Pom Pom Yarn Balls

I’m in love with these pom poms! Save all those scraps of yarn – you can make these large or small with tons of different colors. I always thought I needed to buy a gadget to make them, but just found out (thank you internet!) that’s not true. 1. I used a square of matte board … Read More

Recycled Coffee Cups for Paint

I wouldn’t guarantee that these are “spill proof” cups, but they will beat a totally open cup any day. I needed to distinguish between some similar watercolor paints today, and these washed out coffee cups with holes cut in the lids helped to keep the blue-green from getting confused with the plastic-cupped blue. One more reason … Read More

Matchbox Art Template

Finally, my promised Matchbook Art Template and instructions. I tried this on several different papers and ended up liking a heavy 110 lb. card stock the best. Here’s how I dealt with a large group of afterschool students, ages kinder through 5th grade. • View and download Matchbox Tutorial PREP: Print and trim a tray, insert … Read More

Super Scratch Art Mitten

Making scratch art with oil pastels is not new, but have you tried making different color combos on one piece of art? Or tried coloring three layers to see what happens? Many different textures are possible, including this fuzzy-looking mitten that was first colored yellow, then purple, then scratched with a stylus, then colored again with … Read More

Patterned Mitten

I often see students use oil pastels like crayons, as in lightly coloring and shading with them. Unfortunately, that doesn’t let pastels show their “true colors” (sorry!) which come about with pressure and density. Here’s a very simple winter-theme drawing that has lots of pattern possibilities. Older students should be able to draw their own, but … 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

Recycled Turkey on a Stick

This ingenious idea for making turkeys from old food boxes comes from My Plum Pudding. It’s a great use of those colorful coated boxes that I love to collect. This turkey is made entirely from cut up boxes that are attached to a 1/4″ wooden dowel from Michael’s. This bird may look fairly simple, but I … Read More

George Washington, Pop Art Style

You can give Mr. Washington a contemporary look by only using three colors on my downloadable coloring page. Just follow the directions below. 1. View and download Washington Coloring Page. 2. Use a black marker to fill in the darkest gray area. 3. Use two other similar colors (dark blue / light blue, or dark green … Read More

Cube Stick Drawing

Turning a square into a cube is fundamental in learning how to draw with dimension. But for some reason, I often see students first draw the angled lines different lengths, which makes things lopsided. I’m thinking that if I require them to cut these sticks all the same size before they glue, they can’t help but … Read More

White Marker Drawings

I started with one of my favorite poems, “The Wise Owl” for this 2-page spread layout. 1. I really love the look of white on dark journal pages I have been coming across, so I splurged on a white DecoColor marker from Aaron Brothers. To prepare the pages, I painted them with a dark blue watercolor … 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

Recycled Rooster

Save all those clean packing boxes, such as for cereal and pasta, and you can make some really colorful collage roosters. For a lead in story, “Farmyard Beat” is perfect and actually the inspiration for this project. 1. Most 1st graders have trouble drawing large sizes, so I made templates for them to trace. They just … Read More

Kandinsky Leaves

Here’s an idea for mixing art history with the season, filling in a leaf drawing with Kandinsky-style circles. I followed my leaf drawing lesson HERE, and then used these great crayons that Prang let me sample. They are called Color Wands, are a pleasure to color with, and keep little fingers from getting really messy. I … Read More

Clover’s Doodle Bird Drawing

I’m trying to encourage my students to do more doodle drawing, which I define as just very simple shapes that may be random or may make a picture. The goal is simply for them to have fun, and work independently. I’m not against helping someone who is struggling, but some students turn asking for help into … Read More

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