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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Your Turn!: How often is paper mache used in your homeschool craft room?

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This Month’s Arts & Crafts: What’s on YOUR Table?

Craft-Table_LogoWelcome to the Homeschool Mom’s Craft Table. Enjoy a quick foray into the world of art; join us as we delve into projects, offer helpful tips, explore new tools, and encourage all things creative. Come along and share a world of fun!

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An important part of our family homeschooling routine is arts & crafts. We’re constantly encouraging our children to be creative and put their imaginations to work!

Right now, our kids have several projects going; each one fun and unique. Here are a few of the crafts currently on our homeschooling table:

Pom-Pom Puppies – Made from bundles of yarn and scraps of felt, our kiddos are busy making adorable, hand-held Pom-Pom Puppies. Each puppy takes approximately an hour to make (less, once you get the swing of things or have made pom-poms in the past), and is incredibly unique to each child’s style.

Angry Birds Clay Models – Using FIMO clay, my son has been using THESE YouTube tutorials to learn the fine art of clay modeling. At first I was a little skeptical of his ability to use modeling clay, which can be tough and frustrating to manipulate, but he did just fine. (I will note, we did purchase FIMO Soft in order to make things a little easier for his small fingers.) Hours of fun have been had, and I expect we’ll be exploring this medium quite a while.

Pastel Sketches – This is a more recent addition to our crafting table and initiated by Little Lady. We’re using a set of chalk pastels my wonderful sister-in-law gave us from Stampin’ Up! We’ve been having fun listening to Pop explain how to use pastels and sharing techniques on how he’s incorporated this medium in the past. (Have I mentioned how much I love being married to an artist?) Thus far, we’ve been having quite a bit of fun. I think we’ll be exploring this medium a tad more.

Watercolor Pictures – While we’ve occasionally experimented with watercolor in the past, these seem to be making more of an appearance at our crafting table. Each of our children has their own palette. And, in our home, there is an endless supply of paper. What more could you ask for?

If I could add one thing to our crafting routine it would be picture frames. I have a vision in my head of simple, eclectic sets of dark wood frames hanging on our wall; each filled with cork board. Each child would have their own frame. And, when a new project is completed, it would be placed in the frame for viewing; the old picture would be added to the ever-growing file of art to be kept for safekeeping.

For now, we’re content to place them on the fridge or the walls of our kids rooms. But, our anniversary and Christmas is coming. Who knows what the coming months will bring?!

🔔Time to Chime In: What’s on your craft table for the month of October? Share your current projects with us, including pictures you’ve posted on Instagram!

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest & Periscope!

Curriculum 101: Arts & Crafts

Curriculum101In conjunction with our “Curriculum 101” series, let’s review the fine art of crafting. What’s a parent to do when the thought of glue sticks, pinking shears, and mounds of glitter do not send the heart into palpitations of ecstasy, but rather into fits of anxiety?

Let’s face it. Not all of us are craft lovers. Some of us don’t have a creative bone in our body. Others are neat freaks who sincerely dislike the idea of any table being covered with layers of glue. And yet more of us believe we could find better uses for our time.

When our children come to us, begging to create something, anything, it’s time to look past our own desires and start indulging our children’s imaginations. But, where do we begin?

Create a Crafting Space – If messes all over your house cause you anxiety, set up a particular area for crafting to take place. This will keep the remainder of your home clean, yet allow the children to have fun.

Create Crafting Rules – If you are concerned about constantly cleaning up after the kids, set ground rules. Perhaps you might like them to work on only one craft at a time. You might want them to clean up materials when projects are complete, or before dinner each day. Figure out where you stand, then post rules for the kids to follow.

Gather Resources – If the kids are going to craft, they are going to need supplies. Start small, see what the kids use most, and go from there. It doesn’t have to be expensive (the local dollar store is a great place to start), nor do you need to buy out the entire store. Start small and work your way up to a bigger supply. It might also help to talk to the kids and see what they are interested in. Here are a few basics you might want to start off with:

  • scissors
  • glue
  • rulers
  • coloring tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils)
  • construction paper
  • white paper
  • glitter (or glitter glue)
  • washable paints (finger/standard/watercolor)
  • stickers

More advanced crafting tools might include:

  • modeling clay
  • pastels
  • oil paints
  • chalks
  • decorative papers
  • pinking sheers
  • glue dots/glue runners
  • stamps & inks
  • embossing materials
  • fabric
  • sewing machine
  • and more!

Perhaps you have a decent crafting supply cupboard, but lack any ideas on what to create. May I direct your attention to Pinterest? Be forewarned. Not only will you find ideas, you won’t be able to stop! There is a wealth of fun, creative activities to complete with the kids. Don’t discount your children’s own imaginations, either. Often, we don’t need to come up with any crafting ideas; they simply need the freedom to create!

If you’re a neat freak like myself. The only advice I have for you, besides setting up a dedicated work space to keep the madness contained, is to GET OVER IT. For the short amount of time our houses are messy, our children are creating lifelong memories and learning immeasurably. Don’t allow a momentary situation prevent a lifetime of creativity.

While I’m sure we could be spending our time doing many other things besides crafts (there is always something to do, isn’t there), I would argue that being creative is an important use of time. When our children are crafting, they are using their imaginations to create what they envision. How many famous artists, designers, and illustrators began at home with a pair of scissors and a stick of glue? Why rob our children of being the next Alma-Tadema?

Craft-Table_Logo

We cannot begin to stress how important it is for children to be creative and use their imaginations. Art is wonderful! Our children need to not only be encouraged to create, but be taught about famous artists who have influenced the world around them. Through these lessons, our children will better appreciate the world around them and the hard work which goes into design.

You might not think you’re a crafty person, but give it a try. You might just find you like it!

“SEE, THE LORD HAS CALLED BY NAME BEZALEL THE SON OF URI, SON OF HUR, OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH; AND HE HAS FILLED HIM WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD, WITH SKILL, WITH INTELLIGENCE, WITH KNOWLEDGE, AND WITH ALL CRAFTSMANSHIP, TO DEVISE ARTISTIC DESIGNS, TO WORK IN GOLD AND SILVER AND BRONZE, IN CUTTING STONES FOR SETTING, AND IN CARVING WOOD, FOR WORK IN EVERY SKILLED CRAFT.”
EXODUS 35:30-33

🔔Time to Chime In: For those who like to craft, what is one crafting supply you couldn’t live without?

Want to stay connected & up to date with A Homeschool Mom? Don’t forget to follow on FacebookInstagram, & Pinterest!

Art Attack: Magnificent Machines

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_ArtDo you remember when your children were little? You would buy them a wonderful present, they would open it with anticipation, and then proceed to forget the toy and play with the box? Yeah; I remember those days too!

This week’s art project will finally make use of all the packaging, boxes, bins, and toilet paper rolls you’ve been storing away.

Using materials you find around the house, give your children the task of creating a ‘Magnificent Machine’! There are no rules and no limits; simply build with the boxes, rolls, and paper on hand. This should be fun.

A few years back, our kiddos did this to create cars out of larger boxes. We added tires, a steering wheel, and more! When our project was finished, we created a “drive-in” movie theatre in our living room and watched a flick; complete with popcorn, soda, and candy. Our AWANA group did this at large, proving everyone had fun with this activity.

Magnificent Machines

Do not think your project has to end with cars though! Expand your horizons. Create “time machines”, robots, space ships, shuttles, and more. There is no end to the possibilities.

Don’t forget to paint your magnificent machine and add details like knobs, dials, and gauges (if appropriate). Above all, use your imagination and have fun!

Time to Chime In: If you don’t use them for art, what do you use all those left over boxes for?

How Pinteresting: One Bite at a Time

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’re big book readers over here. I think there is current debate going as to who is the fastest reader, myself or my oldest daughter. Amidst all the books we own and borrow, you’d think we have a plethora of bookmarks, but no.

Our ‘pin’ of the week was to make these little monsters to help us out:

Monster Bookmarks

Click on the image above to be taken to the original ‘pin’.

These were super simple to make. Even the littlest of hands could have made these. There are a few suggestions I’d like to make, however:

  • Using plain white paper would be utterly boring AND the paper would be too thin. Consider grabbing a few sheets of patterned or colorful card stock and using that instead.
  • Follow directions when it comes to gluing pieces. The kids might get a bit over-anxious to complete their projects and accidentally glue incorrectly. Make sure they are clear on which pieces should be glued and which should not.
  • Do not strictly stick to the pattern. Our girls got the basics down and then were free to be creative. One of my girls added antennae to their monster’s head; another colored the irises of their monster quite uniquely.

Above all, have some fun and be creative. These little guys are super cute and definitely do the job! I can’t wait to put mine to use.

Time to Chime In: What is your bookmark to book ratio? Do you own enough book markers?

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’!

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.

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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!

Saint Nicholas Day

Holiday Blog HopReady for another ‘Holiday Blog Hop’ post? Today finds us heading over to Pie Jesu to learn all about Saint Nicholas Day.

If you’re anything like me, I could use all the help I can get in this area. I don’t think we’ve ever celebrated Saint Nicholas Day, so we’ll be heading over asap to glean some awesome ideas and tips on making the most out of this festive occasion.

Enjoy!

Keepers Meeting #6 (2013-2014)

Another Keepers meeting went off without a hitch. This week we finished up our lessons on fall crafting, learned some table etiquette (just in time for the holidays), and got a few new patches to show off our hard work.

Keepers #6 (1/11)

Teaching the little ones how a proper table is set.

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Creating crafted candles for our holiday tables.

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Building our candles with cinnamon sticks.

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Great job; keep up the good work!

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That looks so nice!

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Snack time!

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Our birthday girls.

Today’s craft was so much fun and fairly easy! The tricky part? Getting enough cinnamon sticks for all these girls. Who knew it took so many? Thankfully we had just enough to get us through.

Our lessons in etiquette came just in time for the holidays. Hopefully these ladies will be shining examples of proper young ladies, no matter where they spend their holidays.

With two patches earned today, both for etiquette and fall fun, these girls put in a lot of good work! Next time… our Christmas celebration! That should be a lot of fun.

Keepers Meeting #5 (2013-2014)

A new month, a new Keepers theme. This month we are focusing on fall crafting tied in with fall decor for all those fun, hosting moments that come with the season.

Our first lesson of the month taught the girls how to make their own Mod-Podge. We then showed the girls how to use mod-podge for personalizing everyday objects, making them cute and suitable for whichever event they might be hosting.

Homemade Mod-Podge

glass jar (8-12 oz.) with lid
Elmer’s Glue
water

Empty Elmer’s Glue into your clean glass jar. Fill jar with an equal part water to glue ratio. Put lid on jar; shake vigorously. Take of lid and… use! (See how simple that is.)

Mod-Podge is getting very expensive these days, so we found this recipe an excellent alternative and a fun way for the girls to express themselves creatively.

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The girls had a lot of fun learning how to decorate using mod-podge. I had fun watching them be creative. Each of the girls had a completely different take on how her pumpkin should look.

Two more weeks and another fun lesson in fall crafting comes around. We can hardly wait!