Although parents often take it for granted, children's art is beautiful and can make a fabulous gift that family and friends will treasure for years and display with pride. These little vases are practical items, cheap to make and children of all ages will have a blast creating them. While those who are very young will need some guidance to cut and stick on the small pieces of coloured paper, artistic older children may want to utilise more sophisticated techniques such as decoupage, or add their own unique creative touches.
Time: Approximately one hour, although older children might take longer if creating a more elaborate version. Extra time will be needed for the final varnish or the optional glitter glue embellishments to dry.
Age: Any Age
A glass jar or bottle for the base of the vase
Child-friendly paper scissors
Craft glue that's suitable for sticking paper onto glass
Colourful paper. Junk mail, old magazines, gift wrap and newspaper are perfect, although special coloured craft, crepe or decoupage papers can also be used.
Varnish: make sure you buy a gloss finish rather than a matte.
Scrap-booking and card-making embellishments
Guide your child in cutting small 'tiles' from the paper, approximately a centimetre or two squared. Very young children often struggle to use scissors so you may need to help them with this. Alternatively, they could rip small pieces of paper, if this is easier. It's not necessary to be too fussy about the size, but try to keep them fairly small as this will give the finished product a lovely mosaic appearance. If possible, try to combine a range of different colours.
When you have at least fifty or sixty small pieces of coloured paper you can start to glue them onto the jar, using the craft glue. The number of paper 'tiles' you'll need will depend on the size of your jar, so keep this in mind when you're cutting them out. I usually keep the label on the jar, if it's glued on firmly, as it provides an extra surface to attach the small coloured pieces of paper. Alternatively, you can begin with gluing ‘tiles’ or strips of simple brown paper onto your vase which makes an attractive base for the brightly coloured tiles which will be added later.
Keep gluing the paper 'tiles' onto the jar until the whole surface is covered. Make sure that all parts are firmly glued down. If desired, a second or third layer can be added. Older children may want to add their own fancy touches such as drawings, written text or scrap-booking embellishments. These add a special personal touch. However, the basic design is also very attractive.
Once the entire surface of the jar is covered, leave it to dry for as long as required. Sprinkle some brightly coloured glitter here and there, if desired.
When the paper mosaic pattern has completely dried, varnish the entire surface carefully. A second or third coat of varnish can be added if you're wanting your vase to have a high gloss finish.
When the varnish dries, your vase is complete. However, optional extras such as glitter glue squiggles, scrap-booking embellishments or a ribbon tied around the ‘neck’ of the vase can also be added at this point.
These little vases make gorgeous vessels for holding flowers, stationary and other trinkets and make lovely, home-made gifts. Although they're waterproof if varnished thoroughly, I wouldn't recommend that they're submerged in water. A better idea would be to clean them gently with a slightly damp or dry cloth.