Get a load of those gorgeous flowers, would ya?! It's spring y'all, and more importantly, it finally feels like spring. When I was brushing Kinley's hair this morning she hollered LOOK MOMMA!! There are little tiny baby leaves on our big tree!! and what do you know, she was right! I have been missing those little tiny baby leaves and their fresh tiny baby leaf green -- my favorite shade.

Don't you just love spring colors? Bright and happy and perfect for getting creative with.

We are participating in another Instagram challenge this week. This one is from Tinkerlab and just happens to be another round of the challenge that initially got Kinley and I hooked on all things process art. If you are still unclear about what process art is, or are feeling intimidated about getting started, this is the perfect introduction. Rachelle explains everything in a super clear and concise manner and has everything, including supply lists, all planned out for you. All you have to do is read the emails she sends and get out the supplies. Easy peasy.

Yesterday's Tinkerlab project was absorbent art. K and I had just made some coffee filter and liquid watercolor Easter eggs a couple of days ago, so we switched it up today and decided to try making coffee filter flowers with our challenge art.

The supplies we used for this project were:

  • flattened coffee filters (ours were luckily smashed underneath the coffeemaker that only comes out when Pap visits, but if yours aren't so conveniently crushed, just iron them.)
  • homemade liquid watercolors (there are a few alternative paint ideas further down if you don't wanna make any liquid watercolors and don't have any regular ones from the store)
  • pipettes
  • green pipe-cleaners
  • green floral tape

Absorbent art can get pretty messy! Even the most absorbent materials can only hold so much liquid, and I've found that kiddos pretty much never get tired of squirting pipettes. To catch the mess, I put a lunch tray we bought at IKEA underneath her coffee filters, but you could totally use a cookie sheet.

Super simple--give your kiddo one pipette per color and a coffee filter and let her squirt away! I kept an eye on Kinley's progress while I was squirting a few coffee filters of my own (it's really fun!) and when I saw that she had tons of paint puddling on her tray, I moved the filter she was working on to the drying mat and soaked up the extra paint with another coffee filter before giving her another to start fresh with. You can never have too many flowers, right? :)

We carried on with the squirting and the singing for 45 minutes. We just felt so free with the windows open, breeze blowing some fresh spring air in the schoolroom, our tunes on and creative juices flowing.

When we were finally done, we headed outside to play for a bit and let our coffee filters dry. If you don't want to wait, you can bust out a blow dryer and have these babies ready for flower making in no time.

All dry and ready? Let's get down to the flower making. I took these pictures hoping they would be able to show you what I'm talking about just in case my typed-out instructions don't make much sense.

Lightly fold your coffee filter in half (don't crease it) and then in half again so you have a triangle of sorts. Next, lay your pipe-cleaner stem on the point of the triangle and pinch the filter around it. Just wrap it up with floral tape until it's good and secure, and all that's left is to fluff that pretty little flower up :)

I cut my pipe-cleaners in half because I wanted to put them in a Mason jar, but you can leave them full-size or cut them to any length you want.

Aren't they just gorgeous?! I have a feeling ours will be sitting on our schoolroom shelf until they are gray and tattered.

I was thinking about you guys with the no-liquid-watercolors-problems, and I came up with a couple of alternatives in case you want to try your hand at making these beauts, too. Three alternatives, actually. And one of them is even more beautiful than the liquid watercolors! :)

DO-A-DOT MARKERS & WATER: Just stamp dots all over the filter and use a squirt bottle to spray it with water. You've got to use quite a bit of water to make the colors really bleed and look cool, but spray bottles are always a win with littles and are great for working those tiny hand muscles. Kinley actually took the spray bottle to the bathroom to dump the extra water for me and ended up "helping" clean the bathroom (i.e. sprayed the entire bathroom with water and left it for me to find an hour later. Insert face-palming emoji.)

MARKERS & WATER: I made the mistake of not using washable markers and stained my hands pretty good, but if you don't make that mistake this could be a great option. You just color all over your coffee filters with markers and do the squirt bottle water spray again. The colors were definitely the least saturated with this method, but scribbling is always fun and markers give you lots of color options!

WATERCOLORS WITH A PAINTBRUSH: This is my new favorite method. You just paint regular old watercolors straight out of the cute little box with a paintbrush on the coffee filters. The colors are incredible this way and it's obviously much easier to control where the colors go. Also, you don't have to worry about the giant puddles of paint.
I tried colored Sharpies and rubbing alcohol and it was totally meh. Nothing really happened and K complained about the "stinky water" for hours afterward. Totally not worth the worry of littles with permanent markers.

I keep trying to dream up reasons to make more of these beautiful flowers and the only thing that seems like a semi-legit excuse is an Easter bonnet for Kinley, and I can almost guarantee there is noooooo way I will be able to convince her to actually wear a giant flowered bonnet. 

Hmmm...anyone getting married soon and need a bouquet? ;)

I would love to see your watercolor flower bouquets! Will you do me a favor if you post them on Instagram and tag me (raising.kinley)? Pleeeeease? I promise I'll scoot right over and tap the heart and gush over them with you :) It makes me so incredibly happy to see other people having fun with the projects we love!

Happy Spring, y'all!! And happy flower-making :)

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