Sharpies & Babies (or, Why The High Chair is a Rainbow Now)

Deciding on an art project when your baby is only 10 months old, is a tough choice. The thing is, I don’t want to do it all and say, “LOOK WHAT HE DID!” And I certainly don’t want to make a bunch of cookie cutter crafts that he won’t even realize is supposed to be “fun”.

So, for this one, I decided that I would paint the background, to make his scribbles look a little cooler. It’s not that I don’t love his scribbles – I do! But, if we are going to use a canvas, then it should be something we can hang, and something that can become a part of our home’s fairly stylish decor. Just because you have a baby doesn’t mean you have to give up having a beautiful home – it just means you need to get creative in how you present their sweet work.

I was home alone with my little artist, and had to get dinner going in about 30 minutes, but I wanted to do something artsy with him since it was our first bit of alone time during my summer vacation (which started, officially, on Monday)! It was a bit of a last minute thing, but I wanted to do it anyway.

I started by plopping him down on the ground with a guitar – his favourite toy.

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Then, I grabbed a canvas and pulled out the paint drawer. I chose the gorgeous green.

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11539622_10101115222044601_267092782340528237_nThe next step was to paint a solid background.

Since I wasn’t having him do it, it needed to be solid. This was a joint project.

After the first coat, there were lots of streaks. I used my favourite studio tool, an old hair dryer, and dried it for about 2 minutes. Then, I did a second coat, this time in the opposite direction, in order to give the canvas a solid colour spread.

After the second coat, I dried it for the duration of these songs:

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No more streaks:

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Then we moved down to the kitchen. I set Kingsley up in his high chair, which I now realize I probably should have covered in some paper or plastic. Fortunately, I have a very easy-going wife who doesn’t care that the high chair is now covered in Sharpie.

IMG_2139Speaking of Sharpies, I know many of you are thinking, “He let his baby use a sharpie? What an idiot!” Well, let me explain. I know from experience that Magic Markers aren’t very magical when it comes to drawing on paint, especially if you want it to last. I also know that Sharpies work GREAT! I chose these because of their ability to cover a painted canvas. I allowed my son to use them under EXTREME SUPERVISION (as I am not a ding-dong), hence the reason I have no action shots. He really swung them around, but I was happy that I chose them because

– it looks better

– it gave him a chance to get familiar with markers and exercise his fine motor skills (something that, as a teacher, I see as an extremely valuable experience)

– it allowed me to get to know him even better. I didn’t expect him to swing them around and try to feel the tips with his fingers. I actually expected him to try to eat them, which he did not. This boy is growing and changing every day!

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In the end, the canvas is not as covered as I would have liked, BUT it certainly could be added to for short session over the next few days, weeks or months. I needed to start dinner, and he was becoming overly excited (which we all know leads to the next photo).

When I took the project away, he responded by doing this for about two minutes:

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And then, he calmed down, so I gave it back (no markers) so that he could pose with it and see his work up close:

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Perhaps next time, we’ll stick to paint on the canvas, but it was worth the experiment!
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