Tuesday, May 13, 2014

End Table to Light Table

I really, really, REALLY wanted a light table. Like this one.
That unfortunately costs $435. [OUCH!]

I planned. I waited. I looked...

Then we received some castoffs from the in-laws that just happened to include a nice coffee table and buffet, along with a single end table that was missing its glass top.

Woo hoo!

The table was scratched up, but solid wood and HEAVY. It could stand up to childhood abuse, and not be the worse for it. There would be no guilt or anger over it being beat with Lincoln Logs.

The table is 20 inches tall, 21 inches wide, and 27 inches long. The insert space is 14 inches wide by 20 inches long. As you can see, the height is perfect for the children to get their chairs under.

So to re-purpose the end table into a light table, I first added a piece of 1/4 inch MDF cut to size to fit the bottom. I had this lying around the garage. 

This is simply to provide a platform for the light(s) to sit upon. I cut it to fit around the legs using a saber saw, but you could just cut the corner across to fit on the supports.

I screwed it with sheetrock screws into the corner supports. 

Since there are no other supports, I ensured I cut it small enough to leave a gap that I could run the light cord through on at least one side.

I used an LED rope light from Home Depot for $20. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I liked that it would last forever without needing replaced, that it wouldn't draw a lot of current ($), and wouldn't produce a lot of heat.

You can use under-the-counter fluorescent fixtures or even dollar store tap lights. The choice of light source is up to you. Just remember that the more light, the better.

Since Doug is the video game guru, he was junking a few oldies and I asked him to save the acrylic plexiglass for me. It was in decent condition, and FREE! [LOVE that word!]

I cut it down to size, making sure that it fit snug. If you've never cut plexi, FYI that you should always tape it and run the saw as slow as possible. I used my table saw with a VERY fine "finish" blade. They make special blades for cutting plexi, but hey, if I bought one, then the plexi wouldn't be FREE.

The light needs a diffuser. You could use a light coat of white paint to the back side of the plexi, but I used spray adhesive to adhere white tissue paper that had been salvaged from birthday parties. Not sure why I ended up using two pieces, and yes, it looks awful like this. 

But in the table, it looks fine.

and when the light is on, it's magical.

I cut these shapes from translucent index dividers. 

We have a drawer dedicated to the collection of translucent materials. Most of these have come from the Dollar Tree.

It may not look like much, but you'd be surprised how much they can do with this.

And frisbees are fairly translucent.

It's a wonderful addition to our learning and play space, for a total out-of-pocket cost of $20 for the light.

Additional light table activities can be found on 
my Light Table Activities Pinterest board. 
Tags: light table, preschool, translucent, salt writing, writing, light, table, re-purpose, budget, cheap, thrifty, childcare, daycare, child, care, end, table, 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mother's Day Handprint Flower Pots

These turned out SO cute!! Hope the moms like them when they pick them up this afternoon. I couldn't wait to post this, though, so hopefully they won't see this before then.

This is a more substantial gift, but still the same general process as our last year's Mother's Day Card. 

Hopefully they won't notice, but it's just too cute of a process to not repeat.

I bought the pots at Home Depot for under $2 a piece. 

The children did a green hand print for the base on Monday.

Tuesday morning, they did the yellow center finger prints. Even the youngest 2 year old was able to do it with me just holding the pot. 

We let that dry and came back in the afternoon to do the fingerprint petals. This required a little more assistance from me.

I used a silver Sharpie marker to put "Happy Mother's Day 2014" on the hand print.

Wednesday, they still weren't dry. Some of the little ones were a little gloppy in their fingerprints, so I let the pots rest for the day and once the children went home, I sprayed the painting with lacquer. [WARNING: Contact high!]

Thursday, today, we filled and planted and watered.

They looked pretty darling as is, how I planned it, but I'd come across an idea I loved, and decided to incorporate it. Just wish I knew where I found it so I could give proper credit.

I took some mug shots of the kiddos, manipulated them to 1 3/4 inch circles, printed out and laminated. 

They chose a color of cupcake wrapper and glued their pics into the center with a glue stick.

I created some cards to add as well. FREE to download on TPT.

I printed those out and laminated them, to protect when the moms watered their plants.

The children planted their flowers and signs in with the flowers, to create a finished piece that they are thrilled to have to present to their wonderful mommas. 
Tags: Mother's Day, holiday, craft, art, hand print, hand, print, paint, card, free, download, printable, flower, pot, finger print, finger, gift, present,  preschool, child, care, daycare, childcare, kid, child, mom, 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Collaborative Collage

It is the last cold, wet, dreary day before the spring-like weather will arrive for good. [fingers crossed!] They were going insane, bouncing off the walls, so I got this project started.

I had a picture that I didn't like, and haven't been able to sell, because evidently no one else likes it either. It's just been sitting around taking up space before heading to the thrift store donation bin. 

Then I had an orange gumball moment, inside joke, it's kinda like, EUREKA! 

We had played with sticky walls before, 

so this isn't really NEW, but this time they could really go to town and have a finished, displayable art piece at the end.

I used spray adhesive to adhere contact paper to the glass then let it set for a couple minutes before peeling the backer off.

It left us with a stick surface to do collage work upon.

They had free use of anything in the cutting bin, like tissue paper, straws, yarn, foil, fabric, wallpaper, scrapbooking paper, magazine sheets, etc. 

I cut a few strips of construction paper and curled and folded them, then just left them out on the table for them to use as they saw fit. 

We had a small container of lids I gave them, and then I raided the supply drawers and pulled out a few pom poms, packing peanuts, cotton balls, etc. that I just tossed on the table.

They spent over an hour working on this, and there was never any contention.

I think it came out looking really amazing. I placed it above their coat racks in the entry area.

This way, they and their parents and any visitors can get a taste of their awesomeness. 
Tags: art, preschool, child, care, daycare, kindergarten, craft, cutting, paste, collage, picture, fine motor, collaborative, glue, sticky, contact paper