Tuesday, July 6, 2010

80s and 90s Kids' Arts and Crafts Part II

Welcome back to another edition of 80s and 90s’ kids’ arts and crafts. For those of you in the States, I hope you had a nice long holiday weekend. To my international readers, I’m sorry you have to continually endure the assumptions that you care about the United States’ independence. My condolences.

Before we get to the good stuff, a quick note: You may notice the posts here at Children of the 90s becoming a bit more intermittent over the next couple of weeks. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere. Well, actually the previous statement is completely false: I am going somewhere, though the move will take place in the real physical world instead of the virtual one. I’m in the midst of a housing to move to parts as of yet unknown and am thus fully consumed by the arduous task of hauling furniture and packing up boxes.

I’ve never been much for manual labor, so the inevitable strain on my delicate self is taking up valuable blogging time. For the next few weeks, I appreciate your understanding of our temporary on-again, off-again relationship. Believe you, it’s not you, it’s me. And my incredibly overstuffed apartment.

For now, though, let’s resume our stroll down memory lane into the world of 80s and 90s arts and crafts. Believe me, I would rather be doing any of these things--no matter how ultimately tedious--than packing up a few years worth of accumulated stuff. If I had a velvet poster to color in or a spin-art wheel to operate, you’d bet my progress would be slowed significantly. Not to mention my belongings would be far more paint-splattered, though be fair it would be in an artfully random pattern.

Based on your much-appreciated write-in suggestions, here are a few more of the vaguely arts and crafts-related activities that held our attention as children. There’s still a part 3 likely coming your way, so feel free to add additional suggestions to the comments section or by email at childrenofthe90s@gmail.com.


Scratch Art



For those of us lucky enough to have parents willing to spring $4.99 or so for a packet of pre-made scratch sheets, we enjoyed the hassle free scraping of surprisingly colorful designs from a black background. Others among us didn’t fare quite as well, opting to create our own scratch boards from, well, scratch.

Doing so involved the arduous task of filling a full page with random colored patches and using an entire black Crayola crayon to do you color-cover bidding. Your hand and arm would be incredibly exhausted from the whole ordeal, but at least you were able to reap the reward of some sweet vibrant etching.


Velvet Coloring Posters


I passed one of these at CVS the other day and found myself fighting the urge to purchase it and customize my very own velvet portrait of a unicorn galloping whimsically across a full arch rainbow. Despite my knowledge as a grownup that these posters are extremely tacky, there’s something so tempting about embarking on an endless and time-consuming velvet poster coloring project. Plus they’re velvet. Velvet! That stuff comes across as pretty classy to a seven-year old.


Ironable Perler Beads


We spent many, many hours in my house tediously placing plastic beads a millimeter in diameter each onto flat bumpy molds. Whoever thought these up was either a genius or incredibly sadistic, depending on your views on occupying a child with a mindless task for multiple hours at a time.

The molds came in different shapes and could produce different designs using the multicolored beads. Simply cover, iron, and ta-da! A piece of useless junk. But hey, it was your piece of useless junk. There’s a difference.


Spin Art


Just in case you were looking for a way to make painting messier and more airborne, you’re in luck: someone else has already come up with it and mass-marketed it. There actually used to be a professional Spin-Art center at our local mall, but I’m guessing the availability of allegedly easy-to-use at-home kits put them out of business.

The process was simple but undeniably attractive to mess-hungry children. You put a piece of paper on the spinner, activated the motion, and squirted various paint colors in its general vicinity as it spun. It was like a maxed-out version of the Spirograph: no skill required, guaranteed to create interesting artful symmetry.


Friendship Bracelets
I recently caught an episode of How It’s Made featuring the hammock-making process that led me to believe I could someday take on a lucrative career as a hammock craftswoman. The reason? The countless hours I spent weaving embroidery floss into masterfully crafted bracelets and anklets. How else can we children of the 90s put to use our skill at creating patterns like tornado, chevron, and candy stripe?

If you have a solution, feel free to let me know--I’m actually in the market for a new career. I don’t have Friendship Bracelet Making as its own category on my resume, but I’m willing to work it in for the right professional macrame post. Really, let me know.

13 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

I remember all of this. Especially the Spin Art!! That was my ultimate favorite!!

Bailey said...

whooo! First to comment for once! When I saw the title of the post..my first thought was "maybe she mentioned those iron on beads I used to love!" ...and You did! =)

Sadako said...

I had pearl beads! My brother and I weren't allowed to iron--a grown up had to do that. But we had such fun.

We also had faux stain glass, where you'd get these iron cut outs and put different colored glass in it, then bake in the oven. Good times, good times.

Butterfly Wings said...

I had fun creating friendship bracelets way back then. Though they are supposed to be given to my friends, I have also created some for my mom and dad (and teachers too).
I think it's also nice to add that we loved to cut pieces of papers into different interesting shapes like heart, circles, diamonds,stars, butterfly wings and more.

tvgirl48 said...

Maybe you did this already and I missed it, or it's not a specifically 90s thing, but have you included Lite Brite in one of your posts? That was my favorite art/craft thing when I was younger.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in an apartment with three other twenty-someting women, and we had a Lisa Frank fuzzy poster that we colored and hung on our wall. :)

Lorelai said...

I loved Perler Beads so much! In Australia, we had a similar product that came out not long ago called Bindeez, except you sprayed them with water instead of ironing them. They got recalled because they discovered that when the beads got wet, they produced GHB and gave kids seizures. Whoops.

nikki said...

Oh you have to include Lite Brite! When my sister was a baby she ate so many of the little Lite Brite pieces.

And for the less fortunate families whose parents wouldn't buy junk like this, there were always crayon shavings ironed between wax paper.

digigirl02 said...

I loved the pearl beads. I used to play with it all the time when I was a kid. I also liked making friendship bracelets.

Deathycat said...

Spin Art was awesome! I loved that thing. And the pearl beads. I made so many stupid magnets.

Redlinks said...

I remember all of this (the 90's stuff anyway)! I completely forgot about gym class parachute day until you mentioned it. But Now I remember it clearly. One game I remember with the parachute is cat and mouse. That one was my favorite. :) Spin art was also really fun. Anybody else remember Shrinky Dinks?

The Whiz Kid Forte said...

I used to play with the Perler Beads, but never ironed any design. I have seen a revival of some sorts recently, due to people reproducing video game sprites into tangible forms.

I'm not into Perler Beads anymore (I'm more into reproducing VG sprites in Swarovski flatback rhinestones on cases for electronics because I'd decorate what I actually use often and I'm a budding entreprenur.), but I appreciate knowing that they were brought back by game geeks.

Oh, and Scratch Art - memories indeed. For the DIY versions, you can paint over your heavily colored paper with tempera paint (doesn't have to be black) mixed with a few drops of detergent. Takes some of the load from your arm and hand, eh?

miltonhillj said...

A great blog and very helpfull post. I really like it.

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