img_4441Barbara Rucci’s  ART WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN is a genuine how to get your ART on with kids manual. This book is the guide for those who want to nurture creativity, explore endless ART possibilities and feel good about making art with children. It’s all in there, from set up, to fantastic materials list, to specific step by step instruction, and helpful tips.   Her insight and experiences reflect her passion for sharing art with children. This book is a treasure.  I was thrilled when it landed on my doorstep and am honored to be included on her blog tour. There are so many great projects in this book, we will be exploring many of them. After flipping through the pages, I knew exactly what project we would kick off with.

workshop #18 :  wooden bead mobiles


I love mobiles and things that move. In particular, art that moves. More particular, watching kids explore art that moves. I knew this would be the perfect project in combination with another favorite beehive project.  We made these mobiles in all of my classes, children ages 4 – 9.


you will need:
wooden acorns*
sand paper
small eye screws
an awl or push pin

liquid watercolor paints*
tempera or acrylic paints
wooden beads
hemp or other sturdy string

*The acorns and wood come from one of my favorite resources, Casey’s Wood. I’ve gotten to know the folks at Casey’s over the past years. Great people who care about their products and are easy and fun to work with. Occasionally, I”ll send them photographs of what the kids make with their wood pieces, they love that!
*The liquid water color comes from another favorite resource, Discount School Supply. We use liquid watercolor all of the time and love the way it saturates wood (paper, fabric, our hands!) kinda like magic but better. Both of these resources ship practically over night. If you fly by the seat of your pants like I do, it all works out.

The one tricky part of this project is attaching the little screw to the acorn. I’ve figured out a good method so it will be easy for you. I do this step alone before the kids are on the scene.
You’ll need sandpaper, pliers, an awl (a push pin works too), small screws and patience. Grab an acorn by the bottom and sand off that pointy tip at the top. This will make a small flat surface to work with. Carefully make a indentation with the awl (or pushpin) for the screw to sit in. Gently turn the screw and twist it into the hole you just made. Use the pliers to tighten the screw in place.


Once you have your acorns set, break out your paint and brushes.


While the acorns were drying, we took a walk and gathered sticks and twigs in anticipation of painting. In the next class each child painted a collection of beads and a twig.
One of the classes colored the twigs with just oil pastel, other classes painted the twigs with acrylic paint.

Beads and twigs drying on the line. Each child’s collection of beads is temporarily strung on to a pipe cleaners to keep them all together.  Masking tape on twigs and tagged acorns helps determine who’s who.



It was fun to watch them play with their strand of beads.They would drag them across the table, take them for a walk or juggle them from hand to hand. It became a very tactile experience in a whole different way.
I helped them secure the beads onto the twig by wrapping and knotting the hemp.  We used colored wire for the hangers.
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One of the things I love about ART WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN is that Bar has included “variations for next time.”  She’s noted additional twists, thoughts and good ideas about the workshop.

Next time we might choose longer sticks and attach several strands of painted beads. Or maybe we’ll make a mobile of just colored twigs. We could paint them, cover them in tissue, string or fabric. We could use warm colors of tempera paint on some of the beads and cool watercolor paint on others.
We could paint all of the pieces white and have one bead or twig bursting with of color (I think we’ll do that in our Gift Makers Workshop!).
We all love the painted beads, and the feeling of them. The children were surprised how different the beads look when dried. For the younger set the stringing can be challenging which is so empowering. Older kids painted beads in sets of warm / cool colors or a combination of both and had fun stringing them. Some twigs were patterned others had just a stroke of paint or pastel.

I really like the simplicity of these mobiles. And sometimes, that’s just what we need.

Next time, I am going to let the kids pick the workshop.

Thank you Bar for this great idea and all of others in this book. Thank you for your time, incredible insight and love for sharing ART with children. We can’t wait for you to come to beehive!
To get your hands on a copy of ART WORKSHOP FOR CHILDREN shop here.  You can follow the blog tour and discover children’s art studios all over the country. Get inspired, get you art on!

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