Indonesians Believe Each Person Is An Artist. If You Can Follow A Recipe You Can Make A Toy

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Friday, June 18, 2010

A Flower Press As A Toy. Papermaking and Other Activities with Kids


Our favorite toy this summer has been the flower press.
There are so many ways we use it every week.

Ordinary objects often make the best toys.
A child can play for hours with things that are not made in China out of toxic plastic.
Check out thrift stores for inspiration!


A tisket and tasket I'm filling up my basket

A nature walk on a rainy day.



Cutting flowers and filling up the basket



Taking photographs, learning botany and flower parts, filling the press



Trying to get those wing nuts off the press is her favorite part.

Flower presses are easy to make.
Layers of blotting paper and cardboard weighed down by heavy books cost almost nothing.



Ready for creativity!

I have had great luck with dozens of flower specimens. 

Pansies, flax, tulips, poppies, asters, lupins, violets, snapdragons and petunias all press well.

Irises, roses, and peonies are too bulky and "wet", they all mold easily.

Removing stems, and other moist or large part before pressing can help.


Use your results to make Montessori style botanical prints for home study

An acid free glue stick and a very small brush can be used to apply just enough glue to keep the flowers from slipping when you mount them.




You can even make flower fairies.
(look carefully they are very ethereal beings)




The Kaz. Princess painting her flower fairies.


Finally There Is Paper Making!




You can use handmade paper for cards, book covers, gifts, or decoration.


Purchase two document frames from the dollar store and remove the glass and backing.

Purchase a foot or two of bulk window screen from the local hardware store.

Cut a piece of window screen large enough to wrap around the edges of one frame and staple.

Cut two or three more pieces of window screen that are slightly larger than your picture frames.

Set aside the empty frame and pieces of cut screen.

The stapled prepared frame supports the weight of the pulp.



Shread some paper from your recycling bin.



Fill a blender pitcher half full with warm water and two large handfulls of paper shreds.



Blend the paper and water using the pulse button until you have something that looks like thick porridge.
(about 30 seconds, a little runny is better than too thick)

Add dried flowers, food coloring, or other decorative materials. Pulse for a few seconds.

On a table lay out layers of large sheets of newspaper and cardboard.

Include a medium sized sponge and bowl on your work surface and any extra screen you cut.

This "recipe" makes about two 8 x 10 sheets of paper.



Flip your prepared frame so that the "front" is down.
Place one rectangle of cut screen onto your prepared frame.

Cover with the empty frame.

Fill an aluminum roasting pan or shallow container with a few inches of warm water.
(we used our homemade water table)



Gently shake the frames and move the pulp with your fingers until it fills the frame in an even layer.

Work quickly to avoid all your color bleading into the water.

Grasp both frames firmly and lift them from the water in one smooth movement.

Gentlty shake and tap the frames to remove excess water without disturbing your pulp.





Remove the empty frame from your stack.

Turn your "sandwhich" over,  flipping  the wet pulp onto the piece of screen that was the "top".

Cover with another piece of cut screen.

Gently press, don't rub, the screen and pulp with a dry sponge soaking up the excess water.

Wring the sponge and repeat until you no longer soak up excess water.
(what a great Montessori style activity)

You can choose to flip the sandwhich again and soak water from the backside or not.

Using the "prepared"  frame for these steps does produce nicer edges but it is harder to flip and have the paper release cleanly.

Remove your top screen.

 

Gently use your fingers to press larger dried flowers and petals into the pulp.

Lift the bottom screen by its edges and transport indoors to dry on a baking cooling rack for 24 hours.

You can use small amounts of glue or Modge Podge to adhere any flower parts that "pop" up after drying.

Some flowers will bleed as they dry adding interesting pigment affects to the paper.

Solutions for the curl factor:shred the paper into finer pieces, use thinner/cheaper paper, blend the pulp longer, add more water to the pulp,after the paper has dried use books to weigh it down for a few days.

What messy summer fun!

I have linked up to a few great blog parties.
Hit the Link Parties button above to find out where.

9 comments:

  1. That looks like a lot of messy fun!
    Tracey

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  2. I love paper making - it's so much fun, messy, squishy - love it

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  3. Hi..I’m Barb….I am from TTA & Santa’s Gift Shoppe. I am your newest follower. I hope you will get a chance to visit my blog @ santasgiftshoppe.blogspot.com
    & get inspired by something for your family/home. I hope you will follow me as well. Nice to meet ya new friend!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great to have you on Craft Schooling Sunday! Love this paper making tutorial, thanks so much! Hope to see you again this week!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for linking up to the Mad Skills party!

    madincrafts.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. great work....
    Really like this website, this really helps and very useful.
    china flowers

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is a wonderful post! I love all the ideas and the photos are beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    ReplyDelete