Thursday, September 26, 2013

Welcome Fall! Birch Tree Project

The leaves are starting to change up here in New England and I love it! I was looking in our local paper this past weekend and they ran a great article about vacationing in Minnesota written by Laurie Hertzel and I just LOVED the beautiful images! Check it out here at the Star Tribune.

This beautiful photo, below, caught my eye especially, since the Birch Tree is the state tree of New Hampshire. 
This photo of birch trees in the Fall taken by Laurie Hertzel at the Star Tribune
inspired this birch tree craft.
This project uses a couple of fun techniques. First, the black lines of the birch bark are made using a hair comb (I saw that on the blog ARTASTIC: Miss Oetkin's Artists), and second, the colorful leaves are sponge painted on the background paper. It's quick, easy, fun, and just a bit messy. I hope you enjoy this craft and this crisp fall weather!

NOTE: I had my son create the birch trees on paper that was being held vertically and then place them on a background that was horizontal--this allows you to have the tree trunks touch the edges of the paper if your child puts them on tilted--some other lessons don't allow for this and there's a gap at the bottom edge of the trees. Sorry, no floating trees here!)

Fall Birch Tree Paint Project

Supplies Needed:
  • 1 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of white card stock
  • 1 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of yellow card stock
  • Tempera paints in black, yellow, orange and red
  • A plastic hair comb
  • A 1" piece of clean sponge
  • An old magazine to use as a palette
  • Newspapers for your work surface
  • Scissors
  • Elmer's glue

1. Make the trees: begin by placing the white card stock vertically on your work surface. Put a little of the black tempera paint onto the magazine palette. Dip the teeth of the comb into black paint and scrape it across the surface of the white card stock back and forth horizontally. Make sure you don't use too much paint or you'll get large areas of black on your trees. Also, make sure you go right off the page--you'll be using all of the white paper, so you'll want those little black scratch marks to be all over. Once you are satisfied, set the paper aside to dry.

2. Make the leafy-background: place the yellow piece of card stock on your work surface horizontally. Remove the page of the magazine that had your black paint on it so you have a fresh page. Put a bit of red, orange, and yellow on the palette. Dip your sponge into the paint and dab it all over the yellow piece of card stock. Don't blend the colors too much, or goop on the paint too thick. Check out the photo above to see how the colors blend. When the background is covered to your liking, set it aside to dry.

3. Cut the trees: Take your scissors and cut the white card stock into long, vertical strips (they should be 11" long by about 1/2"-1" wide). These don't need to be perfect, they are your trees, so don't get out a ruler and measure them! Cut strips out of all the white card stock (you may not use all of these trees).

4. Put a line of glue down the back of the birch tree strip and place it onto the horizontal background. The birch trees will extend past the edges of your background, but that is OK, it allows for you to tilt the tree a bit, as in the picture (and real life). Glue as many trees as you would like to your background.

5. Trim the excess bits of the trees that extend beyond the background and discard.

Enjoy this lovely bit of fall!

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