If you visit my blog regularly, you have probably realized by now that much of my art inspiration comes from Gail Bartel, aka That Artist Woman.  We do many of her projects, all of which are amazing and wonderful, in my opinion (I only wish we had time to try more).  Anyway, she has several posts featuring what she calls “inchies” (or “twinchies”) which are these itty bitty pieces of artwork which are grouped together when finished to form a composite, coordinated piece of art.
My first grade daughter and I spent the month of October working on and off during our art time to make a set of Fall Inchies. It was great fun, especially for two gals who LOVE anything miniature.  See how small they actually are?  My hand easily spans the entire finished project.
 
Inchies are definitely a process.  We spent our first block of art time just painting papers together (the little boys helped too).  We actually did FAR more than we needed but that was intentional because I wanted to get a pretty good stash of painted papers going to save us time during other projects in the future.   We painted on newspaper, old book pages, watercolor paper and printed pages of sheet music. We texturized some pages and made fun patterns on others. 
As you will see, many of these painted papers were used for this project.
Some of our painted paper
While the kids painted papers, I used my paper cutter to cut out about 50 “twinchies” (2x2inch) on watercolor paper.  I made extras so the boys could join in as they wanted and make their own, which they sometimes did, and also so I could have some ready to use later in the schoolyear (We would love to make Christmas or even Valentine’s Day Inchies!).
 
We did this project one or two inchies at at time so it never really got overwhelming.
But like most things arts and crafts I am great at starting, not so great at always finishing, and *terrible* about blogging the end results.   
So a couple days ago, we pulled out all our finished inchies and saw we only needed to do 2 more, so we plowed forward and got it done.  I am so glad we did, because now that it is mounted, it looks JUST beautiful, and my daughter also has a wonderful piece of artwork to add to her first grade portfolio.
 
I did not document each miniature piece of art with pictures during the actual process, but I can briefly explain how we did each one.  But please check out That Artist Woman’s blog post on Fall Inchies where you can find ALL the detailed instructions. 

Each inchie square represents something we love about Autumn!
Here they are, in no particular order:

Candy Corn
 This is our most favorite fall candy, so of course it deserved a spot.  I don’t know, but Candy Corn is something that only tastes good to me in fall, how about you? 
We followed That Artist Woman’s instructions and placed a vinyl candy corn-shaped sticker on a white inchie square.  We then painted over the entire thing in black acrylic and let it dry.  Once dry, we just peeled back the sticker, then used colored pencils to color in the candy corn’s orange and yellow. 
{sigh. If our candy corn looks strange to you, it’s because we did not get the color order correct.  My daughter and I sat and argued about the order but I was too lazy to go look it up on the internet and (sadly) we had already eaten all the candy corn that had been laying around, so we had no reference.
“Oh well,” as my girl said when we realized later it was wrong, “we did our best.”  So we left it as is.}
She then stamped on the word “yum” using our miniature letter stamps and white acrylic paint.

Sunflower

We always enjoy getting to our local farm to pick flowers each summer, but very often, our flower picking goes into fall as well.  That’s when the sunflower fields are nearly finished and you can find these pretty fall-looking sunflowers with faded brownish yellow petals. 
This sunflower is another one of That Artist Woman’s projects, and we loved it so much, we also did a full sized version.  The inchie is painted with watery tempera cake paint in a vibrant blue, then sprinkled with salt to give it that mottled look.  Once dry, you simply add an assortment of yellow and brown petals (here you can see we used many of our painted papers), plus a few book page petals which always look great.  Add a black round center, some glue, and sprinkle it with poppy seeds!  This was one of my daughter’s favorite inchies to make because there were so many fun little steps.

Pumpkins and Apples
 
What would fall be without pumpkins and apples? For these two inchies, the same process was used.  The how-to’s are detailed on yet another one of That Artist Woman’s postings.  When I saw this posting on paper embossing, I realized these embellishments were perfectly sized and themed to be used for our Fall inchies project.  Essentially, this is homemade paper embossing using layers of wet kleenex and school glue which is then left to dry overnight on a rubber stamp.  Once dry, you trim off the excess tissue, and paint them (we used acrylic). 
 
This was my favorite of each of the techniques we used in our Inchie project. I actually made many more of these embellishments–acorns, fall leaves, owls and flowers, all of which I painted and saved to use on homemade cards.  We discovered that even the tiniest stamps can be used, and we really enjoyed making them (and using supplies we already had on hand!). As for the pumpkin and the apple shown here, I had my first grade gal do the main painting, then I added details (like the veins of the leaves).  Don’t they just look so great on the book pages?  This is a technique I plan on using again and again with other stamps. 

Fall Tree and Leaves
Ah, the colors of fall.  For these two inchies, we made good use of our painted papers.  The first one is a smaller version of a painting we did a year or so ago-the popular straw-blown paint technique–click here for that post.
We glued a square of fall-colored paper onto our pre-cut inchie, then using black acrylic paint (slightly watered down), my daughter painted on a tree trunk, then used a dropper and a straw to drip and blow paint to create the branches.  My kids enjoy using this technique, but I gotta say, it was a little bit trickier on such a small surface space!
The second picture shown just above was the simplest inchie we did.  We used painted paper and stamped on some falling leaves.  We then trimmed it a bit and “framed” it on the inchie square. The sponge-painted paper itself was so beautiful we didn’t want to hide it. 
 
 Fall Sunset
 

 Here is another fun inchie we did–the sun setting behind the tree-lined horizon.  Now, That Artist Woman did one very similar in her fall inchie project (minus the pine trees), but I wanted to mention something else we did differently as far as technique.  In hers she suggests that you paint on the fall sunset colors first, then remove paint (for the sun) by wrapping a coin in a piece of tissue, and placing it down on the wet paint to blot it up.  I tried this several times, with some luck, but my first grader simply could not do it.  She had a hard time keeping the tissue bunched up and we just were not able to remove enough paint to show a distinct circle.  Instead, I decided to try using our foam dabbers.  ALL my kids love using them when painting, and I wondered if a dry foam dabber would remove just the right amount of the liquidy tempera cake paint we used. Sure enough, it did.  After this dried, we used black acrylic to make the hills and a super-thin brush to make the pine trees. We both enjoyed this inchie!

Owl
 

 We are a tiny bit in love with all things owl-y around here.  🙂  This inchie was inspired by a recent art-project my daughter came up with (click here to see her cute owl puppets!).  We simply miniaturized it.  All we did was glue feathers down onto a black owl shape, then add googly eyes and an orange paper nose.  To make it a bit more whimsical, we decided to add tiny eye glasses to our wise owl.  I cut out the basic shape of the glasses, then we hole punched until we had a mostly circular shaped opening. This inchie was another favorite for my first grader.  Why do kids love googly eyes so much?  I loved that this square was so simple, yet looked so cute, and gave us a bit more 3-D interest.  I jazzed my own owl inchie up even more (yes, I made my own) by adding as tiny, real branch for him to perch on.  But we left it off of Eden’s for the sake of time.  Last but not least, our title inchie, which really just sorta sums up this autumnal celebration:

 
Fall
Isn’t bunting just so sweet and festive?  Miniature bunting is even more fun!  We stamped out the word “fall” onto some painted paper using our tiny letter stamps, then cut them out as triangles.  For the background we featured one of our favorite painted papers…it was one we painted with yellow acrylic and then simply dragged a fork across in long straight rows. Jute finished the look and we were done!
 
We mounted our inchies on a neutral background (from the back of a notebook) and double mounted it on a stiff piece of black paper.  I hole punched the corners and we strung it up with jute. 
It is currently proudly on display on our bulletin board. 
 
 
Whew!  Well, that’s it for (this round of) inchies.  What a fun, month-long, seasonal art project.  I am sure we’ll do many more of these little guys. 
 
Hope you are feeling inspired. 
Until next time…

5 thoughts on “Fall Inchies Project

  1. Crafty Homeschool Mama

    Thanks for coming by, Gail. Yes, the paper embossing was really a great addition to the project, and with so MANY Christmas stamps to choose from, why not give it a try! Not sure I will have time for Christmas inches bc I want to make one of those awesome advent calendars with the candy boxes…except I am thinking the town of Bethlehem for the scene. How cute would that be? Take care

  2. Gail Bartel

    They turned out fantastic! I love the use of the paper embossing into the project. I will have to try that for the next round of Christmas inchies. Thanks so much for linking to my project and all the great comments.

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