In a previous post, I showed a bunch of blank spaces that needed to be filled. Last week, my son and I tackled this sad spot in our house. Just a few weeks ago, while perusing the newly opened local Hobby Lobby, I considered purchasing a canvas to use for this over-the-microwave project. I wanted to do a kitchen-inspired mixed media canvas, but have never done anything like it, so my husband suggested that I practice on paper before I buy a canvas. That sounded sensible. The very next day, while reading one of my favorite blogs, artist and crafter, Alisa Burke, reminded me of this:
Who says paintings need to be on canvas? Why not get creative and recycle things you already have on hand like cardboard cereal or food boxes. Painting on boxes is actually a great way to make art on a budget, create something that is light weight and easy to display.
About to toss out a cereal box and two boxes of granola bars, I thought to myself, not only are these the perfect sizes for the space, but the medium matches my kitchen-inspired message! I could even leave bits and pieces of the boxes showing through the paint! Then, after I gathered our materials, I realized that the newspaper I put down to protect the table was actually grocery store advertisements with pictures of food all over them and that added a whole other fun dimension to this project.
I wanted this to be a summer art project with my 3-year-old, so the results were not exactly what I’d envisioned, but it was fun and it still turned out well. I gave him the two smaller granola boxes to use while I used the larger cereal box. Plus, the activity turned into an alphabet, spelling, painting, and recycling lesson! If a 3-year-old can do it, so can you. If it turns out terrible, who cares! It was going to go into the recycle bin anyway!
Here you go: easy, fun, recyclable, reusable, cardboard kitchen art:
Materials: Anything goes, but I used…
- white gesso
- acrylic paint
- an assortment of brushes
- letter stencils
- grocery store newspaper inserts (You could use anything! Pictures from magazines, clip art, your own drawings, cuttings from other food containers, etc.)
- and cardboard food containers
Step 1: Cut out whatever strikes your fancy or looks especially appetizing from the grocery store inserts.
Step 2: Paint as many coats of white gesso (or any color paint you want as a background) onto the cardboard as you want. If you like the box art showing through a little, just do one light layer. If you want a completely blank “canvas” you’ll need to paint several layers on, letting the paint or gesso dry in between. I used the gesso as my glue, so before you let the last layer dry, stick the food pictures onto the boxes wherever you want.
Step 3: Brush, dab, squirt, drip, and fling paint onto your boxes using whatever paint and colors you choose! I asked my son to try and paint around the pictures he’d just carefully chosen and glued to the box, so of course he decided to paint directly on top of all of the pictures.
Step 4: Layer paint, gesso, and cuttings as much as you like and let it all dry. As you can see in the photo above, I needed to smooth out my clippings, so I dry-brushed the gesso around the clipping edges making a feathery effect which both secured the edges and blended them into the rest of the picture.
Step 5: My son and I decided that, since there were three boxes, we could put a three-letter word across them. Coincidentally, both “eat” and “yum” would work. We decided on “yum” and I used big letter stencils and black acrylic paint to stencil the letters onto each box. The best thing about this project is that we could flip these exact boxes over and do something totally different on the other sides! We could use one giant box next time or lots of little boxes to spell “yummy” next time! I could take this to a whole other level and paint with food!
I may never buy another canvas again.
p.s. Here is the inspirational cardboard box blog post from Alisa Burke for more ideas!
p.p.s. Speaking of cardboard box art, looks like there may just be a Cardboard Art Festival in Orlando in January 2013! Keep an eye out on this facebook event page for more info!