Process to Product: Bookmarks for Teacher Gifts

We’re not all about process around here. Sometimes, we need a handmade gift. I do try, though, to include as much chance for open-ended creativity as I can, and I like for the boys to give their teachers something a little personal to go along with the gift card. Many, many people contribute to my children’s day, so we also need an item that we can make many of. For the holidays, we made ornaments, and for the end-of-year gift, I had the idea of making bookmarks.

Materials: Watercolor paper, liquid watercolors, salt, hole punch, stamp (optional), ribbon

I explained my idea to the boys first–they could paint a background on the watercolor paper, sprinkle salt for that neat textured salt effect, and when it was dry, I’d cut the paper into bookmark-sized strips. Then, they could stamp the bookmark with the school logo (I detail how I carved the stamp here), we’d punch the ribbon holes, I’d get them all laminated at Staples, we’d add the ribbon and tra-la, handmade and school-oriented bookmarks.

They both said this was fine. If you’ve read my manifesto, you know I don’t believe in altering someone’s artwork in any way, so I was very clear–we’d have to cut the painting, were they okay with that? It’s meant to be a background sort of painting, not a specific image, but still, it will be cut. Okay? Okay, they both said.

G, of course, joins in on all the projects, so she’s painting with liquid watercolors too. I gave each of the kids a 12×18″ piece of watercolor paper, which is a good thing. (A bit of foreshadowing there!) When the paper is fully painted and still wet, sprinkle some salt. As little or as much as you’d like–anything that doesn’t dissolve will brush off when the painting is dry. G made sure we had no salt leftover from what I’d poured into the dish.

Once the paintings were dry, N became adamantly opposed to cutting his up.

V's salted painting

Tears were shed. Right away I said we didn’t have to cut his up, but then he decided he didn’t want his brother’s cut up, either. V, on the other hand, was laid-back about the whole thing. I kind of enjoy cutting up things like this, because then each piece becomes its own smaller, unexpected, found composition. Luckily, cutting a 12×18″ piece of paper into 2×6″ bookmarks leaves several left over.

N's salted painting

Once they were cut, V inked up the stamp I’d carved and stamped each one, and after they were laminated, I gathered all my ribbons and he selected which color would go on which bookmark.

Who can’t use a bookmark? Well done, V. N has decided to draw a picture for his teachers (they’re getting bookmarks too; we have enough), and I respect his refusal to cut up his artwork, even if it was originally made with that purpose in mind. Becoming comfortable with giving your art away is a process in itself.

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This entry was posted in all ages, color, elementary & up, painting, preschool & up, toddler/preschool, watercolor. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Process to Product: Bookmarks for Teacher Gifts

  1. Michelle says:

    I always like the effect of salt, but we haven’t played with it here yet. I can understand not wanting to cut it up. They’re such pretty paintings! And I love that he came up with an alternative, drawing them a picture.

  2. Pingback: Bookmarks for Teachers · Lesson Plans | CraftGossip.com

  3. Barbara says:

    I see N’s point. It’s pretty nice and you should have it framed

    • amy says:

      Hi Barbara,

      I love framing my children’s artwork–it’s mostly what’s on our walls. ;) We’d never done a project like this before, which is why I was attentive to the kids’ viewpoints the whole way. If N wants this one framed, too, it will absolutely be framed.

      Thanks for commenting!

      ~amy

  4. It?s really a great and useful piece of info. I am glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Handmade Holidays : KiDOinfo: parents and kids, providence and beyond

  6. Pingback: Children Making Gifts (With Links) | kids in the studio

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