Art Made by Hand

Pavement Drawing by Artist Julian Beever

Summer is here, and the kids are out of school and clamoring for something — anything! — to do.  Could there possibly be a better time to release their inner artists?

British artist Julian Beever, seen at left, is a master at creating delightful temporary works of art using nothing more than coloured chalks, pavement, and a whole lot of talent.  (Here’s a link to his website.)  And your kids can do it too!  Sort of.  With practice.

Find a cool, shady spot outside, mix up a batch of home-made sidewalk paints, and watch the masterpieces be created!

For each colour you will need:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 8-10 drops of liquid food colouring

Mix the cornstarch and water in a small container (empty single-serving yogourt containers work very well) and add food colour until the paint looks good.  This is great for decorating large spaces such as sidewalks and paved driveways!  (Use a larger brush to fill in big areas.)  The paint will wash away with water, and is not harmful to plants or animals.

In case it rains and you need to stay inside, why not make your own non-toxic water paints for use on paper?

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon glycerin
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • assorted liquid food colouring
  • an empty watercolour paint palette, empty ice cube tray, or an assortment of shallow lids that can be used as containers

Mix the vinegar and baking soda together.  When it stops bubbling, add the cornstarch and the glycerin and mix everything together well.

Pour a bit of the mixture into each of several wells in the empty palette, then add a few drops of different food colouring to each one, mixing as necessary to create smooth colours.  Let dry overnight (the thinner the layer of paint, the faster it will dry to a usable state.)

Dip a brush into water, dissolve some of the paint onto the brush, and get painting!

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