Stencils and stamps are a great introduction to the world of design. Crafts for kids are often ‘free’ expressions of a child’s creativity. By using stencils and stamps, children get a chance to experiment with creating more formal patterns and arrangements. The designs are either projects in their own right, or are used decoratively with other craft projects. Generally, stamps tend to be used with paint and stencils make use of paint, crayon or pencil.
Stencils are available in all sorts of shapes and designs. They can be as diverse and intricate as flowers, birds, dinosaurs or transport.
Crafts for kids are more fun if you make your own stencils. Children can make stencils from stiff card using simple shapes. They can also be as ordinary as household items like cups, glasses, shells or cotton reels. Let kids scout around and come up with other ideas. The shapes produced may be a great start to a design or drawing. Cotton reels are perfect car or lorry wheels, for example. You can create stencils together that can be used time and again if they are stored carefully in a little container.
The human body is a fantastic stencil! Get the child to lay flat on a long length of lining paper. Another child can draw around the living stencil. Watch the fun continue, as kids ’fill in’ the details with noses, mouths, eyes, clothes and hair. Kids can even adapt the stenciled drawing into a giant collage using lots of different materials from the craft cupboard and around the house.
Stencils provide the simplest of crafts for kids and the base for lots of drawn scenes and pictures. Experiment with different colouring materials such as paints, crayons, pencils or even chalk. Using a large piece of white paper, kids can even create their own wrapping paper by using a simple, repeat stencil pattern.
Stamps are available in many different shapes, sizes, designs and materials but again, making your own is much more fun. Sponges are a simple idea. Even if you don’t cut any shapes from them, they still create fascinating textures which children can use as a base for many themed pictures. Yellow sponged paint could be sand, use blue paint and you have the sea. Crafts for kids should always be about imagination.
Stamps from Nature
The natural world harbours the best stamps imaginable. Children can have hours of fun stamping with fruit and vegetables, achieving many unique shapes and impressions. Great ideas to try are carrots, apple halves, lemons, satsuma segments and citrus fruit skins. Fun crafts for kids depend on experimenting. A really popular choice is the potato. Cheap and plentiful, they can either be used as they are, or a grown up can carve simple shapes from the cut half.
Leaves are a fabulous stamp or stencil. Armed with a small bag, kids can collect so many varieties to create some outstanding patterns. Simply dip the leaf in thick paint and carefully lay onto the paper, carefully patting the reverse to give a clean impression. Remember to use the ‘veined’ side of the leaf against the paper for a more interesting effect. Alternatively, kids can sweep a paintbrush lightly over the leaf on paper. When peeled away, you have created a beautiful stenciled impression.
The best stamps of all are free and completely unique. They are stamps made with hands and feet. Kids adore this activity; they love the mess and thrill of seeing their bodies directly create art. With a little thought, they can turn their prints into monsters, birds, funny faces or even trees. For trees use the fingers and palm as the upper reaches of the trunk and branches. The resulting patterns can also be used to decorate fabric if specialist paint is used or as a unique piece of artwork, fit to hang proudly in any living room.
Simple but fun stencils and stamps provide hours of amusement and a treasure trove of art ideas and effects. Give kids plenty of free rein to discover new ideas and the many ways they can use the resulting designs.