Posts Tagged 'tutorial'

DIY Shaving Cream Art

If you asked me what the most popular art supply was in camp this summer, my answer wouldn’t be paint. It wouldn’t be clay, it wouldn’t be paper – it wouldn’t even be hot glue. It would be…


shaving cream!

You read that correctly. Not just one but SIX of our summer camps had a day when they made masterpieces using shaving cream. Our teachers this year were certainly inspired by this unconventional material! What other material could you use to marble paper, mix your own textured paint, make the freshest smelling foam dough, AND clean everything up afterwards?

As for what the campers thought, let me offer this quote overheard in carpool:

“Mom, we made art out of SHAVING CREAM today!!!” (Extra exclamation marks included.)

What you need:

  • A can of foaming shaving cream. I used Barbasol; shaving cream that comes out as a gel won’t work here!
  • A cookie sheet, which you’ll fill with a layer of shaving cream.
  • Various colors of paint. Nearly anything will do: tempera, acrylic, liquid watercolor, and food coloring are just a few ideas.
  • Craft sticks.
  • A ruler.
  • Heavyweight paper. You need something like watercolor paper or thick cardstock – thinner paper will warp, dissolve, and tear from all the moisture in the shaving cream.


When coming up with the plan for my print, I looked to a piece of art that’s inspired cookie decorating (twice!) and marshmallow peep art made by DMA staffers: Odalisque (Hey, Hey Frankenthaler) by Lynda Benglis. The twisty poured latex shapes were fun to recreate by swirling paint through the shaving cream.

You can see how I made my print in the slideshow below:

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Once you’ve scraped the foam off your print, lay it flat so it can dry. Your paper may start to curl up at the corners, but that’s not anything a little time under a heavy book can’t fix. You can continue to make prints using the remaining shaving cream in your cookie sheet with the paint already there or by adding more paint and swirling with a craft stick again.

When you’re all done, admire your finished prints as they are or turn them into thank you cards, backgrounds for imaginative drawings, or anything else you can think of!


The neat part about this technique is that it can be used on more than just paper. Try using acrylic or fabric paint to print cool rainbow bandanas. Even food coloring can be used to dye Easter eggs! For more fun, check out these other shaving cream ideas:

What crazy craft can you come up with?

Jennifer Sheppard
Teaching Specialist


Brush it Off

Director, writer, and artist Jean Cocteau is famous for saying “An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture” (Newsweek, 1955). Though Cocteau suggests that artists are not the best verbal communicators, many artists include words, characters, and writing into their works. Here at the DMA, we have many examples of handwriting and calligraphy in our collection.

Last month I took an introductory calligraphy class with my friend and fellow intern Emily Wiskera at Wildflower Art Studio. I learned a lot from our teacher Emile, and have not been able to stop practicing since! I thought it would be fun to give you guys a quick and basic tutorial on brush pen calligraphy. You can add calligraphy to your art, you can address a letter, write your name, or make a fancy grocery list! For this tutorial you will need a brush pen in the color of your choosing (which can be bought at any craft store) and a piece of paper. I have used scraps of watercolor paper for this tutorial.

Tip #1
Pressure makes perfect. When writing, upward strokes require a light amount of pressure and downward strokes require firmer pressure. Practice using different amounts of pressure by drawing straight lines. Once you feel comfortable with straight lines, try drawing loops while applying the same pressure techniques.




Tip #2
Practice your alphabet. Brush lettering should be fun! I like to practice writing the alphabet using variations in the thickness of the letters, with assorted flourishes, and in different styles. Develop a style of your own or find a template (like this one) of a calligraphy style you like. Now practice, practice, practice! Whether you use a found template or your own, you can use tracing paper and pencil to trace over the letters.


Tip #3
Take your time! Calligraphy takes concentration, but it can also be very soothing. You want to write at a pace that is not too fast and not too slow so that your letters are nice and smooth.

Tip #4
Put it all together. Once you are comfortable with your loops and alphabet you can now combine the two! Try to write the alphabet with the brush pen calligraphy technique. Once you have gotten the hang of it, writing your name can be a fun way to practice your letters, too.


Tip #5
Make it your own!
Keep it simple or add flourishes— it’s up to you. Your calligraphy style is as unique as you are! I went back and added a few little hooks at the top of my capital letters “R” and “M.”


Show us your samples by using the hashtag #dmabrushtips on your social media sites. I’ll-pha-bet they look great! Make sure to check out our C3 gallery and Spirit and Matter exhibition to see more examples of writing and calligraphy on display at the DMA.

Whitney Sirois
McDermott Graduate Intern for Gallery and Community Teachin

DIY Coil Basket Weaving

Each month, we offer a variety of activities at the large tables in the Center for Creative Connections gallery. Each activity is related to a nearby work of art. One of my favorite new activities is coil basket weaving, inspired by the storage basket, bowl, and burden basket created by weavers from the San Carlos Apache tribe.

The actual materials used to create these baskets–devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin–are natural resources found in the Arizona region where the tribe resides. To make the materials more pliable, they are often soaked in water prior to weaving. The patterns are created by alternating dark and light.

IMG_2431In the gallery, we use three colors of raffia ribbon to create our coil baskets. Red is easily distinguishable, so these strands create the basket core which will be covered during the weaving process. Then tan and black raffia are used to wrap the core and create patterns.

Once you have your materials in hand, here are the steps to guide you through the process:


 For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

For your basket core, cut the red raffia into ten 24 inch long strands.

 Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Choose a tan or black strand of raffia and wrap it tightly around the red basket core strands.

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin spiral the wrapped end inward

Cover about two inches of the red basket core, then begin to spiral the wrapped end inward.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Continue spiraling so that the wrapped strands resemble a snail shell.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Take the end of your tan or black raffia strand and loop it through the spiral to secure the basket center.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Continue to wrap the red basket core.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

Each time you cover a few inches of the red basket core, thread your tan or black raffia through the most recent coil to keep the coils connected.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

If you want to switch colors, cut a strand of the alternate color.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Line your new strand up as if it was part of the red basket core.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Secure the new strand by wrapping it a few times with the old color strand.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Let the old color strand become part of the red basket core, and use the new color strand to wrap around the basket core.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Continue wrapping the basket core, securing the newly wrapped coil to the previous coils every few inches.

Once you get the coil weaving technique down, think about experimenting with other materials. The Apache weavers used devil’s claw, willow, cottonwood, and buckskin because they were plentiful resources. What kinds of resources do you have at your disposal to weave?

Jessica Fuentes
C3 Gallery Manager



Make This: Sound Prints

Have you ever wondered what a painting might sound like if you could listen to it? With conductive ink, a Makey Makey, and some basic software, you can add a new level of interactivity to your artwork through the use of sound! In this guide, I’ll show you how to make a print that will make sounds when you touch it. These sounds are completely reprogrammable and can be changed on the fly, giving you lots of possibilities for what you can create.

A Makey Makey is an interface that connects to your computer which allows you to create your own tactile inputs that will take the place of certain keys on your keyboard.


The Makey Makey can be connected to different conductive materials to replace your keyboard’s arrow keys, space bar, mouse button, and more

For the purpose of this project, you’ll be using conductive ink to create three interactive areas on your work of art that will be hooked up to the Makey Makey and act in place of the arrow keys on your computer. We’ll then use Soundplant to map different sounds to those keys, which will allow those areas to play a sound when touched.


  • Copy paper for making a stencil
  • Exacto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Conductive ink
  • Screen printing screen
  • Squeegee
  • Heavy printing paper
  • Copper tape (optional)
  • Makey Makey kit ($45;
  • Soundplant software
  • Computer

Step 1: Screen print your image with the conductive ink. 

I like the paper stencil method, but use whatever technique you like best. For help on printmaking with stencils, check out my past post on screen printing. Let your print dry fully before proceeding. IMG_2673 IMG_2674 IMG_2676

Step 2: Connect your print to the Makey Makey. 

Again, for the purpose of this post, I’m choosing three areas on my print that will activate the Makey Makey when they are touched. You can connect them directly to the device using alligator clips (included in the kit). Remember to connect the clips to the proper inputs on the Makey Makey–in this case, the left, right, and up arrows.


Step 3: Upload some sounds. 

I found a bunch of sounds for this project using free online sound libraries and saved them as mp3 flies on my computer. The Soundplant site has some good suggestions for libraries to use. I tried to look for sounds that would complement my print in a weird or unexpected way.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.06.10 PM

Step 4: Map your sounds to the keyboard using Soundplant.

Open up Soundplant and assign one sound file to each of the left, right, and up arrow keys by dragging the file onto the software’s virtual keyboard. Soundplant even offers some basic editing tools, allowing you to adjust the length of your sound clip, add various effects, and more!

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 6.11.02 PM

Step 5: Connect the Makey Makey to the computer and play!

Plug the Makey Makey into your computer’s USB port. Be sure to also connect an extra alligator clip and wire to the space marked “Earth” at the bottom of the board. Hold the metal part of the alligator clip at the other end of the wire between your fingers and touch the interactive areas of your print with your other hand. Your computer should play the sounds you mapped to the different areas! You should also see the playback of your clip on the computer. If you’re having trouble getting it to work, make sure the volume is up on your computer, that all your connections are correct, and most importantly, that you are connected to the Makey Makey as well.


The fun part of this project is that the sounds you choose can totally change the way people experience your artwork. A set of funny, quirky sounds will provoke a very different response from the viewer versus ones that are dark and foreboding. And because the Makey Makey will work with most conductive materials, you can create interactive sculptures, installations, and more! Additional project ideas can be found on the Makey Makey website.

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Paper Peonies and Tissue Tulips: Build Your Own Beautiful Bouquet!

With last week’s opening of Bouquets: French Still-Life Painting from Chardin to Matisse, you might say we’re all abuzz with excitement here at the Museum. Although fall is just arriving, all we can think of are these beautiful blooms!

It’s easier than you might think to recreate some of your floral favorites at home. Try modeling your bouquet after one you might have seen or put together the posy of your wildest dreams. I took my inspiration from the DMA’s own Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase.

Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase (1776), Anne Vallayer-Coster

Anne Vallayer-Coster, Bouquet of Flowers in a Blue Porcelain Vase, 1776, Dallas Museum of Art, Foundation for the Arts Collection, Mrs. John B. O’Hara Fund and gift of Michael L. Rosenberg

There are some great tutorials online for making your own paper flowers. Martha Stewart Weddings can show you how to make some really lovely, delicate flowers here, and the Rust and Sunshine blog (here) has easy to follow instructions to make a variety of blooms with a little bit of inventive folding. With the help of these tutorials, I made carnations, roses, and star lilies. I couldn’t find a tutorial I liked for making irises, so I designed my own! You can print off this template and follow the directions below to make them too.

A quick note before we get started: for some flowers (particularly irises and lilies, whose petals you want to stand up a little bit), you might find that a sturdier paper works better for you. This is the perfect time and place to experiment! I liked the unified look of having all my flowers made out of tissue paper, but it’s your bouquet, so you’re the boss.

What you’ll need to make irises:

  • Tissue paper in a variety of colors – blue, purple, and yellow are pretty common for irises, though they come in a number of other colors as well
  • Pipe cleaners or art wire (for the stems)
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape
  • Optional: paint, glitter, glue, markers, colored tape, vase

If you opted to use something like card stock instead of tissue paper, cut out only one each of Iris A and Iris B and skip ahead to Step 4. If you’re using tissue paper like me, you’ll need to take an extra step or two to give the petals a little structure, so start here.

1. Trace and cut out two each of Iris A and Iris B in your tissue paper of choice. Double-layering the tissue paper will help beef up the flower.

2. Roll six pieces of tape – one for each pair of petals – in on themselves, sticky side out. Lay one tape roll lengthwise along each petal of one set of Iris A and Iris B. Make sure you don’t cover up the very center of Iris B! This will make Step 4 a little easier.

3. Match up the second set of Iris A and Iris B with the first and press down, sandwiching the rolls of tape between the two layers of tissue paper.

4. With the point of a pen or pencil, poke a small hole right through the center of your Iris B cutout or tissue paper and tape sandwich. This is why you didn’t want to block the very middle with tape in Step 2! Be careful not to press too strongly – you don’t want to accidentally rip your flower base in half.

5. Make an L-shaped bend in the end of your wire or pipe cleaner and thread it through the hole you just made in Iris B. Adjust so that the bend end lies flat on Iris B and the remaining wire/pipe cleaner extends downwards in a straight line. Secure with tape.

6. Using three narrow pieces of tape, attach the bases of Iris A’s petals to the spots marked in the template with dashed lines. I suggest doing this so the tape pieces end up on the interior of the flowerand aren’t visible.

7. Finally, embellish with whatever extras strike your fancy – paint, markers, glitter, you name it – and arrange your completed iris with your other flower creations in a vase.

Bouquet of (Paper!) Flowers in a Blue Vase (2014), Jennifer Sheppard

Jennifer Sheppard, Bouquet of Paper Flowers in a Blue Vase, 2014

Voila! You now have a beautiful bouquet that needs no water…in fact, you probably shouldn’t have water anywhere near your nice new paper flowers, unless soggy is the look you’re going for! So skip that annoying watering step and enjoy these low maintenance blooms — and our blooming exhibition!

Jennifer Sheppard
McDermott Intern for Family and Access Teaching

DIY String Art Tutorial

Last weekend, the Dallas Museum of Art teamed up with the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for our Art + Science Festival. Visitors enjoyed activities ranging from light graffiti to digital microscope observations to a film about artists and scientists who devote their lives to origami.

If you ventured to the DMA’s Fleischner Courtyard during the festival, you probably noticed a colorful creation of string being woven through the trees. That’s because guest artist Amie Adelman was leading a workshop which involved visitors helping her create a sculpture of geometric lines and angles using just the courtyard’s trees and string as supplies.


Although it may be difficult to create a work of art on your own as immense as the one that graced the DMA’s courtyard last weekend, there’s a simple way to create your own string art with supplies that you can find in your own home:

What you need:

  • Cardboard square (our example is 8″ X 8″)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Exacto knife
  • Scissors
  • Thread

Step 1

Using a ruler as a guide, make small marks with a pencil on all four sides of your cardboard square that are one inch apart from each other.


Step 2

Once you have drawn marks on all four sides of your cardboard square, score the marks all the way through the cardboard with an exacto knife.


Step 3

After all pencil marks are scored, wrap your cardboard square with thread. Make sure that the thread is wrapped tight enough through the scored marks that they do not easily slip out. This will also keep you from having to knot the thread when you’re finished creating your design.

Think about the different geometric designs that you want to make with the thread. The more layers of thread that you add to your cardboard, the thicker and more visible it will appear when you’re finished.


Step 4

Once you’re through using your thread of choice, cut the thread on the back of your string art creation.


Step 5

Optional: Keep adding more colors of thread to your design. If you choose to add more colors, repeat steps 3 and 4 for each color of thread that you add.


There are a lot of different geometric designs that you can create with string art! Share what colors and designs you decide to incorporate into your own string art creation in the comments!


Amy Elms
McDermott Intern for Visitor Engagement

Make This: Vinyl Toy Mini-Amp


I’m a big urban vinyl toy collector, and I especially love Kidrobot’s Munny line. If you’re not familiar with them, Munnys are customizable figures that are totally suited to makers and DIY-lovers alike. I’ve been tinkering with a few examples to show at this month’s vinyl toy-themed Urban Armor teen workshop with Mark Gutting and came up with both a fun and utilitarian Munny project that I hope you enjoy!

One of the coolest things about Munnys is that you can pretty much turn them into anything you want with the right materials. You can find terrific instructions on how to turn a Munny into a speaker, so I thought I’d combine that idea with an Altoids mini-amp project that I was recently working on to create a Munny mini-amp for an MP3 player or smartphone. What’s nice about it is that the amp provides a little more juice for your music than the speaker alone, and since they are separate components, you can make more Munny speakers and interchange them with the amp. You can also use the amp with most any type of MP3 gadget!


This is definitely a more intermediate to advanced-level project for ages 13 and up that would be perfect to do over a weekend. You’ll also need a few specialized tools and basic knowledge of circuits and soldering.

What you need:

  • Munny mini-figure
  • Mini speaker: This can be scavenged from an old pair of computer speakers, etc. I used a 1½” speaker to fit the figure’s head
  • Exacto knife
  • Pencil
  • Spray paint (make sure to get one that works on metal and plastic)
  • Altoids tin
  • Mini amp components: I used Canakit’s 5W kit
  • Speaker wire
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Hair dryer
  • Single hole punch
  • Tin snips
  • Batting
  • Silicone glue or caulk
  • 9-volt adapter
  • Male to male audio cable
Some of the tools you will need

Some of the tools you will need

Step 1: Clean Your Munny

Carefully take apart your mini-figure and give it a nice bath using mild soap to remove any oils, residues, etc.


Step 2: Cut a hole for the speaker and cable

Using your speaker as a guide, mark a hole on the face of your Munny in pencil. Gently heat the vinyl with your hair dryer, making sure not to let it melt or warp. Cut the hole out with the exacto knife–be VERY careful because the warm vinyl cuts really easily. Test the fit with your speaker and cut away more material as needed.


Use your knife (or a cordless drill, if you have one) to make a hole at the bottom of your figure’s body for the speaker cable to pass through.


Step 3: Paint your figure

To make things easier, mount all of the vinyl parts on a styrofoam cup or something similar (I used a bottle and empty salt container) to spray paint. Take everything outside and give them a couple of nice, even coats. I gave the Altoids tin (which will be the housing for the amp) a coat as well, but it’s up to you.



Step 4: Get your electronics set up

Now’s the time to make sure all of your electronic components are ready to go. Solder wires onto your speaker terminals and put together the amp components. I won’t list all of the steps here, but if you are using the kit I mentioned above, it comes with a great set of assembly instructions.


Soldering wire to the speaker terminals


The assembled amp kit

Step 5: Assemble the Munny speaker

Thread the speaker wire through the bottom of the figure’s head, into the hole at the body’s neck, then out through the hole you drilled at the bottom of the body. Fill the head cavity with batting and then pop the speaker into the hole.




Now put all of the parts to your figure back together:


The finished Munny speaker

Step 6: Assemble the amp

Use the hole punch to make holes in the Altoids tin to accommodate the volume knob and input jacks for the amp kit. Mount the circuit board in place with the silicone caulk.


Assembled amp with access to volume knob, audio input, and adapter

Step 7: Plug everything in

Plug the amp into the power adapter, insert the speaker wires into the appropriate terminals, and the audio cable into the input jack. Plug the other end of the audio cable into your MP3 player or other device, adjust the volume of the amp, and crank out some tunes–the sound is actually pretty impressive!

There are multiple ways you can adapt this project, based on the components you have available. For instance, you could power the amp using a 9V battery instead of an adapter. If you come up with any mods or Munny projects of your own, feel free to email me your pics!

JC Bigornia
C3 Program Coordinator

Touring Totes Tutorial

Last month, Melissa and I made touring tote bags for Hannah and Jessica to thank them for all of their hard work thus far as our interns.  I also made a bag for Loryn, who probably spends more time than anyone touring in the galleries.  Melissa and I both sew, so we set aside an evening to whip up the tote bags for everyone.  Of course, after we saw the finished products, we wanted to make them for ourselves, too!

Below is a tutorial to make your own DMA Teaching Programs touring tote bag.  I have included photographs for many of the steps — sometimes it’s easier to follow the photos than the words on a sewing tutorial.

Materials needed:

  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the bag exterior
  • 1/2 yard of fabric for the lining
  • 1 yard of fusible interfacing
  • 1 1/2 yards of webbing (for the straps)
  • Basic sewing supplies (sewing machine, thread, pins, and a hand-stitching needle)

Step One: Cut two rectangles measuring 22 inches by 17 inches from your exterior fabric AND from your lining fabric.  You’ll also need to cut two 22 x 17 rectangles from your fusible interfacing.

Step Two: Iron the fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your lining fabric.  This will give your tote bag some stability and make it sturdy for carrying paper, pencils, books, etc.

Step Three: With the right sides facing each other, pin your two exterior panels together along the side seams and along the bottom.  You’ll leave the top open.  Stitch together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

Step Four: Repeat step three with your lining fabric.  However, you will need to leave a five or six inch gap in the middle of your lining — this will allow you to turn your bag right-side-out at the end.  (I like to use red pins on either side of my gap as a visual reminder to stop my sewing and leave a space.)

Step Five: On your bag exterior, measure and mark a line on each side seam three inches from the bottom of the bag; this will help you square the corners of the tote.  Put your hand inside the bag and pull the corner out, turning it into a triangle.  Stitch a horizontal line across the triangle where you made your pen mark.  After you’re done, cut the triangle off to eliminate any bulk from your corners (be sure not to cut too close to the seam).  You’ll follow this step on each of the bottom corners of the exterior and lining of your bag.

This is how the bottom of your bag will look once you box the corners

Step Six: It’s time to attach your straps to the bag.  Take your 1 1/2 yards of webbing and cut it in half, leaving your 3/4 yard for each strap.  Find the center point of your exterior bag.  Mark two lines four inches on either side of that center point and pin your handles in place.  You’ll want to pin the handle to the right side of your lining fabric.

Step Seven:  Make sure your exterior fabric is facing right-side in.  Turn your lining fabric right-side out and insert into the exterior tote pocket.  Be sure that your side seams are matched up.  Pin both pieces together all the way around (make sure you include the handles in your pinning).  Using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, stitch all the way around your bag.  I recommend going back and sewing a second time over your handles–this will help reinforce the handles and keep them from pulling out of the tote.

Step Eight: Find the hole that you left in your lining fabric.  This is how you’re going to turn your bag right-side out.  Pull the entire bag, including the handles, through that gap.

Step Nine: Tuck your lining fabric into the exterior of the tote bag.  You’ll want to be sure that your corners are nice and square, too.  Once everything is in place, you might decide that you want to topstitch your tote to give it a finished look.

Step Ten: Use a needle and thread to stitch the hole in the bottom of your tote bag closed.  Once that’s finished, you’re ready to go.

Here we are with our finished touring totes.  They’re sew cute!

Shannon Karol
Manager of Docent Programs and Gallery Teaching


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