How To

How To: Bathtub Snow Graffiti

By Amanda Crowe, Assistant Educator

Follow-up to “Winter Wonderland” Playdate, Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

When ice storms block your children from going outside, you can still give them the opportunity to be spontaneous and creative with nature by bringing the outside in.

Snow.  One of the most elemental, memorable art mediums from your childhood.  Recreate those memories for your little ones by making your bathtub the canvas!  With easy clean up and minimal effort, your child can be the bathtub graffiti artist of your household.

Materials needed:

  • Large empty container for carrying snow
  • Spray bottles filled with water and various colors

Note: Dilute a few drops of food coloring or liquid watercolor into each bottle.  Crayola poster paints watered down will also work. Test surfaces for staining first before painting.

  • If spray bottles are unavailable, use old ketchup or mustard bottles, squeezable jelly containers, a turkey baster or ear and nose syringe
  • Bathtub full of snow
  • Apron and towels
  • Extras: Popsicle or craft sticks, marbles, toy people and animals, sand toys such as small buckets and shovels, stuff from the kitchen such as measuring spoons and rolling pins, essential oils such as lavender or peppermint, and, of course, glitter.
Bathtub Graffiti

Bathtub Snow Graffiti


For starters, I like to mix up three bottles of primary colors: red, yellow and blue.  That way, your child is not only creating, but learning about color mixing and combinations. The more colors, the better.  But even one bottle of colored “paint” will do.

For an educational yet playful experience, try lining up the bottles on the tub’s edge.  Refer to the spray bottles as your child’s “artist tools,” the colored water as the “color palette,” and the white snow as “your canvas.”

Now…start spraying!

Additional Idea Prompts:

Remember, you can adjust the spray nozzle for a lesson about lines – fat, thin, wiggly.  Or create a splatter effect and discuss street artists who use graffiti as a form of expression.  Use the toy animals to make painted animal tracks.  Arrange random toys to make a collage.  Hide items and take turns counting how many your child finds.  Spell words in the snow using magnetic letters or alphabet blocks.  Create a LEGO Arctic landscape. Once the fun starts, there are endless opportunities for spending meaningful time playing in the snow together.

If the snow is too cold for little hands, try an alternative:

Shaving cream and baking soda.  Stir equal amounts of each until the snow becomes a thick, mousse consistency.  This “snow” can also be combined with food coloring or watercolor paint.  Try fingerpainting with it on sturdy paper plates for a snowy masterpiece you can keep – as it will air dry and harden overnight.


Kids Studio: Lego Landscape
Saturday, February 15, 2014

Give your “mini figures” their own mini world by creating a diorama—an entire landscape in a box that you can carry with you.  The imaginative world you design may appear as a freeze frame in history or tell a story about the future, or both!  Build your dream-like diorama using a blend of mediums and materials, including: Lego bricks, acrylic paint, clay, plaster, found and recycled objects and wire.  Key sculptural works in the Museum’s collection as well as the current exhibition of artist Diana Al-Hadid’s “Nolli’s Orders” will be explored.

Studio class is 12-3 pm.  Cost per class $10/member child, $15/non-member child.  Registration is required. Ages 5-7. 

Story Time in the Galleries
Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Quilt, by Ann Jonas: A small African-American girl is overjoyed with the new patchwork quilt her parents have made. As she sleeps, it comes alive, turning into a fantastical dreamscape she must enter in order to find her beloved stuffed dog. Travel to the studio after the story and share stories with local quilters while you make your own “no-sew” story quilt.

No registration required.  

Story Time is 11:15 am – 12:15 pm on the third Thursday of each month, when the museum offers complimentary gallery admission to all visitors. No registration required.  ALL AGES welcome!

Family Day: Printmakingpalooza!
Saturday, February 22, 2014

Have you ever used a rubber stamp or peeled silly putty off newspaper?  If you answered yes, then you’ve created a print.  Experimenting with printmaking allows young artists to try out different techniques and to see cause and effect in action more dramatically than with simply painting or drawing. Your budding master printmaker will enjoy testing unusual mediums like Jell-O and shaving cream at our printmaking “buffet,” which includes: mono-printing on the tabletop, gyotaku, or Japanese fish rubbing, printing with wheels, mirror-image string prints, Styrofoam, bubble wrap, and muffin tin printing, and macaroni collagraphs.

12-4 pm. Admission is free for families. No registration required. ALL AGES welcome!

Lego Landscape


Surrealist Game: The Exquisite Corpse

By: Alison Caplan, Director of Education

Exquisite Corpse in action

The Surrealists didn’t have Apples to Apples or Pictionary in their day, but they did participate in parlor games that helped get their creative juices flowing.

In the 1920’s, surrealist artists played a game based on chance and accident called Exquisite Corpse. The goal of the game was to make a kind of collaborative collage using words or drawings. The name Exquisite Corpse is the result of an early game, where the finished sentence read “The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine.”

In the days leading up to the Real/Surreal opening, museum staffers decided to take a surreal lunch break and attempt some Exquisite Corpse drawings of our own. The game goes like this: one artist starts a drawing, then folds the paper to hide most of the image. The next artist continues the drawing based on the small part she can see. The drawing is passed along to other players until the fantastical, wacky, surprising image is complete.

What do you think of the results? We should probably keep our day jobs right?

Now  try your hand at an Exquisite Corpse drawing! Need inspiration? Check out the Real/Surreal exhibition and create your own collaborative drawing with museum visitors at the show.

One of the finished drawinsg.

One of the finished drawings.

How To: Plantable Art

Making plantable art.

Making plantable art.


Used paper

Warm water



Liquid water colors OR colored tissue paper (bleedable)

Flower seeds (small)

Plastic stitchery canvas


Plastic tracers and/or cookie cutters


1. Rip and tear pieces of paper, do not use scissors because the rough edges are necessary.

2. Place pieces of paper in a warm bucket of water. Once paper has been in the water for a few minutes, tear pieces into smaller shreds.

3. Add liquid water colors or bleedable tissue paper to the water/paper mixture.

4. Drain the water and fill blender half way with the paper mixture. Add one cup of water and blend on low speed. Paper pulp will be created!

5. Take the paper pulp out of the blender and add in flower seeds.

6. The paper pulp can then be molded to create a 3-D form or you can flatten the pulp out, forming it with cookie cutters or plastic tracers.

7. Allow pulp to dry. Then the shapes can be planted to grow flowers or sprouted in a ziplock bag.

Between ArtCamp@Dusk, Story Time, children’s art classes, workshops, tours, lectures and art, there is always something to do at the Akron Art Museum.

How To: Plastic Bag Fabric

Inspired by Untitled by Alvin Demar Loving Jr.

Making fabric out from plastic bags.

Making fabric out from plastic bags.


Plastic bags (variety of colors, patterns)
Parchment paper


Sewing machine


1. Collect plastic shopping bags. Look for interesting colors, patterns and designs.

2. Cut the plastic bags into shapes. Holding the bag taught makes it easier to cut.

3. Layer the cut pieces onto a larger shape of plastic bags. Create at least 6 layers but the more layers there are, the stronger the fabric will be.

4. Sandwich the layers between pieces of parchment paper.

5. Use a dry iron and press the layers together until they melt and fuse.


Make your fabric into a one-of-a-kind envelope with instructions at

Layout of fabric made from plastic bags,

Layout of fabric made from plastic bags.

Between ArtCamp@Dusk, Story Time, children’s art classes, workshops, tours, lectures and art, there is always something to do at the Akron Art Museum.


How To: Plastic Bottle Beads

Making plastic beads at the Akron Art Museum.

Making plastic beads at the Akron Art Museum.

Plastic bottles
Embossing heat guns
Permanent markers
Needle nose pliers (insulated)

String or wire

1. Collect and rinse plastic bottles. Try experimenting with different colored plastics.
2. Carefully cut the bottles into strips, varying the width of the strips will create different size beads.
3. Decorate the strips with permanent markers creating designs, patterns, or even writing a secret message.
4. Roll up the plastic strips and hold firmly with the pliers.
5. Heat the plastic with the heat gun and watch the plastic shrink and harden. When you are finished, let the bead rest on the pliers.

Showing off his plastic beads.

Showing off his plastic beads.

A whole bracelet of plastic beads!

A whole bracelet of plastic beads!


Between ArtCamp@Dusk, Story Time, children’s art classes, workshops, tours, lectures and art, there is always something to do at the Akron Art Museum.