Today, we’re sharing an over-the-top octopus DIY art adventure, complete with our very own free printable octopus stencil!
Just in time for World Octopus Day (October 8th, woot woot!), this is a celebration-worthy adventure that involves splattering paint (SO fun) and feel-good ocean vibes to “thINK positively”!
Oh, and the printable can also be used as a coloring sheet for kids, and we’ve made it brainy too with all sorts of awesome fun facts and cool words.
We have a dear friend to thank for the inspiration behind this adventure: her office is filled with fun and eclectic art that celebrates cephalopods, the amazing group of animals that includes the octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and nautilus.
We’ve definitely got a “thing” for these animals too — they appear in all of our books: squid in Mira, the Misfit Sea Dragon; an octopus in Zale’s Tales: The Ocean Seeker, a vampire squid (of course) is in Shalloween: An Undersea Halloween Adventure; and both a giant squid and octopus show up in Zale’s Tales: The Quest for the Magic Pearl.
AND in our brand new book we’re working on(!!), we’ve gone nuts and included a nautilus, cuttlefish, giant squid, vampire squid, umbrella octopus, and mimic octopus!!! (Stay tuned, there’s tons more creatures in it too!)
So how do you capture the essence of an octopus for our cephalopod-loving friend who knows them best? Well, we first made a list of octopus essentials:
- color-changing skin
- 8 arms with suction cups
- wit and brainy charm
- inspirational & motivating (it’s for an office after all!)
…And then we embarked on a creative journey to try and include all of these. See how we did it below and make your own tweaks, use the colors that you love and have fun!
First, here’s that snazzy octopus & cephalopod printable stencil & coloring fact page we promised (click image below for pdf file):
What you’ll need:
- wood sign (we used 12″ x 12″ size, with a white distressed finish)
- printable octopus stencil
- letter stencils
- rubber mallet
- cardboard or paper to work on
- paper towel
- acrylic craft paint in different colors (we used cobalt blue, aqua, purple, gray, dark gray, black, and white)
- paint brushes – thin outline & medium (not pictured above, but in photos below)
How to do it:
1. Print & cut the stencil, and place the stencils on the wood sign:
Also cut a piece of paper towel roughly the size of the letters “I-N-K”:
2. Paint the letters “T” and “H” (we used gray), and let them dry:
3. Then comes the fun: paint splattering! (This concept is thanks to ACraftyLiving. Crafty Morning, thank you for sharing her Instagram photos!)
The photos below are in order: put some paint down in the spot where you want the “ink” splatter, enough that it’ll splatter. Put the cut paper towel over it and hit it with a rubber mallet. We carefully dabbed away the excess paint so it would dry faster, and added some more drips to perfect our “ink” form:
4. Once the paint splattering is dry (you may need to leave it for a little while), place the octopus stencil on the wood sign and then trace it. Add the eye, tentacles, and any lines that need to be filled in:
5. Place the “INK” and “positively” letters on the wood sign, and paint them in however you’d like (paint brush, fingers, foam pouncer):
(You’ll need to remove the “i” and rinse it before re-positioning it.)
6. Then comes the octopus painting, and capturing the awesome cephalopod skin!
First, outline it, and then use a stippling motion with the paint brush (video below) with different colors of watered-down paint layer by layer. We did watered-down cobalt blue, then aqua, then purple.
On the tentacle areas that overlap the purple ink, you can use lighter paint (like aqua) in straight concentration (not watered down) to cover the purple before adding other colors:
Here’s a glimpse into the paint brush technique:
7. Add finishing touches to the lettering:
Let it all dry, and that’s it!
- Color changing skin? Check.
- Ink? Got it.
- 8 arms with suction cups? Yep. Count ’em up!
- Wit and brainy charm? Oh yeah.
- Motivating? We think so!
This post was SO much fun! We hope you have as much fun as we did, and now have a whole new appreciation for the amazing octopus too. Have a happy World Octopus Day! ♥