I promised winter cardinals a few weeks ago… I must have been waiting for all of this snow to post! If you have craft supplies on hand you might just have everything you need if you are snowed in!
-heavy paper (that can handle wet media; not just printer paper)
-blue, black, white, red and orange paint (tempera or acrylic are best)
-sharpie or other black marker
-optional pictures of cardinals
-optional tree branch for “drawing from observation” (or just look out of the window :))
-glass of wine (for the adults after; you deserve it for doing an at home kids art project)
1. Look at a tree branch if possible. Notice how it gets smaller and limbs branch out more and more as the branch goes away from the trunk. With pencil, draw one or two branches (no trunks for me) and make sure they are big enough to support your cardinals! Trace over pencil lines with sharpie marker.
2. Mix together blue, black and white paint for a “winter sky.” Add a little water and mix it in so that it is a smooth and drippy consistency. (Parents, you may want to practice this with yours first to avoid any tears from your kiddos. :)) Paint straight over all of the branches and over the entire paper. Immediately (while paint is still wet) place paper towel over entire page of wet paint, press and rub and lift! Voila! It should look a bit like a winter-y storm but branches should still be visible.
3. Paint red “raindrop” shapes for bodies of cardinals. Add a red paint line for the “mohawk” (I know cardinals don’t really have mohawks but the kids don’t. Go with it.) and a red paint line down for the tail. I usually let this part dry for a few minutes. Depending on the size paintbrush you are using (hopefully a small one for this part) you will turn the paintbrush upside down (using the non-brush end) and blot a little black paint patch onto the face area of the cardinal. Do let this dry a bit. Clean off the paintbrush. Paint a little orange triangle for the beak near or on the black patch. With the opposite end of the paintbrush apply two white paint dots for the eyes above the beak. With Q-tips add lots of white paint dots for snowflakes!
4. After the white paint for the eyes is COMPLETELY dry then add little black marker dots to the eyes for pupils. I know it’s bad but I love encouraging cardinals staring at one another, cross eyes, lazy eyes, crazy eyes, etc. It just makes the end result more fun. 🙂
5. Encourage your kids to tell you about the cardinals. I cannot repeat some of the stories I heard from second graders but I can tell you I spewed coffee out of my nose. And adults: you cardinals will come out cute BUT it won’t hold a candle to the ones that the little ones do. Trust me; I tried my best too.