A sponge-painted doily with a heart-shape cut out of it (allowed to dry, then pasted on construction paper)

A sponge-painted doily with a heart-shape cut out of it (allowed to dry, then pasted on construction paper)

In today’s airbrushed world, where so many things are made up of perfect lines and angles (I’m especially thinking of school and its hours of linear mark-making), sometimes we just need to have a little fun getting messily creative.

This is where the simple activity of exploring color on paper can allow young children the great experience of creative freedom. Here are three fun craft projects for Valentine’s Day. Each will take only minutes to make, and result in two decorative images: a colorful doily and a bonus valentine produced by using the doily as a stencil. Both creations can become the cover or the inside of a homemade card, or can be pasted on a paper plate as a Valentine’s Day decoration.

A second valentine is created in the sponging process. When the paint dries, help your child carefully remove the doily to magically reveal a “bonus” valentine!

A second valentine is created in the sponging process. When the paint dries, help your child carefully remove the doily to magically reveal a “bonus” valentine!

What you’ll need:

  • something to protect your tabletop (I used an old shower curtain liner)
  • A packet of doilies
  • red and white tempera paint, and other colors of your choice)
  • plain white paper (such as printer paper)

    Before you start, assemble your various materials.

    Before you start, assemble your various materials.

  • two small sponges (for applying the paint)
  • a jar of water (to dilute the paint)
  • cotton swabs (for mixing the paint)
  • paper towels
  • scissors
  • scotch tape
  • paste or a glue stick
  • construction paper or paper plates
Before this doily was sponge-painted, I folded it in half in order to cut out the three heart shapes.

Before this doily was sponge-painted, I folded it in half in order to cut out the three heart shapes.

To paint a doily, tape it on a sheet of white paper. Using both hands in the manner of Brain Gym’s Double Doodle Play*, dip the two sponges into the paint and start blotting on the color. I suggest doing the painting as a single process; your hands will stay clean as long as you don’t set the sponges down and pick them up again. Or have wet paper towels nearby for clean-up.

Allow for meandering and serendipitous mistakes!

I enjoyed using a marker in each hand to detail the edge of this bonus design—Double Doodle-style!

I enjoyed using a marker in each hand to detail the edge of this bonus design—Double Doodle-style!

 

You can trim around the edge or use your making pens to make it more interesting.

 

 

 

I folded a doily into eighths, then cut it as shown.

I folded a doily into eighths, then cut it as shown.

 

 

For a decorative card, I wanted to cut out a more elaborate design (see drawing at left and photos below).

The results of my folding and scissoring!

The results of my folding and scissoring!

 

 

 

 

I pasted the doily on a card, and embellished the card with heart scraps from previous cutouts—pasted only at the fold for a 3-D, butterfly effect.

I pasted the doily on a card, and embellished the card with heart scraps from previous cutouts—pasted only at the fold for a 3-D, butterfly effect.

 

For this one, I cut a scalloped edge around a bonus valentine and pasted it to a paper plate, which I then further decorated.

For this one, I cut a scalloped edge around a bonus valentine and pasted it to a paper plate, which I then further decorated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make a Paper Plate Decoration, I cut a scalloped edge around a bonus valentine and pasted it to a paper plate, which I then further decorated by trailing the creases with three different markers in turn—super fun! (This one looks great on the fridge at our house.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

*The Double Doodle is one of 26 Brain Gym® activities from Brain Gym®: Teacher’s Edition by Dennison and Dennison, ©2010. The introductory course Double Doodle Play: A Window to Whole-Brain Vision offers a full day of exploration built on mirror-image mark-making and painting. For the name of a Brain Gym instructor, see the Foundation website, below. For a Double Doodle Play instructor, click on the link and look up 105DD under courses.

© 2014 by Gail Dennison. All rights reserved.

Brain Gym® is a trademark of Brain Gym® International/the Educational Kinesiology Foundation. Click here for the name of an instructor near you.

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