Random Acts of Art: Crafts to Add Fun to Your Neighborhood

Eight whimsical crafts that let you bring a little magic to your neighborhood.

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Ronnie Andren

Imagine the wonder of discovering a tiny village in your favorite park, a flock of birds perched on a shopping cart, or a school of fish swimming through a grassy garden. Your kids can have fun creating that experience for others with these eight whimsical art projects. Making the crafts is easy, and installing them (as sneakily as possible) is designed to be just as simple. When hiding your pieces in public, remember to be a good citizen. Any installation should be temporary; check on your project in a few hours or days and remove it before it might be considered litter. The goal, after all, isn't to make anyone mad. It's to make them do a double-take, then smile!

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Ronnie Andren

Clip-on Flock

Clothespins are an ideal tool for adding art to the everyday because they can be clipped onto nearly anything. Use them as a base for birds (or bugs, mini robots, or any creature, really) drawn or made of collaged bits. Here, we drew and cut a shape from card stock, then glued it to the side of the clothespin. Perch a flock in a supermarket, on a fence, or in a potted plant.

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Ronnie Andren

Bobbing Boats

Kids can launch a fleet of these vessels in a birdbath, the kitchen sink -- or the tub, before a sibling's bath. Start by using hot glue (an adult's job) to connect two wine corks as shown, with a wooden coffee stirrer mast between them. Cut out a triangular sail from a milk or juice carton, poke two holes in the sail, and slide it onto the mast.

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Ronnie Andren

Fish Tales

Surprise someone with a school of fish navigating through sea grass or similar plants, in a sandbox, or near a pond. The fish are made with foil, which gives them a scaly luster. Start by cutting a body shape from card stock. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil that's about four times the size of your fish. Crinkle the foil gently, then smooth it out. Loosely wrap the body shape with the foil, rolling the edges or pinching the foil to fit it around the fins and tail. Add colorful details with marker, then tape the fish to a stick.

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Ronnie Andren

Winter Blossoms

Flowers brighten any day, especially one with overcast skies or week-old snow. And index cards, scraps of colored paper, and card stock can become petals heralding spring. Cut out several blossom and leaf shapes from your chosen papers. Tie a knot in a length of yarn and thread the other end onto a large embroidery needle. Poke it through the centers of the paper shapes, spreading them out on the yarn so that they're evenly spaced. Tie a knot at the top. Wrap or tie your strand onto a branch, handrail, fence, or doorknob.

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Ronnie Andren

Mixed-up Faces

Add character to a mirror, your refrigerator, a dinner plate, or a school locker with mix-and-match sticky-note faces. Make the features by cutting them from old magazines and gluing them to individual notes. Kids can keep them in a folder for creating faces on the fly.

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Ronnie Andren


Spread the word about your favorite books or give other noteworthy objects a voice with these speech balloons. Cut the shapes from card stock. Spell out your message with letters from old magazines, rubber stamps, stencils, or stickers. Tuck the balloons into books you love and want to share with others, or use removable glue dots to mount silly messages near family photographs, public statues, and more.

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Ronnie Andren

Little Landmarks

These tiny houses invite imaginations to run wild. What creatures live in such cozy abodes? Jewelry boxes, juice boxes, and matchboxes all make ideal houses. If the box held food, clean and dry it. Put a stone inside to weigh it down, then seal with tape. Wrap the box as you would a gift, then glue on a paper roof, door, and windows. Let other giants discover your houses nestled in a stone wall, among books in the library, or at the playground.

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Ronnie Andren

Color Pop

Here's an instant way to add an eye-catching touch of brightness to an otherwise drab location. Bend colorful pipe cleaners into a flower, heart, or star shape or into a few squiggly spirals. Wind the ends around a park bench, a parent's car door handle, or a chain-link fence.

Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.

Originally published in the March issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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