Craft Time: Rediscovering Spin Art

by Cate on October 10, 2012

Spin Art


Cassette tapes.

Floppy disks.


Long spiral telephone cords.


There are tons of things that were prevalent for us growing up that our kids today will not understand. And while a lot of it is likened to advancement in technology, it’s still a little sad that the items become so obsolete.

I remember the days of having to hunt for change to make a call from a payphone. Spending time down the shore with my family one summer, and having a bucket of quarters so I could have a long talk with a boy from the corner payphone. Nick saw a payphone some six months ago and I had to explain the concept. You know, that there was a time when everyone didn’t have a phone in their pants’ pocket.

Last week we were having a conversation about what I used to do as a kid. It was a different time back then, and there was a lot of “go outside and play until dinnertime.” It was a time when it was safe to do that. And when parents didn’t have to worry quite as much. I mentioned Atari and Nintendo and got quizzical looks. Luckily Pac-Man is still around, but I’m not sure if Donkey Kong and Space Invaders are. They were some of my favorites. Super Mario Brothers became popular later on and is reasonably available today. Nick plays it sometimes on his DSi and makes fun of how I say Mario. I heard something recently about people from different coasts saying Mario differently. Which would make sense, except, you know, Nick and I live on the same coast.

When it came to creativity, macrame bracelets, friendship bracelets, and Lite-Brite were all the rage. Friendship bracelets are still hot and heavy, though they’ve gotten much more complicated, and Lite-Brites? Still happily around, though really, really different.

When I was thinking about all the things that aren’t around anymore, I suddenly remembered Spin Art. Do you? Knowing how much the kids love art (see Exhibit A. And B. And C. And countless others), I set out to see if it was still around.

Thankfully, it is. It took a few phone calls to find it, and the younger the person was that answered the phone, the more I had to explain what Spin Art was. The more stores I called that didn’t have it, the more it turned into a fun challenge. I ended up finding it at Michael’s Arts & Crafts (Amazon also has it, by the way), and with a coupon, I ended up getting it for less than $15.

Which is a pretty reasonable price on reliving some fun moments of my own childhood, and introducing my kids to a new way to make art.

The kids had a blast. Art. Being allowed to make a contained mess. The element of surprise while wondering how their art is going to turn out. Something uniquely different that all their friends aren’t doing. Nothing better.

So while we can’t bring back floppy disks (and I’m not sure we’d want to) or twisty phone cords, we can still have our Spin Art. The actions to create Spin Art have actually been around since the last 1950s, how cool is that? If you’re looking to introduce your kids to a new retro way to be artistic, take a trip through the way back machine and make some Spin Art. It turned out to be a fun afternoon (which I’m sure many more to come), and we have some new colorful art for our walls to boot.

Tomorrow? Book review.


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie October 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Love it! Growing up Our mom wouldn’t buy us a spin art, as that was considered frivolous, but we did have an old suitcase record player, and as long as you didn’t mind a little hole punched in the middle of your masterpiece, it worked like a charm! Thanks for a fond memory. :)


Cate O'Malley October 11, 2012 at 8:20 am

I love that alternative way to making spin art – how fun!
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Craft Time: Rediscovering Spin Art


Lori October 10, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Wow! I love this post. Such fun memories! I just had a conversation with my kids about records. They thought they were just over sized cd’s. So much fun telling them what it was like to be a child from the 70’s and 80’s. And the hair and clothes…..oh my! They thought I was dressed for Halloween:0) Thank you for the Spin Art idea…..I had forgotten about that. I am definitely going to Michael’s tomorrow!


Cate O'Malley October 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

I think the hair and clothes are a topic all on their own! Remember those “Madonna-era” rubber bracelets? Ugh, and hammer pants? A boyfriend I had then used to wear them everywhere, and even then I was embarassed for him. And his rat tail.
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Craft Time: Rediscovering Spin Art


Joanne October 11, 2012 at 6:24 am

The.Boy and I are constantly talking about things from the past that don’t exist anymore and that kids today will have no idea about. My mom would never let us do spin art when I was a kid, sadly enough but I’m glad you brought it into nick and maddies lives!
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Cate O'Malley October 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

Next time you hop a train, we’ll share!
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Craft Time: Rediscovering Spin Art


paula October 11, 2012 at 8:27 am

Shrinky Dinks were my favorite childhood craft. They’re still made but I haven’t tried them recently.

Just a few months ago I taught my Nick how to use a corded, push-button phone. I hadn’t realized it was such a foreign concept to him. When I told him we were getting rid of cable he had a fit but when I explained I had no sympathy for him considering that I only had 4 channels growing up, he was speechless.
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paula October 11, 2012 at 8:35 am

You got me thinking about Shrinky Dinks and I found this blog on making homemade Shrinky Dinks. I thought it might be something you might want to try.


Betsy October 11, 2012 at 11:41 am

Loved spin art — but don’t think I ever did it at home, but at camp and at art fairs. Sounds so fun.

Also love Spirograph (man how do you spell that), and that weird thing when you would add some kind of mix to a mold and make these creepy little figures. Then you would paint it. Name escaping me.


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