artistic freedom is the key phrase! If you make samples that are tiny, kids tend to make tiny critters. How much clay you hand to the person will guide the size. If you have a pile of oyster shells and the critter will rest in a shell, that determines size.

Teaching as you go: It helps to give some very basic simple instruction for the younger kids.  Clue people in that the clay shrinks a little as it dries, so they need to smooth the clay over from the leg to the body, lest the critter fall apart when its dry. Rolling their clay into balls is a good start – a bigger ball to shape into a body, smaller balls for head, arms and legs. Ask me for more teaching tips.

HOT TIP ABOUT INSPIRATION: there is no wrong way to do clay critters. Just get the kids messing with the clay, and watch them go. ..if you have some basic samples made, they can be inspired!

HOT TIP ON PRE-PREP: Ahead of time: set up – cover the tables with plastic table cloths. I like the rolls of plastic sheeting that painters use , cut to size.  Put your materials in many little containers: yogurt cups, or the paper trays that hold hot dogs.  Have samples made.

HOT CLEANING UP TIP: Do it  constantly: As you go along, especially at busy events- keep cleaning up the tables. Sort materials back into their trays. Get little clay leftovers cleaned up, so there is work space for the next kids. Have jars to hold the tools. If you are very organized, it makes tools and materials easily available for creation. If the work tables get trashed, it’s hard for kids to do their art.

WATER – At bigger events – DON’T have lots of water around! Have a bucket of water behind the tables for staff to use to with sponges for wiping tables, but if kids start working with wet clay, what messes you have to clean up. Oi!

Saving the Critters TIP-at fairs, kids are encouraged to leave their critter behind to dry, to be picked up before they leave. Have an extra table set up-  the Drying/Exhibit Table. Give them a paper towel, or small lunch bag, write their name on it so they can find it later to take home.

HOTTEST  TIP: smile, have fun! You are awakening people to their own creativity!

Making Clay Critters can lead to a lifetime of clay creating!

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Postcards for Pals is a terrific Holiday-time project…heartwarming and fun! Do you know of an orphanage in Pakistan? A school for homeless kids in Calcutta? (If not,we can hook you up with one.) Those kids would love getting friendly greetings from you! So round up your scout troop,friends,families, church members, dance partners, and have a postcard making party! Box the cards up and send them off!  E-mail me for more info!


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Planning Ahead Pays Off -We can advise you!

SO— you need to do an art project with 50 scouts? Or 100 kids in an after school program? Having a big birthday party for an 8 year old girl? Careful planning,and organization of the materials you’ll use will give the kids a successful creative experience .

You can contact me personally for professional  input for your specific event!If you want to hire us to do an art project at your event in the Seattle area, ask us for a proposal.

I’m in favor of conversation, talking through things to see what will work best for you. Just leave a comment below and we’ll be in touch!

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Check out The Creation Station!

My friend Frank has a fantastic recycled art supply store full of materials for creating! Trust me, there is no other place like this.I can’t live without it!

Old phone equipment, lids, bamboo, stickers, whatsits.bins and bins full of it! More colors of masking tape than I’ve ever seen before! Your brain starts top put off sparks just seeing this stuff!

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More Articles are READY!

More articles ready and available to you  soon! Giant Murals, “Assembly Line Art”, Clay Critters On The Half Shell, Build a TOWN, Horrible Halloween Art,Indonesian Wayang Puppets made Simple….the fun goes on and on!

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Making teepees-exerpts


( A few exerpts)

Making your own teepees is creative fun at fairs, parties, camps, library programs and reunions! This handmade Teepee will delight the kids who make it!  It  will become a permanent fixture in your home! (if you wanna!) This is a terrific excuse to let a bunch of kids get really messy.

Your first goal is to collect the materials you need- mostly CHEAP and FREE…….

Scrounge and Assemble your materials (details in complete article)

This is a good time for everyone to sit down together and talk ART!

“Hey kids, shall we have a theme for our paintings that decorate the sheets? Shall we go Native American? Do art that has to do with peace and happiness ? Like what? Suns, peace symbols, happy faces.How about an animal theme? Stick figure horses, teddy bears, kitty faces…

NOW you are all going to conspire to get those sheets wrapped around the poles and stapled on.

Just FIGURE IT OUT! Adults and older kids can man the staple gun(s).

whole article coming soon!


Hours of play fun await you!

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Nature-CLAY VILLAGES are awesome!

Ah,NATURE!  A Clay Village is a education in disguise. Kids use clay, twigs,feathers, shells beans,pebbles and more to create their own tabletop FOREST, JUNGLE or BEACH scene. No two alike!

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