Meet a Maker: Ana Dziengel

Ana is the magic-maker behind the kids-and-crafts blog Babble Dabble Do. Her training as an industrial designer shows through in her projects (drinking-straw geodesic domes, D.I.Y. mosaic magnets), which inspire kids to explore color, design, and engineering. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband, JR, and kids, Alonzo, age 8, Clara, 6, and Leon, 2.

Her Favorite Material: "Liquid watercolors, because the color is so concentrated. It's like food coloring, but better."

On Creativity and Kids: "Don't solve your children's problems for them. I want my kids to be able to rely on their imaginations, to dream up their own solutions, and to have the confidence that comes from making stuff -- seeing what works and being comfortable with things not working."

Preferred Projects: "I like activities that cross art with engineering; that's essentially what design is. And as long as the kids are asking Why? and How does it work?, it's an educational experience."

A Key to Crafting Harmony: "I do the projects alongside my kids so that I can make one of my own without pressuring them to make theirs look a certain way."

    Project She Loves: Easy Wire Sculpture

    Wire, wood block, and bead sculpture Photograph by Alexandra Grablewski

    Ana likes how wire allows children to "draw" in three dimensions. The beads add color and help children follow the lines they've made.

    1. Choose the placement of your holes on a hardwood block (ours is 1 1/2 inches tall).
    2. Cut plastic-coated craft wire into several lengths, from 12 to 18 inches long.
    3. With a drill bit the same diameter as the craft wire, drill holes about 1/2 inch deep into the block (adults only). Sand any rough edges.
    4. Have your child place one end of a wire into the block with a dab of glue and thread on a few wood beads. She can shape the wire as she likes, then insert the other end in another hole with more glue. Repeat until the holes are filled.

      Originally published in the August 2015 issue of FamilyFun magazine.