Hands on Art

The past few weeks Michelle and I have been working on a project for the illumination Foundation, a foundation that works with children who are not as fortunate as other children are. The foundation has centers for children to stay during the day and get taken care of and time to play. We wanted to make something for the kids, so they can play with it and have fun, but we also wanted it to look like a picture that can add some decoration to a room.

When we first started, we thought it would be easy, but trust me it was far from that. We would call day-cares and preschools and tell them about our project only to be turned down time after time because they wanted licensed painters and professionals to do it. So it took us a while just to get a location to do our project at. After about a week or two of calling we came upon the Illumination Foundation, so we called and finally someone wanted to work with us. The workers were very excited and more than pleased that we wanted to work with them so we set up an appointment to go see one of their locations.

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Once we visited, we immediately started thinking about what we wanted to do so we am up with the idea of making a hands on painting that the kids could add-on to and change the picture. So we thought that we could make it into a type of puzzle with magnetic pieces that were going to be dry-erase so the kids can draw different images and move them around.

The next step was buying all the supplies, so we headed down to Home Depot, where we were amazed at the different type of nails and types of paint there is.

Starting the actual project and getting to work wasn’t easy either. To start we had to sand the wooden board and it probably the most physical labor both have us have ever done for a project. We ended up with splinters on our hands covered in sawdust. After the sanding we had to paint the entire board blue and painted the sand and seaweed on for the background, since we were going with an underwater theme.

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It took a day for all that to dry, which lead us into phase 2 of painting. Which was adding all the sea creatures on and hoping they looked good because neither Michelle nor I are the best at drawing. It took a while to paint the sea creatures on because they were detailed and we didn’t want it to look sloppy.

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Also we only bought the three primary colors red, blue and yellow, so we had to struggle trying to get the perfect shades of different colors. The purple for the octopus was a hassle to get, you would think it’s just red and blue, but no when we added those two together we ended up with muddy grey purple. We had to mix in pink and white to get a bit more vibrant and less dull. Another color that was even harder to make was black. At first we thought you just mix all the colors, but boy were we wrong. It ended being a disgusting grey-brown that just didn’t look appealing. We tried probably about five time to get black but we eventually gave up and decided to use a black permanent marker instead.


Once the animals were almost all done we decided to put the magnets on the board so the kids can stick the pieces to them. We hit another problem, “What do we make the pieces out of?” We ended getting cork-board and having to saw it into little squares and be really careful. The pieces were painted blue and let to dry and we called it a day.

A few days later Michelle went to Home Depot and got the whiteboard paint and was so excited when she found out they made clear dry erase paint so we could just make the entire board a dry erase board, that she called me and told me about. We basically ended up changing our project into a dry erase board with pictures on it already so the kids have a theme to what they can draw on the board.

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When we took it to the foundation the workers were  really excited about it and happy and said that the kids would enjoy playing with it when they have play time indoors.

Overall this project taught me a lot about hardware, how to mix paint, and coming up with cool ideas to achieve something that can benefit others,


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