Sunday, March 1, 2009

Making Dinosaur World

I believe I've mentioned about how Little Bit, age 5, is very into dinosaurs right now. MOST people who would be interested in making "Dinosaur World" for their child would probably be the mother of boys. But not me. I'll be installing Dinosaur World right across from the sweet pink and white baby bed and play food.

Dinosaur World came to me while I was reading this book to Little Bit the other day.

She found the book at the library and this picture just captured my imagination.

I could make that, I began to think. And since no one was there to talk me out of it...I proceeded to do just that.

Do you have a dinosaur loving little one at your house? Perhaps you would like to make a dinosaur play world too! First, we painted two shoe boxes brown.

These will be the rocky mountainy type things. They will also work for storage of all the plastic dinosaurs. Don't even bother with the bottom of the boxes because they won't show.

Now, we will start on the backdrop. I bought plain old ordinary brown paper at the teacher supply store and cut it in half lengthwise. Half will go on the wall and half will go on the floor.

I sketched some mountains across the paper with a pencil. (Read: I drew triangles) Then I started to paint the sky. The first strip across the top I painted plain old red. Then, for the rest of the sky I just dipped my brush into the red, then the yellow and brushed it on. It turned out....guess what? Yes! Orange!

And the yellow is streaked in there sometimes. There is no magic to this. I didn't mix the paint at all--just keep dipping in both colors and slap it on there.

Here is a better look at my mixing method. For the mountains, I used a blob of black and a blob of white. Am I using too many artist's terms for you? First, get some black.

Then get some white.

Then dab your brush in the middle and...

paint those mountains. Are they looking a little too black? Dab more white. A little too white? Dab some more black. can't mess this up. It's for a 5 year old.

OK. Now the book shows one mountain is a volcano. So, paint some lava on there with your red. Oh, and I forgot to mention it, but I was using plain cheapo poster paint from WalMart.

Now your volcano needs smoke in the sky. I grabbed this napkin I had used to wipe my paintbrush on and wadded it up. I then dipped it into my grey paint from earlier and blotted it on. Didn't that come out cool? I didn't even plan that!

Then I just painted everything under the mountains with brown tempera paint.

Had to add a sun.

Now, when your boxes are dry you will need to add a waterfall. I let my 9 year old do this. Then I went back over her lines with really thick blue paint on the brush and let it run down a bit and dry that way. So that it looks like water running down the mountainy thing.

And here is where I made my first mistake. I started to touch up an area of the box with the brown paint. What I forgot was...I had mixed the brown with white when we did the first coat, so now this touch up was WAY too dark. So, I just started dabbing dark brown everywhere and wiping it around with a napkin.

Eh. It's not too bad. Rocks aren't one shade anyway. It's for a 5 year old.

There you go. Tomorrow we'll finish this up. There isn't much left to do. Now get crackin'! Your sons (or daughters...ahem) will love it!


  1. Too cute and so creative! What fun!!

  2. You are a genius! Great idea, and something she will LOVE LOVE LOVE! Plus, it saves all kinds of money. Well done!

  3. You must have been an art major and not an education major.

    Great job, Brenda! But. I will not be saying, "Hey Grace and Ryan! Look what my friend did for her daughter!" Just be satisfied with the fact that I am impressed. I wouldn't want them to get any ideas, you know?

  4. SO not an art major! I do draw some good stick figures though.

    I know what you mean--a friend of mine just got her kids a dog. I'm hiding that little fact from my kiddos. Wouldn't want them to get any ideas!

  5. Too cool!
    But yeah, I'm with Karly. This will remain our little secret, ok?

  6. I was chuckling the whole way through that. That is so cool! And I'm so sad there's not a single child I could possibly make it for...unless I can reverse time until my brother is little again - he'd have loved that! I don't think at 21 he'd appreciate it so much. ;)

  7. Oh but Molly the possiblilites are endless! You could make a football field, an army scene, Star Wars...Cinderella's ball, Polly Pocket world....whatever a child loves!

  8. Good job! I'll have to file to try and make something like this for my younger grandchildren. Good arts and crafts project.

  9. Cool! Oh, and Molly, if you're reading this -- Aurelia just got some wooden dino magnets, and she is having a ton of fun playing with them. So if you're really dying to make something... ;-)

  10. Wow! That is awesome. Unfortunately, we finished up dinos back in Aug or Sept. Indy would love it if we did that, but we're still trying to finish up Egypt (we've all been sick for almsot 2 weeks) so we can move on to Greece and Rome. I'll file that away though and maybe we can use it for a different project.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)