Review: Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit by ACTÍVA Products

Review_ACTIVAIf your family is anything like ours, you go through a multitude of crafting supplies throughout the course of your learning year. It can be hard to know which products will meet your family’s need and work for small hands. An opportunity to review Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit by ACTÍVA Products has helped us explore creative possibilities and learn a few new skills.

Established in 1959, ACTÍVA is a worldwide producer of instant paper mache, Rigid Wrap. They also produce other crafting products such as CelluClay Quik-Scultping Kits, Fast Mache, and more. For the purpose of this review, ACTÍVA graciously gifted our family with a Quik-Sculpting kit which included two packages of Rigid Wrap and a package of CelluClay. Rigid Wrap is a cloth gauze covered in plaster, used for sculpting with an even-textured finish. CelluClay Quik-Scultping Kits take the mess out of paper mache; just add water and you’re ready to go.

Our family used Rigid Wrap to create three projects. Our first project was a Painted Pumpkin; the second Bold Beads; and the third was a cast of a bud vase. The first two projects were found in the pamphlet included in our Quik-Sculpting Kit. A full-color version of the free ACTÍVA Products’ Favorite Sculpture KIDS CRAFTS may be downloaded online at the website, where it can be found along with many other helps. The third project was one of our own making. We also used CelluClay to create a topographical map of our home state of California. This was another self-guided project.

Working with Rigid Wrap was a breeze. The gauze material merely needed to be dipped in warm water and it was ready for use. While constructing our pumpkin and bud vase, we found the Rigid Wrap simple to use and most effective. This was much faster and cleaner that traditional paper mache. We had greater difficulty when using Rigid Wrap to make our beads. The material was bulky and rough to work with. However, we were able to ACTIVA_Kit_Contentsaccomplish our task after several tries.

Using CelluClay was a tad more challenging. Instructions were not included in our kit, thus we needed to find them online on the ACTÍVA website. There basic steps were given, but it took several tries to get the mixture right. We were finally able to create our topographical map, although the material was still more wet than was probably best. We will need to work on this in the future.

Our projects were quickly created, no one activity taking longer than thirty minutes to be constructed. Our beads dried very quickly, which was not surprising given their size. Our bud vase took approximately eight hours to dry. The pumpkin twelve hours. The topographical map around twenty-four hours. Instructions were given for a quick dry method, using our home microwave, but we did not choose this option; we chose to air dry.

After our projects were dry, we were ready to decorate and paint. But, we ran into a few challenges. Our beads were good to go, but next time we will need to smooth them out more for a sleeker look. Our pumpkin was excellent, simple from beginning to end. Our topographical map was quite lumpy; something to smooth out in the future, but it did the job nicely. Our bud vase was a complete failure. Instructions advised us to wrap our original object with syran wrap to assist with easy removal and protect the piece; then use Rigid Wrap to cast the object, being careful not to cover lips of the opening which would prevent the cast from being removed. We had chosen a straight vase and followed the Painted_Pumpkin_ACTIVAsteps carefully, but found the cast absolutely impossible to remove from the original vase. We finally had to call it a loss, tossing the entire project – glass vase and all – in the trash. Thankfully the vase was inexpensive and easy to replace.

Altogether, we found working with Rigid Wrap to be not only fun but simple to use. While we are a little disappointed our bud vase didn’t come out, we are not discouraged. I’m sure the error was on our part, somewhere, and we will revisit this again to perfect our methods. We found the packages included in the kit allowed us more than enough material to complete our projects, and left additional material for future creative endeavors. CelluClay proved less enjoyable, but to be fair this is not a preferred crafting medium for us. The materials provided were sufficient for the task, but more experience is needed to make the best use of this product. It is our opinion the Quik-Sculpting Kit may be enjoyed by children ages 5+, being simple to use and manageable for small hands.

Being able to review these creative products by ACTÍVA has been fun. We’ve had the opportunity to explore unfamiliar mediums and learn new skills. If you’d like to learn more about Rigid Wrap and CelluClay Quik-Sculpting Kit or ACTÍVA Products please visit them at their website and on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram!

To read helpful reviews like this one, and gain more insight into what ACTÍVA Products has to offer, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew!

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How ‘Pinteresting’: The World is Flat

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!

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Summer_PinterestHere it is… the last ‘pin’ of the summer! Something that will tie our geography lessons in with our crafting and Pinterest boards. Three jobs in one!

When I was a child we were required to make these as part of our lessons on California History, along with a California mission. (I made my mission out of lasagna noodles, but that’s a story for another day.) I remember having to carefully reconstruct the state of California, making sure to get all the topographical details absolutely correct. Then, we had to paint it accordingly. What a project!

Let’s inflict the same pain fun on our own children. It’s actually pretty easy and you might already have the materials on hand!

Salt Map

Click on the image above to be taken to the original Pinterest link.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Clay (either homemade or store-bought)
Heavy Cardboard
Paints & Brushes

The project is fairly simple. On cardboard (or any other heavy-duty, disposable, flat surface), shape a mound of clay into your geographic location of choice. I would suggest modeling a current country you are learning about or your home state. If you’ve completed a lesson on world geography, perhaps you could allow your children to pick their country of choice. Once you have the location properly modeled to the best of your ability, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Once dry, paint your map accordingly.

See how easy that is?! The hard part is deciding what to do with all of these maps once they are complete… Hmmm… Either way, salt mapping is tons of fun and provides several valuable lessons in the learning process.

Enjoy!

Time to Chime In: What is your favorite at-home recipe for modeling clay? Please share!

How Pinteresting: X Marks the Spot

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!

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Summer_PinterestMy kids like maps. Travel maps, atlas maps, road maps, pirate maps; name it and they like it. We keep a stack in the car, just for long trips and moments of needed distraction. There is something about finding your way via map that intrigues children.

When our kiddos were little, my husband would create maps for them and send them out on treasure hunts. As they grew older, he let them design their own maps and we would go searching for buried treasure. Lots of fun memories and creativity have centered around such activities.

Our Pinterest activity this week, reflects our children’s love of cartography. With very few materials, you too can recreate this project!

Milk Map

Click on the picture above to be taken to the original post via Pinterest.

Here’s what you’ll need: milk, paper, and an iron. See how easy that was? Now, here is what you do: draw a map (or any other image, for that matter) using milk onto a piece of paper; let the milk dry for a half hour; and then, iron the image. Voila!

There are a few things I ought to point out…

  • Use Cardstock – Regular paper might buckle under the use of liquid. If you have it on hand, I would recommend watercolor paper or card stock.
  • Use Q-Tips – Regular paint brushes might be difficult to work with using this medium. If you have them on hand, use q-tips or short, blunt paint brushes; they will work more efficiently.

Above all, have fun! Perhaps you, too, can make a treasure map. Don’t forget the buried treasure!

Time to Chime In: When was the last time you made a treasure map and buried ‘treasure’?

Care to participate in next week’s Pinteresting project? Take a look at THIS link to get a head start on next week’s ‘pin’!

Art Attack: A Spoonful of…

In a world of busy-ness and responsibility, it’s just as important to take a few moments exploring the creative side of life. Join us as we share ideas on how to get those imaginative juices flowing and explore a world of art!

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Summer_ArtI think our kiddos have had just about enough of spiders. It is definitely time to move along… to the kitchen!

Before your mind starts conjuring up images of frosted cakes and towering piles of cookies, this project involves wood and paint. (laughing) Instead of working with food materials, we are going to be exploring the creative aspect of cookware.

For this project, each child will need a wooden spoon. Nothing fancy, just a simple, wooden spoon often used for cooking dinners and stirring pots of simmering stew. Nab a few bottles of your favorite paint, a few paintbrushes, your imagination, and you are ready to go!

Spoon Art

The project: Using their imaginations, they are to paint their spoons any way they would like. Will it be a bumblebee, a flower, an owl, or something altogether different? There is no right or wrong answer; they are merely being judged on their creativity and their neatness.

My kiddos are really looking forward to this project. It is simple, straightforward, and easy. What more could you ask for?

If you, too, decide to work on this project, shoot us an email and let us know how it turned out!

Time to Chime In: If you could redesign any piece of cookware in your kitchen, which would it be and why?

How ‘Pinteresting’: Beaded Glory

One ‘pin’ a week; that is the goal. Nothing too fancy, nothing too far-fetched; just a good opportunity to finally test out a few of those Pinterest ideas and see which ones really work! Join along and chime in; let us know which projects you’ve been working on and how they’ve turned out!

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Summer_PinterestWe have tons of beads in our house. Some the girls use for the jewelry making. Others, we use simply for crafting. This week, we thought we’d put a few of our beading ‘pins’ to the test.

First off, I should state that I once again did not read the instructions properly. (laughing) Had I read more carefully, I would have noticed that we would be needing to work outside. Alas, I didn’t; which meant that we had to make a last-minute change of plans. No matter; everything worked out properly.

There were three ‘pins’ that we had planned to work on, but I think I was a little too ambitious. So… we focused on just one: making ‘dots’!

Melted 'Dots'

Click the image above to access the original ‘pin’.

Let us know if you join in with completing the ‘pin’ of the week. Let us know what you made and share your ideas for how this project.

Time to Chime In: Do you craft? My sister-in-law pointed out that one could use these melted ‘dots’ for card making; how clever! What would you do with these beads?

Care to participate in next week’s Pinteresting project? Take a look at THIS link to get a head start on next week’s ‘pin’!

Work Hard, Play Harder: Tell Me a Story

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) Join us as we explore a season of fun and family! Help us discover new ways to enjoy family time and build lasting memories.

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Summer_work-playWe are story tellers. I’m not sure how this started. I suppose it all came about over bedtime stories. Instead of simply reading a book, we felt the need to tear it apart and reinvent the story for ourselves. Telling a good yarn, is a huge part of our family fun time.

When our kiddos were little, my husband started instituting a bedtime game. Name three objects, any three objects, and he could weave a story for you. He would ask the same of all four of our kids and, in turn, make up a story based on their items of choice. Some of them became so popular, he was asked to tell them again and again.

One day on Pinterest, I saw the neatest idea: story stones! A bag is filled with stones, painted with various objects. The child is to then pull three stones out of the bag and tell a story using these items.

While our kids were doing just fine with their own ideas at bedtime, I thought it might be fun to put a spin on the story stone idea and make a few ourselves. It would be neat to have visual prompts, as well as verbal.

Stones are quite heavy, in my opinion, and hard for kids to craft with. Instead, I opted to use wooden discs. We dug out our stamps, a black ink pad, and our wooden discs; then, we got busy!

I didn’t realize this was going to be a bit more of a challenge than originally thought. You don’t notice how small those discs are, until you need to stamp an image on them! Then, several of the discs were not perfectly flat; which meant that the center of our stamped image did not always transfer.

No matter! We did our best with what we had and most of the discs turned out beautifully. So far, we have almost half of our discs done. We ran out of small stamps! (lol) However, that is no worry. We have already mentioned our project to Tia Nene, who graciously offered to let us raid her mass of stamps to further our progress. On our next visit, we’ll ask her to help us out and she can join in the fun, too!

Story Discs

Click on the image above to be taken to the appropriate Pinterest link.

The kids really liked this project. The challenge for Mommy was to keep her nose out of it. I wanted the kids to stamp items of interest to them, not me. I might see a leaf and think it is not worth stamping, but the kids see a world of possibility.

Think this sounds like fun, but don’t have any stamps at home? There are several ways to do this project. Consider using cutouts from magazines and decoupage the pictures onto discs. Use permanent marker and draw images on wooden discs. It doesn’t matter how you tackle this project, this is definitely a fun activity you won’t want to miss.

Plus, think of all the fun writing prompts you can now use in your learning routine!

Time to Chime In: How often does your family sit around and tell stories? Do you have a favorite?

Keepers #11 (2013-2014)

Every once in a while, it’s fun to tackle a large project, instead of working on smaller ones which offer instant gratification. This was our thought process for handling the planning of both March and April. Instead of four smaller skill sets, we chose to pick one large one which would span all four meetings. Our project of choice: teaching our girls how to sew by hand!

I should probably note… I have no training in this field. That meant one of two things. Either I was going to be really bad at teaching because I have little experience in this OR I was going to be a decent teacher because the girls were going to be learning from someone who is not going to assume prior history and is at just a slightly higher level than they. That said; our time together was incredible!

Instead of immediately starting in on a major project, I thought it was important to begin with the basics. Our girls should learn how to handle basic sewing notions before they try to complete a project. I also wanted to get the girls started with their own sewing kits. This was our starting point.

Last summer, I “pinned” THIS amazing website to aid us in our sewing endeavors. I thought our girls would really enjoy creating personal sewing kits, making it their own. These mason jar sewing kits were the perfect fit! They are simple to make and incredibly adorable.

After creating our kits, we spent a few moments filling them with various notions and explaining the purpose behind each item. We made sure to include a mini-lesson on various needle types and thread variations, as well.

What good is a kit, if you aren’t going to use it? Each young lady was given a medium-sized rectangle of felt, a ruler, and a marker. We encouraged each girl to draw a few lines on her felt and then our first sewing lesson began! We taught them how to thread their needle (both by hand and with a needle threader); how to tie off their thread; and one basic stitch, the running stitch.

It took several minutes for the girls to learn the running stitch, but before long everyone was doing just fine. We gave the girls a little time to complete several lines of practice and then taught them one final skill for the day; tying off their stitches.

Keepers #11 (1-7)

 

Keepers #11 (2-7) Keepers #11 (5-7) Keepers #11 (6-7) Keepers #11 (4-7) Keepers #11 (3-7) Keepers #11 (7-7)

After our meeting, one of my girlfriends alerted me to a new offer by Joann’s and Craftsy. For a limited time, you can sign up for free, online classes to help you become more proficient in sewing. Need a little help figuring out your sewing machine? Interested in learning how to piece together hand-made garments? Would you care to learn more about quilting? This offer just might be for you!

If you’re looking to get your littles involved in a few sewing endeavors, Skip to My Lou might be just what you’re looking for. There are tons of awesome ideas to help you and your child start their sewing adventure, with lots of projects to tickle your fancy. If you go nowhere else, definitely stop here and take a gander.

So far, our lessons are going very well! The girls are having a great time and they are excited to be learning a new skill set. I’m glad they are having fun because we aren’t done yet! There are several more stitches for us to learn in our next meeting, followed by a two-part project we’ll begin in April. We can hardly wait!

Who taught you how to sew and was it with machine or by hand? Have you taught this skill to your own children yet?

Craftaholics!

It’s officially hit! The crafting bug has hit our girls and they are working non-stop on various projects.

Most of the gifts our girls received this Christmas somehow involved arts and crafts. We got blank books, lined journals, bracelet looms, jewelry kits, and more! Now, our house is littered with all form of creative projects and we are enjoying every minute.

This afternoon I sat down to work on a sewing project for my father-in-law. He needs a new apron made for when he is working on his welding projects outside. Happy to oblige, I got to work on it this afternoon and was, luckily, able to pop it out pretty quickly.

While I was working, the kiddos were at the table doing some drawing and weaving. It seems weaved bracelets are all the rage right now and my girlies are happy to join in the fun.

It has been so exciting working on a few imaginative projects as a family. Even on our ‘Christmas break’, we are finding time to learn new skills and add some wrinkles to our brain.

Have YOU learned any new skills during your Christmas break or spent any time being creative? We’d love to hear all about it!

The Bright Morning Star

Whats_in_a_NameWhat’s in a name? A name is more than just something by which we are called; in a sense, it is our reputation. Did you know there are a multitude of names for God? Each name unique and powerful; the list is endless.

Join us on this exciting adventure through Scripture, where we will learn some amazing verses, talk about how those verses should affect our lives, and discuss some practical ways to make these names “real”.

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“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” – Revelation 22:16

I like star-gazing. It has been a dream of mine to own a telescope; stars are truly incredible. There is nothing quite like peering into the vast heavens to help you realize just how tiny you are and just how big our God is.

Here in Revelation, we are reminded of yet another name for Christ; the bright Morning Star. I am no expert, but I wonder if there is some significance in this?

Most of us start our day with the rising of the sun, or pretty close to it. Perhaps this is yet another reminder to begin our day with Him and not just a cup of coffee. He wants to be the first thing we think of when we wake up and the last thing we think of before we go to bed. He should be the Light in our lives; the very thing that gets us moving.

The sun is the center of our solar system; we build our days, months, years, and seasons around it. Again, perhaps He is trying to remind us of something important. He should be the center of our world. All our decisions should be made with Him at the center; with all things pointing to Him.

The Bright Morning Star

During Christmas, stars are everywhere. We put them on our houses and the tops of trees. This is the perfect reminder that He is present; waiting for us to acknowledge the miraculous gift He has given.

As we continue through our series of “What’s in A Name?”, I want to continually bring my children back to the real purpose of this season. I want them to understand that He is the center, the focus, of Christmas. This is His story, not ours. It is Him we should be thinking of, not ourselves, and it is Him we should be seeking to bless.

Always looking to give my kids some hands-on application, I thought we’d make some stars to hang in the house. Nothing complex, just a simple art project to be a seasonal reminder of a year-round concept.

Making paper stars is so easy! I created a star template in Photoshop and printed it out. The kiddos cut out their template and then traced its shape onto decorative paper. (I wanted to be clever, so we used music sheets.) To make the stars more dimensional, we used a bone folder and added some depth to each star. They took very little time to put together and the kids had a lot of fun.

Hanging them was just as easy. I had some clear string on hand from a previous jewelry job. We used a crafting hole punch with a very small hole and then used our string. We hung them from the kids’ bedroom ceilings.

What a lovely way to remember both our verse and the lesson. May Christ continue to be the Star we follow, no matter where it leads; all year round.

Week Six: Fall Co-op (2013-2014)

Okay! The final week of co-op is finished and we are ready to enjoy the holidays. This week was a lot of fun, although it seemed to run an especially long time.

Week Six: Fall Co-op (1/14)

Cooking Class: today we made tarts!

Week Six: Fall Co-op (2/14) Week Six: Fall Co-op (3/14) Week Six: Fall Co-op (4/14) Week Six: Fall Co-op (5/14)

Instead of using custard in our tarts, we used a combination of whipped cream and creamed cheese. It was good, but not quite the same. Next time, we’ll stick with custard and chocolate mousse. It was fun though!

Week Six: Fall Co-op (6/14)

Science Class: butter and ice cream making.

Week Six: Fall Co-op (7/14) Week Six: Fall Co-op (8/14)

Week Six: Fall Co-op (9/14)

Dangerous animals!

Week Six: Fall Co-op (10/14)

Is that a snake I see?

Week Six: Fall Co-op (11/14)

In music class, the little ones made these fall shakers.

Week Six: Fall Co-op (12/14) Week Six: Fall Co-op (13/14)

Week Six: Fall Co-op (14/14)

Drama class! Oh, boy. Class time went over by two hours!!!! Needless to say, they were very hungry, but they had fun!

Our drama class ran seriously late today. They spent some extra time recording their performances after everyone else was done. Unfortunately, after two extra hours they still were not done, but we could not afford them any more time. I know they were a little disappointed, but most of them seemed to have a great time!

Well, that is done for at least another few months. Now, it is time to start focusing on the coming holidays. There are a lot of exciting things going on this month. I can’t wait for all the surprises we have in store for the kiddos. It is going to be magical!