Mother’s Day Tissue Hearts

Here’s my solution this year for student’s Mother Day gift. It’s revisiting an old tissue paper technique that’s been around forever, and can really look nice if done well. PREP: I used our school’s die cut to make a heart for each student. I actually switched to heavy watercolor paper when my chipboard ran out. Also … Read More

Geometric Bumblebees

I tried this little formula for a bumblebee collage with my kinders last year, and they did a great job. It’s also fun to replicate in many sizes for a little perspective fun. 1. Trace yellow cardstock circles of varying sizes. Cut out and cut in half. 2. Cut black and white strips of paper and … Read More

Earth Day Collage

Magazine collages can be striking works of art, but I find that when students work on their own, they tend not to finish. If you approach them as group projects though, a lot of progress can be made in a short amount of time. This was created by 35 fourth graders in about 45 minutes. PREP: … Read More

Tissue Paper Flower Tutorial

This tissue flower project has been pretty popular, so I thought I’d repost it with the tutorial that I made awhile back to help get the proportions right. It’s a great sprint time project that costs very little, so you don’t need to wait until Mother’s Day to make one. • View and download Tissue Paper … Read More

Schulten Inspired Painting

Ton Schulton is a Dutch landscape artist, known for his amazing color work. I wish I knew who first thought of this great approach for having students paint in his style. It’s basically working backwards, as in painting a wavy grid first and then designing buildings on top. 1. Students lightly draw about 3 wavy horizontal … Read More

Fox on Newspaper

Sometimes I find great art ideas that just aren’t easy to replicate for 25 or more students. That’s when Photoshop saves the day. This project looks like students recycled newspaper for the background of a painting, but actually one sheet was scanned and printed for all of them. No need to make your own, just download … Read More

Sharpie Marker Alphabet

Here’s my 2nd grader’s group project for our school’s silent auction. Each student was assigned a letter and made it as fancy and colorful as could be. I decoupaged it to a canvas board, and later outlined the letters with a metallic marker. Materials: • Canvas board • Dry wax paper • White glue • Sharpie … Read More

Rubber Ducky

Here’s another project born from scouring stock art illustrations. Turns out that a traced CD makes the perfect beginning to this oversized duck. 1. Trace a CD in the center of a sheet of watercolor paper. Finish with drawing the beak and body as shown. 2. Trace the lines with a permanent marker. 3. Paint as … Read More

Rainbow Zebra

Here’s one idea I use when looking for new art project ideas – searching stock art sites. This comes from gettyimages.com, after searching for “cute animal illustrations”. This rainbow zebra was lots of fun for my afterschool painting class today, because of course everyone had a different idea of what a rainbow zebra would look like. … Read More

Jamie’s Giacometti Drawing

Here’s one of my favorite Giacometti Project drawings by a young 3rd grader named Jamie. While most other students opted for one or two color backgrounds, she colored hers in a crazy-quilt kind of style. I think it’s just perfect. For those that are interested, these drawings were made with Elmer’s glue on black card stock, … Read More

Draw Amsterdam Buildings

My students have drawn lots of traditional American style homes, so now I’d like them to try something different. Specifically, Amsterdam style buildings. They have very different profiles and details, not to mention water canal surroundings. Here’s a tutorial that includes many of these details, without getting too intricate. • View and download Amsterdam Building tutorial

MLK Art from Gaithersbury, MA

I thought I’d share this really nice email I recently received. I love how creative the students got with a simple posterized print of Martin Luther King, Jr., and thought others might find it inspiring too. I run a nonprofit called Color A Heart and we teach free art lessons to low-income kids along with other … Read More

Boxed Butterfly

Art can cross with science in this boxed butterfly project. 1. Fold an origami box lid that is about 4″ in diameter. 2. Draw a folded butterfly to fit in the box. Heavy cardstock paper will work best. 3. Cut butterfly out and color with markers. 4. Glue a small piece of foam core in the … Read More

Sharpie Portraits on Canvas

This is my go-to project for art fundraisers. I’ve shared finished canvases before, but never a full tutorial, so here you go! The process is pretty simple once you understand it, and my mini-movie shows the final step of applying the art to the canvas. • View and download Portraits on Canvas Tutorial       … Read More

Color Study, Paul Klee Style

Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) was an modern art master who fell in love with color after a visit to Tunisia. I love his “Ancient Harmony” painting that twinkles with light and dark patches of color. Students can follow his idea for a fun color study by choosing two groups (light/dark, warm/cool colors) and have one … Read More

Pom Pom Yarn Balls

I’m in love with these pom pom balls. Save all those scraps of yarn and make these large or small yarn balls with tons of different colors. I always thought I needed to buy a gadget to make them, but just found out (thank you Pinterest!) that’s not true. MATERIALS • Scrap of cardboard • Scissors … 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

Watercolor, Salt and Snowflakes

Here is a really simple way to add texture to a watercolor painting. Just sprinkle salt while it’s still wet and let sit for a few minutes. All kinds of cool shapes will develop from the salt absorbing the water.   MATERIALS • Watercolor paper (try Strathmore for special occasions) • White card stock paper, for … Read More

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