Wire & Bead Spider Crafts for Halloween

October 20th, 2014

The theme of this week’s Halloween DIY craft projects is SPIDERS!  We think spiders are fascinating, fun and a little freaky :)  Extra project idea: before trying out this simple tutorial by our crafty friend Janna, get inspired with facts and photos of spiders online.  Be sure to check back later this week for another set of spooky spider projects: Giant Rainbow Spiders and Spider Rings!

Spider Sculptures for Halloween - DIY Halloween Crafts

Tutorials by Janna Doney

Supplies:

1 Wire & Bead Art Kit

OR

1 Deluxe Bubble Wand Kit

OR

A selection of copper wire and large beads

AND

Long-Nose Pliers

*Important Note: These directions are meant to offer a helpful jumpstart to your project, but not all kids need them.  You can try a more open-ended approach and just see what your kids come up with after checking out the materials and the examples.  Have fun!

Red and Black Baby Spider

1. Choose a medium sized bead with a large hole for the body, one wire, one small bead for the head, and two of the tiniest beads you can find for the eyes.

2. Fold wire in half two times (fourths). Snip ends to make four small wires. With wire cutters, straighten bent ends.

3. Twist bundle of 4 wires in the middle using pliers. String through body bead.

4. With pliers, bend each side of the wires straight up. Pinch together tightly to body-bead. Holding each wire against the body bead with the pliers, bend straight down the other way. Spread legs apart evening.

5. Glue head onto body, and glue eyes onto head. Let dry thoroughly.

Mini Wire & Bead Spider for Halloween

Friendly Purple Artterro Spider:

1. Gather two purple wires, cut each in half.

2. Gather several purple beads, one large for the body.

3. Choose two small beads, other than purple, for the eyes.

4. Shape each wire into an ‘M’ shape with the middle curved.

5. Choose a bead with a large hole, string all 4 legs through at the same time, gently (and not all the way) unbend the corner of the ‘M’ to string through the bead. When bead is in the middle, re-bend the ‘M’ where it was originally. This bead will be the base for the purple body, and will be covered so it does not need to be purple.

6. String a wire through the large purple bead so about ¾ inch is sticking through one end. Bend the long side so the bead can’t move. Trim excess wire.

7. Curve short end of wire in an oval loop so the tip is at the base of the bead hold. Use small pliers to twist it to the other wire at the base. When twist is secure, snip the oval in the middle. These will be the ‘bugging’ eyes.

8. With the wire cutters, gently bend the tips of the eye wires so the eyes stay at the front of the wire. Then place each small bead on the end of the eye wire. Reinforce with craft glue.

9. Glue purple body bead to base bead in the middle.

10. Decorate legs with other purple beads. Let glue dry thoroughly.

Purple Spider Sculpture DIY for Halloween

Don’t forget to check back later this week for more SPIDER crafts!  And check out the other posts in our Halloween DIY series: tutorials for a Pumpkin Necklace and a Halloween Cat Barrette.  Happy crafting!

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Halloween Cat Barrette

October 16th, 2014

Are you getting into the Halloween spirit yet?  Here’s a friendly purple cat barrette to complement the Orange & Black Pumpkin Necklace we shared earlier this week.  Another perfect pre-Halloween play date project–enjoy!

DIY Halloween Cat Jewelry - Barrette

Purple Cat Barrette

Tutorial by Janna Doney

Supplies:

1 Wool Felt Jewelry Kit

OR

Sewing Needle

Craft Thread

Beads and sequins

Instructions:

1. Use a big felt circle for the cat face, and cut out cat ears from another piece of felt.

2. With the purple thread, thread the needle and stitch on the cat’s mouth.

3. Cut a purple sequin into a triangle for the nose. Cut two green sequins into football-like shapes and choose two small green beads for the eyes. Sew the nose to the top of the mouth (point down) so you can see where to stitch on the whiskers.

4. Thread the needle with purple string again, this time using a thinner piece of thread, and stitch on the whiskers.

5. Sew or glue on the eyes on top of the sequins.

6. Stitch or glue ears to the top.

7. Sew or glue cat head to barrette. Let dry thoroughly before wearing.

Let us know if you make this yourself!  Happy Crafting!

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Braided Pumpkin Necklace for Halloween

October 14th, 2014

We are kicking off our series of Halloween DIY craft projects with a fun and simple jewelry tutorial from our crafty friend Janna.  This project would be great for a play date, craft night, sleepover or really anytime leading up to Halloween.  Be sure to check back later this week for another spooky jewelry project: Halloween Cat Barrettes!

DIY Braided Pumpkin Necklace

Orange & Black Braided Pumpkin Necklace

Tutorial by Janna Doney

Supplies:

1 Wool Felt Jewelry Kit

OR

Craft thread

Sewing needle

1 Wool Felt Sphere

Sequins & Beads

Instructions:

1. Tie the white, orange and gray pieces of string together (a few strands of each color). Braid the 3 colors together. Don’t tie the other end until later.

2. String the braid with 3 beads, alternating orange and black.

3. Fold braid in half with about a half-inch space in the middle to prepare for the next step and set aside.

3. Take out one strand of yellow craft thread, and thread a needle with it.

4. Put the needle through the biggest orange felt ball at an angle.

5. On one end of the half-inch loop in the middle of the braid, attach the felt ball with the needle and thread. Let the ball hang about 1 ¼ inches. Pull needle back through very close to the same way through. This will ensure the yellow thread doesn’t hang over the middle of the necklace.

6. Repeat step #5, close to the same spot.

7. Repeat on the other side of the middle-half-inch. Hold in the air to balance the ball before tying off. Tie off and trim knots as closely as possible.

8. String more beads on the other side of the ball, continuing alternating colors from before.

9. Trim a black sequin into little black triangles for the pumpkin eyes. Cut notches out of the remaining piece of the sequins for the pumpkin mouth.  Sew to orange felt ball.

10. Sew a green bead onto the top of the felt ball for the pumpkin stem.

11. Tie a knot in the loose end of the braid and attach a necklace clasp to each end. Use two strands of the yellow string as an extension if necessary.

Let us know if you try out this Halloween craft!

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The Big Artterro Move!

October 7th, 2014

Last month Artterro moved from our wonderful office in the Madison Enterprise Center.  We had outgrown the space (and then some!) and also were nearing the end of our allotted time there (it’s a small business incubator space, so you can only stay so long).  We loved it there!  The building manager, Sarah, has been a great Artterro ally, and the building is full of great businesses and people.  Thanks, MEC!

Over the past four years, we brainstormed, crafted, assembled, shipped, relaunched and worked harder than we thought possible to build the Artterro brand and company we have today.  All in this awesome little space!

We spent many hours here at the crafting/meeting/lunch table and break area.

It was hard to say goodbye, but we couldn’t be more thrilled with our new space.  Which is actually two spaces in the MEC’s sister building just two blocks away: an office and a separate warehouse for production, shipping and storage.  Here’s a behind-the-scenes tour!

The color theme for the new space is “Happy.”

Here’s the office; thankfully our beloved “swiss cheese” plant survived the move!

The new production area has a comfy kitchen and break area:

We have room to keep a lot of inventory boxed up and ready to ship, along with stacks of thousands of our 100%-recycled boxes from Green Bay Packaging!

Our production assistants now have a nice roomy box assembly area:

The shipping area won’t look quite so calm come November and December!

We wouldn’t be settled into our new space without the help of our amazing team members!  Shari and Anna Lee did an amazing job organizing and packing everything up, and everyone pitched in to paint the two big spaces.

We hope you have enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at Artterro!  Now you know where our art kits for kids are born!  Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about our business, space or production process.

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A Paper Collage Book Project

October 2nd, 2014

We have made dozens of little books with our Bookmaking Kit, but it’s always fun to see what other people come up with using our materials. Today, we’re happy to share a Paper Collage Book Project created by our good friend and Spark Blog contributor, Heidi.  This project is the perfect way to take a little time for yourself or to get creative with your kids.  Finished books make excellent gifts, travel journals and scrapbooks.

DIY Tutorial by Spark blog contributor Heidi Crabb

Paper Collage Book Bookmaking Kit

Paper Collage Book Project

Materials:

1 Bookmaking Kit, which includes handmade recycled paper, Artterro bead mix, craft thread and sewing needle

OR

Sturdy paper of your choice

Needle & Thread

Embellishments of your choice

  • Gather your materials and set aside the paper, beads and embroidery floss of your choice.
  • Choose the paper for the front and back cover of your book.
  • Cut out the shapes for your cover collage.
  • Use liquid glue and paint brush to apply the glue on the back of the cut out. Adhere to the front cover of the book.
  • Gather your inside pages and arrange them evenly in preparation of binding the book.
  • Begin binding by threading the needle with the floss and pierce through the top third portion of the book from the inside, making sure the needle is headed to the outside of the book. This way, you can use the needle to string the beads.
  • String the beads onto the spine of your book and fasten with a small knot.

  • Use the embroidery floss to stitch along the edging of the cut out. Start and finish on the underside of the front cover so your knots don’t show on the cover.
  • Cut out another piece of paper in the style of your choice so you can cover the knots on the underside of the front cover. Adhere with glue.

  • Add any extra flair like sequins, words, or more paper collage on the back or inner pages.
  • Fill up your book with words or images, whatever pops in your head.  Keep as a journal, or give as a gift.

Enjoy!

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Back To School: 3 Easy Ways to Encourage Creativity Everyday

September 29th, 2014

Our mission here at Artterro is to help people tap into their natural creativity.  We believe every child is born creative, and it’s never too late to rediscover your innate artistic ability.

That mission is especially important these days; it’s a serious challenge to maintain your creativity when life gets busy, school is more demanding than ever, and kids’ schedules are so packed.  Another barrier is our own self-doubt.  We hear parents say all the time, “I’d love to help my kids do more art at home, but I’m not artistic, so I don’t know how to help them.”   Even worries about household tidiness and safety get in the way sometimes–art materials can seem like a dangerous mess in the eyes of some adults.

Some are calling the current state of affairs a crisis in creativity: “In a 2010 study of about 300,000 creativity tests going back to the 1970s, Kyung Hee Kim, a creativity researcher at the College of William and Mary, found creativity has decreased among American children in recent years. Since 1990, children have become less able to produce unique and unusual ideas.”

Of course, as parents we don’t always control how much art our kids are exposed to at school (although we can certainly do our best to support our local arts programs!), and after-school homework and extracurricular activities can dominate the family schedule.  But we also know that art is absolutely essential to kids’ healthy development and future success.  So what can we do to improve the situation?  A lot!  And it’s not even that hard.

1. Set aside a small space for art

We’ve blogged about this before, but the basic idea is that if you keep your art supplies in an accessible place, kids will be much more likely to pick them up and start their own projects.

More details here: Make Art Happen! Setting Up A Family Art Station

And another option: Mobile Art Station

2. Set aside a little time for art

  • Encourage your kids to draw or doodle while dinner prep is happening
  • Keep art journals or sketchbooks in the car or in backpacks when you’re running errands

3. Model creativity for your kids.

  • If you take a little time to be creative and relax with a fun project, your kids will notice.  Give yourself time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day, to express yourself in your chosen medium.

Would you add anything to this list?  Please share the methods that have worked for you in the comments!

This isn’t the first time we’ve felt inspired to write about this topic.  Check out Jen’s thoughts on arts in the schools from a few years ago: Nurturing Creative Thinkers With Art Education.

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Art Journal Ideas: Remembering or Planning a Family Vacation

September 9th, 2014

One of our favorite ways to be creative here at Artterro is art journaling.  We introduced our Art Journal Kit almost exactly three years ago, and we love to see how kids and adults alike respond to the prompts, supplies and inspiration in the kit.  September seems like a great time to share a series of journaling prompts and tips.  Something about the seasons changing seems to lead to introspection.

Our friend Heidi, a talented artist and mom to a homeschooling family, is all about art journaling as well.  She just shared a pre-vacation journal page with us, and hopefully it will inspire you or your family to set down a page or two of free-form thoughts, images and colors.

My family and I are leaving for San Francisco on Monday. So this entry was fun and meaningful to me.

-Heidi

Art journaling is all about mixing it up!  Drawing, painting, collage…you don’t need to commit to just one material or technique.  Here Heidi used pencil and handmade Artterro paper to begin her San Francisco-inspired art.

Art Journal Example 1

Here’s the finished page, where she traced over her drawing and added flourishes with pen:

Art Journaling Example

If you aren’t coming or going from anywhere in particular, try filling in a page with ideas of somewhere you’d love to visit.  Maybe it will inspire you to start planning a trip!

3 Responses to “Art Journal Ideas: Remembering or Planning a Family Vacation”

  1. Carol B says:

    Awesome page! Beautifully done!Thank you for sharing :)

  2. Kathy Martens says:

    This is so fun and interesting! I love the art AND the interviews. Thank you.

  3. Jessica says:

    Thanks for reading, Kathy!

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Art Journal Ideas: Illustrate an Inspiring Thought

September 6th, 2014

art journal prompts birds

Today’s art journal idea is a simple one.  When you have a happy thought, write it down, and then create an illustration to match.  You can also reverse it: illustrate a happy image that pops into your head, and then write down whatever words you think of  around it.  If you do this regularly, your journal will fill up with positive ideas and images, and looking back on old pages will be uplifting!  Perfect for days when you need a little boost.

Tips and photo from our guest contributor, Heidi Crabb:

Draw and cut out design templates (like birds and leaves). Use them to trace onto the nice paper.

Add your words of dreams and visions! Pencils first, them trace over with a pen or marker.

What will your first happy thought be?

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DIY Eco Jewelry Holder Tutorial

August 29th, 2014

When we redesigned our packaging, one of our goals was to make something more beautiful, but also more functional.  There is nothing sadder than thinking of all the product packaging that is manufactured and sold, only to end up in a landfill or (sadder still) the ocean.  So, we were determined to make useful, reusable packaging.  And we’re very proud of what we accomplished!  Here’s just one example of how to reuse the inner tray that comes in the Artterro box.  We hope you’re inspired to look at packaging a different way!

DIY Jewelry Holder

Tutorial by Spark blog contributor Anna Lee Steinbuck

DIY Eco Jewelry Holder

Materials:

-Artterro inner tray

-leftover Artterro handmade paper

-Glue

-Scissors

-Wooden skewers or rods (I used the rods from our Bubble Wands kit)

-Decorative items ( I used a felt flower and sequins)

Step 1: ***This step is for an adult to do!***

-Use heavy scissors to poke evenly spaced holes into both sides of the inner tray. I put three holes on each side so I could hang more earrings, but if you have longer dangly earrings you may only want to put two rows in.

Step 2:

Cut out paper to fit into the background and inner sides of your tray. I laid the paper over the back of the tray and traced the outline to get a perfect cut of paper.  Glue your cut out paper to the inside of the tray. Decorate the tray with any decorative embellishments you have.

Step 3:

Poke your rods through the holes you cut out. You may need to use the scissors again to widen the holes if the rods don’t slide in easily.

Step 4:

***Optional***

If you don’t want your rods sticking out, cut them down to your desired length. Depending on the thickness of your rods, you can either cut with scissors, a serrated knife, or a dremel cutting attachment.

Step 5:

Hang your jewelry from the skewers. Then use the perforated tab on the top of the tray to hang your jewelry display on your wall!

2 Responses to “DIY Eco Jewelry Holder Tutorial”

  1. Stacey says:

    I am a private, in-home health care provider of three young, recently adopted children, each with learning disabilities and/or physical disabilities. I am also a Montessori Educator and incorporate my Montessori background into their life. The one thing that all three enjoy and that brings us together on the same level is blowing bubbles. I would love to have the opportunity to share a Bubble Kit with these children, unifying us and even momentarily overlooking the challenges that they face.

  2. Jessica says:

    Hi Stacey! Please send an email to info@artterro.com with more details about your request. Thanks for commenting!

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Starters vs. Finishers

August 26th, 2014

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

-Marianne Williamson

There are some very creative people here at the Artterro office, including a silversmith, a mixed-media artist, a graphic designer, a paper artist and several general crafting enthusiasts.  We were recently talking about how difficult it can be to get started on a new project, and one member of our team mentioned that she has a much harder time finishing a project than she does starting one.  It got us thinking about the forces that get in the way of the creative process, and what we can do to work through them.  Here’s a Q&A with some of the artists on staff at Artterro; we hope this sparks some creative thinking for you!

Q: Are you a starter or a finisher?

Anna Lee: Finisher.

Forrest: I would say that I’m a finisher and will only start a project if I know that I’m going to be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time. Usually a few days or week.

Shari: Definitely more of a starter.  When I have no time to do anything, I get all these ideas!  And I make lists and pull materials out and start three things at a time.  Then later I get busy with other things or run into obstacles, and most of my projects I don’t finish.  But I start A LOT of projects, even if it’s only planning for them, so I still end up accomplishing a lot.

diy jewelry holder

A recent craft project by Anna Lee: Jewelry Holder made from our packaging, handmade paper and wooden rods

Q: Do you find it difficult to pick up your tools and supplies for the first time?  Why?

Forrest: I find that I need to gather all my materials and supplies first, then let them sit on my table for a few weeks, maybe even a month before I start the project. Sometimes I find it so difficult to start a project because I need time to let it stew in my head for awhile and sometimes I need lots of inspiration. So, I use the internet to find pictures, I find Pinterest especially helpful and quick.

Shari: In some ways yes, and some ways, no.  If it’s when I’m first starting something random and getting ideas, I pick up everything and pull everything out (and essentially make a giant mess).  If it’s something I’ve been hired to do/a specific thing I know I need to do, I hesitate to start it because I’m nervous about screwing it up.  Even if it’s something I know I can do.

Anna Lee: No. Gathering supplies, tools, etc and getting started is my favorite part. I enjoy the concept/ planning/designing process a lot.

diy lavendar sachets

Lavender Sachets made by Forrest

Q: Do you find it difficult to put in the work to finish it once you’ve started an exciting new project?  Why?

Shari: YES.  Even though I love crafting, I get very distracted by all the other things I need to do (like stuff around the house, running errands, cooking, etc).  And again, I’m always nervous I’m going to screw it up.  Even though I know finishing awesome things is totally worth all the work.  Especially if it’s a surprise gift for someone.

Anna Lee: Usually yes, but mostly because I enjoy the starting process too much and tend to start too many projects at one time. This also depends on if it is an art piece or a DIY or craft project. If it is an art piece it can take me years to actually finish, as there is no real planning process, it’s just worked on when I have the inspiration, and the final vision is always changing. If it is a craft or DIY project I find it difficult to put the work in to finish if I haven’t acquired all of the necessary materials/tools/etc from the beginning. If I have missing parts I tend to put it aside for “later.”

Forrest: I find once I start a project I’m able to get it done quickly and don’t mind if it starts to take a lot more time then I originally thought. I also find that I really start to get into the process of working with materials after I start the project, then it feels more like play and less like work.

Shari, at work on a Collage Jewelry project

Q: How do you get past whatever is holding you back?

Shari: I’m not really sure.  When I have a deadline and it’s down to the last minute, I know I can’t disappoint whoever the project is for, so I forge ahead; I’ve sacrificed a lot of sleep for last-minute crafting.  Getting paid is also a good motivator.  It also helps to try to get out of the house because there are so many distractions there.  If I can bring my project to a coffee shop or a friends’ house, in some ways that helps me focus on just the project at hand.  As long as I don’t let other things there distract me!

Anna Lee: This also depends if it’s an art piece or a craft/DIY project. As far as art goes, I try stepping away from it and finding inspiration in other places…I’ll go to a museum, go for a hike, look through old pictures, etc. Or I’ll try creating something in another media; if I’m stuck on a metal art piece I might start drawing something or paint something. If it is a craft or DIY project, usually a deadline motivates me, like if some one’s birthday or a holiday is coming up and I need a gift to give. Or I’ll motivate myself to finish by imaging where the end project will go in my home, garden, etc. or ways I will use or enjoy it, and then start planning for that. For example if I’m making a purse I will start planning outfits to wear with it, or if I’m building a plant stand I’ll move other furniture and make room for it in my house.

Forrest: I like to give myself a deadline or start a project a few days before I need to give it as a gift. That way I’ll have to get it done and the pressure to get it finished will help to motivate me. I believe procrastination is a useful tool.

We hope you found it helpful to hear how some of our resident artists deal with artistic road blocks.  Feel free to give your own answers to these questions in the comments!

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