While creating a playspace for my children, I ran into the work of Linn Welford, specifically the rock city created for Painting on Rocks for Kids. Inspired by this work, I created a small village and patterned one of the buildings after the house of Daniel Tiger and his family on the television show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. These are the steps I took to create the house.
You can see Linn Welford's work here: https://www.amazon.com/Lin-Wellford/e/B001JRVWGO/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Step 1: Supplies
For this craft you will need:
- Acrylic paint: brown, yellow, red, green, white, black, blue.
- Paintbrushes: at least one small, one medium, and one large.
- Something to use as a palette (I use an old plate)
- An old rag or paper towels to blot your brushes on
- A rock, piece of wood, or other something similar with a rounded top. I used an old piece of concrete. Be careful removing a rock from a natural setting. Removing rocks can increase the risk of erosion and in many public places like parks it wouldn’t be allowed..
- A clear sealant. You can skip this step if you like the aged look that will come from elements and play.
- Optional: something to cover your work surface, such as an old sheet or craft paper.
Step 2: Identify and Prepare the Rock, Concrete or Wood.
Daniel Tiger’s house is round with a thatched dome shaped roof. When looking for a rock, piece of concrete, or wood, try to find a piece with a similar shape.
If you aren’t able to find something with this shape, you can use a rectangular shape and leave negative space near the top in the shape of the dome.See the picture with the tan dome. The light blue would be space would be the negative space. You can leave the the negative space blank or paint it white or even a light blue, like sky.
For the rest of the instructable, I will refer to the item you’re painting as the rock, for simplicity.
To ensure that your paint will adhere to the rock, you will need to clean the surface. I used a hose and sprayed the surfaces well. You might need to use a scrub brush or dish soap if there is any stubborn dirt.
Step 3: The Design
The primary features of Daniel Tiger's house are the thatched roof, dome door with cat window and the trolley sign.
Before painting, you may choose to sketch the key elements. A pencil will work well. Acrylic will not cover crayon or anything else wax based well. If you were to sketch in black crayon this could be useful, but it means any mistakes would show.
Step 4: Paint!
Start with the largest surfaces. When painting, if you do the background first, it helps the foreground to pop more. On this design, you can start by painting the brown and yellow of the walls and roof. Next move on to the red of the door. Between each section of color, allow the paint to dry until it no longer feels tacky to the touch and you are able to move your rock without transferring any color onto your fingers or your tabletop.
After you have painted the house, you will be able to add the details such as Daniel’s portrait and the flowers on top.
If you aren't comfortable with the details, just getting the door, walls, and roof will be enough to satisfy most toddlers.
Another option is to decoupage onto the surface for details. You can print out a picture of Daniel Tiger on regular printer paper. Cut out the picture along the outer edges of the portrait. Then you can apply the picture to the front of the house with modge podge or a mixture of 50% white Elmer's Glue and 50% water. If you choose to modge podge details, you will need to seal the rock, as outlined in the next step.
Step 5: Seal!
After applying the final touches, allow your rock to dry for several hours. After the rock is completely dry, you may apply a sealant to protect the rocks from wear and tear from weather and play. When applying the sealant, keep the can at least twelve inches from the rock. It is better to apply two or three thinner coats than to attempt to create thicker coats. The thinner coats will dry quickly and is less likely to have bumps or drips in the finish.
That's it! Now you have a fun Daniel Tiger house that toddlers will love!