Paper Sculptures

This project is SO easy but looks cool and counts as sculpture which I am always trying to make sure I do enough of with my students. Sometimes it’s really nice to do simple projects because the children work so hard and need very little help- they feel successful and get really engaged in the process. And I love seeing how they always come up with a clever way to deviate from the original instructions! – not making circles, stacking circles, or laying them down.

cardboard or chip board, white gesso + white paint (optional), strips of colored paper, glue sticks, white glue

  1. if you want a white background, paint cardboard (or chipboard- I ALWAYS save the backs of pads of drawing/bristol/watercolor papers) with gesso mixed with white paint
  2. make circles by using a glue stick on edge of one strip of paper, then folding into a circle and holding for about ten seconds- I tell children not to move on to step 3 unless the circle stays glued closed when they let go
  3. dip circle in white glue (you can pour glue into small plates or small trays) and place on background
  4. add lots of circles of different sizes and colors!

Garden Collages

This lesson is from Purple Twig so click over to read the original post. The children loved working on this and I was happy that they could try both painting and collaging and end up with one beautiful picture. We talked about radishes, turnips, onions, potatoes, beets, and carrots, and it was helpful to have our school vegetable garden right outside the window! Lots of possibilities for integrating gardening themes!

Here are a few of my favorite children’s books about gardening: The Curious GardenA Seed Is SleepyAnd Then It’s Spring


Talavera Tiles

This was an extension activity during a unit about Frida Kahlo. I showed examples of talavera tiles from Mexico, as well as images of Kahlo’s kitchen.

square papers, pencils, rulers, 6×6 inch ceramic tiles, china markers, patio paint, spray sealer, school glue, cork paper

  1. make a practice drawing of the design on paper with pencil- use a ruler to find the center of the square so the design can start in the center
  2. use a china marker to make the design on the ceramic tile
  3. add paint
  4. wipe away any china marker still showing
  5. spray with sealer
  6. glue cork paper to the back


3-6 colors of yarn, yarn needle, cardboard or chipboard, white yarn for making the warp, pom pom maker, beads, stick

  1. make cardboard loom
    1. cardboard should be cut to about 6×8 inches
    2. measure 1/2 inch from the top and draw a line, repeat 1/2 inch from the bottom
    3. at the top, measure 1 inch in from the left, and make a mark that goes from the top to the drawn line, then measure 3/8 inch over and repeat until you have 12 marks (there should be about 1 inch left over on the right side)
    4. repeat at bottom, and then cut slits along the 1/2 inch marks that you made
    5. glue a piece of cardboard (or two layered, or a pencil, or dowel/chopsticks) at the top and bottom just below and above the slits to allow the strings to be raised a little
    6. add string in the slits to make the warp, leaving about 2 inches on the top and bottom of each string so that you can tape to the back and eventually tie off
  2. precut different colors of yarn about 2 feet long
  3. children choose color, then you can help tie the end to a yarn needle
  4. start weaving- over under over under- on the first row of each color you have to pull through until there is the 3 inch tail left (see step 6) before you start the second row
  5. try not to pull to tight- if far left and far right vertical strings are getting pulled toward center- it’s too tight and the weaving will get skinnier and skinnier!
  6. when each piece of yarn runs out, make sure to leave about a 3 inch tail
  7. when whole weaving is finished, take tape off vertical strings (on the back of cardboard) and tie off the strings at top and bottom (2 at a time- this is why there are 12 vertical strings- you can do any number as long as it’s an even number) and tape the tails to the back
  8. sew to a stick, add a hanger, beads, and pom poms or tassels


Name Garland

These turned out really well because anything with a child’s name on it will be special, and also because they provide evidence of so much hard work:  watercolor painting, tissue paper painting, tracing, cutting, beading/stringing, and spelling!

watercolor paper, bleeding tissue paper, water and brushes, pencil, cardboard shapes, scissors, hole puncher, letter stickers, string, buttons, beads, pom poms, beading needles

  1.  Decorate watercolor paper with tissue paper that bleeds.  I actually don’t know which brand bleeds because these pieces were donated to me- make sure you test what you buy before your lesson!  Just place one square on the paper at a time, and use a brush to add water.  When it dries, remove the tissue and the color will remain.  Some children filled a page in about 30 minutes, and some could have still worked on it after an hour and a half.  For the sake of time and for the children with long names, I also had them decorate an extra page with crayon and watercolor.
  2. When the paper is dry, trace shapes on the back- we did stars, flags, hearts, and circles.
  3. Cut out the shapes.
  4. Add letter stickers to spell names, then punch holes (that way you don’t have to move the stickers when the children put them on upside down if you have already punched the holes).
  5. String!  We used beading needles to add buttons, sparkly pom poms, and wooden beads.




Ink Paintings

alcohol ink, clear plastic film, rubbing alcohol, droppers

  1.  place a border of masking/washi tape around the plastic so children can see the edges
  2. drop alcohol inks as desired on to plastic
  3. drop rubbing alcohol on top of inks to watch it make the colored ink move or disappear
  4. hang in window, layer over white paper or colored paper, or layer two paintings!


Inspired by Wayne Thiebaud

canvas paper, pencil, acrylic paint, brushes, palette

  1. show students examples of Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings and draw dessert items step by step (I drew slices, of cake, pie, and cupcakes and they added lollipops on their own)
  2. students draw dessert items in pencil on canvas paper- some added tables, plates, and silverware, while others just had a colorful background
  3.  cover pencil lines in blue paint (could choose a different color)
  4. add color with acrylic paint to the rest of the shapes and to the background