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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

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  • Thursday, Friday10 am-3 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 4 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 4 pm

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DIY Snowy Day Stencils

Here in New England, this past weekend’s snow storm was Mother Nature’s way of telling us that spring is still a good ways away (The enormous piles of snow out the window are hard to ignore!). But not all hope is lost! Snow can be fun; you can sled down it, ski on it, snowshoe through it, and why not also use it as a blank canvas for your family’s colorful designs.

We've shared how to do Winter Snow Painting before, and to take snow painting a step further, snow stencils may be just the type of project you need to get through these last few weeks of winter.

You will need:

-Transparency Film sheets (We used 8.5”x11” 3M brand Transparency Film for Copiers) available at office supply stores

-Permanent Markers (we used Sharpies)

-X-acto knife, box cutter or scissors

-Hole punch (optional)

-Self-healing cutting mat or cardboard (to protect your work surface when cutting)

-Spray Bottles

-Food Coloring (We use McCormick brand)

-Snowy surface (picnic table, bench, car, steps or the ground of course)

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

For our stencil designs we made snowflakes, but feel free to use any imagery you like best. After drawing the snowflake design with Sharpies on the transparency film sheet, I used an X-acto knife to cut away certain areas of the image, and leave others behind. Instead of using a sharp X-acto blade, children could cut around the perimeter of their designs with scissors for their stencil.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

After I cut out areas of the image, I used a paper hole punch to punch some holes out in the film to add extra decoration around the stencil.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

For our snowflake designs we took inspiration from W.A. Bentley’s Snow Crystals. The book is full of photos of hundreds of real snowflakes Bentley photographed over the course of his career documenting the formation of ice crystals.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

If you are going to make snowflake stencils too, just remember that snowflakes naturally have six points!

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

After preparing your stencils, you need to prepare your colored water.  Simply add food coloring to the water in a spray bottle (or follow Sarah’s tutorial on how to use old markers to make colored water, here).  I didn’t fill up my bottles too much because I wanted my colors to be darker. The more water you add, the more muted your colors will be, and the more food coloring you’ll need.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

So we bundled up and headed outside on a cold sunny day last week to test them out!

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

If it’s a windy day use your free hand or have a friend help you hold down the stencil while you spray so it doesn’t blow away.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

I was a little surprised that it actually worked! The snow held more details in our designs than I thought it would. If your spray bottle has “spray” or “stream” setting I recommend using the “spray” option and holding it about 1-foot above your stencil so you get a soft, even mist that sits on the snow’s surface.  The “stream” setting on my bottle was actually so powerful it melted the color down into the snow and looked more muddled.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

Gently peel away the stencil to reveal the design below. If you leave the stencil on for too long, it might bring some of the top layer of snow with it, so work quickly!

Snowy Day Stencils/ The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

With just the 4-pack of food coloring and 4 stencils the outcome was really colorful and exciting!  The transparency film is great because you can shake off the excess snow and reuse the stencil over and over again.

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

Snowy Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

I was pretty sure I wasn’t the first person to try making your own snow stencils, so I Googled around and found this really beautiful tutorial for kids on the blog, Armelle.

One of our student employees was inspired to make a heart snow stencil to send a one-of-a-kind valentine to her boyfriend on Valentine's Day, who’s currently studying abroad. She took photos of hearts around her college campus in places that were meaningful to them and sent them in an overseas email!

The photo below is a row of hearts I stenciled along The Studio’s patio after our most recent storm. If someone in your family has a late-winter birthday, surprise them with a special snowy message!

Snowy Day Valentine's Day Stencils- The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

To make your own very snowy caterpillar, click here for our Winter Snow Painting tutorial.

Winter Snow Painting/ The Eric Carle Museum Studio Blog

 

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We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 

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by Diana MacKenzie

This entry was posted on Sunday, February 16th, 2014 at 3:34 pm and is filed under By Diana MacKenzie, Drawing, Elementary School, High School, Nature, Painting, Preschool. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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