Getting creative with the kids

Hi everyone, it’s finally getting a little warmer out there, but with the half-term holidays this week, it’s always good to have a back up for those rainy days.

When I get desperate for the teenager to break her current obsession with the entire re-run of Friends or for my son to un-glue his fingers from his X box controller or playing his drums (very loudly), I summon them to the kitchen table.

I get eye-rolls and ‘Do we have to?’ initially, but then slowly they come around and start to give things a go. One art session was a real hit and it was all thanks to the delights of Brusho!

What on earth is Brusho I hear you ask? Well I didn’t have a clue either until we had a demo at Art Club, but basically, it’s little pots of rainbow delight, (that sounds like an Activia advert doesn’t it?) or more accurately fine, crystallised powder paint in very bright colours that can create so many different effects – it’s like magic dust!

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Brusho paint can be bought in separate pots or you can often get beginner sets like I did from good local art shops or online. The pots are like mini pepper pots and you pierce some holes in the top with a pin or nail

So, the idea is to get them to draw something out – a monster, some flowers, whatever takes their fancy really, let their imagination run riot, and of course you must have a go too!

There are several ways to use Brusho but the best way to use it with kids is actually to just let them go wild and sprinkle it (but put plenty of newspaper down). The colours are really strong so don’t use too much at first, they can always add more later.

Next is the really fun bit – you grab a misting bottle (if you’re professional) or in my case an emptied-out Mr Muscle bottle filled with water! You then spray on to the paper, from at least a 30cm away from the paper, lightly at first to see how the paint works with the water and then keep adding until you are happy with the effect you have got, but, and this is the crucial part, without going too far that the paint just runs into one massive splodge. This is trickier than it sounds but don’t worry if it goes wrong at first, it just takes a little practice.

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It’s great for posters too or book covers like my daughter did below, just use masking fluid to paint out the lettering of what you want to say, (like I did in the picture at the top of this post), let that dry and do the brusho effect over it, with plenty of paint around the lettering and then once everything is dry, gently rub off the masking fluid to reveal your wording.

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Once your painting is dry you can add in the finishing touches. These can be painted in as normal by just mixing some of the paint in a palette with water, for example the picture I did below, I painted on the leaves and the background to the vase below afterwards.

Brusho flowers

The alternative is to cover a piece of the page you want to go back in to work on afterwards and do the brusho effect first. I did this with the hedgehog below – I did all the leaves first, and then went in to paint the hedgehog after.

Brusho Hedgehog

So, go ahead shoot your water pistol / Mr Muscle bottle at your picture and see what you can create and hey presto you will have a truly unique piece of art.

Needle felting

Next up is something I’ve learned recently, and is better for older children, I’d say 8 plus to avoid any needle-stabbing accidents, (either to themselves or their siblings!).

For this you need the following materials – all pretty cheap and can be bought online or at your local craft shop.

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  • One square of thick sponge
  • A smaller square of 2-3mm thickness felt
  • Needle felting needles (these are different to normal needles as they are barbed on the stem)
  • A selection of different coloured merino wool

Place your piece of square felt in the centre of your square sponge, then select the wool you would like for the background of your picture, for example for a landscape view, so sky and earthy/ green colours – It can be thin or thick strands depending how textured or colourful you’d like it.

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Take your wool and lay out your sky for example, horizontally across the felt, the edges of the strands reaching at least the edge so that it covers the whole of the felt. You can use the needle to tease it into place or separate it out more.

Then comes the fun, stress-busting bit, using the needle, stab the wool into the felt, at a straight up angle, going through the sponge about 2/3rds through, but not hitting whatever you’ve got underneath, such as the table or a magazine, as this can snap the needle. Do this lots of times to effectively stick the wool to felt, securing it into place.

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Keep doing this working from top to bottom on your picture, adding different colours of wool across to create your scene. Every now and again, separate the felt from the sponge by just peeling it off.

Once you’re satisfied with the background, you can then add in the details by either using finer strands of wool to create shapes, such as the sail boat in the first picture and  the little sheep on my 2nd picture, by wrapping it round the bottom of the needle to get a circular shape, holding it in place with your finger and then stabbing it into place. You can also create trees using fine pieces of wool or if you’re good a sewing you can embroider these in either.

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The great thing about all needle felting is that if you make a mistake you can just pull that bit of wool out or move it with your needle.

Disclaimer: I can’t tell you how satisfying it is just stabbing away but just be careful as the needles are very sharp and if you stab fingers, it hurts!!

The effect you can create is brilliant though and you can make a really lovely picture in quite a short time. I think they’re great for children’s bedrooms too, I started this one for my son as he’s obsessed with turtles and it’s easy to make the 3-D effect of the shell by only securing the outer edge to create that dome effect.

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Today, when Jake had a go, we had one stabbed finger, but he soon learned how to do it! He created this eye picture, below for his bedroom, although I’m not sure I’d want to wake up to that looking at me!!

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So hopefully that’s given you a few fun ideas to keep the kids entertained and away from screens for a few hours if nothing less and hopefully you’ve had a go too and enjoyed just experimenting with something new.

If you do give this a try, I’d love you to share your pictures on Instagram and tag me in @thecuriouscreativeclub and let me know how you get on in the comments below too.

Have a great creative half-term!

Until next time…

Juliet, The Curious Creative x

Ps There are lots of tutorials on You Tube if you need any extra help, just search ‘Brusho’ and ‘Needle Felting’

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