"Everyone LOVES rollers"

"Everyone LOVES rollers"

Recently I offered to create some flags for my local community's annual festival. The event celebrates life on the coast, and its logos are a fish and a duck (in fact a highlight of the festival is a race of rubber duckies!). So I took lengths of cheap fabric to our local primary school and, with the thumbs up of our fab art teacher, I draped swathes across benches for children to decorate. I'd pre-cut stamps of ducks and fish from off-cuts of plastic foam which I'd glued onto old video boxes. In class, and then through lunchtime art club, the children happily rolled paint and stamped, adding colour and chaos to the fabric. 

That evening I had some pals over to help me cut the stamped fabric into small rectangular flags which we then sewed onto fabric tape as bunting. It looks great.

Just this weekend, as I cleared towering piles of "whateva" from my messy desk, I found some leftover fabric bits that looked a bit blank and lonely. I suggested to my youngest daughter "Let's roll some paint onto these and make some more flags". 

"Sure" she said, "I LOVE using rollers". And then it occurred to me... actually EVERYONE loves using rollers.

It's true. Using a roller is really fun. The smooth sensation of rolling paint is somehow deliciously irresistible.  

I've taught in special education with profoundly autistic young people who seemed disinterested in most activities, but who loved to roll paint onto large bits of cardboard, vinyl or wood. I've worked with fussy young women with an eye for design, who carefully used rollers and intricate stencils to enhance the surface of objects.

And, of course, I've worked with exuberant toddlers who simply love the feel of a roller sweeping paint across a big sheet of paper or cardboard... or even water on concrete. Toddlers really relish opportunities for messy, creative fun. Paint rollers are robust, and easy for toddlers to grip and manipulate. Roller painting provides a fun opportunity to make expressive marks on a large scale... fast. Children can create shapes in a quick and easy way with a roller. The next time you and your toddler venture into a painting activity, give rollers a go for a whole new experience.

If you can't find an old paint roller loitering in a dark corner of your shed, you can buy a sturdy roller (or two) from a hardware shop, an art supplier, or maybe even a $2 shop. But really any round object will roll through paint and spread it. Try rolling a plastic, ridged bottle through paint dropped onto paper to watch the interesting patterns emerge. Use the cardboard tube from a box of wrap. Or cut a section from a pool noodle, and thread it on a wooden spoon. 

Then, for a whole other dimension, try stenciling. You can buy stencils cheaply these days - I've even snapped some up from $2 shops. For no-cost stencils roll paint over leaves, pieces of lace, paper cut outs - the results can be gorgeous. Roll paint onto bubble wrap, then print it to create amazing polka dot patterns. Wrap some bubble wrap right around a rolling pin, and then use it to roll some dotty prints. Rollers spread paint thinly, so your creations dry speedily.

Yes indeed, the possibility are endless, and I'm sticking with my theory: EVERYONE loves rollers. So let the good times roll with your youngster - experiment, explore, and have fun!

 The festival bunting. We've made 50 metres of this!

The festival bunting. We've made 50 metres of this!

 There's something lovely about mixing paints with a roller. Our palette here is a plastic lid.

There's something lovely about mixing paints with a roller. Our palette here is a plastic lid.

 This was created using stencils. We allowed each colour to dry before working on the next.

This was created using stencils. We allowed each colour to dry before working on the next.

 Blue paint on a roller gave this treasure box a quick makeover.

Blue paint on a roller gave this treasure box a quick makeover.

 Textured rollers make surprising patterns.

Textured rollers make surprising patterns.

Echo, echo, echo, echo.....

The old lady DIES??!?#?!

The old lady DIES??!?#?!