Daily Tonic


From our Creative Community

DIY story cubes

As a performer, I often get stuck in my own head when trying to create new, original, unique stories, characters and worlds. Using storycubes is a great, fun and playful way to provoke new ideas, to inspire unique characters and inspire original and beautiful images.



During this exercise I will be leading you on your journey to create beautiful story cubes. Story cubes are wonderful objects for any creative person to have in their toolkit. They can be used in a number of diverse ways; ignite improv ideas, storytelling, artistic inspiration, etc.


● A4 paper

● Ruler

● Pencil

● Colouring pencils, markers, crayons

● Glue

● Scissors


Steps for Making Story Cubes


1. Draw four 2 inch squares down the centre of the page. On either side of the square that is second from the top draw another 2 inch square. As indicated in the image, draw flaps, which will later be used when folding and gluing your cube together.

2. Draw 6 simple images, symbols, objects, faces, etc in each of the 6 squares. Add colour, add glitter, make them as spectacular looking as you wish.

3. Cut out your stencil. Fold along all the lines of your shape so that it is easier to assemble your cube later.

4. Add glue to all the flaps

5. Fold your squares to form a cube. I found leaving the square with no flaps to be stuck down until last made the folding process easier.

6. Viola, you have successfully made a story cube! Make as many of these cubes as you desire. Perhaps exploring different themes and concepts on different cubes e.g. an emotions cube, an action cube, a character cube, etc.







Activity Ideas with Story Cube

These suggestions work best with three or more story cubes.

● Improvised scenes which must contain the images rolled on your cubes.

● A painting or drawing which is inspired by the images rolled on your cubes.

● Writing or telling a story using the images rolled on the cubes as prompts.

● A game of charades.

● Create dance moves that represent the images rolled on your cube, play music and get silly.


Maeve Lewis is a graduate of UCC Drama and Theatre. She has volunteered extensively with young people and individuals with intellectual disabilities. She is passionate about working with community, and using drama and artistic practices.  Maeve recently completed the Arts in Group Facilitation Certificate at CIT Crawford.

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Honouring the small actions

On this April morning I am sitting in my living room watching the swallows make their nest under the eaves of the house across the road. They fly back and forth with bits of this and that to construct their home. So many journeys and so many pieces of debris are brought together to create something new. I am reminded of all the small things we do on a daily basis that we so easily dismiss or belittle by thinking that they are not important, that they don’t really matter, that they are not big enough. Yet it is all these small things that are the fabric of our lives. They are the gestures that create our “nest”. These are the actions that matter, that keep us going and that support us when the big things happen, both positive and negative. They create our foundation stones.

Urban birds nest

So with that in mind I would like to introduce an exercise to honour all the small acts we do each day, from brushing our teeth, to walking the dog, making a cup of tea, chatting to your neighbour, etc. We are going to make small repetitive marks, for example, circles, squares, squiggles, dots etc and build up a composition using these marks only. Many artists use this technique of small gestures to create their artworks such as Van Gogh who used small brushstrokes to interpret scenes from nature.

Starry Night, Van Gogh Vincent, 1889

Another example of this is contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama who is famous for her use of polka dots(among other things) to create artworks.

Untitled, Kusama Yayoi, 1967

Materials Required
Small pieces or card or paper approximately 4 inches square
Markers/pens/colour pencils/paints and paint brush
Larger sheets of paper A4 or bigger if you have it.

1. Take your small pieces of card and choose something to make your mark.
2. Select a single mark that you are going to use, e.g. a circle or triangle.
3. Spend a few minutes making marks on your card. Don’t think too much about it. Let the mark making lead you. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Try to get into a flow and contemplate the small acts you do every day.

4. When you are happy with this move onto the next card and choose a new mark and change drawing implement if you like.

5. Create 5 or 6 cards thus over a period of approximately 20 minutes.
6. Next move onto the bigger sheet of paper and select your favourite mark or marks from your cards. This is where things start to get interesting.
7. For this part of the exercise please feel free to use different colours, vary the size of your marks, overlap the marks, combine a number of marks in one piece of work.

Let your imagination take flight.

Give attention to every mark you make.

7. When you feel happy with what you have created, take time to look at and admire it. Notice how each little mark is important to the overall composition of your artwork.
8. Repeat this exercise as often as you like using any materials that come to hand e.g. a ballpoint pen and the back of an envelope or in a notebook or sketchbook.


Martina Carroll is an artist.  She has just completed the Arts in Group Facilitation Certificate at CIT Crawford.

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Creating with Salt Dough

I remember fondly the salt dough creations myself and my brother made when we were small, in the dresser in our home years after making them. The ravages of time may have made some of them a little less whole, but they still had pride of place next to my mother’s best glass, china and old photos.

Making Salt Dough is an ideal activity to do with children, especially during this time whilst parents are looking for activities for smallies. No doubts though that this activity  can be fun for all ages!

Salt dough Recipe 

1 cup / 250g of plain flour
1/2 cup / 125g of salt
1/2 cup of water / approz 125ml

Optional food colouring – I found some in the cupboard so experimented with it.

Paints – whatever you have at home, I had gouache.
Acrylic paint is ideal, you could also use poster paint, glitter.


Full instructions with step-by-step photos here

Top Tips

Simple designs work best, as the dough isn’t sturdy until baked.

If your child can’t decide between a tall giraffe or a flatter gecko, for example, steer them towards the gecko.

Also bear in mind that the bigger/fatter the model, the longer it will take to harden in the oven.

Rose Roccaforte is a ceramic artist and clay maker, who teaches at Cuan Mhuire Coolarne. She is currently completing the Arts in Group Facilitation Certificate at CIT Crawford and hopes to work more with arts in the community in the future.

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Rainbow Feeds

When we take notice of our surrounding, what beauty there is! Take time with a camera to notice all the colours of the rainbow that surround you. You could choose to do this in nature and outdoors or to explore the colours around you at home; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink and the shades in between.

Our social media feeds get full of such a mix of stuff… interesting, depressing, helpful, distracting and beautiful!
I thought it would be refreshing to fill feeds with rainbows of the beauty around us by taking pictures of all the colours from the rainbow that are in our immediate surroundings. The photos could be shared on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, wherever you like to hang out.

Above is my rainbow.

I tried out this activity as a collaboration with this year’s participants on the Arts in Group Facilitation Certificate in CIT Crawford College of Arts and Design. They are used to meeting up once a month to learn and work together through the arts. This month, from our homes, we filled a WhatsApp group conversation simultaneously over a half hour period. It not only connected up to our own space and environment but connected up to each other as we got little insights to each other’s lives and perspectives.

If you want to share your rainbow feed, or see others use hashtag with #covidrainbowfeed
You can also hashtag with #creativitytonic and #artsforall.

Jessica Carson-Marbe is an artist, arts facilitator and lecturer on the Creativity and Change and Arts in Group Facilitation courses at CIT Crawford.

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