I take so much inspiration from the seashore. I’m fortunate to live very close to the beach and try to get in a weekly walk at the water’s edge.
My daughter sometimes joins me and is quickly learning to practice pushing the “pause button” on life. Sometimes you just have to dig your toes in the sand and that makes everything happy!
This Valentine’s, I wanted to create a printed project with a little bit of that beachy vibe that we love so much.
I had done various food-printing projects in my classroom before and decided to keep it simple and limit myself to one vegetable: CELERY! We happened to have a ton of it leftover from the hot wings we ordered on Super-bowl Sunday.
I don’t know about you, but I am NOT a big fan of celery. The strings, the bitterness… I much prefer using my celery for art rather than eating it!
Cut into pieces, celery makes a perfect little stamper. I love how the individual prints look like little rainbow shapes.
Add in a little loose weaving for texture, and a piece of driftwood or stick for a hanger, and you have a beautiful wall-hanging to display wherever you choose.
This project is great for all ages, however Kinders and younger will need an adult to do the cutting, hot-glueing, and help with tying the yarn at the end.
Here’s how you can make this Project Artwork at home:
- canvas cut to 16 X 10 inches- Dick Blick sells a pad of 10 primed sheets, 12 X 16, so you would just trim off 2 inches from the short side. (You could also cut a piece from an old canvas drop cloth , or cut up one of those paint-your-own aprons from a craft store)
- celery and a knife
- assorted craft paints in desired colors
- a pencil and an eraser
- hot glue gun
- assorted yarns, raffia, jute, or strips of fabric
- 1 stick or piece of driftwood, approximately 14 inches long
Cover your work table with newspaper or an old party tablecloth.
Cut a piece of celery about 1-2 inches long–make sure to cut the edge straight across and not on an angle.
Cut your canvas to 16 X 10 inches.
Put a nickel-sized amount of each desired paint color on a paper plate.
Set out a piece of scrap paper for testing colors.
Dampen a kitchen sponge and set next to your work area.
Plug in your glue gun.
Step 1: Trace or Draw a Heart
Draw LIGHTLY, because you’ll want to erase your pencil lines once the paint dries!
Your heart should be positioned in the bottom two-thirds of your canvas so you’ll have room to fold the pocket for the stick at the top and cut your fringe at the bottom.
Step 2: Stamp Your Celery on the Heart
Dip the end of your celery in your paint. It helps to stamp one or two on scrap paper first, to get a feel for how much or how little paint to use. Young kids can tend to get a big glob of paint on their celery, which won’t print pretty. Show them how they can offload some of the extra paint on the scrap paper by printing it there first and then on the canvas.
You can print a pattern–I chose wide, horizontal stripes–or just stamp randomly. The important thing is to fill up the heart right to the edges.
When you want to switch colors, just dab your celery on the damp sponge.
Once you get to the very bottom of the heart, turn your celery upside down and print a “u” shape.
Step 3: Cut Some Fringe
1-inch or 2-inch slits are best. If they are any shorter than that, you won’t have anything to weave into or tie onto. Don’t be OCD about getting all of these slits the exact same length–remember we are going for a casual, beachy vibe.
Parent Note: The canvas is more difficult to cut than paper. If your child is older and more experienced with their scissors they can handle it no problem, but you will need to do the cutting if your child is kindergarten or younger.
Step 3: Weave and Tie Your Yarns
There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Just remember your basic over-and-under pattern for the weaving, and tie the ends to the last piece of canvas fringe to secure it.
You can tie different lengths of string or yarn directly to individual pieces of the canvas fringe, or even hot glue strips of fabric to the backside, as I did with the scraps of lace.
Step 4: Hot Glue a Pocket for the Stick
Once your paint is dry, erase your pencil lines, and make a pocket for your stick-hanger.
Flip your canvas over to the back. Put a line of hot glue along the top edge, and fold the top two inches down. Press the glued edge to the back. Give the glue a couple of minutes to set, and then put your stick through the opening.
And there you have it!
If you love this print-making project and would like to try a different print-making technique, check out Gadget-Printing or Artist Trading Cards.
Variations on this project:
Add beads or shells tied into the strings. You could
Paint other designs around your heart.
Print your heart with fingerprints, gadgets, or some other food item.
You could also do this project on regular construction paper if you’re on a budget or can’t get the canvas- though it won’t be quite as durable.
These wallhangings make excellent keepsake gifts!!!