Grab your Sharpies and rubbing alcohol! We’re making homemade bookmarks for Mother’s Day, and we’re using one of my favourite art techniques for kids. It’s a cool Sharpie marker tie-dye technique that’s simple, beautiful and quite fascinating. If you love easy science activities, you’re going to want to try this one!
Don’t you just love a kid-made gift that you can actually put to good use? With Mother’s Day just around the corner, the hooligans been working on some simple Mother’s Day crafts here in my home daycare. Our most recent project was these gorgeous homemade bookmarks that the kids will give their moms this Sunday. I’m so excited to share this cool art process with you!
If you’ve ever seen the Sharpie tie-dye technique, you can probably guess how we made our bookmarks. If you’re not familiar with the process, let me explain. When you colour with Sharpie markers and then drip rubbing alcohol on to your drawings, something very cool happens. You get this awesome tie-dyed effect. A lot of people colour tee-shirts this way. I wanted to know if we could get that same tie-dye effect on plastic, so I grabbed an empty vinegar bottle and experimented. I was completely impressed with the results, and so the idea for homemade bookmarks was born.
These bookmarks are so simple to make, and the supplies are minimal! You gotta love that!
To make our homemade bookmarks, we used:
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- a plastic vinegar jug
- Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Markers
- rubbing alcohol (make sure it’s 99%. A weaker strength will not work.)
- spray varnish
- medicine dropper or pipette
- ribbon, twine or cording
- scissors, hole punch
Cut out your bookmark:
To remove the label from the vinegar jug, I filled the jug with very hot water, and let it sit for 10 minutes. The heat from the water softens the glue, and the label peels off easily.
To make our bookmarks, I traced one of my own bookmarks on the plastic with a pencil, and used a pair of sharp scissors to cut it out. I repeated the process, getting 4 bookmarks out of one vinegar jug.
Colour your bookmark:
Next, we coloured our bookmarks. Using a variety of bright colours, cover your entire bookmark with your Sharpies. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Just fill in the whole bookmark.
Now for the magic!
The Sharpie and rubbing alcohol tie-dye technique:
Fill a dropper/pipette with rubbing alcohol and drip small drops on to your bookmark. You can tap your dropper against your bookmark – that will deposit tiny amounts on to the plastic, or you can just drip the alcohol randomly over your art.
Then let it sit. Do not move the bookmark, or tip it, or all of your colours will run together. Just watch it, and you’ll see the colours start to blend and fuse together. It’s so magical and beautiful.
You can experiment with the amount of alcohol you use. If you’re not happy with the way things are going, you can swipe the bookmark clean and start again. A paper towel is good for this.
Isn’t it amazing? I love watching this process!
Let your bookmark dry completely. It doesn’t take too long because the alcohol evaporates fairly quickly.
Setting the colour:
To prevent your Sharpie art from rubbing off, you need to give it a shot of spray varnish. Do not brush on a liquid varnish as it will likely dissolve your art.
Lightly spray your bookmark with the varnish. If you use too much, it will activate the Sharpie ink like the alcohol did, and your colours will start to bleed again.
Allow your varnish to dry, and spray with a second coat if you like. You don’t have to be quite as careful with your second coat of varnish because your art has been protected by the first coat.
Once your varnish has dried, punch a hole in the top of your bookmark, thread a ribbon or some cording through, and if you like, embellish with a pretty button.
What do you think? A beautiful homemade bookmark, perfect for Mother’s day.
And, if you want to try this process on a shirt, head on over to Mama Pea Pod, and check out their Sharpie-dyed tees!
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!
Looking for more cool art ideas? Try our:
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