Op Art Mobile

I’m a firm believer that kid and baby toys should be beautiful, and this op art mobile that you can make at home perfectly fits the bill. Along with this printable project, there are plenty of delightful art prints, accessories, projects, and toys for your kiddo in our baby + children’s shop.

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

Op Art

Op art, which is short for optical art, is a style of art that uses optical illusions. Think bright colors creating the illusion of another color next to them, or patterns that seem to warp and vibrate. If you’re looking at an image and wondering “what in the world is going on inside my eyeballs?” you’re probably looking at op art!

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

When I learned that babies develop their vision by looking at bright colors and high contrast patterns I thought of how perfect a mobile channeling the wild world of op art would be. Thanks to Angie Stalker, who has lots of great work in our print shop, for helping my dream become a reality!

Babies with developing eyesight aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this project! The op art mobile would be a great project to work on with kids. It’s not too tricky and you can even sneak in an art history lesson.

Speaking of which, don’t miss out on our recent Josef Albers-inspired felt board or our Matisse-inspired felt board! Both are easy projects that combine art history with playtime.

If you’re looking for more art history content, check out our Great Artists Course. In this course your little one can learn about several incredible artists by making artwork inspired by the greats. You’ll probably find yourself looking over your kiddo’s shoulder and learning something new, too!

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

Make Your Own Op Art Mobile

Materials

Printable Op Art Mobile Template, card stock (if printing at home), scissors, rubber cement or glue, hole punch, string, wooden beads, craft paint, paint brush, wooden hoop, glue gun, hot glue sticks

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.Painted wooden beads on black and white string against a green wall

Instructions

  1. Print out the Printable Op Art Mobile Template from our shop on some nice thick card stock.
  2. Glue the solid colors and the patterned shapes back to back (alternatively, you can print these back to back).
  3. Cut out your shapes, then cut into them along the dotted lines on the template.
  4. Put your coordinating shapes together so they fit together in the slits you just cut and become 3D.
  5. Punch a hole at the top of each 3D shape.
  6. Prepare your wooden materials by painting them. We painted our wooden hoop half blue and half white, then we painted beads green, light pink, and bright fuchsia. Let these dry completely.
  7. Cut 2 lengths of string to be 30 inches each. Tie the ends of one string to the hoop across from each other (we tied ours right where the blue and yellow paint met on each side). Then tie the ends of the other string between the first and second knots you made so all the points of contact are evenly dispersed. Be careful in this step to keep your strings an even length so that the hoop remains level.
  8. Secure all your knots with a little bit of hot glue.
  9. Cut 5 more lengths of string at varying lengths. Tie one end of each of these to your 3D paper shapes (using the hole you punched earlier). Tie the other end to your wooden hoop. Distribute the shapes evenly around your hoop and secure with a dot of glue.
  10. You will have one 3D shape left over.
  11. Cut one last length of string 4 feet long. About 15 inches from one end, tie this string in a secure knot around the two strings that you tied to the hoop in step 7.
  12. At the short end of your string (about 15 inches from the knot you just tied), attach your last 3D shape. This will be the shape at the center of the mobile.
  13. String your wooden beads onto the long end of this piece. You can secure these in place with a knot if you like, but gravity should keep them from getting away if you don’t.
  14. The long end of the string you just put beads onto is how you’ll hang up your mobile! Put it somewhere that you (or your baby) can admire it.

If you make this op art mobile, we would love to see it! Use #LarsMakes to show us your work.

Colorful, geometric paper shapes hang from a mobile in a green room.

In the Mood For Josef Albers

Art-inspired furniture is a great way to bring color and style into your home. After all, we at Lars don’t talk about building an artful life for nothing!

Who was Josef Albers?

Josef Albers was born March 19, 1888, in Bottrop, Germany. His career in teaching art took off in 1923 when Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus school, invited Albers to teach as a professor at Bauhaus alongside his wife, Anni. They taught alongside Oskar SchlemmerWassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee. When the Nazi government forced Bauhaus to close in 1933, Albers emigrated to the United States. He brought along the ideas formed at Bauhaus as he headed the art department at the newly established and experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Years later, he headed the design department at Yale University where he worked until retirement.

Josef Albers Homage to a Square: concentric red, orange and yellow squares

Josef Albers’ book, Interaction of Color first published in 1971 and remains an essential handbook and teaching aid for artists, instructors, and students to explain color theory principles. His most renowned work, the Homage to the Square series, began in 1950 and lasted for 25 years. 

Jasper playing with an Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

Josef Albers Felt Board

Our Josef Albers felt board is a great project for a lot of reasons. It comes together in just 10 to 15 minutes, depending on whether you make a two-toned background, looks incredible hung up on the wall, and cleans up in a trice. Even though it’s technically a toy, this felt board doubles as art-inspired furniture!

A pile of colored felt.

Materials:

¾-yard felt in two colors, colored felt sheets in various colors, rotary cutter and fabric ruler or scissors, thread, sewing machine, velcro, hot-glue gun, hot-glue sticks

When you’re selecting your felt colors, look for a balance of bright and more subdued hues in a few tonal groups that pop well with your bigger background felts

cream and yellow felt pinned together. Sewing the background felt together sewn together felt background Cutting strips of felt for the feltboard

Instructions:

  1. Line up your background felts with about an inch overlapping. Pin them together.
  2. Sew the background together with two straight lines. The first seam should be half an inch away from the edge of the overlap, and the second seam should be an eighth of an inch from the edge.
  3. Trim the edges of your newly formed large background rectangle to make sure they’re nice and straight.
  4. Cut pieces of your felt sheets into rectangles and squares of varying sizes. (For reference, our larger ones are 9-by-10 inches; medium are 7-by-7 inches, and small are 4-by-6 inches and 3-by-4 inches.)
  5. With a dot of hot glue, attach Velcro to the back of the felt background. Use a Command strip or other removable adhesive to attach the other side of the Velcro to the wall—and let the creative color pairings begin!

Can’t get enough of felt boards? I don’t blame you! Check out our Mattise-inspired felt board here!

colorful felt board in a colorful room

Art-Inspired Furniture a la Josef Albers

Whether or not you want to make your own felt board toy/decoration, this art-inspired furniture is sure to make your living space feel extra special.

Rugs

Rugs add so much impact to a room. Remember Brittany’s rainbow office? The tonal rug in there really brings things together and makes the space feel cozy and modern. I was thrilled to find these extremely accurate representations of Albers’ work in rug form! You can really live in a work of art with these amazing pieces.

Even though these other two rugs aren’t perfect replicas of Josef Albers artworks, they really capture the spirit of his work, so I wanted to include them here. The golden tonal rug invokes Albers’ color theory work, and the the color block bathmat is so reminiscent of the geometric patterns he used.

Golden tonal rugA grey, white, black, and gold colorblock bath mat

Don’t forget to check out these other rugs we found, which are all under $1000!

Pillows

Throw pillows are versatile and oh so cozy! Here are some of my favorites.

I also love this one with concentric squares a la Homage to the Square.

Homage to the Square Pillow

Lots of these would pair excellently with our collection of statement sofas. Statement sofas have the same mood as a lot of Josef Albers’ work: bold, color-driven, and designed to stand out.

Blankets and Throws

Contemporary style doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cozy! All these blankets and throws combine beautiful color mixing with bold graphics to make for an utterly luscious and snuggly addition to your home.

Books

Josef Albers’s Interaction of Color is still used to teach about color. The 50th anniversary Edition came out a few years ago. I recommend it for every student of color!

Josef Albers

Show us your art-inspired home!

If you make our Albers-inspired felt board or buy any art-inspired furniture from our collections, we would love to see it! Tag us with #LarsMakes and #LarsAtHome to share.

Thanks again to Domino magazine for collaborating with us on this project!

Jasper sits in front of a colorful Josef Albers-inspired felt board in a colorful room

Mother’s Day Gifts the Kids Can Help With

Mother’s Day gifts the kids can help with

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Maybe my favorite Mother’s Day gift is our Mother’s Day Activity Pack, which comes with everything the kids will need to make mom tear up with joy this year. Just print it off on your home printer and let your kids get busy!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with mothers day coupons

Since mom might not be able to go out to the spa, or get brunch with friends this year, these colorful coupon cards will make sure May 9th is still MOM’S DAY all day. Sometimes an hour of quiet time, or a very long nap, are the best gifts in the world.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with Mother of the year awardMother's day activity pack coloring pages for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Many moms are in now entering year two as the homeschool teacher, 24/7 chef, and endless entertainment with all her kids at home. Even though vaccine rollout means there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, society’s expectations for moms over the last year have taken a TOLL. It’s no secret that no one was built to be able to handle all of this, and moms everywhere deserve the Mother of the Year Award.

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help withMother's day activity pack for Mother's day gifts the kids can help with #1 mom ribbon

Click here to see the full set!

Mother's day activity pack for Mother's Day gifts the kids can help with

Beaded Clay Necklace

I recently released a Mother’s Day gift project that kids will love making and moms will love wearing. This clay necklace is simple enough that even little kids can make it with a bit of adult supervision. It’s also a big upgrade from the macaroni creations of yesteryear.

Rolling rainbow clay balls for a mother's day necklaceBrittany is wearing a white blouse and a rainbow colored clay necklace. She's standing against a green wall.

It would look great with the new earrings in our shop to round out a store-bought gift with some homemade charm.

Other Mother’s Day Projects

Whether you are slipping these projects to your children to surprise their mom with (along with breakfast in bed, of course!) Or you are still trying to find the perfect grown-up gift for your own mother. Here are our favorite projects from Mother’s Days past, pulled straight from our endless archives.

Mother's day gifts card with paper flowersmother's day flower cake toppers printable

Have you been eyeing our new paper flowers e-book but you’re nervous to try a whole bouquet? This Flower Bouquet Mother’s Day Card is the perfect first project! Slip in just a few paper flowers to the card vase to make it pop.

Or even easier, cut out these Paper Flower Cake Toppers and bake mom something sweet! Or top a tower of crepes with the flower toppers for an amazing breakfast in bed.

Mother's day gifts card with gift cardMother's day gifts card with gift card and paper flowers

These cards are both designed to attach a fun gift card so mom can treat herself! This blog post is a helpful reminder to check in on the emotional health of mothers you know. Especially brand new moms! The best way to really show your gratitude this year to let moms around you know you are there for them. Checking in on them sincerely and sending a gift card for a fun surprise is the perfect Mother’s Day combo! We now offer gift cards to our shop, so mom can pick out her favorite art print or start a new project!

May 9th is coming quickly! Check out our full Mother’s Day shop here!

DIY Detachable Rickrack Collar

Collars are super in right now as a part of the whole cottagecore trend and I am DIGGING them. I mean, you have to be super careful about them so as not to appear too 19th century. You can modernize it a bit more by wearing a blouse tucked into pants. I’m not much of a pants owner so I had to go with my dress here, but I’m going to assume that you own pants–am I correct? Ha! A lot of the ones out there are collars connected with the blouse but I wanted one that you could detach and pair with lots of different ones.

I LOVE a collar on kids too, though admittedly, I think I’d probably put it on a girl if I had one more than my boys. But, who cares?! They’re so fun! Almost like a necklace.

Rickrack is the braided trimming in a zigzag pattern often used as decoration on clothes. In the past, we used them to embellish blouses, and most recently, we used them in our baby bonnet pattern. We love the trimming so much, we wanted to use it in creating other matching accessories for the whole family. Starting with mom and child, make a rickrack collar that you can attach and detach to any outfit. Because rickrack has such a nostalgic appeal, they will maintain its classic look and feel for years to come. Read on to find out how to make one for yourself using our rickrack collar pattern.  

Materials:

Kid and Adult matching collar pattern, 1 yard cotton fabric (we used this gingham by Robert Kaufman), medium rick rack, matching thread, hooks and eyes, scissors, hand sewing needle, sewing pins, iron, sewing machine. A sewing machine isn’t strictly necessary, but it sure speeds things up! 

Instructions:

  1. Download, print, and cut out the matching collar pattern. If you’re making a collar for a kid, hold up the patterns to one of their shirts to decide which size will fit best.
  2. Cut out your fabric. Make sure that you cut the collar back pieces on the fold!
  3. Pin the collar front pieces to the collar back along the shoulder seam. If your fabric is printed, the right sides should be together.
  4. Sew along the shoulder seams. 
  5. Press the seams open. 
  6. Repeat steps 3-6 with the other collar back and front pieces so that you have two identical pieces. 
  7. With the right sides together, pin the two pieces together. 
  8. Sew around the perimeter of the collar, but leave a gap about three inches long where you don’t stitch at the bottom of the collar back.
  9. Through the unsewn gap, turn the whole thing right side out. Press all the seams so that they’re nice and tidy. Make sure that you press the corners where the collar meets in the front so that you see the point. It can help to push the corner out with a pencil or a skewer.
  10. Starting at the top corners (where the collar will meet just below the neck), pin your rick rack to the edge of the collar. 
  11. Topstitch all along the edge of the collar, securing the rick rack down. This will also close up the gap you used to flip the collar right side out.
  12. You’re almost done! To finish your collar, hand sew the hook and eye on at the top corners. 

If you make this collar we would love to see it! Use #LittleLars to show us. Bonus points if you make two and match with your little one!

Favorite Baby Gift Ideas

I live in a part of the country where a lot of babies are born, so I always keep an eye out for cute baby gift ideas for my friends and neighbors. Years ago I put together a list of things I was loving in new motherhood, but so many new things have come out since then! Every year new products surface for expectant mothers to add to their stockpile of baby goods and wish lists. Here is my updated list of favorite baby gift ideas for you to consider whether you’re expecting or looking for a gift for a friend. And don’t forget to check out the new Lars Kid Shop for even more great ideas and products!

Clothes

Clothes are a great baby gift idea because everyone loves dressing up a little one.

Baby wearing a short-sleeved veggie print sleeper

I’m never one to shy away from prints and patterns, and when I saw this zip sleeper with veggie prints I knew that I wanted one for little Felix immediately. Following the farm theme, here’s an appliqué overall outfit and a ruffled strawberry romper that are both springtime showstoppers, and a strawberry bubble romper that I want in my size.

Baby wearing a strawberry bubble romper and a matching hat while sitting on a rug.

If you’re looking for florals, this calico onesie set is a great start. There’s also this long-sleeve one-piece outfit and this long-sleeve onesie set.

My heart melted when I saw these gingham doggie overalls, which also includes a cute collared onesie. A similar outfit, which is lamentably sans-puppy but would be great for summer, is this short-sleeved seersucker overall outfit.

gingham overall outfit with an embroidered dog

If you’re looking for a more subdued palette, this sage green button-up outfit is a dreamy and gender-neutral piece, and I will never say no to convenient snaps for diaper access. A solid green shoulder-tie romper is such a comfy summer outfit, and this collared outfit is another great one for parents looking to dress their little ones in solids.

At Lars we love rainbows, and we found this darling rainbow pinafore outfit that includes a shirt, a jumper, and socks so it can be mixed and matched into a multitude of cute looks. We also found this more subdued rainbow onesie made from organic cotton and a matching rainbow swaddle that are so sweet together.

Blankets and Swaddles

Speaking of swaddles, this swaddle baby gift set with a matching rattle would be such a great baby gift idea for spring. This cotton muslin swaddle comes in so many adorable patterns and colors, and there’s sure to be one for every nursery style.

A white bunny swaddle and rattle set on a beige background.

Parents who don’t want to wrangle a blanket-style swaddle can skip a few steps and use these swaddles with adjustable tabs, which come in a three pack. There’s also this swaddle tube, which looks extra snug and comes with a matching hat!

dark blue blanket with white dinosaurs.

For the scientifically-minded baby, we found this cute dinosaur baby blanket, because it’s never too early to start learning about paleontology.

Baby Carrying

Baby carrying solutions are exciting because there are so many of them. I love this blush pink BabyBjorn carrier that’s great for newborns. Ergobaby also makes lots of great carriers like this all-in-one 360 carrier in field of daisies and in California wildflower.

A blonde woman carries a baby in an omni 360 baby carrier in the colorway field of daisies. She is picking an orange from a tree.

Sollybaby also makes beautiful, low-tech wraps that are great for carrying babies and are incredibly soft. I love this Flora pattern as well as this ginger check.

Beds and Swings

Despite Felix’s best wishes (sweet boy ALWAYS wants to be held), beds and swings are important accessories and great baby gift ideas. This wooden co-sleeper bed is great for babies who nurse at night because it goes right next to the parents’ bed, so mom doesn’t have to get up and walk across the house to feed. I also love that it has space for storage underneath. I also love this swiveling bassinet, which can swing over a parent’s bed to keep baby close.

Once babies can hold themselves up, swings are a fun addition to the home. This cinnamon-colored one could look great styled in so many fun ways, and the wooden beads are an extra fun bonus for baby. I also like this swing, which comes in a few pretty pastel colors and includes a teether toy.

Feeding and Teething

New moms need functional baby gifts! This bottle kit, which includes a sanitation station and a few pacifiers, is such a good option that covers a lot of bases. Because there’s nothing sadder than a baby with a sick stomach, this bottle set has an anti-colic valve at the bottom.

Two burp cloths on a white background. One is yellow and white striped and one is yellow with little red tulips.

Just because baby is going to spit up on them doesn’t mean that burp cloths can’t be cute. I love this set, which comes in lots of colors and prints. These kerchief bibs will also keep baby clean and in style.

A wooden cookie teething toy on a white background.

Teething babies have a reputation for being difficult (it’s okay, we all went through it once!), but teething toys can help provide some relief while also being adorable. Sophie the Giraffe has become a classic teething toy, and for good reason because it is timelessly cute. Giving baby this wooden cookie toy as a precursor to future sweet treats is a fast track to favorite auntie status. I also love this cute set made of silicone that comes in a sun and rainbow, a campfire and trailer, and an elephant and binoculars. For extra cool relief I like these freezable teethers.

Silicone teether toys on a baby blue background. One is a smiling sun, one is a rainbow with a cloud.

This isn’t technically a teether, but I had to share this baby tooth pillow. If only growing teeth were as easy as snuggling up to this toy!

Diaper Bags

Sometimes moms get left behind in the excitement over a new baby, but not at Lars! In addition to baby gift ideas I wanted to share some mom gift ideas. I rounded up some diaper bags that are functional and are stylish enough to keep you feeling like an entire human person, not just a chauffeur for your baby’s gear.

A Black leather diaper bag on a white background

If you or the parent-to-be are focusing on maintaining style during their diaper bag journey, I like these leather and faux leather options. This Fawn Design one is extremely classy and has a beautiful, architectural feel. This backpack by Itzy Ritzy also has nice big pockets for your water bottle and a little one’s bottle, too. Freshly Picked has a great vegan leather backpack with ten (TEN!) pockets that convertible, so you can wear it as a backpack, crossbody bag, or purse. Skip Hop’s backpack manages to combine elegance with a diaper changing station, which is just proof that in this day and age any combination of words can fit together and make something great.

A warm brown fanny-pack style diaper bag.

Diaper bags with changing stations are a game (and diaper) changer. Skip Hop also makes a cute striped tote with a changing pad. The Ruvalino multifunction backpack is great for this too, and looks nice and sporty. I also love the Petunia Pickle Bottom backpack for its changing pad and great color assortment. Maybe my very favorite one is this minimal Kibou diaper bag. It’s smaller than most, but it has great features like a fold-out changing pad and a key pacifier clip. It’s my dream to have things under control enough to carry everything in this little guy. If all you’re looking for is a diaper control situation, the STORQ Kit Bag is for you. It is compact and would be a great insert to a larger diaper bag that doesn’t include a changing station.

Black and white zipper diaper bag pouch

The JuJuBe convertible backpack/messenger bag is a great option if you’re interested in having a wide selection of colors and patterns. My favorite feature? The crumb drain. Glory be.

Last but certainly least on our list is the Vogshow waterproof diaper bag, which looks incredible, even if you aren’t carrying diapers around. Here’s to functional objects for all stages of life.

Blue waterproof vogshow backpack diaper bag with caramel-colored details on a white background.

Baby Registries

When all else fails, a registry is a great place to find baby gift ideas that have been curated by the expectant parents themselves. We have a great article about making your own baby registry that you can check out if you’re looking for ideas.

I hope this list of baby gift ideas was helpful! Did I miss anything crucial? Let me know in the comments?

 

Easter Basket Gift Ideas

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I love a good Easter basket! I love adding a DIY touch of course, like a fabric liner. Or some years I have opted for an entirely hand-made basket – like this no-sew rope basket! But of course, filling the basket with gifts for Jasper (and now Felix too!) is the best part.

Easter gift baskets need not only be filled with eggs stuffed with chocolates and candies, though I no problem with that. You can get creative and browse through our shop for some fun ideas for kids of all ages.

Easter Basket Gifts For Every Age

Baskets & Tags

For Baby’s First Easter

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

For Kids Ages 1-5

Start off by making an Easter bunny party hat or a bunny bonnet if you have an infant or toddler. Add a coloring page or two to keep your kiddo(s) occupied while you prepare breakfast. Surprise them with an Easter gift basket filled with fun surprises or have your kid(s) search for them in and around the house. Instead of plastic eggs, you can make these carrot treat boxes and fill them with different toys and sweets. Roll up a pair of bunny socks, add these cute hair ties or golden bunny hairpins, and print out our customizable Easter egg coupons to add more fun and games.

Easter Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket GiftsEaster Basket Gifts

For Kids Ages 6 and older

We have a fun printable Springtime Printable Activity pack filled with animal paper dolls and coloring pages. You can also purchase the prints separately to your preference. We also have several crafting ideas from which you can prepare the supplies and print our PDF instructions for your kids to follow and make, e.g., the Easter bunny stuffed animal, animal head wraps, glitter glue handwritten phrases, or handwritten letters to loved ones on these intricate paper cutouts. We also have an assortment of paper craft items in our Springtime activity kit. Needless to say, the Easter egg coupons are for kids and adults of all ages.

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For your partner or friends

Adults deserve a visit from the Easter Bunny too! The gift ideas below make for fun gifts to help ring in spring.

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Whether you are creating an Easter gift basket for your child(ren) or friends, gather your ideas and supplies as soon as you can because April is only a month away!

For More Easter Basket Gifts Ideas

For more ideas you can check out last year’s Easter Basked gift roundup too!

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes with Tubby Todd

Tubby Todd Bubble Bath & Great Artists!

Tubby Todd was the first set of bath products I ever received and I’ve been a devotee ever since (I use it myself–best lotion!). I knew they would be the perfect partner for our Great Artists! course (you might remember our previous collaborations with Pink Chicken and Briar Bonnet!). We designed artwork inspired by our course and it now decorates their classic Sweet Quince and Honeysuckle Bubblebath. Bada bing bada boom!

DIY Bathtime Art Shapes

And what could be more fun than bathtime than some custom art shapes inspired by Great Artists! for bathtime fun. Jasper is absolutely obsessed with all his foam ABCs and 123s from Target–he could line them up for days–but I wanted to do some of my own from foam sheets from the craft store. And guess, what? It’s SO easy and you can really go to town.

We even played a game of “tell me something to draw” and we had a ball drawing some of his existing toys onto foam and cutting them out. He was able to recognize some of his favorite toys from around the house.

Materials

  • Foam sheets
  • Scissors
  • Pen or marker

Instructions

  1. Draw your shapes onto foam.
  2. Cut out the shapes
  3. Note: If you use a washable marker to cut out your shapes, make sure to wash them in a sink before putting them into the tub.

SO simple and produces good results. See!

Stay tuned for a giveaway over on Instagram later today to win some bubble bath from Tubby Todd and a Great Artists! course to three people.

You can get our limited edition Sweet Quince and Honeysuckle bubbles over at Tubby Todd for 20% off when you sign up for our Great Artists! course now through 12/31/20 (a code will be emailed to you).

If you liked this tutorial, you might also like the following:

Matisse Felt Board
DIY projects inspired by Frida Kahlo
Home Decor inspired by Andy Warhol

A Lars Kid’s Gift Guide 2020

This kid’s gift guide contains affiliate links. When something is purchased through one of the links below, we earn a small commission that helps us create more content and resources for you to enjoy! This is at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting us and other small business this season!

Kid’s Gifts Under $25

 

Need a new screen-free activity to do from home this winter? We’ve got you covered. Gift our brand new hardcopy of Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book. With unique coloring pages from 64 artists from around the world. Each one drew their representation of hope during this challenging time and your family gets to color it in! Click here to see more.

My friend Joy from Oh Joy! Just released her new children’s book OH SO KIND! This is a lift-the-flap board book about showing kindness in our community. Interactive pages engage readers in this big-hearted book about being a good friend, neighbor, and family member! Click here to order a copy. Jasper LOVES his!

This Frida Kahlo bath bomb is such a fun stocking stuffer! The company who made it, Musee Bath, primarily hires women in recovery, people with disabilities, and people who have lived in chronic poverty. Their products are handmade in the USA with ethically sourced, natural ingredients and are safe for all skin types. They have other products inspired by amazing women like Frida. This is an amazing company to support this season! Pair one of their bath bombs with a subscription to our Great Artists! Course so your kiddo can learn more about Frida Kahlo and other amazing creatives.

Kid’s Gifts Under $50

For ages 6+, give the gift of monthly craft projects! The Kid Made Modern Monthly Craft Club brings art class to your home! Gift a subscription, and they will receive a new craft box each month with all the materials needed to complete their project. You can sign up for 1 month, 3 months, or 6 months of projects here. Print off the certificate below to gift on Christmas morning!

Kid’s Gifts under $100

Spread out the Christmas joy with a gift that truly keeps on giving. A one-time purchase of our Great Artists! Kid’s Course gives your family access to 6+ weeks of learning through DIY art projects and videos. Click here to create an account that all of your kids can access! (One course access account per household.) Put together a gift basket of supplies they’ll need to complete the course, and include the access info, for the most creative Christmas morning yet! Even after the holidays come to an end, and the batteries the other toys run out, your kids will still have plenty of hours of fun left in the Great Artists! Course.

 

DIY Kid’s Gifts

It wouldn’t be a proper Lars Kid’s gift guide without some DIY ideas! For a present with an extra touch of love, try making it yourself! Our archives include gift-able projects for every level of crafter. Try these DIY painted blocks you can customize in any color scheme. Or a hand-sewn plush koala they’ll want to take everywhere. That isn’t the only plush pattern we have, check out this stuffed whale or this rainbow floor pouf too! This DIY mushroom playmat can become a family keepsake. Or for a gift the whole family can enjoy, learn how to make your own custom cornhole set and beanbags here!

Kid’s Clothing

As soon as I saw Primary has a Rainbow Gift Guide this year I was hooked. Recently, I’ve been stocking up on more solid color staples but in fun shades. That way they can easily be passed from kid to kid but don’t need to be in boring neutrals! Then I can dress up a solid staple like this green puffy coat (that comes in every other color too!) with a patterned kid’s mask (that hopefully is only short term, fingers crossed.)

I recently discovered the British brand The Middle Daughter which is featured on Maisonette. I am obsessed with their prints and shapes for kid’s clothing. Like this puffy sleeve and ruffled dress, ah! I wish they all came in adult sizes!

Click here for our past kid’s gift guide posts, for even more ideas!

 

Virtual Workshop + Giveaway With Hello!Lucky

Since our big move, all of our schedules have been thrown off a little. It doesn’t help that I am still losing everything (thanks pregnancy brain!) Jasper has been the most affected by the move though. It’s a big change for my little boo! It has helped to get back our sense of normalcy by taking any chance I can to spend some time with Jasper, doing something he is familiar with.

One of Jasper’s favorite activities is reading and, of course, that makes me so happy. Recently I shared “What Children’s Books I am Reading to my Toddler Right Now” and I am happy to share our latest find with you today! It is the perfect addition to your kid’s book collection just in time for Thanksgiving.

My friends at Hello!Lucky – a women-owned and fun shop in San Francisco – offer the most amazing letterpress cards, stationery, and more recently, children’s books! I have read many of them with Jasper and he LOVES them.

With their bold style and side-splitting humor, Hello!Lucky is excited to introduce their latest picture book that’s all about gratitude. Thanks A Ton! 

Thanks a Ton! Is a pun-derful picture book celebrating gratitude! Offering tons of ideas for how to say “thanks” when words just aren’t enough. Written and illustrated by Eunice and Sabrina Moyle from Hello!Lucky. Eunice and Sabrina have created over 15 children’s books selling more than 1 million copies. Their books support children’s social and emotional development, and let them (and their parents) know that they are amazing exactly as they are. Their titles include My Mom is Magical! (my personal favorite ;), a book celebrating moms,  Kindness Rules!, a book about kindness, Thanks a Ton!, a book about gratitude, and I Believe in You, a book about unconditional love. A full list of their amazing books can be found here.

And! Hello!Lucky will donate $5 for every copy of Thanks a Ton! purchased on raredevice.com to Love For Our Elders, a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring joy into the lives of the elderly and you guessed it, writing letters to them is one of those ways!

Enter to Win a Copy of Our Picture Hope Coloring Book + A Copy of Thanks A Ton!

We are jumping on board with Hello!Lucky in the name of gratitude and hope this season. So, we are excited to announce we now offer hardcopies of our Picture Hope Coloring Book!

Picture Hope: The Social Distancing Coloring Book, is a compilation of coloring pages designed by 64 of your favorite artists from around the world. It is meant to lift spirits and calm anxious minds with its bold message of hope. Each artist has contributed a drawing of what hope means to them along with a few of their own words. The pages are designed for all skill levels and ages, kids and adults. It’s a perfect activity for staying at home and practicing mindfulness and meditation while filling in your hope through color. The profits of the book go to seasonal charities, which are announced here. Through downloads of Picture Hope, over $8000 has already donated!

The idea is that the artists provide the blank canvas and YOU add the hope through color. And you know what? It works! I can’t even tell you the goose bumps I got while I was working on it! COVID-19 has indeed changed so much of our routine, yet in the confusion and uncertainty we’ve also witnessed countless moments of compassion and the strength of the human spirit.

I’ve spent my career developing The House That Lars Built, whose mission is to encourage people to make things with their hands. We believe that the act of making has the power to heal and improve your well-being. The goal of this book is the same and it’s needed now more than ever. Coloring is a simple yet profound act that allows for meditation and mindfulness and this coloring book is even more profound because of the many voices of support behind it.

A new version of Picture Hope is available now!

Up until now, Picture Hope has only been available for download to be printed at home. We have been working hard (read: months!) to create this physical copy, so that you can order it totally ready to color! This version is also ideal to gift to others this season. Click here to order your hardcopy of Picture Hope!

This high-quality coloring book includes varying levels of intricacy keeping you inspired to color! There are plenty of beautiful motifs to choose from: including botanicals, flowers, animals, cities, people, decorative, quotes. We designed this book for every skill level and age to enjoy! Each page is it’s own unique art piece from one of the 64 contributing artists. 

For the next month, ALL proceeds from the Picture Hope Coloring Book go to the nonprofit Love For Our Elders. This comforting nonprofit fights loneliness with love in senior communities and has spread to over 70 countries, all 50 states, and hundreds of schools. Keep reading for more info about the impact of this nonprofit! 

How to Enter Our Giveaway

Enter to win your own copy of Picture Hope + Hello!Lucky’s best-selling latest picture book, Thanks A Ton!

To enter, head to our Instagram post here to let us know what you’re grateful for in the comments below, and join the virtual THANKS A TON launch event on November 14th. The winner will be announced live. Click here to RSVP for the virtual event!

Write Gratitude Letters With Us At Our Virtual Party With Hello!Lucky

I (Brittany!) will be hosting this event along with Eunice & Sabrina Moyle founders of Hello!Lucky, Jacob Cramer founder of Love For Our Elders, and Giselle Gyalzen owner of Rare Device.

Letters are especially wonderful during times when physical barriers are keeping us apart. A hand-written and a handmade card is a thoughtful, personal expression of care and kindness and can keep us connected to those we love, and to help everyone feel like they matter. During this event we want to share ways your family can help more people receive hand-written letters and cards during the Thanksgiving season.

Our virtual event will take place on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST. During this event you will have access to these exclusive free printables created by Hello!Lucky and The House That Lars Built – including printable gratitude cards and a template for a fun DIY card! Download the free printables here and print them out to get ready for the event!

What will happen during the virtual event?

I will be leading a DIY craft tutorial that your whole family can recreate this Thanksgiving season. Plus I will share some of my top tips for holiday card making!

During this event you will also learn more about Love For Our Elders, the charity that proceeds from Picture Hope and Thanks a Ton! will be donated to. The founder of this nonprofit, Jacob Kramer, will be joining the event to share stories of the people your gratitude letters and donations can affect. He will also share tips on how your family can write to people who need it this season!

There will also be a live reading of Thanks a Ton! so this is a virtual event the entire family can log on for. RSVP here and make it a family activity.

At this time we will also announce the winner of our giveaway! (Details above.) 

RSVP here for a creative afternoon full of conversation and crafts on Saturday November 14th at 11 am PST.  All ages welcome! 

 

Our Great Artists! Course is live now!

A tool for parents and kids

If you’re like most parents, screen time is both your saving grace and your worst enemy. This Great Artists! Course is the perfect after-school activity that can replace some screen time while still allowing you to get some work done. Or if you are homeschooling, this course can be your art class! I have so much respect for teachers and parents who are homeschooling, and I’m eager to help out in the best way I can: by taking something off your plate. 

This hands-on learning course is full of crafting based projects, videos, printables and more that will simultaneously keep the kids creative and busy. The Great Artists! Course will teach them basic art principles and art history, all while making truly beautiful art for your home. The course program is so in-depth that you can honestly just log your child in and let them learn. All of the teaching components are done in the course itself (featuring a guest teacher, yours truly). You can be as involved as you want! If you’re a working parent, let your child’s Great Artists! Course time be time that you can use however you need to. If you’d like to be more involved, the classes are honestly engaging enough that you’ll learn something new. Honestly, you might even make something you can be proud of!

The Details

When we started out planning the Great Artists! Course, we designed it with kids ages 6-13 in mind. That’s a pretty wide age gap! We are confident that the projects are realistic and simple enough for young kids, but interesting enough to engage the older kids too! All of the projects are customizable. So if you need to tweak things a bit for your classroom, feel free to. It includes instruction on six famous artists, projects, supplies, and so much more. As we were planning this course, we wanted to make this a real resource you can feel good about. Because of this, we designed it with essential Learning Objectives in mind.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

In the Great Artists! Course, your child will:

  • Develop a love of art and history through relatable hands-on projects
  • Learn basic principles of art and design that they can apply to their own artwork/projects
  • Create multiple art pieces that develop fine motor skills, color pairing skills, concentration, and listening
  • Study Art History, including the lives of artists from different cultures, backgrounds and art movements
  • Develop a greater understanding of global cultures 
  • Be encouraged to think introspectively about their own lives, homes, and passions to help them cultivate self-understanding to expand their creative mind
  • Learn to initiate creative play

Art is something I feel really passionately about. Art can be therapeutic, it can train critical thinking skills, and help your child visualize creative solutions to problems they face. Art became real for me in my childhood classes about great artists, and led to my life-long creative projects.  Which is why I feel so passionate about offering this resource to your family! Whether or not you are an art-lover or a professionally trained art teacher, the Great Artists! Course can help your child develop the tools they need to enjoy art and make it.

FAQs about our Great Artists! Course

Click here to find answers to all of your questions, including what the course cost covers, what artists the course includes, and more!

When art became real for me

Art Course for Kids

We had an art course in elementary school that would introduce some of history’s great artists. I vividly recall sitting criss crossed in the multi purpose room with an overhead projector as the instructor taught us about Seurat and Picasso. She always wore fancy floral dresses and her hair was up in tight curls. The room was dark and our legs would fall asleep.

The lecture portion was followed up with a project in class where she would teach us how to create a project inspired by each of the artists. The pointilism assignment was great fun because we created figures and landscapes dots. DOTS! Art came ALIVE because we were doing it ourselves!

At the beginning of COVID as we shifted gears and started focusing even more on stay at home crafts and projects for both you and your kids, I was reminded of my grade school days and thought that we needed to create something that brought alive to kids in the same way that it did it for me.

Tomorrow, we are introducing this course and I cannot contain my excitement (pssst: the course is out now here!) . I truly am thrilled to share this course with you and your children. It’s one of the best things that we as a team have ever produced. I believe that a passion for the arts can be instilled when your children are young and there is NO BETTER TIME than NOW to do so. Through clever craft and art projects, exercises, and beautiful printables, you’ll learn about some of the greatest artists, perhaps new to you artists who never received their proper recognition, that ever lived.

Are you homeschooling this school year?

Of course, I couldn’t have imagined that this upcoming school year would be such a mix of decisions and emotions and safety concerns. Homeschooling has become a reality for so many more families than ever before, whether desired or reluctant, and we’re hoping that this can be a great resource for you. We hope that whether you are a true home schooling family, this can be a great supplement for your curriculum. Likewise, if you are staying at home with your kids as they learn online, they can use our curriculum to fill their artistic void.

A bit about the course

There are videos and photos, prompts, journaling, and so much more. I really hope you like it. Stay tuned tomorrow for our early bird pricing for newsletter subscribers only through the weekend.

Great Artists! art course is out now! 

Back to school supplies for every kind of school year

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Resources for whatever the school year is throwing at you

Recently on Instagram, I asked whether you are sending your kids back to school, trying online classes, or making your own homeschool plan for the first time! With all these options and so many pros and cons, I get that this new school year is throwing a lot more at you than just dodgeballs at recess.

All of these options have even affected our priorities here at Lars. At the beginning of the year, we made a sudden turn and started focusing on #QuarantineCreativity and how to keep your hands busy and your mind clear despite the craziness of 2020. Projects like these, and our 78 homeschool activities for social distancing have kept us sane (so far.) And THIS WEEK we will be launching our biggest and most colorful resource yet! Our first ever kid’s course, all about great artists. More info will be dropping on the blog and instagram all week, and our newsletter subscribers will get exclusive early access to the course at a big BIG discount.

Whether you are sending your kids back to school, thanking the heavens for online classes streamed from the teacher, or creating your very own homeschool curriculum this year – WE SEE YOU. You are working so hard, and you are doing amazing! We hope any resources we are working hard to share can lighten the load even if just a little.

Kid’s face masks for back to school

If you are sending your kiddo’s back to school, you might need some help with the mask situation. A fun new kid’s face mask will be much more likely to make it through the school day!

If you are a teacher or parent in need of your own face mask, you can find our list of our favorite adult masks here!

The importance of learning

Starting a new school year is about a lot more than back-to-school shopping. “It’s about learning, obviously!,” said the imaginary reader of this post in my head. One of the most important processes I learned at school is something I hardly think about anymore: reading.

I bet that most of you learned to read in kindergarten or first grade, and haven’t thought much about it since you left elementary school. The act of reading at this point is close to second nature. You do it without even acknowledging it. Street signs, menus, text messages, even microwave messages are presented before my eyes. And through some miracle that started with a kindergarten teacher, I comprehend that a specific combination of twenty six scribbles (letters) means that my microwaved popcorn is done. Just think – sending your kid back-to-school means they could means they could make YOU a snack instead of the other way around.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the importance of being able to read until I became friends with someone with serious undiagnosed learning disabilities. Despite his challenges, he learned to read in high school. His world exploded! I met him a few years after he learned to read, and it was obvious how much this skill changed his life. 

Respect the process

This story is important for a couple of reasons. One reason is to make you consider the importance of something you do without thought, and appreciate it. Another reason is to acknowledge that learning takes time, and everyone goes at their own pace. This super relevant and encouraging as an adult. It feels like there is a socially-appointed time to learn, and once you pass that time, you’ve missed your window. That rhetoric is so not true!!

I had a class in college with a seventy-eight year old woman, and boy oh boy, she was determined to graduate. We studied together for a test once, and I can guarantee she did better on it than I did. If you are going back-to-school yourself, be proud!! If you have a child starting school again, don’t be upset if they didn’t master times tables or if you weren’t the perfect remote-teacher. No one was!

That is actually one reason why the thought of trying out homeschooling this year could feel like an excited new adventure instead of a last-resort you would never consider if it weren’t for a world pandemic.

Homeschool organization supplies

Have fun, duh!

Of course, learning at school is so important. But it also is supposed to be fun! I have a friend who moved states during the middle of lockdown, and her son has been in desperate need of a friend his age. He started school last week and had an incredible time! He was so tired after playing with new friends that he contentedly fell asleep in the car ride home. That is the dream. 

While you can’t exactly follow your child around the playground all day, you can help them feel loved, special, and excited about the new school year. One easy way to do this is to involve them in back-to-school shopping!! I loved it as a kid and love it still. A fresh pack of crayons is therapeutic, I swear. Sometimes we all need a little push to feel excitement. You, my dears, are perfectly situated to help your kids out in that category. Check out our back to school roundup of products we love for kids (and grownups) heading back to class!

Supplies to make learning fun

Books, games, and other colorful supplies to make learning exciting! If you have pre-school age kids to engage too, check out what books I am reading to my toddler right now.

 

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!” – Dr. Seuss

Other colorful back to school supplies

Backpacks

Notebooks

Lunchtime