We Absolutely Love Faerie Houses!

We love faerie houses!!!!!!  Why?????

The pure fantasy

The magic

The students’ visions

The creativity

The joy


Every year we see the creativity of our students emerge by leaps and bounds.  From one central theme a unique creation appears before our eyes.  It is a house created for whimsical faeries but it is more than that.  It is a work of art that captures our students’ imaginations…their visions…their art!

It is not watercolors. Nor is it acrylics.  But it is the art of creating with a vision…a plan all of their own… and executing it with enthusiasm, determination, and resourcefulness.  They make their vision come alive.  They plan, design, problem solve, build, sew, work with clay, paint, print and tweak until the masterpiece tells their story.

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

Rudolph’s Rooftop Reindeer Lodge

In past years, our students have told many stories and created fabulous faeries houses for these enchanted creatures.  They have ventured to the North Pole and created frosty establishments such as Rudolph’s Rooftop Reindeer Lodge, The Hot Chocolate and Coffee Shop, Pam’s Bakery, The North Pole Café, Elsa’s Enchanted Eatery, the North Pole Bait and Tackle, Bumble Bee Bakery and many more delightful creations.  They have gone on art adventures and created studios for artists, musicians, karate masters, dancers, engineers, floral designers and more.  They have created a Faeries Village and the shops that gave the village life – inns, coffee houses, salons, boutiques, and bakeries.  And they have ventured to a tropical island and created a paradise complete with living spaces and decks meant for lounging and entertaining

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

Music theme wallpaper for the bedroom

And always, always… the faeries are treated to an amazing apartment complete with hand hung wallpaper, lusciously appointed beds with lacy bed skirts, luxurious comforters and pillows galore, soft hand-crocheted rugs, intricate hanging lights, hand upholstered furry chairs that invite relaxing, hand painted artwork and even a studio kitchen for preparing meals.  What more could a faerie want?

Art First, Inc. Summer Camp for Children, Hockessin, DE

In New York City, faeries live in an apartment above a boutique with a rooftop garden and the skyline in the background.

This year the faeries are headed to New York City with its neon lights, hustle and bustle, and distinctive skyline.  It is going to be A-MA-ZING!!!  The classroom will be immersed in creativity, hustle and bustle just like the city, and pure excitement as our students transform a wooden structure into a work of art.

Ground floor boutiques, stores, shops, studios

Second floor studio apartment

Roof top garden

Hand painted skyline of NYC skyscrapers


This week will be the culmination of some student’s visions.  They have planned all year just for this faerie house – finding the right accessories or the perfect furry material for a chair.  They will incorporate their treasures into their plan.  Others tour the myriad of available materials, hatch a plan and start designing.  It is a week alive with creativity, ideas, and fun!  Students are engaged, instructors are in constant motion, materials are replenished, new ones mysteriously appear, and faerie houses are being born.  It is magic!

Oh, yes!  We LOVE faerie houses!

Finding the Best Summer Camp for Kids

Summer is coming.  School’s out! No homework! No early morning wake-ups! Kids are bored! Work is still there! What’s a parent to do???? Find a summer camp that offers safety, creativity, gentle challenges, play, fun…all wrapped up in one package! But how???

Ask friends



Search the internet

Go to camp fairs

Peruse websites

Research, Research, Research!

Art First can offer an additional way. Read what our parents say – parents whose children attended Art First for the first time last summer. We are proud to share our reviews. We are proud to share our summers with young artists. Art First is about KIDS. We let them grow. We let them explore. We let them paint. We let them be messy. We let them be themselves…and we delight in that!

Parent Reviews for Summer 2016:

  • “She had such an amazing time this past summer. The teachers were fantastic, really engaging. I have to say that I was most impressed with Diane; she has such warmth, and a caring attitude, and created such a welcoming and loving place for kids to come to during the summer.” (age 4-5)
  • “My 3 sons, ages 8 and 5 year old twins, attended the Minecraft summer camp and they absolutely loved it! One of the twins can be shy/anxious in new places and new people. He walked right in and did not look back. Their teacher was so welcoming each day as was anyone else we encountered while in the building. They love all the cool projects they came home with and still have them all proudly displayed on a special shelf in their room.” (ages 5 & 8)
  • “My daughters had a great time at art camp – they almost came back for another session. They look forward to next year when they can stay the full day. I was impressed with the projects – especially the holiday-centered art, which we have put away with the Christmas decorations to bring out this December.” (ages 4-5 & 6-7)
  • “My daughter had a fantastic time! The projects were great—she loved sweet dreams café!” (age 6-7)
  • “We love art first! Your program was fantastic!” (age 6-7)
  • “It was the perfect class for my daughter, she loved it, it kept her occupied in a safe place and I could do my work.” (age 6-7)
  • “My child had a wonderful time at his Art Camp this summer and just after the first day was asking if he could do it again next year.” (age 6-7)
  • “This was the first summer N. attended Art First and she absolutely loved it. Everyone was so nice and friendly. It made me feel good leaving her in such a warm environment. I was extremely impressed with the artwork she brought home. It was amazing! She can’t wait to return next year! I have recommended Art First to my friends and co-workers.” (age 6-7)
  • “P. had a great experience. I loved the small room atmosphere. Seemed very encouraging and supportive. I loved that they seemed to work on multiple different projects at the same time using different media. Will definitely get her involved again.” (age 8-10)
  • “The best materials ever seen.” (age 11-14)
  • “My son had an incredible time at your camp and talked about it for weeks afterward. He is so interested in art and we are so impressed with the projects he came home with.” (age 11-14)

Please read the posts on our website and learn more about Art First Inc.

See the quality of our teachers.

Watch the videos (“Drawing Giggles” is a favorite)

Visit the Art First Facebook page

Get lost in the pictures of past projects and fun

Email me with questions (diane AT artfirstinc DOT com)

Summer will soon be here. We can’t wait to experience it through our young artists’ eyes!


Wacky Fish!

Imagine painting fish…not regular ones that swim in the lakes or oceans…but wacky, colorful, vibrant fish with lots of personality!

It all starts with a slender wooden substrate transformed with gesso, acrylic paints, glazing medium, acrylic inks, stencils and mark making tools of all shapes and sizes. Add circles, dots, zig zags, acrylic sprays, stamps and more to add texture over texture and brilliant colors. Just play…experiment…and have fun!

Still Imagining???? Sketch in the wackiest fish ever and bring them to life with enormous eyes, long eyelashes, bright lips, doodles, squiggles, patterns and mischievous gleams in their eyes. Don’t forget fish need a watery place to live but who says the water has to be blue? Imagine that…yellow water…lime…even pink! Sign the masterpiece and stand back and admire. Bet no one can keep from smiling!

Read the class description and join us on June 12 for Wacky Fish!

Finished artwork

Amazing Acrylics

Aren’t these amazing?  Join artist, Jen Wojnar, in Amazing Acrylics (Week 4, July 5-8, 2016 ages 8-10 and 11-14) and explore new ways to create with acrylics.  Paint with brilliant colors. Learn to mix colors to create depth and contrast.  Experiment with mark making tools – brayers, scrapers, stencils, patterned rollers, found objects, fingers and more – to create vibrant layers.  So creative!  The results are stunning!  Don’t miss all the fun!

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Artist: Jen Wojnar, Acrylics on Wood, 2016


Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Artist: Jen Wojnar, Acrylics on Wood, 2016

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Artist: Jen Wojnar, Acrylics on Wood, 2016



You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

These pictures say it all!  No explanations needed!   Join the amazing class “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes*, ages 8-10 and 11-14, Week 4, July 5-8, 2016, and create stunning artworks from inks.  Scroll through the featured pictures and enjoy the vibrant colors and breathtaking beauty of the works of artist, Tracey Simmonds, instructor,  as well as the artwork created by her students last year.  Their artwork is stunning, creative, and absolutely amazing!  Don’t miss the opportunity to explore and create with this medium.  You won’t believe your eyes!

*Coming soon! Part 2 of “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes”… Amazing Acrylics!



Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Supplies and a journal for ink colors.

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Artist: Tracey Simmonds

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Artist: Tracey Simmonds


2014 Summer Camp – Student Art

alcohol ink artwork at Art First Inc Summer Camp

2014 Summer Camp: Student Artwork



Spy Caper

Want to be a spy?  This summer’s the time!  Join “The Spy Caper” camp for a secret spy mission.  (Week 1, June 13-17, 2016 ages 4-5 and 6-7)  Have fun creating a covert spy name, develop secret codes, and keep a spy notebook.  Send secret messages and design colorful art with invisible ink.  Become a master of disguise and wiggle, jump, and slide through a “laser” maze.  How agile are you at slithering?  Peek around corners without being seen – that’s what spies do – and solve an Art First mystery.  Take home a “Spy School Training Certificate” and loads of spy equipment and art.  Sh-h-h!  It’s top secret!

Glue Gun Stands

Glue guns are fabulous but we have a problem with them flipping on their side – especially the smaller low melt ones.  It happens all the time – use it…set it down…it falls over.  Not good!  Thanks to a tutorial by Shanty 2 Chic, we have fixed that issue.  Sunday afternoon we built twelve of these glue gun holders.  Problem solved!  Our older students are going to love these!

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Glue gun stands for use by summer camp students. A dozen stands were made.

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Raw materials for glue gun stands. The tile (3″ x 3″) for the tip of the glue gun is not shown. All parts assembled with wood glue.

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

Glue gun stand close-up. The stand protects the work table (and art work) from glue drips.


Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

A dozen glue gun stands lined up for art students to use at summer camp.


Who Needs Paint Brushes?

Need a paintbrush to create art?  Not for a second!  Join us for “Everything Under the Sun”, (Week 1, June 13-17 Ages 4-5, & 6-7).  Imagine painting masterpieces with cars, trucks, and feathers.  Learn the bubble wrap stomp and paint outside with frozen paint popsicles.  Swing a pendulum and watch an abstract painting magically appear.  Splatter paint with toothbrushes and create amazing designs with a broom!  Paint with hands, fireman’s helmets, forks, bubbles and even monster feet!  It’s going to be an exciting paint filled week!  We can’t wait!  There are spots still open for this class,

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

“Look No Brushes” Camp-June 2015- Using a broom to paint after using a toothbrush for orange and a scrubbing pad for red.


Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

“Look, No Brushes” Camp-June 2015 – Using a straw to blow paint.


Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware

“Look, No Brushes” Camp: June 2015. Ages 4-5, being silly, having fun.  You can only be serious for so long. Their pictures are beautiful.



Needle Felt Art

We’re getting ready to needle felt!  We have new felting needles with cushioned grips.  So comfortable to use!  We also have new high density foam felting pads.  We used them last week-end and it was amazing how much difference they made!  We’re going to to be using them again in July for our “Ice Castles and Frozen Landscapes” camp (July 11-15, ages 8-14).  Come join us as we felt amazing, frozen landscapes out of luscious wool roving and batting.  The two pictures in the background (image above) are examples of needle felted art.  “Painting” with wool is so much fun!

We’ll also be creating ice castles during that frosty week.  Come sculpt a masterpiece in clay with turrets, towers and frosty colors. Embellish it with snow, icicles, shimmer and much more!  They are stunning!

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware


Whimsical Monoprints

Look what we have now! We purchased a dozen Gelli® Plates for monoprinting and brand new brayers!  That’s enough for each student to use without needing to share. We made this investment to provide students with the highest quality materials.   Gelli Plates feel like gelatin, but are durable and easy to clean.  More importantly they are fun to use.  Students will be able to create amazingly, cool prints with layers of paint, mark-making tools, stamps, stencils, leaves, feathers, bubble wrap, and more. They will experiment with paint combinations, layer design upon design, and “pull” prints that are uniquely beautiful. No print is ever the same.  Ever made a ghost print? Come joint us and find out what they are! The picture below shows several examples of prints made with the Gelli Plates.

Whimsical Creatures (Week 1, June 13-17) and Project Decorate: The World of Interior Design( Week 2, June 20-24) will have fun turning incredible monoprints into whimsical animals and wacky, crazy birds. (Both classes Ages 8-10 & 11-14). Younger students in Crazy, Colorful Collage (week 8, August 1-5) will use the Gelli Plates also. Don’t miss the fun! It’s going to be great!

Art First Inc, Summer Art Camp for Children, Hockessin Delaware