Crayon Resist Snowflake

If you go to the holiday decoration section at Michaels, you can find these amazing laser-cut wood snowflake decorations that are cheap (about three for $1) and perfect for making crayon rubbings. These are the same snowflakes I used for my Plaster Paperweight project. 1. I made this picture with a white crayon, but younger students could use … Read More

Close Cropped Snowman

Drawing closeup and cropping out what is unnecessary can make just about any artwork more interesting. Many students tend to draw really small with lots of extra space. If you are trying for dynamic images for special uses like greeting cards, this approach will make a big difference. 1. Students may use a ruler to trace … Read More

Draw the Mayflower

I drew this Mayflower ship with my students last fall and was happy to see so many make beautifully detailed ships. Try drawing on kraft paper from the scrapbook dept. at Michaels and those sails just pop off the page. • View and download Mayflower Tutorial

Friendship Bracelets

This project was a hit not only with girls but with boys as well. I think they are just “surfer” looking enough to work for both. 1. These bracelets are made with 6 colors, one for each letter in the word F-R-I-E-N-D. I cut about a yard of each color and taped them to the back … Read More

Pastel Tigers

Henri Rousseau was a French artist that lived in the late 1800s. He tried to paint in the schooled manner of the traditional artists, but the innocence and charm of his work eventually won admiration of many avant-garde artists. 1. Students trace a 6″ circle in the center of a 9″ x 12″ sheet of paper. 2. … Read More

Oil Pastel Tree

I found this project on I love how it makes students think of trees as a series of branches, and not just a fluffy shape that sits on a stick. MATERIALS • Multimedia paper • Oil Pastels, I like the Portfolio brand for blending DIRECTIONS 1. Students draw a large “Y” on their paper. 2. They add … Read More

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

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

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