I like to encourage my kids to make handmade gifts for family and friends. Sometimes it’s home baked treats, sometimes it’s art, sometimes it’s playdough snowmen, sometimes it’s a gift we craft together.
This week, we’ve been making art gifts with vibrant colors, recycled DIY cardboard frames, and beaded handles.
If you’re looking for a handmade gift idea, this is a sweet one for the kids to make for family, teachers, and friends.
DIY Cardboard Frame with Kids Art
A big thank you to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.
- Utility knife, such as an X-Acto
- Kwik Stix paint sticks*
- Markers or pencils
- Flexible wire (we used 18 gauge, which is available in the bead section of craft stores and also at hardware stores)
*Kwik Stix are a low-mess alternative to paint. They are basically tempera paint in a solid stick form. The color glides onto the paper very smoothly, a bit like oil pastels, but the paint quickly dries to a hard, smudge-free paint surface. And the colors are wonderful and vibrant!
You can buy Kwik Stix in a variety of colors and sets at stores such as Walgreens, Michaels, and toy stores as well as online on Amazon.
These paint sticks would make great stocking stuffers, by the way! Or bundle them with a few other art supplies for under the tree…
DIY cardboard frame instructions
Note :: This part of the process is an adult’s job.
First, use a utility knife to cut two pieces of cardboard into matching rectangles or squares. Any size is fine but I made ours roughly the size of a sheet of paper. One will be the back of the frame, one will be the front.
Then, cut out the center of the top piece of cardboard. I traced my ruler onto the cardboard for an even frame of about 1 1/4 inches wide.
Slip a piece of art paper between the two pieces of cardboard and trim it to fit.
Set up your art-making station with the frames, paper, drawing tools, and paint sticks.
Note, you could skip the paper and draw with the paint sticks directly on cardboard. I tested the colors and opacity on the brown cardboard and most of them worked great as you can see here.
Instructions for the Hanging Art Gift
Draw and paint your picture. Daphne is starting with a pencil drawing above and used black marker for her snowman drawing below.
Use the paint sticks to add color.
As I shared in our post about our Thankful Bunting, you can use permanent markers on top of the paint sticks as well as under. In this photo, Emily and her mom are collaborating on some art details.
The paint from the paint sticks dries quickly but if you want to try blending and color mixing, you can do so in the first minute to 90 seconds.
Once you’ve finished your artwork, it’s time to decorate your frame! Daphne is adding a pattern of colors around the edge of hers.
How to Make the Beaded Handle
To create the hanging and carrying handle on your framed artwork, punch two holes at the top of the cardboard back. Slip a length of flexible wire through one, wrapping the end around itself to secure it.
String beads along the wire, leaving enough room at the end to wrap it through the second hole.
We used these pretty faceted beads ($3.99 at Target).
Now it’s time to glue the three layers together—the cardboard backing (with the beaded handle), the paper artwork, and the decorated cardboard frame front. We used a hot glue gun, but you could easily use most other glues if you’re more patient about drying time.
Admire your new DIY cardboard frame and artwork.
Would your kids like to make an art gift for a family member, teacher, or friend?
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Thanks again to Kwik Stix for sponsoring this post; all opinions expressed are my own.