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Tag Archives | Children’s Crafts

CHA Paints: Delta Creative


Delta Creative had some interesting new releases, our favourite being their new SOY range of stains and paints!

The Soy Paints range had a large colour selection, and the vibrancy of the colours was impressive. We were delighted to see that they are perfect for even young children to use. The sample Canvases they had on display were gorgeous at showing off the colour coverage.

Details from their website states:
Soy Paint uses pigment containing a bio-based soy ester resin and other recycled natural materials. Soy Paint is: • The first TRUE “Green” decorative paint on the market! • Non-Toxic and safe • Great for arts, crafts & home décor projects • Low-to-No VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) • Low odor • Easy clean-up with soap and water • Durable and long-lasting finish.

With the Soy Stains, we liked the velvet finish to the stains and the warm depth to the colours.

from their website:
Soy Stains have convenient wide-mouth jars makes for easy application • Works GREAT on soft woods such as pine – typically more difficult to stain with conventional stain products • Low odor • Long lasting, durable finish • Provides “Deep Penetration” on porous surfaces, also serving to seal & protect • Enhances the look and feel of the wood …as well as preserving keepsake items • Easy clean-up with soap and water • Premium Quality • Low VOC • Great for home décor projects

We feel these SOY Paints and Stains are a welcome addition to the Creative Paint industry and think that the quality and usability of the paints is right there with art acrylics, especially as they have no smell and come with an impressive claim to “prime, coat and seal” in one.

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Avery T-Shirt Transfers

Reported By: Julie Campbell

Are there any 80’s children out there who remember when ringer Tee’s and cut off jeans were the latest fashion? Growing up, I loved anything made from iron-ons and proudly sported my favorite cartoon character or TV personality on my shirts. Why not become nostalgic and share some of that fun with your own family with Avery’s T-Shirt Transfers!

Avery has a full line of do-it-yourself products that are really easy to use. There are now T-shirt Transfers for both light and dark fabrics. These two products are very different from each other, so make sure you read the directions thoroughly before applying. Avery recommends turning garments inside out and washing in cold water to keep colors looking their best. Below is a chart that explains some of the differences between the products:

Light T-Shirt transfers are transparent, so any pigment in your fabric will show through your iron-on. I recommend only using white or ivory fabrics with this product so that the colors from your transfer will remain true. The Light T-Shirt Transfer is placed upside down before ironing, mirroring your image. This is especially important to remember if you’re transferring any text onto your fabric!

Dark T-Shirt transfers are opaque and have a bright white background. You have to trim your transfer very closely because any negative space will be white once ironed on. The Dark T-Shirt Transfers are placed face-up and are NOT mirrored. I have found that after several washings, the pigment from your fabric will start to bleed through any white area on your design.

There are a lot of ways to create an image for your transfers. Avery Transfers are compatible with Ink Jet printers and there are downloadable free templates and clip art images from avery.com. One of my favorite things to do is to stamp directly onto the transfer sheets. I made my son a custom T-shirt using iron-on letters, rubber stamps and markers. I’ve had good luck with dye-based inks and markers. Copic markers are not a good choice because the alcohol in the ink ‘eats away’ at the transfer sheet.

Of course, there are a lot of other things that you can do with iron-ons. I love taking my children’s artwork and scanning them onto the computer. Once they’re uploaded, simply print them out onto a Transfer Sheet! I made this bag with some of my son’s early artwork, and I think it would make a great gift for a teacher or grandparent!

Pros:

  • Transfer Sheets come in packages for both light and dark fabric.
  • Avery’s new Color Shield™ formula ensures crisp, long-lasting image quality and the brightest colors – even after washing.
  • Unprinted iron-on transfer sheets feed easily through most inkjet printers.
  • Free downloadable images are available on the Avery website.
  • You can create your own images by using rubber stamps and markers.

Cons:

  • The Light T-Shirt Transfers are transparent, so any pigment in your fabric will show through and alter the colors in your transfer.
  • The Dark T-Shirt Transfers are opaque, so any “negative” areas in your design will become bright white once applied. (Designs must be carefully & closely trimmed.)
  • When using a Dark T-Shirt Transfer, any white areas that are part of your design may fade, allowing the color of the fabric to bleed through.

I think fabric transfers are a fun, versatile product that kids of all ages will love! They have stood the test of time and are a great creative outlet. With a little practice and imagination, I think you will love this product too! I would give this product a rating of 7 out of 10.

So what are you waiting for? Avery Transfer Sheets can be found at your local Wal-Mart stores or at any office supply store near you. 8.5″ x 11″ Dark Transfer Sheets (3 pack) retails for around $10. A similar pack of Light Transfer Sheets retails for around $6. (Larger packages are available and are more economical if you are planning on trying out several projects.) Let your child’s imagination run wild and create a fun project that they will wear with pride! Have you tried Avery’s products? If so, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment and tell us about some other creative uses you have found for fabric transfers.

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Perler Beads and Accessories

Reported by Heather Strenzwilk


Anyone who visited the toy department of a craft store has probably seen Perler Beads. I never gave them a second thought until family friends (and their children) showed me over 100 pieces of finished artwork, dozens of shaped pegboards, and a huge bin of Perler beads. My daughter and I immediately joined in the fun. Within a few weeks, we were proud owners of 11,000 assorted color Perler Beads, assorted shaped pegboards, an idea book: E-Z Tweezies, and a bunch of finished artwork.


Perler beads are completely non-toxic cylindrical shaped beads which are made in the USA and are available in over 30 colors. To create artwork, simply slip beads over the pegs on the pegboard to create a design. When finished lay the special parchment paper on top of the design and use a warm iron in a circular pattern for 10 seconds to fuse the design and allow to cool. Remove the parchment paper, flip the design over, re-cover with the parchment paper and fuse the reverse side of the design.

The designs above were created by my 8- year old daughter. The sailboats, candy cane and flower are her original designs.

Interested? Michael’s and JoAnn’s have starter kits in their $1 sections. The kits contain a small reusable pegboard, pattern, parchment paper and beads. Many holiday kits are available and prices are deeply discounted after holidays.

It is a pretty simple process but there is definitely a learning curve. This is what I have learned:

  • Before the design is ironed the beads are very loose. Bumping or tipping the pegboard will cause beads to dislodge necessitating some repair work before ironing.
  • The directions say to use a “medium” setting on the iron. My iron does not have a medium setting and it took me a few tries to find my optimum setting.
  • It generally takes me more than 10 seconds to fuse the top side of my design. I often peek under the parchment to make sure that the entire design is fused. If it is not, beads will come off when you flip it over. Take your time. I usually leave the parchment on the piece when I flip it so if a piece is loose it has a better chance of staying in place for the reverse ironing.
  • The ironed pieces tend to curl a bit on their edges as they cool. Try leaving the parchment on the piece and put a heavy book on it so it will flatten as it cools.
  • When ironing for children (and I recommend this), it is beneficial to iron for some extra time to melt the beads a bit more on one side. Children will want to handle their creations, and that way their creation will be more sturdy. The downside is that the finished design might not be so pretty on the extra melty side.
  • If beads break off the finished piece (and they are somewhat brittle and fragile), you can try to realign the piece and re-iron it. Personally, I haven’t had good results with that method. Instead, I use a good clear craft glue to stick it back together. The beads are cylinders, so it can be difficult to get the pieces aligned properly. Be patient!

Everyone has their own way of organizing their supplies, but a popular way is to sort beads by color and store them in a bead organizer case. I sorted our 11,ooo bead bucket over several days while watching movies and found it very relaxing. Those who don’t want to sort can come to my house (ha ha, not really), or order beads in single color packs. A bead bucket offers a wide assortment, and is perfect for a beginner. My friends and I tend to use more black beads, so we order those in bulk.


One tool that I HIGHLY recommend are the E-Z Tweezies. They are bright green plastic and come in a two-pack. E-Z Tweezies are very easy to use and are lightweight. They are perfect for picking up a stray bead in my bead box. I also use them to place beads inside a design or to remove a bead from the center of a design. I’ve seen kids as young as 4 using them effectively.

Above I am using E-Z Tweezies to create designs on the large 6×6 inch clear board and alphabet/ number board. Some of my beads are stored in a bead holder.

Originally, the reusable pegboards were brightly colored and came in small and large sizes. Recently Perler has marketed clear boards which allow you to follow a pattern under the board. There are online sites and software where you can create custom designs to be printed. Last year, Perler came out with 6×6 clear square pegboards which are interlocking to create larger 12 inch x 12 inch artwork. There is also a large circle and smaller shapes such as animals, flowers and transportation. The shaped pegboards are great for kids or people who want to stick with a traditional design. I reach for the small hexagon and large circle most often for free-form work.


More advanced artists have turned shaped templates into all sorts of creations, often having nothing to do with the original shape. For example, I used the small hexagon to create the purple flower and owl above. The Pop Tart is based on a sample I saw in Idea Book II. Perler Beads has an online gallery which is updated monthly and it is packed with creative ideas from artists of all ages.

Shoes and snowflakes are two of the most fragile designs- areas that are only 1-2 beads wide are extremely vulnerable to breakage.

Perler beads, parchment and some styles of pegboards are available at chain craft stores such as Michael’s, Jo Ann’s and AC Moore. Many E-Bay sellers offer single color beads in bulk and hard-to-find in the US Hema pegboards. Hema beads (available in Europe) are very similar to Perler beads and their uniquely shaped pegboards can be used with Perler Beads. The full line of Perler products (including idea books and E-Z Tweezies) are available online from Perlerbeads.com and KoolStuff4Kids.com. I have ordered from KoolStuff4Kids and my order arrived quickly. There’s also a TON of Perler Beads and accessories at Amazon: Perler bead supplies on Amazon, and if you buy them through that link, you’ll help support Craft Critique!

Pros:

  • Over 30 colors of beads which include glow-in-the-dark, neon and metallics.
  • Basic supplies are available in any chain craft store.
  • Small trial kits are available for $1.00

Cons:

  • Some of the pegboards are are not available in stores and must be special ordered.
  • The finished pieces are brittle and can be prone to breakage.

Bottom line:
If you want to try Perler Beads, try a starter kit for $1 which will include everything you need but an iron. The finished product is a bit brittle and can break easily but it can be repaired with glue or be re-ironed. It is a fun craft and good for one person or a large group. Follow a pattern or be creative and make your own design. I rate it 9/10.

Have you tried Perler beads? We’d love to see your projects! Leave us a link in the comment section so we can check you out!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!