DIY Fabric Face Masks

As things start to get more serious when it comes to protecting not only our own health, but the health of others – my mom and I decided to keep busy by making fabric face masks while we self isolate. (For me, it’s been important to keep my hands busy! Busy hands, calm mind, warm heart!)

We’ve recently purchased several yards of fabric and supplies to keep making more and we are donating to those in need, and to local organizations here in the Bow Valley. My mom even made her *first* video DIY Tutorial video that we posted to her Facebook Page!

For anyone interested and able to make masks, here is a quick tutorial! You don’t need a pattern, the starting square of fabric is 12.5” with serged edges. We are donating these to folks in need!! Happy sewing!! 🧵😷. #handmademask #cottonmask #canmore

Posted by Lorraine Lefort on Friday, April 3, 2020

We both agree we think it’s important to help where we can, and because we have these sewing skills and a lot of time on our hands – we are trying to help in this way. We know it’s not much but we hope that it helps a few people out!

If you have extra fabric, thread, or elastic we would welcome donations! We would also appreciate any donations to buy more fabric so we can make as many as needed! If you’re in a position to donate, please consider, no amount too small and it would be a huge help in purchasing more fabric and supplies.


Easy Collage Rainbows

I LOVE rainbows! They make me smile. I hope this activity brings a little joy to you, too!! (note: this took me a *LOT* longer to make than I had assumed…hopefully that means it will take your kids a bit longer to do too!! I would recommend that this be an on-going project, maybe come back to it over a period of time. No need to rush!)

image is a photo of the artists hands holding a collaged rainbow, art supplies used in the project are in the background

3 easy steps to make this beauty!

  1. Cut out a cardboard shape rainbow, make sure it is big enough (mine was too small, next time I’ll make it bigger!)
  2. Grab some old magazines and cut pieces in every colour of the rainbow. It helped me to make piles of each colour and slowly work through the rainbow.
  3. Use some liquid white/school glue to glue on all the pieces, making a rainbow. Let dry and you’re done! See this time lapse video for just how easy it really is!


Geometric Wall Hangings

Keep your kids busy while challenging their scissors skills! This little kit is great for small hands who know how to cut and would like some practice cutting felt and specific shapes and angles (it’s tougher than you think!)

I assembled these kits so local parents (or even far away parents) can have everything they need for an at-home activity during self-isolation. All they need add is scissors and glue!

(if you would like one of these kits please don’t hesitate to contact me! More information in the original post on Facebook.

Here are the Step-by-Step Instructions
A note before you start: I’ll be referring to the art-makers (kids) as artists and parents as their “helpers”, feel free to read the instructions aloud to your artist, I wrote it specifically with kids ages 5+ in mind 🙂

  1. Open up your bag and explore what’s inside! Helpers will gather scissors and glue and set aside
  2. Next: place the wooden stick inside the small opening at the top, it might take a few tries but I know you can do it! (Helpers, resist the urge to take over!)

3. Start to cut out your shapes in any colour you choose. Here is a list of some shapes that you can try and cut out (if you don’t know what these shapes are, ask your Helper to look them up for you!)

  • square
  • triangle
  • circle
  • rectangle
  • jelly-bean shapes
  • ovals
  • parallelogram
  • hexagon
  • arcs
  • semi-circles

You can use any colours of felt that you like, it does not have to look like mine, in fact I hope it doesn’t! It should be your creation, let you imagination make the choices for you! The shapes can be big or little, perfect or imperfect, they can be recognizable or messy; it is up to you!

Cutting out shapes big and small with felt is tricky, but I know you can do it! Take your time and go slow. Start by cutting big shapes first, and then try cutting teeny-weeny shapes. If you are struggling, ask a grown up for some help (but don’t be surprised if they need to practice too! Felt is tricky to cut!)

4. Once all your shapes are cut out, start to place them on your wall hanging. Make a plan for where you want each shape to go. How do the colours look next to one another? How do the shapes feel sitting next to their friends? If you would like some extra practice, name the colour and the shape before you begin to glue! (Helpers: if they are learning colours now is a great time to practice slowly with them. If they are colour-experts ask them to give the colours an adjective or alliteration (maybe explain adjectives and/or alliterations also) and encourage things like Bodacious Blue, Cotton-Candy Pink, Capricious Purple, Melancholy Mauve, etc

5. Time to glue!

If you are using hot-glue with the helper of a grown up that is great, it will dry quickly. If you are using white liquid glue you will need to make sure your artwork dries completely, this takes patience. A handy tip I sometimes practice is learning to use just the right amount of glue: too much glue will take too long to dry, too little glue won’t be enough to stick the felt to the fabric. Experiment and try for yourself to find just the perfect amount!

6. When your glue is completely dry, you are ready to hang and make some tassels! This part is fun but can take some practice. It is great for ages 8+, so for my artists who are under 8, ask a grown up to help you.

Using the string in your kit, loosely measure out x4 lengths of the wooden dowel. It does not have to be perfect, just an approximate amount.

Cut and tie a knot at each end. I used basic overhand knots

7. Attached this string to your wooden towel by wrapping around x2 times, this is what we will use to hang your wall hanging! You’re almost done, so exciting!

8. The next steps are making tassels. They are fun and easy and you can add them to any other projects you might be working on! They also make great gifts. I’ve laid this part out step by step. Take a look at the pictures first and then follow the instructions below.

How to Make a Tassel:

  1. Wrap the string around your hand (child’s hand) about 10-15 times. Add more or less string based on how fat you would like your tassel to be but make sure you have enough string for two tassels if you desire.
  2. Cut x2 pieces approx 3″ (it can be approximate and roughly cut, does not have to be perfect but it has to be long enough to tie knots)
  3. Keeping the string wrapped around your hand, thread one of the cut strings behind all the other strings on your palm
  4. Tie x2 knots (like tying your shoelaces into a knot) so the bundle of strings is now all tied together
  5. Take the bundle off your hand and lay it on the table
  6. Place the other loose string behind the bundle, approximately 1/2 ” from the top of the tied strings, wrap the loose piece around to the front, tie two knots again like your shoelaces to secure it – you should start to see the tassel shape forming at this point!
  7. Once the knots are secured you can take your scissors and cut the bundle! Trim as you need to.

That’s it! Your tassel is ready to hang! Now – back to the #craftalong

9. Attach your tassels to your Wallhanging with basic knots. Ensure they are secured, trim any excess hanging down and VOILA! Your wallhanging is complete!!

Thanks for crafting along with me, I hope you love your geometric shape wall hanging!! If you liked this activity, can you let me know?? It will help me know more of what I should do next time. Or, if you have an idea you would like to share please feel free to share that with me also!!


  • need some help cutting shapes?? Try using a sharpie marker to draw your shape onto the felt first, then cut out the shape. This is great for artists practicing cutting!
  • see how small you can make your shapes, the tinier the better!
  • once you cut a piece, glue it on right away, that way it can start to dry why you are still cutting out other shapes (the only trouble with this, is that you will be cutting and gluing on the fly, instead of making a cohesive plan. Both options are fun!)
  • If you have any other tips, let me know and I’ll share them out!
Family Crafts

10 More Crafts for Being Stuck Inside

I hope that these fun little arts & crafts activities are useful to you while school is out! You have no idea how valuable free-creative play is to your kid’s brains and it heartens me to know that you’re creating together!!

Process-based arts and crafts (like these and the ones I posted previously) help kids develop critical decision making skills, calm the nervous system, and of course, encourages creativity. It also helps with problem solving, confidence, and “feeling like an artist”, never underestimate that last one!

Click below to download 10 more crafts to do together!

Many of these crafts use basic materials from the Dollar Store and Bow Valley Basics, if you don’t have the exact materials handy, you can improvise! I am always available by email if you have any questions.

*please note that, again, I typed out these instructions pretty quickly as I know so many are shocked and hurriedly making a plan now that schools have closed and need more things to do or plan to do, if I made any errors please let me know so I can fix them quickly! Also, I’m not a professional lesson-plan writer, I’m an artist who loves to teach and share creativity, thank you for taking my quickly-put-together plans with a grain of salt  *

Enjoy and I hope I get to create with you again soon!
PS – artsPlace is coming out with virtual/online content! Keep your eyes peeled for more!!!

~ Sam

Family Crafts

Crafts for Being Stuck Inside

My friends! I will miss seeing so many of you at the Family artsPlay classes I usually teach in Canmore at artsPlace. I know this is a hard and scary time, but I hope that you will still make some arts and crafts together!

Please use this class plan to spark your creativity! This can be a guideline for you to have some fun while spending some time being creative. I know many of us will be inside more than we had planned, and while we might feel cooped up, creating something together can take our imaginations into amazing places!

Many of these crafts use basic materials from the Dollar Store and Bow Valley Basics, if you don’t have the exact materials handy, you can improvise! I am always available by email if you have any questions.

*please note that I typed out these instructions rather quickly as I know so many are shocked and hurriedly making a plan now that schools have closed, if I made any errors please let me know so I can fix them quickly!. Also, I’m not a professional lesson-plan writer, I’m an artist who loves to teach and share creativity, thank you for taking my quickly-put-together plans with a grain of salt 😉 *

Enjoy and I hope I get to create with you again soon!

~ Sam


Craft Club (for Grown Ups)

Our local art centre has made the decision to postpone or cancel all further classes due to the COVID19 pandemic, as such this includes my classes too!

I thought it might be nice for folks to keep making arts and crafts, perhaps using these activities to de-stress, or find some meditative or quiet time making crafts amongst the chaos. I’m publishing my class plan for the Adult Craft Club classes that we had planned in the hopes that you might be interested in doing them at home on your own!

The materials are all relatively easy to source, most from the dollar store or Bow Valley Basics (or local office supply store), and the crafts themselves are easy to do without a huge amount of instruction, I know you can do it without me there 😉 ! If you need some help or have some questions please do not hesitate to reach out! Click below to download:

Family Crafts

Easy Wacky Birds

As folks are finding themselves indoors this weekend (both with the -22º weather here in Alberta and the social distancing we’re being encouraged to practice), I wanted to share this invitation to create a little wacky bird!

If you have some restless kids, and are looking for a fun little craft you can make as a family, give this easy 7-step wacky bird a go!

I focused on using materials that I thought might be easy to find around the house, with the exception of a hot glue gun (but maybe you have one hanging around, if so please use it!), if you don’t have a hot glue gun you can use a regular glue stick or white school glue, it will just take a little longer to dry.

As with many of the projects I offer in my classes, I hope that it gives you inspiration and you take these steps as an invitation to create something great together with your kids. Don’t feel like you have to do exactly as I have done here, the concept can be used in lots of exciting ways- let your kids come up with their own ideas and give them the space and time to create on their own.

Here’s the steps I took to create this quick little craft.

Wacky Birds
(great for ages 3-8, but that’s only a suggestion!)
As always practice caution and good judgement. I ask parents and kids ages 12+ to handle the hot glue, no one under 12 gets to use the hot glue guns in my classes unless your kid is up for it with your supervision)

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Colouring tools (markers, crayons, whatever you have handy is great!)
  • Yarn, string, thin rope like twine, even dental floss can work!
  • glue (I used hot glue, but white glue or a glue stick can also work)
  • Optional extras: feathers, a googly eye, gemstones, sequins or sparkles, felt, etc (I didn’t include these in the sample as I was trying to think about what the average person might have on hand at home and what they might not. I wasn’t sure if you would have feathers and googly eyes hanging around like me?!)
  • Cut a piece of paper into the shape of a bird — it can be any bird and any size, but it works well to have bird that has a head and a body and a tail.
  • Next, using the scraps from around the bird, cut out legs, a beak, and an eye (or use a googly eye!)
  • Now we colour it in! You can use any colouring tools you have on hand (like markers, crayons, pastels, I used pencil crayons as they were the easiest for me to grab) You can use any colours you like. A blackbird! A blue-bird! The infamous Blue-legged Rainbow Flamingo, it can be anything!
  • Flip your bird over and make small lines roughly 1″ apart, all around the edge of your bird. They are lines you are going to cut. (Parents with kids under 5 might have to help out with this part, but it could be a fun time for them to try it out and practice with scissors)
  • Cut the small lines all around your bird, only the length and distance of the lines you drew. These small little cuts/slits become what hold on to the yarn so it does not slip, like a grip for the yarn (it also helps eliminate the need for using tape)
  • Using yarn, string (or anything you have on hand) kids can start to wrap the yarn around the bird, tucking the yarn into the slits. Wrap the yarn in a random pattern or any pattern you like from slit to slit, the wackier, the better! I like to start by wrapping the yarn around the body of the bird, and then wrapping around the head and tail. Once the yarn is done being wrapped, cut the end and tuck it in (or glue it).
  • Last, glue on the legs, beak and eye… and voila! Your little wacky bird is ready to play!!
DIY, Mindful Art Making

Printmaking in Haida Gwaii

I had the great pleasure and privilege to facilitate a printmaking class at the Haida Gwaii Cultural Heritage Centre in March. As part of the duties of the Adjudicator of the All Island Art Show, I gave a personal presentation about my work, and facilitated a lino-block printmaking class. It was amazing!

I transported 2 giant suitcases full of art supplies to use in the workshop with me to Haida Gwaii. There is no art store on the island, everything had to be brought in, which I was happy to do! Fortunately all my clothes fit into my carry-on, so my suitcases were packed to the brim of papers, pencils, brayers, paint, barrens, bench hoods, blades, and more art supplies. Despite the heavy luggage it was an experience I won’t soon forget!

The workshop is an annual tradition put on by the Haida Gwaii Art Council. Each year they select an artist to adjudicate the show and provide feedback to the artists, as well as facilitate a workshop and give a public presentation about their work. It was so joyful to meet all the participants, see their artwork, and create with them in the workshop. Such a beautiful community of people. What an honour to have been selected!!

We used basic Speedycarve blocks and tools, and I taught participants a tissue-paper and graphite transfer techniques to get their patterns/drawings onto their blocks. Students had all sorts of wonderful outcomes! From bull kelp to bees and everything in between. Here are a few of their outcomes:

We had ample time in the workshop to discuss how we bring art-making into our lives, or how it can sometimes get left out. We took the time to print on both paper and fabric, and we did a quick “show-and-share” at the end.

Thank you for having me Haida Gwaii Arts Council!