Favorite Junk Turned Into Art Crafts

Share your best masterpieces!

Turning junk into works of art is nothing new. People have done this since junk existed, and now it's become a whole hobby. Folks like to shop for pieces that inspire them at garage sales or the thrift store, take them home and turn them into something completely different. There are so many ways to do this, from simply adding paint or texture, or changing the shape into something completely new with the addition of clay, wood and other mediums.

In our house, we've done everything from add clay to ceramic geese to make dinosaurs, paint things to be creepy for Halloween (dolls, cat sculptures, ceramic deer, you name it!) and turn jars, shadowboxes and other containers into gothic masterpieces. We've also reused keys, clothing for costumes, buttons, jewelry, tulle, buttons and plenty of other items in various pieces of art. Truly, these items are not masterpieces of the traditional caliber and definitely would not win art shows, but they are ours and really fun to make. My favorite has to be the mirror I spent a couple of days painting and adorning with painted plastic snakes! 

What kinds of junk have you found that worked really well as a new pieces of art? Do you know of any great tutorials to help get people started on a project like this? Share them in the chat. 

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Fun Dollar Tree Dome Crafts

What have you made?

The Dollar Tree has those really cool dome "jars" back in stock--the ones that make anything look like it belongs in a haunted Victorian house or mad scientist lab!--and I was able to grab three of them. Last year I bought the last two, one for me and one for my teenager, and we both made creepy skeletons with fairy wings and moss in the jars. Now what should we make with the new ones?

I'd love to stick to the whole creepy theme, and there are lots of ideas online on how to do just this. Here's a video using little figurines, which I bet we could sculpt and paint out of clay if we really wanted to. I'd love to make a little Seymour plant sculpture! I do have a mini Funko Pop of Seymour but it's a bit on the small side for this purpose. These skulls with crows are also pretty cute. 

What kinds of crafts have you made with these little domes? Do you have any other fun, spooky ideas for us to try with our empty domes? Share your ideas and what you've made in the chat. 

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Endangered Species Youth Art Contest

How to help your kids enter!

If your children or other youth in your life are fans of arts and crafts, they might be interested in checking out this year's Endangered Species Youth Art Contest. Young artists who live in the United States and are in grades K through 12 are able to enter the contest with their original artwork. Many different types of entries and prizes are available.

The contest is part of Endangered Species Day on May 20 and is meant to help raise awareness and encourage youth education. All art must be of an animal or plant listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as well as animals that have been delisted. For a complete set of rules and instructions, be sure to visit the website.

Are you participating in any other wildlife or art project fairs, contests or competitions? Have some projects to brag about or competitions to share? Post them in the chat! 

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Great Crafts for Imbolc

What other crafts do you like making in February?

From the Chinese New Year to Valentine's Day, February is filled with opportunities to do some crafting. One of these opportunities is the pagan festival of Imbolc, a time when folks celebrate the goddess Brighid and the end of winter. This is a bit ironic in the modern world where winter is really getting into full swing in some areas, but it's still a wonderful time to light some candles, get cozy and get crafting.

A popular DIY for this festival is a homemade firestarter, of course, which is great for using up things around the house like dryer lint and used wax. These ice candles and lanterns are a really fun craft, too. One year we made globes by filling balloons with ice and food coloring. While the ones that turned out were gorgeous, the one that blew up in our freezer was an epic mess! Corn dolls are another traditional craft for this holiday.

What kinds of crafts are you creating for this Imbolc or any other February festivities? Have you made anything special you want to share? Post your links and projects in the chat. 

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Simple Valentine's Crafts for Toddlers

What are you making together?

Valentine's crafts make great arts and crafts projects for littles. Hearts are fairly simple, and there are dozens of easy, fun and inexpensive crafts to do with toddlers that can engage and entertain them while also employing various skills and developmental milestones and providing you with a keepsake that will last a long time. It's a win-win situation!

Practice fine motor skills by painting a whole page with watercolor, and when it dries, try out some cutting skills by using a pair of scissors on the paper and creating little hearts. This can be done with almost any medium. Next, cut out different sized hearts together and glue them one on top of the other to make pretty layers while learning about shapes and sizes. Work on those fine motor skills by rolling up tissue paper into tiny balls and gluing them into heart shapes on paper as well. 

What Valentine's projects are you working on with your toddlers? Have any great ideas for specific skills? Share them in the chat! 

Wood-Burning Craft Ideas

Share yours in the the chat!

Recently my teen's girlfriend gave me a gorgeous piece of wood burning art as a holiday gift and wow, was it beautiful! It really made me appreciate the art and wonder just how it's done. This artist is certainly very skilled at it, and my teen says that she's been learning how to do it for a long time, and is self-taught via online videos.

When I searched for wood burning videos myself, I found lots of great tutorials for beginners like this one. Like any craft, there are also plenty of kits you can buy that already have everything you need to get started--even a piece of wood ready to be worked on. I've seen all kinds of cool crafts, from two-dimensional art to layered sculptures, and would love to hear more ideas.

What kinds of wood-burning projects do you do at home? Which kinds are your favorites to do, and which would you suggest to a beginner? Share your ideas and links to your own work in the chat. 

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Arts And Crafts for Anxiety Management

Share what you do in the chat!

When it comes to arts and crafts, many of us make just because we feel like we're not ourselves unless we're making something. It's like Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic--if we're not creating, we're destroying. Making things helps keep us happy and fulfilled. 

That said, arts and crafts are also excellent for managing stress and anxiety. There is a reason why they're used in therapy and treatment centers. Art helps us forget about our problems, and sometimes even our pain in the case of chronic illness, for a bit, giving us a break from the neverending pressure. Crafts can even serve as a type of meditation, helping to improve mood. 

Some crafts almost seem invented for stress relief. Folks who thrive on the sense of touch can revel in the feel of wet clay, soft fabrics and yarn or even playing with herbs. Creating an art journal helps us process things in our lives, and plain old coloring is helpful for lots of people.

What kinds of arts and crafts do you utilize for stress and anxiety management? What has really helped the most? Share your favorites in the chat.

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Crafting with Feminism

What did you think of the book?

As I set out to look for craft projects that combine fun and creativity with dismantling the patriarchy, white supremacy and colonialism--a combination that I think would be great for many of us as we stay at home this winter--I ran across this book from 2016. It's called Crafting with Feminism, and it's written by Bonnie Burton. While I don't think it's exactly what I was looking for, it definitely has some fun-looking projects in it.

It's got a lot of just-for-fun projects, like making your own feminist badges or finger puppets featuring RBG and Frida Kahlo. Turning high heels into cactus planters is a really fun project in the book as it subverts beauty standards, and there are some sidebars to provide a bit of background information and education for each project. Like I said, it's really not the activist crafting I was searching for, but it's definitely a compilation of fun ideas to do this winter.

Do you have any great activist craft websites, books or resources that you love? What kinds of crafts have you used to subvert the dominant paradigm? Share your guerilla art in the chat. 

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Joann's Holiday Clearance Sale is Here

What are you going to make?

Post-holiday sales are some of the best of the year, and Joann's massive clearance sale is one of the biggest. The store sells holiday merchandise up to 75% off, giving all of us crafters plenty of reasons to shop and make some fun things for the New Year! And no, it's NOT too late to make Christmas or holiday crafts, especially if you haven't put decorations away yet. You still have room in that tote for whatever you make this weekend!

Holiday decor, floral items, vases, ribbons, bows... SO much is on sale right now. And speaking of storage, the store also has 40% off storage right now, so you can get what you need to save those holiday crafts, too. Reward cards also expire on January 29, so be sure to use them if you're going shopping. 

Did you find any great deals at Joann's? What did you get and what are you going to make? Share your finds in the chat! 

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Cool Ideas for Luminarias

Share your DIY projects with us!

There's something so lovely and magical about luminarias, especially the simple ones made to line up a walkway during the winter season. Lots of people love the look of a more intricate design, and I can't disagree. I've made jar luminarias with color and decorations that I've loved. But something about a rustic paper bag craft with a simple light just generates feelings of warmth and comfort.

This simple luminara tutorial will help you make some lovely luminarias just in time for the holidays. All you need are some paper bags, sand and candles or flameless votives, whichever you're more comfortable using. You can make many of these to light a path or just make one to provide a cozy glow somewhere nearby.

How do you make luminarias at home? What supplies do you usually use, and which projects have been your favorites? Share them in the chat. 


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