Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Gingerbread House & Cookie Decorating

I just spent a fabulous Saturday helping 23 children decorate 23 mini gingerbread houses.  Yes......that means I baked and assembled 23 gingerbread houses.  Mad!  We also decorated over 100 gingerbread cookies!  It was certainly one mammoth baking week for me.  Here's some pics of the assembly...

Here's some of the cookies and gingerbread houses ready to decorate:

Fondant and lolly bowls ready to be used:


Most of them completed (the kids were off having morning tea whilst I took this photo):

Some decorated houses and cookies:

All of the children did a fabulous job - well done.  I wonder how many will last till Christmas day????

A few hints if you are attempting these yourself:
  • I made my own templates out of cardboard first, assembled the house in cardboard to check it worked, then cut around these (if you can purchase cutters that would be a whole lot easier!)
  • Use royal icing to stick your house together and attach the lollies
  • Assemble the walls first, wait until the icing is hard, then do the roof (I waited a day in between)
  • Prop the first wall up with something (I used a cup)
  • Any lollies will do.  If you have a large group like I did you can separate the lollies into bowls so everyone has the same.  If they need more of something they can trade with someone else at the table (interestingly most kids had lots of lollies left that they didn't use).
  • I also gave them little balls of green, red and white fondant to make extra things with.
  • Put the royal icing in small zip lock bags, squeeze to a corner and snip off the corner.  The children can use this to "glue" on their lollies.
  • Add snow by using some runny icing (just mix icing mixture and water together) and sprinkle dessicated coconut on top
  • Wrap with cellophane will make them keep for longer (and protect from flies and ants)
  •  An easy way to decorate cookies is to cover with white fondant and then draw on them using edible markers.
  • Use pieces of cardboard covered in foil as boards.  Get the children to decorate the board as well.
 Merry Christmas Everyone!


Monday, 22 December 2014

Pinch Pot Ceramic Animals

I so love how these turned out.  I wanted to keep every one of them and have them as a cute little animal feature in my garden...

These were actually quite easy to make.  You just need to make a pinch pot, use some extra clay to make a small ball which is squashed to make a head.  Then add ears, eyes, legs etc.  I let the children choose which animal they wanted to make, yet gave some examples of easy things to do.  You want to minimize small thin bits that are easy to break.  Remind them about a gazillion times to scratch and attach so those cute little ears etc don't fall off.

Can you believe that most of these were made by children ages 6-9??

We made and painted these all in one lesson.  The wet clay was painted immediately with under-glazes.  We went back to them a week later just to touch up any bits where the glaze wasn't thick enough.  These were then fired, clear glaze added and fired again.

I snapped these pictures pretty fast as they arrived the last lesson of term and people were very eager to take these beauties home.

Ohh just so so cute!




In the Christmas Spirit we produced these very cute Reindeers a few weeks ago. 

These were inspired by a post on ARTventurous which includes some fabulous instructions on how to produce them - thank you!  My only change was to use liquid watercolours instead - I'm sooo in love with these! I also added some glitter to my green.  We also completed them in one lesson so no time for additions of oil pastel later.  I loved the results so much I even got my art club kids to produce them at school.

We also produced some fun Christmas decorations....


Friday, 12 December 2014

Pastel Desserts - inspired by Wayne Thiebaud

As part of our study of Wayne Thiebaud we also produced some very yummy looking desserts and gumball machines out of chalk and / or oil pastels.

Sometimes I love having a loose theme and just letting the children make their own decisions on what to draw, what medium to use and what colour paper to use.  I had out both oil and chalk pastels and although you wouldn't think of them going together, it actually worked.  Children could also choose white or black paper and had the option of cutting out their picture and placing it on the opposite colour.

I really think they captured Wayne's style, especially the ones with the shadows.

Well done - these are good enough to eat!


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Textured Cakes and Clay Donuts (Wayne Thiebaud style)

It seems to be Birthday season here so I thought a cake lesson was in order.  You can't do a cake lesson without looking at Wayne Thiebaud, an artist who was made famous by his paintings of cakes, pies and ice creams.  Wayne's first exhibition of these paintings was in the 70's just before the Pop Art movement.  He uses very thick paints to capture the texture of icing - people say his paintings look real enough to eat!

This was a great opportunity to get the children to experiment with modelling paste (or impasso, I used modelling paste as its thicker) and palate knives.  I wanted them to feel as if they were icing a cake as they applied the paint to their boards.

What you need:
  • Boards (I used MDF boards which I painted with black gesso - I get these cut for me at Bunnings and it works out really economical compared to using canvas).  You may find paper gets ripped if you are using very thick paints and palate knives.
  • Palate Knives
  • Acrylic Paint*
  • Modelling Paste or Impasso*
  • Paint brushes 
  • Small glass beads for sprinkles (optional)
  • Coloured rice for sprinkles (optional)
* I actually premixed the paint and modelling paste together in small containers so the children just added it directly to their paintings in the colour desired.

 How To:
  • Talk about Wayne's work and show examples
  • Demonstrate how to draw a cake (I showed a tiered cake and a sliced cake - I also provided some handouts)
  • Get them to have a practice first then draw their cake on the board with pencil
  • Paint (with palate knives or brushes)
  • Add sprinkles
The Results:

Close up of that lovely texture:

Some cakes good enough to eat:
Note: not all children enjoyed using the palate knives, actually some found it a little frustrating - I had paintbrushes out as well so they could use them if they preferred.

Clay Donuts

At the end of the lesson we also had time to make some donuts out of air dry clay. 

I tested a new homemade recipe using baking soda and corn flour (check out the directions here).  Once the children had made a donuts shape they painted it with brown liquid watercolour and acrylic paints left over from the cakes.  Finally they added rice or beads for sprinkles.