Our kids are bright and adventurous, but for some reason they have been spending more time than we like on their electronics. Yes, they’ve been out for almost daily bike rides and playing board games, but if they aren’t engaged in those things, they’re digitally attached. Even when they are hanging out with the new neighbors, they each have cell phones in their hands.
Thankfully, Scott is creative. Using rocks from the yard, leftover paint from a home project and a package of googly eyes, he put together a cool craft project for the kids. The other day we stopped by the store to pick up some new paint brushes but other than that we had everything we needed to create a swarm of pet ladybugs. The best part is that the kids were able to do almost everything themselves.
DIY Pet Rock Ladybugs
If you are as in love with these little bugs as we are, creating them is very simple. Here’s the list of items you’ll need for the project. If you have more than one person making these, be sure to get extra paint brushes so everyone has their own and can work on the project simultaneously.
- paint brushes – regular as well as fine tip
- black and red paint
- googly eyes, variety pack (Self-adhesive. If not self-adhesive, you’ll want super glue and surgical clamps.)
- condiment cups
- cardboard or small box
The first thing you’ll need are the rocks. You can find these in your yard or at the park. You’ll want to look for ones that are round, thin and symmetrical with as few defects (chips/cracks) as possible. Take them home then wash and dry them.
Now the fun begins. Place your cardboard or small box on the table, preferably on an outdoor or craft table. This is for catching the drips while also making it easy to move them around. We opted for some cardboard boxes from restaurant leftovers. (Mmmm… leftover barbecue…)
Using a regular paint brush and red paint, evenly distribute paint across the top half of each rock, making sure to get the sides as well. If it doesn’t look perfect, don’t worry, there will be an opportunity to touch it up later.
Set the half-painted rocks aside and wash the paint brushes while the rocks are drying in the sun. It won’t take long for this step so don’t go too far. By the time you’re done washing out the brushes, you’ll almost be ready to start painting the bottom half of the rock. When the rocks are dry enough to pick up, repeat the process of painting half the rock then cleaning the brushes.
When the rocks are dry again, inspect them for quality. If you don’t like how the red looks, add another coat to the top while touching up the spots that were missed. Adding another coat to the bottom of the rock isn’t important since it will be, you know, on the bottom. While you are allowing the last of the red paint to dry, thoroughly clean the paint brushes as you won’t be using them again. You’re done with the red paint and can put it away.
Next you’re ready for the black paint. We found black paint in some of the kids craft kits and opted to use that rather than buy more. We poured some into condiment cups to make dipping and controlling the amount on the brushes easier. Using a fine brush, draw a curved line to indicate where you want the head to be. There isn’t a right or wrong answer because each ladybug will be different. Fill in the area on the top and bottom to cover the red where the head will be. When you are done, you can always add more black to increase the head size. If you are working on multiple ladybugs (why not, right?) then the first ones should be done by the time you complete the head on the last one. Now it’s time for details!
Using the fine brush still, draw a line from the head down the back. Symmetrically on each side of the line, add spots. When you’re done with that, clean the brushes and put the paints away.
By now, they should be starting to look like ladybugs. But they’re missing one final detail that will pull it all together. The googly eyes. If you are using self-adhesive eyes, you’ll just need to remove the paper backing and apply the eyes where you think they look best. If you are using Superglue, we recommend using some type of clamp to hold the eyes while the glue is applied. This project wouldn’t be much fun if someone ended up with fingers stuck together. The size of the eyes will vary based on the size of the rock as well as how you painted the head.
You now have an entire swarm of ladybugs ready to place around the house, in the garden or to give as gifts. We painted these a week ago and placed them on the landscape in the front yard. Every time I walk outside to get the mail, to talk to a neighbor or just coming and going, I smile at how adorable these little creatures are. The process made the kids happy and kept them occupied with something creative while the after-effect has brought an unexpected joy. We liked it so much, this past weekend we went hunting for new rocks to add to our ladybug swarm.
What types of crafts make you smile when you see them afterwards?