Finish the Spider

If you give students half of a symmetrical image, they will have all the info they need to complete the missing side. If you search for spiders at “Clip Art ETC” you will find THIS amazing collection. You may have trouble deciding which one to download. I chose the highest resolution of a fuzzy one, and … Read More

Haunted House in Coffee

I saw this idea in a recent Arts and Activities magazine. I thought a haunted house would be a good subject matter because of all the moody brown tones that could be created. 1. Students dissolve bits of instant coffee with water on a plate. The house is ‘drawn’ with a paintbrush, which allows for lots of thick and thin … Read More

Mosaic Tape Pumpkin Journal

This is basically my Mosaic Michaels Pumpkin project applied to paper. But rather than make a picture that just goes in a folder, students decorated the front of a folded cardstock paper with writing paper inside so they could have a “Halloween Journal.” 1. Black cardstock paper like this Recollections brand from Michaels makes this project work. … Read More

Kandinsky by Matson

If you need a simple oil pastel project that works for many grade levels, try my “Kandinsky Colorweaver” project. I had prepared the paper with the center horizontal and vertical pencil lines so the students could jump right in making the colored diamonds. Thanks to Matson, a talented 1st grader for letting me share this beautiful artwork.

Leaves with Lines

This is a good exercise for those small motor skills. I’ve found students have a lot of fun just losing themselves in their patterns. 1. Cardboard templates of leaves may help young artists get started, but drawing their own is always best. Students draw at least two of their favorite leaves, and then draw the veins … Read More

Butterfly Leaves

This project was inspired by Lois Ehlert’s beautiful book “Leaf Man”. A little technology, namely stock photography and a color printer, helped me make dozens of flat, easy to cut and glue leaves. 1. If you are so fortunate as to live near some fall foliage, you can take the real thing to a color copier and … Read More

Dimensional Magic Mod Podge

Here’s another new craft product that I’ve been turned on to, courtesy of Michaels and their 2012 Holiday Preview they invited me to last month. It’s called Dimensional Magic Mod Podge, and it looks like just glue until it dries, then “wow!”   1. Follow the steps posted in my “Creativity and Michaels Stores” post to … Read More

Creativity & Michaels Stores

Last month, fourteen bloggers and I were invited by Michaels to their 2012 Holiday Showcase in Dallas. We were all in arts and crafts heaven, spending time with Jo Pearson (above), Michael’s creative expert and judge of TLC’s “Craft Wars”, and previewing some of the coolest new products around. But most of all, we learned that … Read More

Paul Klee Castle Drawing

Paul Klee was one of the great colorists in the history of painting. I developed this project that imitates his abstract “Castle and Sun” painting by having students trace cardboard shapes and fill them in with colored pencils. 1. Give each student a piece of black paper, a pencil and half a dozen or so cutout square, rectangle … Read More

Positive / Negative Flower

This is a simple exercise that uses positive and negative shapes and lines. 1. Students start with a 6″ x 9″ sheet of white drawing paper, and a 4.5″ x 4.5″ sheet of black paper. 2. They place a 3.5″ x 3.5″ cardboard template on the black paper, centered on the top edge, and trace.  The … Read More

“Things that Are Most” Project

I decided to reapproach this creative writing/drawing project from a book titled “Things that are Most in the World” by Judi Barrett. I tried it’s enclosed follow up a few years ago, but have now created a more specific formula to follow. Each page in this book is based on a different adjective, such as “The teensie-weensiest thing … Read More

Marker Line Leaves

1. Start by drawing the center veins of each leaf, which kind of looked like a long main line with an “X” through it. Sketch lightly with a pencil. Continue drawing these until the paper is full. See my small diagram. 2. Still using your pencil, draw the outside curved edge of each leaf as shown … Read More

Scratch Art Leaf

A Scratch Art Drawing class calls for a different plan than a regular drawing class. Erasing is not an option, and I’d like the kids to focus on drawing lots of patterns, so I’m going to give them the outline of this leaf to start with.  • View and download Leaf for Scratch Art Template 1. … Read More

Color Wheel Download

I’ve found that most color wheels are either too complicated (lots of sections and subsections) or too simple (three overlapping balloons) for your average elementary student. My solution was to make my own, and also diagram primary, secondary, warm, cool and complementary colors. Enjoy!

Layered Paper Weaving

I’ve found the “over and under” concept of weaving is easiest to learn when using strips paper. Yarn gets tangled too easily and takes time to show patterned results. 1. This sample was made from Strathmore “Smooth Bright Construction Paper” tablet as it has sturdy paper in great colors. To create the “warp” paper, have an … Read More

Gelarti Painted Bottle

Gelarti Activity Kits let kids makes their own peel-off stickers, but I opted to put aside the stencils and just make my own colorful Kandinsky bottle instead. It was super easy as I just painted right on my bottle and let it dry. 1. Five tubes of paint come in a kit. They have little nozzles … Read More

Layered Pipes

I used to introduce 3rd and 4th graders to shading and tinting techniques with circles and spheres, but found this week that straight lines worked much better. The students can just concentrate on adding color to lines, instead of dealing with tricky curves. 1. Students were to first draw two parallel lines on their paper, either … Read More

Fireworks Drawing

This is an exercise in radial drawing, but it makes a nice fireworks image when you fill up the page. It would look great on black paper too. 1. You can use either a journal page or similar 6″ x 9″ drawing paper. Ask the students to place about 5 dots random dots on the page … Read More

Jasper Johns Grid

Jasper Johns, a master American artist, was the first to use everyday objects as his subject matter. One of his most famous paintings was just a grid with many numbers. Some math teachers find this art project helpful to have students practice lining up columns of numbers. 1. I printed up sheets of paper that were already divided into three … Read More

Abstract Flower Drawing

This is a little twist on the dissecting and coloring technique. If at the end you shade the corners of each shape you make, you get a softer and more sophisticated abstraction. 1. Students draw a vase that takes up most of the drawing paper. To help with making a symmetrical shape, they may fold scrap … Read More

Paper Weaving

I find that paper is a good way to introduce kids to weaving as the patterns are more visible than with yarn. And I keep running across many 4th and 5th graders who have never tried any kind weaving, so I have concluded that this media gets overlooked way too often. 1. I did myself a … Read More

Collage Name Card

Lately I’ve been inspired by scrapbook artists and the layered-looking collages they often create. This project lets students get creative and colorful with the letters in their name. SESSION ONE 1. Cut enough 9″ x 12″ drawing paper into fourths measuring 4.5″ x 6″ to furnish each student with one page for each letter in their … Read More

Arcimboldo “Fruit Face”

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was an Italian artist from the 1500s who spent years working as an official court painter. He developed a style of composing portraits from fruits, vegetables, etc., which was uniquely his own. There’s a great book about him called “Fruit Face” which is what I used to introduce this lesson. 1. Find lots of … Read More

California Collage

    My experience with collage is that students enjoy them, but often have trouble filling a paper in one class session. I thought that if they all work on one large project, they might stay on task a little better. I’ve made a large multi-page California template that measures about 30″ tall. • View and download California … Read More

Lettering on Acetate

My afterschool students practiced their lettering with acetate tracings, mounted to photo backgrounds.   1. I printed out this quote “Every Child is an Artist’ using Fink Gothic typeface, graying the lines to make the tracing more readable. Students placed a sheet of acetate over it and traced the letters with a black permanent marker. 2. Sharpie … Read More

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