I've had this notion - to try to make a garland of doves together with my daughter - floating around in the back of my head for a while. Finally, yesterday when Adelaide and I woke up it just seemed like a good day to try and make one up.
To make our garland of doves, Addie and I first googled and did a bit of research about doves. We learned a little about them, and that they are one of the most recognised symbols of peace. We also found some images of different doves, and from them we drew a dove body and a set of dove wings using Adobe Illustrator. I distracted Addie and was able to take a few minutes to do some quick print outs and test on how our doves would work and fit together. When happy with a design, I printed out several copies of our dove layout onto thick watercolour paper, and we were ready to paint!
To paint our doves, I first I brought one of our bird books to our painting table, page opened to a Mourning Dove for inspiration. I showed Adelaide how the bird was mostly white, but also had what looked almost like gold and silver feathers, too.
I then cut out one set of my watercolour paper Dove template - 2 bodies and 1 wing - and got Adelaide painting. I cut up some sponges into 1/2 - 1" pieces for her, and gave her small plates squirted with a bit of white, silver, and gold acrylic paint. Being the same easy technique that she used to paint her autumn leaves, she immediately remembered just what to do and got to work, dabbing and sponging away. So simple!
When Addie had each Dove painted (2 bodies and 1 wing per dove), and the paint was still wet, I set up a 'sparkle station' on a chair, a few feet over. I let her choose from small packets of extra-fine white, gold, and silver glitter, and she would sprinkle her painted Doves. In this manner, together we created 8 (approximately 5") Doves - me cutting, her painting and sparkling. And. then... it was time for a break, and lunch.
After our lunch break, the Doves were dry and We were able to flip (just the) wing pieces over to paint and sparkle them up, too. While they dried, we began to prepare them to be glued, gathering up our supplies: an exacto knife, white school glue, paint brushes, bulldog clips, and string.
When all of our Dove pieces were dry, we began to assemble our birds. Carefully, using another unpainted Dove body as a template, I cut the 1.25" cut across the Dove's body (front). lining up the second body piece, (painted sides out), I was able to match up, mark, and cut the same slice in the back piece of the body. Folding the wing down it's centre, I inserted the wing, first through the front body piece, and then through the back body piece. I then slid the wings and adjusted them so that the two body pieces matched up and the wings were centered nicely on the Dove.
Next, with a paint brush and plate of white school glue, Addie was able to help me glue the body pieces of the Dove while I held them open for her. Leaving the now glued body for a few seconds, I gathered up my string, and then ran it through the centre of the glued Dove's body - one string end coming out at the beak and the other at the tail wing. I clipped both the beak and the tail wing with a bulldog clip for a couple of minutes, to set without shifting around. In this manner, we strung together 8 of our birds - beaks and tails together as though they are kissing.
Placed all together in a garland, our painted Doves are quite beautiful and I find there is a quiet, simple sweetness about them. We hung them from our fireplace mantel, flying happily together. Adelaide was thrilled and we are both very happy with the results of our project.
We have found these painted doves to be quite lovely and can be used in many ways - hung altogether to form a garland as we have done, or kept as single birds for a simple ornament or gift topper. The project can be kept easy - creating just a single dove, or extended - creating multiple doves for a garland. The doves can also be made in all sorts of sizes, large or small. And these doves store easily because their wings fold up flat - so they also can be mailed off and away... perhaps even as a small gift in a christmas card.
p.s. If you'd like to make up some Doves of your own, here is our template - in .pdf format - for you, now:
p.p.s. If you make this project and use the template, please let me know how it goes, and if I could make any changes or additions to my description, or the template, to make it better!