If you are looking for fun halloween art lesson plans, simple black marker drawings on coffee filters that are painted with watercolors look amazing. The way the filters soak up the watercolor will just make your eyes pop!
Bat Drawings on Coffee Filters
• Bat template to trace
• Jumbo coffee filters, 13″ x 5″
• Old steam iron
• Sharpie Marker, fine point
• Plastic Embroidery Canvas (to use as a drying rack)
• Liquid Watercolor Paint
PREP: Use steam iron to press the coffee filters flat. You can do a large quantity at a time by flipping and pressing and flipping and pressing, until everything is completely smooth and flat. Let cool before students work with them. Jumbo filters will make the most impact, but the standard size found at the grocery store will work too, just on a smaller scale.
1. Students either draw their own bats with the black marker, or trace them from the template. I find that kinders and 1st graders have trouble drawing the bottom bat wing, so I provided a template. Fortunately, the filters are pretty transparent so students can trace the outline to get started. Older students could draw their own in varying sizes. Note: Cover your tables before you color with marker as the ink does go through the paper.
2. The filter is placed on the mesh plastic to paint. The filter background is painted as desired with a warm color palette (red, oranges and yellow). This not only reminds students what warm colors are, any overlapping is guaranteed to look nice.
3. The filter is allowed to dry on the mesh.
4. The filters are lightly steam ironed again. You can do many at a time so it doesn’t take long, and it really does make the filter look like rice paper when you are done.
Haunted House Drawings on Coffee Filters
I opted to make a simple line drawing of a house and tree and fence for the students to trace, just for a starting point. They were to add as many Halloween details as they could. Given that the filter material is tricky to draw on with a pencil, I recommend jumping in and just drawing with a permanent marker.
- Haunted House Starter Template
- Large coffee filters, 13 x 5 size
- Sharpie markers, black, both fine tip and chisel tip
- Liquid watercolor paint
- Plastic Embroidery Canvas (to help transport the filter to a drying rack)
PREP: Use a steam iron to flatten a dozen or so filters at a time. Press one side, then the other, and you should be good to go.
- No pencil planning is needed. They are actually really difficult to use on the soft filters, so it’s best to jump in with markers. Besides, they filters are so cheap that you should be able to afford lots of “do overs”.
- Students trace the template drawing onto their filter with a permanent marker. Tracing slowly will make thick lines that bleed, and going faster will make thinner lines. Both are great and add character to the art.
- Students add their own details and filled in everything with a chisel tip black Sharpie marker.
- A plastic embroider mat is placed under the filter and watercolor paint is applied to the sky.
- The painting dries on the mat, and is pressed with a steam iron when done. It will get a nice, crisp finish.
President’s Day Penny on a Coffee Filter
You can even try some shading by adding an extra layer of brown to Mr. Lincoln so that he stands out from the background. Make a traditional penny, or go crazy and make a pop art, tie dye version. Either way, you have a fun way to mix art with a little history.
• Large Coffee Filters, 13 x 5 size
• Steam iron
• Penny Template, print on letter copy paper, one per student
• Masking tape
• Sharpie marker, black, fine tip
• Liquid watercolor paint, brown
• Paint brush
• Mesh plastic canvas, optional
PREP: Flatten white coffee filters with a steam iron. Tape filter on top of a Penny Template. The missing side lines need to be added by the student.
1. Students trace the Penny Template line art onto the filter with a Sharpie marker.
2. With the filter still taped to the copy paper, I had students place a plastic mesh sheet underneath for support in later carrying it to the drying rack.
3. The filter is painted entirely with one layer of brown watercolor paint. Let dry about 10 minutes and then paint the shadow areas with another layer.
4. When filter is dry, carefully remove the back paper and tape. Light press with a steam iron (you can do many at once in a layer) to make them nice and crisp.
President’s Day Quarter
Just download the template below, trace onto a flattened coffee filter, and paint with gray watercolor paint. Try making a little darker gray paint and adding it to shadowy areas.
- Quarter PDF Template
- Large Coffee Filters, 13 x 5 size
- Steam iron
- Quarter Template, print on letter copy paper, one per student
- Masking tape
- Sharpie marker, black, fine tip
- Liquid watercolor paint, black
- Paint brush
- Mesh plastic canvas, optional
- Flatten white coffee filters with a steam iron. Tape filter on top of a Quarter Template. The missing side lines need to be added by the student.
- Students trace the Quarter Template line art onto the filter with a Sharpie marker.
- With the filter still taped to the copy paper, I had students place a plastic mesh sheet underneath for support in later carrying it to the drying rack.
- The filter is painted entirely with one layer of watery black watercolor paint. Let dry about 10 minutes and then paint the shadow areas with another layer.
- When filter is dry, carefully remove the back paper and tape. Light press with a steam iron (you can do many at once in a layer) to make them nice and crisp.
Paint like Miro on a Coffee Filter
That’s what got me started with trying to find a fun new way for pre-K students practice drawing shapes. The fact that the end result looks a lot like Miro’s artwork is just a bonus.
- Large Coffee filters, 13 x 5 size
- Copy paper
- Old steam iron
- Black Sharpie markers, chisel tip
- Liquid watercolor paint
- Card stock paper, black
PREP: Draw a variety of outlined shapes on a sheet of copy paper and xerox for each student. Iron large coffee filters with a steam iron so they are flat.
- Students place a coffee filter over the copy paper and trace with a chisel tipped black Sharpie. They move the filter as desired and keep tracing until the circle is full.
- Liquid watercolor is used to trace all the shapes with a small brush. Let dry.
- The filter is glued to a sheet of copy paper to make the colors more opaque. The art is cropped and glued to a sheet of black card stock paper, and signed with a white paint poster marker.
Mona Lisa Drawing on a Coffee Filter
It’s possible to make really brilliantly colored paintings without expensive watercolor paper. Large, industrial coffee filters will give you a colorful look for a fraction of the price.
- Large Coffee Filter, 13 x 5 size*
- Old steam iron
- Black Sharpie marker
- Liquid watercolor paint
- Paper towels
- Plastic sheet, like a sleeve protector
*The above product link is a referral. If you click through and take action, I’ll be compensated a small amount, at no extra expense to you.
PREP: Print out one Mona Lisa template for every student.
Iron 9″ coffee filters to make them flat.
1. Tape one filter to the front of each printed face.
2. Trace and color with a black Sharpie. Newer markers will always work better as you want to end up with black blacks.
3. IMPORTANT: Place filter on plastic. Dampen with a very wet paper towel.
4. Dab liquid watercolor paint around as desired. Overlap to blend colors.
5. Let filter dry. Iron with warm iron to make the paper really flat and crisp.