Garden Inspiration

For Mother’s Day this year, my sweet husband bought me lots and lots of flowers to plant in our backyard. Among them was the black tropicana you see above. It’s amazing what gardening can do for your soul…and your inspiration! ¬†I was so inspired by the sunlight shining through these brilliantly lovely leaves, that I just HAD to try to draw it.

I can never quite do justice to God’s artwork, especially the amazing colors, but I sure enjoy trying! ūüôā


Portrait Drawing Part 3

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In my previous 2 posts, I demonstrated how to map out the face and draw the eyes, nose, and mouth.¬†Click here¬†for the first post and¬†here¬†for the second post. ¬†In this post, we’ll finish off our portrait.

We’ll start by adjusting the distance between her bottom lip and her chin. Measure…

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And mark…

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Now, we’ll continue to adjust the distance between various features and the side of her face. ¬†Measure, measure, measure…

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And Adjust…

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Next, measure the distance between the brow line and Audrey’s hair.

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Begin to map out the hair line across her forehead.

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And map…

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I decided to go ahead and do a little more shading on this side of her face while I was mapping. It makes me feel better to have a little dimension. ;0)

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This would be a good time to add her left ear. The top of the ear lines up with the top of the eye brow and is roughly a cm from the side of her face.

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The bottom of the ear falls about a cm above the tip of the nose.

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Lightly sketch the outer edge of the ear.

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Now add the shadows inside the ear and the circle of her earring.

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Shade her earring. I also decided to sketch in a bit more of her hair before moving on. ūüôā

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Now, a little more hair line measuring and mapping…

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And we’re ready to adjust the other side of her face and add the other ear. The top of the ear is about 3/4 of an inch from the arch of her brow. The side of her face is about a half inch from the arch of her brow.

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Map the ear…

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And fill in the shadows… I did a little more shading on the face and mapping on the hair too.

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I darkened her part.

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You’ll notice in the upcoming pics that I keep going back to darken various places in Audrey’s hair little by little.

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Now we’ll add Audrey’s neck. Measure…

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Her neck on this side is 3/8 of an inch, and it lines up with the inside of her pupil. Go ahead and add a slightly curved line for it.

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The other side of her neck is angled. It begins just under the jaw line and lines up roughly 1/4 inch from the end of her eyebrow.

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The other end of her neck is 2 1/2 inches below the end of her eyebrow.

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Connect the dots, then measure out her shoulders, noting where her shirt begins….

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Notice her right shoulder is a half inch farther out on the bottom of the ruler than on the top.

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You’ll also want to map out her arms and the little sliver of back on her left side (our right)…

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I just eyeballed the neckline.

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Once you have her neck and shoulders mapped out, you can begin adding shadows where you see them.

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If you get them too dark, you can dab them a bit with your eraser.

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Next, begin shading in her shirt.

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There are some faint highlights on her left side.

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At this point in my drawing, I realized that I had forgotten to add the dangling parts of her earrings. Oops!

The bottom of her left earring lines up with the corner of her mouth and is about 1/8 of an inch from her jaw line.


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Mark the bottom of the earring.

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Then sketch it in.

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Repeat those steps for the other earring.

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Shade both earrings.

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Now go back and add any missing shadows and darken any that are too light. You may want to use your soft pencil on the darkest darks.

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If you’re drawing on tinted paper, you may want to use a charcoal white pencil on the whites of the eyes and the brightest highlight on the mouth.

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And that’s it! I hope you found this helpful. ūüôā

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Portrait Drawing Part 2

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In my first post, I showed you how to begin to map out the face and draw the eyes and eye brows.¬†Click here¬†to view that post. In this post, I’ll show you how to add the nose and mouth.

Roughly speaking, the end of the nose is usually halfway between the eyes and the chin, or 1 1/2 “eye lengths” down. I wanted to be a little more precise, so I measured the distance from the corner of the eye to the tip of the nose. It was about an inch.

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I added a light mark to my face map for the end of the nose. I actually did this before I finished my eyes, but it’s fine to do it after.

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Next, I measured the distance between the end of the nose and the central line of the mouth.

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This space is just shy of 1/2 inch, so I marked that on my drawing.

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Now, we can start drawing the nose. The nostrils will sit just above the nose line. Try to draw the shape of the darkest part of the nostrils first.

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Once you have the nostrils, you can erase the guide line going down the middle of the nose and begin “carving out” the nose with shading. There are actually very few hard lines on the nose. There is a line at the edge of each nostril, but most of the rest is just shading. You may want to go back and darken the nostrils with your soft pencil if you have one.

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Add in all of the shadows you see on either side and under the nose. Start light…

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Now we’re ready for the mouth. You’ll notice that the corners of the mouth line up roughly with the inside edges of Audrey’s Irises. Sorry, the pencil distorts this a bit in my photo.

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Go ahead and sketch out the basic shape of the center line of the mouth beginning with the “mouth” mark you made earlier.

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Now lightly add the shape of the lips above and below.

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Once the shape is mapped out, shade the lips in. Pay attention to where the highlights and deepest shadows go.

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That’s it for this blog post. I’ll show you how to define the rest of her face and draw her ears in my next post. ūüôā


Portrait Drawing Part 1

My drawing class at co-op recently expressed an interest in learning to draw facial features, so I decided to find a fun model for them to practice on.¬†It’s harder than you might think to find a good, straight-on portrait to draw from, but I finally came across this timeless photo of Audrey Hepburn.


The first step in drawing a portrait is to map out the basic shape of the head. You’ll want to start with an upside down egg shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect right now, just draw VERY lightly so that you can tweak the shape of your face to make it more exact as you go. ¬†To keep things simple, I drew my portrait the same size as the original.

I used a ruler to measure the height and width of the head, but you could easily just hold your pencil up to it and use your thumb to mark where the edge is. Measuring will help you get your proportions right.

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Once you have a basic egg shape, you’ll want to measure off where the eyes and nose will fall. Draw a line across the middle of your egg for her eyes to fall on and another line up and down the center of your egg for her nose and mouth to center on. Audrey’s eyes angle up a bit in this photo, so I curved my line a bit. Think of a string laying across the egg. Draw these lines VERY lightly as well. You will erase them later.¬†You may be thinking that this will put her eyes awfully low, but remember, a large part of her head is covered with hair.

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Audrey’s face is actually turned ever so slightly to the right (our left) in this photo, so I adjusted my lines accordingly by moving the nose line over about 1/8 of an inch to the left.

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Once you have your eye and nose lines drawn, you’ll want to measure an eye.

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Typically, a face is five “eye lengths” across: one eye length from the side of the face to the corner of the first eye, one eye length for the eye, one eye length between eyes, one eye length for the next eye, and one eye length from the corner of that eye to the side of the face. Once you have your eye length, go ahead and mark it off across the eye line. Audrey’s eye was about 3/4 of an inch for my drawing.¬†Because Audrey’s face is turned slightly to the left in this photo, I measured the space from the corners of the eyes to the sides of the face separately, and adjusted my marks accordingly.

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Once your eye lengths are measured off, go ahead and LIGHTLY sketch in the eyes. Eyes are typically almond shaped. Once you have almond shapes, study the shape of the eyes in the photo and adjust your lines accordingly. Do this lightly.

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Next, add the iris. Try to pay attention to how much white is around the iris and where the edges of the iris fall on the upper eye line.

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Once you have your iris mapped out, add the pupil and highlights. If you are drawing on tinted paper, you can use a charcoal white pencil to add the highlights. If not, you’ll want to outline the highlights with pencil, so that you don’t accidentally fill in over them.

I’ve already added lines for my nose and mouth in this photo, but ¬†you don’t need to. I’ll explain how to do that in my next post.

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Next, shade in the iris. Notice that parts of it are darker than others. Try to make your shading as similar to the photo as you can.

I like to do most of my drawing with a good ole No. 2 graphite, mechanical pencil. It will stay sharp and is able to do both very light and fairly dark lines. Then, I use a nice, soft (extra dark) graphite pencil to deepen the darkest darks, such as the pupil. Soft drawing pencils usually have a ‘B’ on them.

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Next, add the little tear duct in the corner of the eye.

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Now, begin to thicken up the top eyelid line to make lashes.

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Once you have the eyelashes shaped right, go ahead and add a line for the crease about 1/16 of an inch above the lash line. Pay attention to the shape of the crease in the photo and how it intersects the lashes.

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It’s amazing how much more realistic a few lines and a little shading can make your drawing, isn’t it?

Next, measure the space between the corner of the eye and the eyebrow. Notice that the beginning of the eyebrow lines up fairly well with the corner of the eye.

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The other end of the eyebrow is at about a 45 degree angle from the outer corner of the eye, and the highest part of the arch is almost directly over the outer corner…perhaps a little before it.

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Measure off where you want your brow to start.

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Lightly sketch out the basic shape of the brow, and line the end up on an angle with the corner of the eye.

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Now you’re ready to fill in the brow. Notice that it is darker in places and lighter in others. Try to match your shading to the photo. Also, remember that eyebrows are made up of little hairs, so use little strokes to mimic the hairs. Start light and work your way darker. I often come back and darken areas later, after moving on to other parts of my drawing.

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Short little strokes fill in the bottom lashes. There is a teeny, tiny space between the lashes and the bottom of the iris.

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Add a light shadow from the beginning of the brow angled down toward the nose, one just over the iris, and one from the outer corner to the end of the brow. Just draw the shadows you see in the photo. Start light.

We will add more shading to this eye later, but for now, go ahead and repeat this whole process to draw the eye on the other side.

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Et voila, eyes!

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If you’re drawing on colored paper, you may want to color the whites of her eyes lightly with a charcoal white pencil.

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That’s all I have time to post tonight. ¬†I’ll show you how to do the nose and mouth in my next post. ūüôā





Flip Book Fun

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If there’s anything good about being a little under the weather, it’s that it gives me an excuse to sit and draw. I’ve been putting off trying my hand at making a flip book for far too long, so today I gave it a try.¬† I’m glad I did, because I think the kids at co-op¬†might really enjoy this project!¬† I haven’t figured out how to post videos on here, so you may have to just check out the video of my flip book on my FaceBook Page: here.¬† For this blog post, I’ll make due with still shots.

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I decided to start with half of a pad of white sticky notes (about 45 sheets). It was a little tricky keeping the pad together as I drew, so I finally just let the sheets separate and then added each sheet back on top as I drew. That way I could draw on the whole sheet.  The hard part was getting each new sheet lined up perfectly with the stack below, so that the pages would flip easily when I finished.

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I started at the bottom and worked my way up.

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I made gradual adjustments to my drawing as I went up the pages. I’m not going to post all 44, but here are a few to give you an idea.

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I found that I could just barely make out the picture below each blank sheet, which was helpful, because I could trace the parts that weren’t changing.

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Once I was finished, I gave it a title and added a clip to hold it together a bit more securely.

2015-10-12 17.52.41¬†It’s a “reversible” flip book.¬† You can make the sun go up or down, depending on which direction you flip it. ūüėȬ† I may eventually add black lines and some color, but for now, I’m enjoying the pencil…


Fun with Watercolor Pencils!

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Hi Everyone!¬† I hope you are doing well.¬† I’ve been neglecting my blog AGAIN, but I do have some fun watercolor pencil projects to share now.¬† I haven’t had much success with watercolor pencils in the past, but I decided to give them one more try when I saw a Prismacolor set (Prismacolor pencils are my favorite colored pencils), and I’m so glad I did!

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2015-10-01 21.27.36The Pentel Water Brushes were a life saver in my art class too.  They eliminate the need for cups of water and clean up easily by gently squeezing a little water out and wiping the bristles on a paper towel.

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I started out by making a color palette for myself, because the pencil colors change a bit once you add water.¬† I also experimented a bit with color mixing. ūüôā

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My first class project idea was this “Inspirational Pumpkin.”

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I started by drawing the pumpkin with verse in pencil.  Then I went over the pencil with an ultra fine-tipped Sharpie.

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Next, I colored the entire pumpkin yellow (my highlight color), being careful to follow the contours of the pumpkin with the pencil lines.

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Then I added orange (my mid-tone), to the darker parts of the pumpkin and the crease lines.

2015-09-27 17.00.322015-09-27 17.24.42I then added red, blue, and brown to the darkest parts.

2015-09-27 18.52.11Next, it was time to add yellow, green, blue, and red to the stem.

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Then¬†I added a little black to the very darkest places.¬† I also added a shadow under the pumpkin,¬†which you’ll see in the next pic.

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Finally, it was time to add the water.  Notice how much the color changes!

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Next, I decided to play around with some fall leaves. (I LOVE fall leaves). I found some WONDERFUL free to print leaf templates by Amber Wagner to speed things up a bit here: Oil and Blue Blog (Such a neat blog too.)

2015-10-01 21.30.19Love the way the colors blend when you add water!

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I’m struggling a bit with the veins… it’s a work in progress… ;0)

2015-10-07 19.24.35Last, but not least, I wanted to try a more realistic technique.¬† Not too shabby!¬† I’ll share a few photos of the process below.¬† It’s basically the same process as my first “Pumpkin Drawing” post: click here

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That’s all for now. Be sure to let me know if you decide to try your hand at any of these!


Easter Soap Carvings

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Happy Passover / Easter Week, Everybody! ¬†I just love this season of celebrating the new life we have in Jesus, don’t you? ¬†What better way to celebrate the “clean slate” Jesus gives us every day than with some fun soap carvings! ¬†If carving isn’t your thing, you might want to check out the Water Color Easter Eggs project I posted last year. ¬†You can find it here.

I know some people shy away from images of eggs and bunnies to celebrate Easter, but I look at them as reminders of the fresh new “spring” life we have in Christ. ¬†Nevertheless, I have also included cross and butterfly images in my templates for those of you who would prefer something more obviously Christian. ¬†You can download my template pdf for free here:¬†Templates.

You’ll need a few supplies for this project:

  1. Soap (I recommend Ivory)
  2. A Template (Print mine and cut one out or draw your own…you could even just draw your own outline directly onto your soap if you wish. ¬†I printed mine on card stock to make it a bit sturdier.)
  3. A Large Craft Stick/Tongue Depressor (or something similar)
  4. A Small, Rectangular Craft Stick (or something similar such as a wooden chop stick with a flat end, or a flat head screwdriver…you could even cut off or file down the rounded part of a popsicle stick)
  5. Sandpaper (to sharpen the small craft stick into a wedge)
  6. A Toothpick
  7. A Small Paint Brush (to brush away shavings from design)
  8. A Paper Plate (optional, but I like to carve my soap on a plate to catch the shavings)

Here is a photo of my supplies:

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Ok, let’s get started! ¬†First, you’ll want to create your “wedge” tool by sanding both sides of the end your small craft stick until you have a nice “sharp” edge for sculpting. ¬†If you’re using a flat head screwdriver, you can skip this part. ;0)

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Next, unwrap the soap and use the side of your tongue depressor to gently scrape off the “Ivory” from both sides of the soap. Try to get the surface of your soap as smooth as possible.

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Once your soap is smooth, place your template on top and trace around it with your toothpick. ¬†This narrow outline that you’re making is called a “stop cut”. It tells you where to stop carving away the soap.

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Once you’re done tracing, remove the template, and you should have a nice outline to follow. ¬†Below is a photo of the cross my oldest son traced on his soap. ¬†Unfortunately, it turned out to be too narrow in places and didn’t survive the carving process, so I don’t have the finished product of his to show you. ūüė¶ ¬†Don’t worry, I made a much thicker cross for the templates I posted above.

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Now your ready to begin slowly and carefully removing the soap on the outsides of your tracing using the wedge tool you made (or screwdriver). Start with shallow scraping along the outside of your “stop cut” lines.

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Then work your way out.

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My youngest son chose an Easter Egg, which is much more forgiving than a cross to carve if you have younger kids.

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Eventually, you’re going to carve all the way down the sides.

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Once you get the basic shape carved out, you’ll want to use your stick and your fingers to smooth the sides and edges.

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Get as much as you can with the stick, then use your fingers to smooth out what’s left.

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Once you have the shape just like you want it, you can use your toothpick to draw in the details.

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You may need to go over the details more than once to get them to really show up.  You can use your paint brush to brush off the soap scrapings.

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You can use the end of your paint brush for larger details.

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Ta-Da!  I hope you enjoy your soap carving as much as I did mine!

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I know my kiddos enjoyed theirs!

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Now, I’ve read that you can paint these with a thin layer of water-based paint, but I would think acrylic would be better if you’re going to handle your sculpture at all. ¬†I haven’t personally tried either though, so I can’t really say for sure. ¬†If you decide to experiment with paint, PLEASE let me know what you use and how it works! ¬†And as always, please send me pictures for my student gallery if you decide to give this project a try!

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