More Canvas Journals

These journals are turning into one of my favorite projects. I’m loving how freely the kids paint when given one long piece of canvas instead of designing the front and back separately. CLASS ONE: Cut unstretched canvas into 8″ x 20″ rectangles. Students paint the primed side with one acrylic color, and then add patterns on … Read More

Dutch Windmills

This amazing idea comes from Dream, Draw, Create. An uncoated paper plate takes the watercolor really well, and the border makes for an instant frame. My sample is drawn in pencil, traced with a marker, and then painted with watercolors. With all the multicultural projects goring on at my school right now, I may find more … Read More

Foil and Sharpie Suns

posted in: Markers, Misc crafts | 0

If you’re looking for something different, but don’t want extra prep work, try having students drawing on aluminum foil sheets that are glued (with a glue stick) to a paper plate. The circle shape is built in, and the Sharpie color on foil never ceases to amaze. Especially when rainbows are involved, like Talia’s.

Starting Paper Mache Ice Cream Cones

Time for one last paper mache project after school. Here’s a photo that explains how these ice cream cones are started. The flower pots from Michaels (about $1) offer a great heavy base so tall cones don’t fall over. Aluminum foil sheets are wrapped (about 5 per scoop) to make balls that can be stacked as … Read More

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

Canvas Covered Journals

posted in: Art Journal, Painting | 0

This is basically a piece of painted canvas glued to a pad of 6″ x 9″ paper with chip board covers. I love how the students, especially this kinder Zac, just got experimental with making designs. Wish I could keep this one for myself! CLASS ONE: Students paint an over sized piece of canvas that is … Read More

Easy Bumblebee Collage

Here’s what I would call a kinder and first grade version of my Bumblebee project. I think it’s a good way to introduce children to collage as the colors are fun and bright and the cutting is pretty basic. PREP: I bought most of my colored papers at Staples. The letter size cardstock comes in multipacks, … 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

Cheap Scratcher Sticks

posted in: Oil Pastel | 0

I’ve found some of the best art supplies at my local Smart & Final (restaurant supply) store. If you ever need scratcher sticks, be it for scratch art paper or clay projects, etc., try using wooden skewers instead. You can get 500 for about $8, versus 25 wooden stylus for $4. I’m sure Amazon carries them … Read More

Amazing Seahorses

Kinders in my district learn about “amazing animals” around this time of year.That’s the perfect time for a seahorse watercolor resist project. A reading of the “Mister Seahorse” book by Eric Carle will show all the amazing ways fish take care of their young, and a direct draw seahorse with crayons and watercolor will show off … Read More

Milk Bottle Jars

My Sharpie Art class is working with some tissue paper and milk bottles I found at Michael’s. The tissue is torn and applied to the jars with watery glue. When it is dry they are going to draw some silhouette marker art on the sides. I’m loving all the glass bottles I see at Michael’s these … Read More

Clay Owls, by 1st Graders

posted in: Ceramics | 0

These clay owls were formed around student’s thumbs, which made them easy to hold and safer to fire. This tray was created by first graders, who did a great job. They started by making a ball, and then stuck their thumb in the center. The outside was squeezed to make more of a tubular shape. Marker … 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

Snail Paintings

Kinders at my school are learning about snails, so they learned how to paint one in art class. 1. Students trace an old CD in the middle of a 9″ x 12″ sheet of art paper. They drew a spiral in the middle to make the shell, and then draw a snail body around it. 2. … 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

Sharpies and Fabric

posted in: Fabric crafts, Markers | 0

Here’s a really cool looking project that takes just a few ordinary supplies: cotton knit fabric, permanent markers and rubbing alcohol. The ideal match is with tshirts, but if that is difficult due to time or budgets, a swatch of fabric is just as fun. 1. Place a bowl or container under the fabric and wrap … 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, 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

Dylan’s White House

A young fourth grader named Dylan shared his finished White House drawing with me today. Doesn’t the neatness and precision take your breath away? I think he should just go on a fast track to architect school, but that’s just me. Meanwhile, for those that are interested, it was made with colored pencils on my home … Read More

Shapes into Forms

Students used a hexagon template to start their drawings of cubes. Adding a in and out string made the drawing even more dimensional. 1. Use a hexagon punch from a craft store to create templates for students. They fill their page with rotating hexagons, and then add the needed lines inside. 2. String shapes are added, … 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

Mission Drawings on Brown Paper

posted in: Drawing, Pencil crayon | 0

I’d like to share this sample of student work from a fourth grade class today. I think the drawing guides from my California Mission Book and the brown graph paper are a powerful combination that bring out the best in what students are able to do each year. They never fail to amaze me! For those … 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

Draw the US Capitol

The United States Capitol is among the most architecturally impressive buildings in the nation. It has housed the meeting chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate for two centuries. I’ve made a tutorial that includes graph paper to help students align all of its beautiful features. • View and download US Capitol Building Tutorial … Read More

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

LOVE Lines

Students can practice using a ruler with this drawing project, and do some very basic measuring, which is a 2nd grade Common Core Standard. 1. Students start with a square piece of drawing paper. (I recommend one about 6″.) They measure and mark the center of each side and draw lines connecting them to make the … 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

Purple Headed Robots

posted in: Kindergarten, Painting | 0

It was time for a color mixing lesson for the pre-K kids today, so at the teacher’s request, we made it very simple and geometric. Templates were used for the body and head, but the rest was free drawn. 1. Students traced a 7″ square box that had a heart cut out (thanks to a standard … 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

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