How adorable are these?!?

This lesson took (2) art classes to finish (and I had JUST enough time to squeeze in one more lesson before the end of the year)! It’s a simple one —but packs in a bunch! It incorporates the Elements of Art- Line, Shape, Color, Value and Texture! We also used overlapping, contrast and pattern in our work!  Students could choose between creating a bunny, bear cub or fox.

Read below the photos of student’s artwork to see how they were created and how to get FREE bunny and bear templates!

The fox template was clearly the most adored by my 2nd graders!

DAY 1 – Creating the field of flowers background!

Students drew flowers all over their 9×12″ 80# drawing paper using markers and crayons. They were encouraged to draw the flower heads LARGE and draw LOTS!! Especially along the top and sides, since later on the animal would be placed over their painting in the center.

I demonstrated a bunch of different ways to create the flowers first, but students could draw them any way they wanted! I also encouraged them to use bright colors.

Once their paper was filled, they drew green stems from each flower head going all the way to the bottom, using a green crayon as well as a green marker for each one. 

Once all the flowers and stems were drawn, using just water on a paintbrush, they went over each flower with water. This turns the marker into almost a watercolor consistency. I showed them how to just do one flower at a time then rinse their brush before moving onto the next so the colors wouldn’t get muddy.

Then students went over all their stems with water. The crayon part of the stems would remain a solid line since crayons resist water. We talked about the Element of Art “Value” and how the colors of the flowers would get softer and lighter in value once water was applied.

DAY 2 – Adding the animal!

Students chose a bunny, bear OR fox template to start drawing lines with sharpie to add TEXTURE!

I downloaded and photocopied the free bunny template from a website called Teachstarter found HERE . I created the bear one myself and made copies for kids, which you can get for free on my Teachers Pay Teachers page HERE. The fox template was created by an art teacher (Mrs. Bohn from McLeansville Elementary Art, via Instagram) who shared her fox drawing template with me!

I demonstrated how to draw straight and diagonal lines close together in between each section using sharpie. Students could leave the eye area as it was, or go over the bunny lashes and create longer lines. We discussed how the lines created fur- like TEXTURE. We also discussed how the black & white vs. the colorful flower background would create CONTRAST.

Once all the lines were drawn, students carefully cut out their animals and glued onto their flower background with a glue stick!

I just LOVE how simple yet beautiful this lesson is! Plus, kids continue to understand how they are applying the elements of art while creating!

Thank you for stopping by! To view other grade level artwork, click on the drop down menu on the main page, and select a grade to view more student art!

I will be posting again next week on 5th Grade “Grid Drawings” inspired by artist Chuck Close, and 4th Grade “Enlarged Flower drawings” inspired by artist Georgia O’Keeffe!

Be sure to check back soon!

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I can’t get over how ADORABLE these weavings are!!!! I LOVE them!!

I absolutely LOVE these fun watermelons!!! Thank you Nichole ( Mini Matisse) for sharing this wonderful lesson! My students loved creating them!

STEP 1: Creating the loom!

Students folded a sheet of 12×18″ red construction paper in half. They turned the folded paper around so the opening was at the top. Then they drew a horizontal line all the way across the top, and wrote their name above that line.

After that, they drew a short vertical line along the line where they wrote their name, starting in the center, then finding the halfway points between the center and to both the right edge and left edge of their paper. Then splitting those areas in half again and drawing 4 more vertical lines like below.

Then they drew straight vertical lines from those marks to the bottom

Then they cut along each of those lines, making sure to stop at the top horizontal line like below

STEP 2: Weaving the pink strips!

Students opened up the red paper, (the loom) horizontally, and wove 1″ x 12″ cut strips of pink paper all the way across creating a tight weave.

1st graders learned how to go over and under each horizontal cut red strip with their pink vertical strips of construction paper and noticed how it created a checkerboard pattern!

The trickiest part of this step was to be sure to reverse the pink strip every other time they wove. If the very first pink strip started on TOP of the red (like pictured above), they had to start weaving the next pink strip underneath the red, then the following pink strip started ON TOP of the red and so on so forth…. all the way across.

Art educator, Nichole Hahn’s Mini Matisse Blog had an awesome and easily explained video my students watched for this lesson. Click HERE to check it out from her blog!

Here they are watching it!

Students could choose from pink strips, magenta strips or a combo of both!

If students finished early, they became my teachers assistant and helped kids that wanted help weaving! It was so sweet and nice to see friends helping one another out!

Once all the pink strips were woven in the red loom, they glued the pink tabs along ALL the edges (both front and back) with a glue stick. This helps make sure the strips woven in won’t fall out or move out of place.

STEP 3: Adding the rind and seeds!

Students drew a GIANT letter U along a piece of 12×18″ green construction paper with pencil. Then cut out and glued to the weaving using a glue stick. Students applied glue heavily to the rind and pressed for 5 seconds to make sure it was stuck on!

Then they cut along the edge of the green rind, cutting off the extra watermelon weaving to create the watermelon shape!

For the final touch, students added watermelon seeds within each pink strip with a black sharpie!

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post!!

More artwork coming up REAaaaaaaL SOOOooooon from 2nd grade (“Springtime Bunny, Bears or Foxes”) , 4th Grade (“Enlarged Flower Drawings”) inspired by artist Georgia O’Keeffe, and 5th Grade (“Grid Drawings”) inspired by artist Chuck Close !! Check back soon!

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Matisse inspired ORGANIC SHAPES COLLAGE – 3rd Grade

I think this is a great end of the year art lesson because it only takes 3 classes (maybe even 2 if your art classes are longer than 40 minutes) and it’s fun!  But more importantly, it’s a nice way to review and assess students understanding on the basic elements of art; LINE (curving, wavy), SHAPE (organic vs. geometric), COLOR (primary, secondary, warm and cool as well as color mixing), as well as a review on overlapping, abstract art and composition.

Students in 3rd grade learned about the life and artwork of French artist Henri Matisse.

I showed them a Powerpoint slideshow of his artwork throughout the years, from his paintings to his collage work.

We talked about how Henri Matisse used a lot of bright, bold colors, simplified shapes, and was one of a few painters in his day who started a new style of painting called “fauvism” -(stemming from the word fauve, which means “wild beast”) and how later in his career, he would paint his own personal painted papers with many different colors that were then used for his cut paper collages.

They also learned how Matisse would cut right into the painted papers without drawing first, and called this technique “painting with scissors”.

We also reviewed the word collage and students noticed how many of his cut paper shapes in his collages, resembled leaves and plant life, and learned how they were organic shapes.  We talked about how organic shapes have curving, free flowing lines and can be found in nature, like in clouds, puddles, leaves, and flowers.  As opposed to geometric shapes (shapes that have straight lines and are usually symmetrical).

DAY 1 – Creating the painted papers

For this Matisse inspired lesson, students created their own painted papers first, just like Matisse did!

They began by folding a 12×18″ piece of paper 3 times, in order to create (8) rectangles, folding and pressing firmly each time to make sure they have visible creases to separate the 8 sections within their papers.

After unfolding the paper, students painted each rectangular section using liquid watercolors. Students were instructed to paint the top row with specific colors (Left to Right) using only primary colors, using only secondary colors, using only warm colors, and using only cool colors. In the top row, students could use those specific colors, painting any way they wanted –BUT– without mixing colors on their papers. The bottom row students could paint each section with any colors they wanted and could mix colors. I kept this up on the board for students as they painted (see pic below).

Some students were having a hard time recalling what those specific sets of colors were, so I gave them clues to jog their memory a little. For instance, for primary colors, I said – they consist of 3 colors, and when mixed they make the secondary colors. I also said, “If you start with the first color in the rainbow, red- (that’s your 1st primary color) then skip the next color, then you’ve got what? (Yellow- that’s the 2nd primary color) then skip the next color to ? blue (that’s your 3rd primary color). With warm colors, I asked them to think about what the first 3 colors in the rainbow were, plus pink, and with cool colors I suggested think about the last 3 colors of the rainbow.

Students tested colors out on a paper towel before applying paint to their paper. Sometimes the colors of liquid watercolors can be hard to see, since they are so saturated and appear very similar to one another in color within the ice cube trays.

DAY 2 – Cutting organic shapes

On day 2, we reviewed organic shapes. Students first cut out each painted rectangle from their painted paper. Then they cut out various free-flowing, organic shapes from each section, -1 large shape per section- cutting straight into their papers, without drawing first, just like Matisse did!  

In addition, students chose 5-6 pieces of colored construction paper to cut organic shapes from as well, to add to their collection of cut shapes for their collage. So all in all, students had up to 13-14 shapes total.

These shapes were then all paper clipped together and students wrote their name on the back of the last one and were saved in their class folder for the next class.

DAY 3 – Creating the collage

We reviewed abstract art (artwork that focuses on mainly lines, shapes and colors) and what composition meant in artwork.  Students learned that composition in art, means where things (or images) are laid out on the paper.

 Students arranged at least 8 of their cut organic shapes on a sheet of 12×18″ white 80# paper, moving them around on the paper, considering the composition first before gluing, and overlapping at least 5 shapes, before gluing into place.

I really love teaching this lesson. Not only is Matisse one of my favorite artists, but the vivid colors and arrangements of shapes turn out so beautifully and each collage ends up looking so unique!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check back soon for my next posts on 1st Grade “Watermelon Weavings” , 2nd Grade “Springtime Bunny, Bear, or Fox!”, 4th Grade “Enlarged Flower Drawings” and 5th Grade “Grid Drawings”!

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Mixed-Media Flowers! Special Education

How adorable are these!! I love lessons that incorporate mixed-media and 3D elements!

This fun mixed-media lesson took 2- (40 min.) art classes to complete.


On a sheet of 9×12″ tagboard, with a pre-drawn horizontal line drawn near the middle of the paper, students colored each section using the side of an oil pastel. We used 2 different colors, one for the top section and one for the bottom section.

Then students painted over each section with liquid tempera paint.

Then we used a texture comb created from a recycled plastic gift card to scrape the paint while wet, to create various lines and texture!

We set them aside to dry, then began creating the model magic flowers.

Students started off with a small piece that they rolled into a ball, then pressed slightly to flatten it a bit. We used scissors to cut small triangular sections out all around, then pinched the ends to create the flowers petals.

The left over model magic that was cut out, was rolled into very small balls and flattened to make the flowers centers.

A green pipe cleaner was inserted into the flowers for the stems, and they were set aside to dry completely, until the following week!


Students painted their flowers with liquid tempera.

Then they painted a paper towel tube that had been pre- cut into smaller pieces.

The flowers and tubes were set aside to dry. Once dry, I hot glued the paper towel tubes to their painted papers, as well as their flowers and voila! A lovely project for springtime, with tons of color and texture!

Lesson inspiration from Cassie Stephens – Thanks Cassie!


3RD GRADE – Matisse inspired Organic Shapes Collage

2ND GRADE – Springtime Bunny, Bear or Fox!

1ST GRADE – Watermelon Weaving!

Thanks for visiting my blog!

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3D Water Lilies Inspired by Claude Monet! 2nd Grade

This is one of my absolute FAVORITE art lessons!

It incorporates focusing on (5) of the 7 elements of art – (Line, Shape, Color, Form, and Texture) and is inspired by artist Claude Monet and his beautiful water lily paintings. This lesson took (5) 40 minute art classes to complete.

Read below student artwork to see the steps on how we created them, as well as view my YouTube tutorial!

DAY 1:

Students learned about Claude Monet and looked at a slideshow of some of his paintings- Especially (of course ) his water lilies!

Then they painted a sheet of 12×18” tagboard with magenta liquid watercolors.

Students also viewed a fun video on Monet once paintings were set aside to dry. This is the video they watched below.

DAY 2:  

Students painted a sheet of 10×10” tagboard with turquoise liquid watercolors, and sprinkled salt on the paintings while still wet.  This becomes the water background for the water lily. The salt creates a sort of “resist technique” soaking up the bits of blue watercolor paint and once dry, leaves a bit of white– Making it look like light is reflecting off of the water.

We talked about how Monet (and other Impressionist painters) tried to capture a sense of light within their paintings.

These paintings were set aside to dry. Then students cut out the petal tracers I provided, which were printed on a sheet of cardstock. The 3 petals (1 large, 1 medium and 1 small) were cut out, then each size petal was traced 6 times, resulting in 18 petals total on their magenta painted papers. 

Last year, when I created this lesson, I for some reason traced all 18 petals on EVERYONE’S pink painted papers for them to cut out???!!! Glad I decided to have them cut and trace out their own this year!

I demonstrated to make sure they were traced nice and snug next to one another so all 18 would fit. And to make sure all the Large petals were in one row then mediums in 1 row below the large and the smalls all in one row.

DAY 3:

Students created their lily pad on a sheet of 10×10” 80# drawing paper. They did this by filling in a drawn circle on the paper with layers of green and yellow pre-cut tissue paper and watered down white glue, overlapping each piece. Glue was applied to an area first, then a piece of tissue, then another layer of glue. Glue was brushed on after each piece of tissue to ensure they laid nice and flat.

I showed students how they could “pick up” 1 piece of tissue at a time, without using their sticky fingers by using their “gluey” paint brush and touching it to the tissue.

The lily pads were set aside to dry and for some classes that had some time left over, I read them this great story about Monet below! It’s a lovely story with wonderful illustrations!

DAY 4:

Students cut out their green lily pad and then cut out a triangle from the circle. This was then glued down onto their blue painted paper with a glue stick. (I rubbed off all the salt from the blue paintings once dry, ahead of time and pressed them between stacks of paper to make them flat before they did this step). A lot of glue is needed here and kids pressed down for 5 seconds to ensure it laid flat and adhered to the painting.

Then, after setting aside, students cut out their traced flower petals. They cut out all the large’s first, then medium’s, then small’s– making sure to paper clip each size together and labeled “L”, “M”, or “S” on the back of the paper-clipped petal bunch. 

These were then saved in individual zip lock baggies and students wrote their name and class with sharpie on the bag for the next class.

DAY 5:

Assemble the flower!

Students finish cutting out petals (if needed) then glue down all the large petals first, then medium, then small.

I used tacky glue (pictured below) for this step. I love how easy the glue bottles are when squeezing, and the glue dries clear once dry. It also “grabs” onto the petals quickly. I bought them in packs of 5 at A.C. Moore for around $5. I also bought larger bottles.

I show students under the document camera, how to apply a dot of glue about the size of a pea, and stack the fish “tail” of each petal (we talked about how the shape of the petals looked like fish)  right on top of each other– like making a sandwich –stacking the next rectangular  fish tail over the previous one each time.

After each petal “fishtail” is held in place with a dab of glue for 5 seconds, students then held the tail down with one finger while bending and pressing the petals tip back to create the 3D element in the flowers petals, and makes the petals stick out.

Once ALL the petals were attached they rolled up a piece of pre-cut yellow felt fringe and glued it to the flowers center. I pre-cut 8″ x 1.5″ pieces of yellow felt and cut the fringe ahead of time for students. Students rolled their strip of fringe TIGHTLY! and then applied a lot of glue (using the same tacky glue as the petals) to the end and then a bit on the flowers center, before pressing and holding down for 20-30 seconds. If there is any extra glue coming out from the bottom, don’t worry about it because the glue dries clear as mentioned before.

And there you have it!!!

These beauties went up on the wall for display as soon as they were dry! (I like to let them dry overnight -or at least a few hours just in case).

Here’s my YouTube tutorial on this lesson below!

If your’e wondering what students are working on for the reaminder of the year (yikes only 3 or so art classes left!!) here it is!

1st Grade– Watermelon Weavings (new lesson!)

2nd Grade– Springtime Bunny, Bear OR Fox! (To view previous art on this lesson from last year, click on “2nd Grade Art Lessons” under the main menu and scroll down)

3rd Grade– Matisse Inspired Organic Shapes Collage (to view previous art on this lesson, click on “3rd Grade Art Lessons” under the main menu and scroll down)

4th Grade– Georgia O’Keeffe inspired “Enlarged Flower Drawings” (and ditto- check out previous flower drawings by going on their webpage and scrolling down)

5th Grade– Grid Drawings inspired by artist Chuck Close (yep, you got it- check out previous artwork by students under “5th Grade Art Lessons” and scrolling down!)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’ll be posting again VERY sooooon!

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Self-Portraits with Personal Symbols – by 3rd Grade artists

This lesson was inspired by the artist Frida Kahlo, who is well known for her self-portrait paintings and often incorporating symbols into her artwork.

This lesson took about 4 (40 minute) art classes to complete.

DAY 1:

Students were introduced to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and learned about her interesting life and beautiful artwork!

We looked at a variety of images of her paintings as well as photos of her creating her art. We looked at photos and self-portraits of her and her many unique pets as well! (Students loved seeing her with her pet spider monkey, 4 parrots, a deer, a hawk and other interesting creatures! She loved animals and had a lot of unique pets throughout her life!

Students also learned how she originally wanted to be a doctor and studied medicine, but then was in a terrible trolley accident which left her bedridden in the hospital for a very long time. Her mother gave her paints and drawing supplies to help her pass the time in the hospital and set up a mirror above her bed, which led her to her love of painting, becoming an artist and creating her many self-portraits!

After discussing her use of symbolism in some of her self-portraits, and discussing what a SYMBOL was, students looked at a variety of student examples as well as my teacher examples.

For the lesson, I explained they needed to draw themselves large on the paper vertically, only including their head, neck and shoulders, (like in their school photos!) then to draw 6 or 7 symbols around them that reflect their interests and personality. The symbols should be drawn large and at least as big as their closed fist (making sure the objects are clearly identifiable and easy to outline and color in later on).

I reminded them to make sure the symbols should only be images, no text! They could connect to things that they enjoy doing, things that are important to them, a favorite memory, favorite foods, hobbies, seasons etc. They could however, add words in their shirt if they wanted.

Then, I reviewed with students how to draw the shape of the head and facial details as well as facial detail placement on the head, under the doc camera on 12 x18″ 80# paper. I had facial detail handouts to use and refer to as they drew with a variety of eyes, noses, and mouth images if they wanted to use them, but didn’t have to.

Students then started drawing soon after with pencil, drawing lightly in case they needed to erase.

DAYS 2-4:

Students continued drawing and once all details were added and 6-7 symbols were drawn around them, they outlined all lines with a black sharpie.

Students used crayons (pressing firmly! so the colors would be vibrant! ) to color in. I explained to find a crayon –(or two, overlapping and blending the two colors if needed) that best matched their unique skin color, hair color and eye color. (In previous years, kids used oil pastels to color in, but I wanted to switch it up and try good ol’ crayons for a change (and lets face it….less mess!)

As a final step, students chose one color to color in the background, to make their self-portrait and symbols stand out,  filling in the entire paper so no white paper was showing.

Once finished, students filled out a self-assessment on their knowledge of Frida Kahlo and on their own artwork! This sheet will be taped to the back of their drawings before going home.

To my 3rd graders in school, can you tell who’s WHO in these self-portraits by looking at their drawings and symbols?? : ) Take a look below! (obviously, the first two are very evident!) 🙂

Photos of students creating their beautiful masterpieces below student artwork too! (I guess that would kinda give it away now wouldn’t it, haha)

YES, YES….. I know…… I take a TON of photos!!….. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! Check out below for my recent post on 1st graders “Dream Houses”!

Next up for 3rd grade…….Painted Organic Shapes Collage inspired by artist Henri Matisse!

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1st Grade “Dream Houses”

This fun 3 day art lesson—- (3) 40 minute art classes—-is inspired by the book “The Big Orange Splot” by Daniel Pinkwater.

I absolutely LOVE this book!

It’s about a man, Mr. Plumbean, who lives on a street with his neighbors who all have the same exact house on “a neat street” as they say in the story.

Then one day, a big splot of bright orange paint falls on his roof. The neighbors all get annoyed by the random splot and ask him to get rid of it so they all “have a neat street” again.

Instead of getting rid of it, he adds to the splot, and paints his home with a ton of bright, vivid colors, and pictures of fun, random things ALL over.  His neighbors get really upset at him and ask him why he won’t change it back to the way it was before. He declares to all his angry neighbors “my house is me, and I am it…..my house looks like all my dreams” and doesn’t change a thing.

Soon after…. one by one… the neighbors try to have a talk with him to change it back. BUT…. after talking to Mr. Plumbean, each neighbor gets INSPIRED! and ends up changing all THEIR houses to look like their own dreams!

After reading the story, we talked about how it’s important to be yourself and to not be afraid to stand out, and talked about how boring it would be if everything looked the same. Then I showed students examples of previous 1st graders artwork, as well as a few of my own, then kids got started!

I had no rules for this art lesson except to add a pattern somewhere within their work! I wanted to let them be as creative as possible with very little instruction. Kids could draw whatever kind of house they wanted! It didn’t have to be rectangular or square like most houses—it could be any shape! It could be a diamond shaped house, a slice of cake, a puppy, a cookie, a robot, a spaceship, a boat, a unicorn, slides coming from the roof to a pool in the yard….you get the idea!

Check them out below- They came out fantastic!

(Photos of students creating them below their artwork too!)

Students drew on 12×18″ drawing paper with pencil, then outlined all lines with a black sharpie, then colored in their houses with crayons. The final step was painting the background with blue (for sky or underwater scene) or black (for space or nighttime scene) using liquid watercolors.


Thanks for stopping by! I will be posting 3rd grade self-portrait artwork inspired by artist Frida Kahlo NEXT, and 2nd grade “3D Water Lilies” inspired by Claude Monet VERY VERY SOON!

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Read below to find out how we created these, see step-by-step pics and watch my YouTube tutorial on this lesson!

Printmaking is one of my favorite things to teach in art. I love it because it always has an element of surprise with the results each time. Getting all the “Ooooh’s” and “Ahhh’s” after printing is so fun and magical and is always fun to see!

4th Graders used their previous knowledge on printmaking from when they were in 3rd grade when creating their “Complementary Creature Prints”. 3rd grade students used markers to print… and this time, as 4th graders… used black tempera paint to print. We used liquid watercolors to create the background before printing a symmetrical radial design on top using black tempera paint.

I love how colorful they are and loved showing students a variation in printmaking. They did a fantastic job!

This lesson took 4 to 5 (40 minute) art classes to complete.


On the first day of the lesson, we reviewed symmetry (images that are the same on both sides) and students were introduced to radial design (a design that can include any lines, shapes or colors that starts in the center, and radiates outwards in a circular way). I explained we’d be making a symmetrical radial rainbow painting.

After demonstrating, and reviewing the order of the rainbow, students then measured to locate the center of their paper, using a ruler and marked the 6″ spot with pencil. From the center out, they then painted a radial rainbow design on their 12×12″ tagboard with liquid watercolors.


Students drew curving lines (with some space between each line) on a 6″ square piece of copy paper that had been folded into a triangle, in pencil.

Then drew different lines and/or shapes between each curving line. Making sure not to draw too small or too detailed. Simple is best. They could be a pattern of lines and shapes, but didn’t have to be.

Then students opened the paper up, and traced over their pencil lines with a black sharpie.

Then students flipped up the blank bottom half over the top half that had been traced in sharpie like below.

The drawing can be seen through the paper (as shown on the picture to the right above). Then students traced over their lines with a pencil like below.

TIP: Place a sheet of white paper underneath your work while tracing so the lines can be seen more clearly. OR place the paper on a window to allow light to shine through the backside to see more clearly as you trace. OR- rather than using copy paper folded into a triangle, use tracing paper.

Once ALL the lines have been traced, THEN unfold, by taking the bottom half out like below. You should be able to see the pencil part on top, and the backside of the sharpie part below. Here you can now see the entire design is continuous on both halves of the paper.

From here, take the paper and tape it to a 6″ square cut piece of styrofoam (the printing plate). Use clear tape and only tape it to the top in 2 areas so the paper can open and close like below. Don’t worry about the tape covering your drawing a bit.

Once the drawing is taped onto the printing plate, students started tracing over ALL the lines with a dull colored pencil. (The colored pencil lets you know where you have traced since it leaves a colored line). Press firmly as you trace. This step transfers your drawing onto the printing plate.

It’s a good idea to check to see if its transferring well enough, so flip up the taped down drawing to check how it’s coming along. As long as you can see the lines indentations on your printing plate well enough, you’re good!

Continue tracing with a dull colored pencil until the entire design is traced.

Once that’s done, students flipped over the paper they were tracing. Here you should be able to see the drawing completely transferred onto the printing plate like below.

Next, students traced over their indentations of their design on the styrofoam printing plate with a dull colored pencil. (Tracing again pressing firmly). This step is crucial and creates a nice deep indentation which creates a clear print later on. If it’s not pressed in twice (once with paper over the styrofoam, and again a second time on just the styrofoam the overall print wouldn’t be as clear when time to print.)

From here, students then colored in *some* of their shapes they created within their design with colored pencil. Again pressing firmly! Areas where it is colored in, will reveal more rainbow from the painting created. Students could fill in as much as they wanted or as little as they wanted. This step was the final step before printing, so kids were very anxious to get printing! Teacher example on left, student example on right.

Once shapes were filled in, students flipped over the styrofoam printing plate, and drew an arrow with sharpie pointing to the corner where they started their drawing.

*Technically, to print a symmetrical radial design, the arrow could be drawn pointing in ANY one chosen corner, as long as it’s in just one corner. For a complete circle design like we created, we drew the arrow in the corner where we originally started the curving lines.

HOWEVER, no matter where you place the arrow, this arrow is necessary to know where to position the printing plate on the paper each time you print. The arrow should always point to the center of the paper each time it’s printed. Doing this creates the symmetrical radial design. (More on this below). They also wrote their name and class in sharpie on the back somewhere as well.

Then the paper that was taped on gets taken off and thrown away and students were ready to print!


After a printing demonstration, students created a practice print on white paper before moving onto their final copy (on their rainbow painting).

Students shared plates of black tempera paint and brayers and rolled out their brayer onto the plate of black paint a couple times. Since the paint has a slippery texture, it’s important to THEN roll the brayer onto a sheet of scrap paper to get the paint evenly distributed onto the brayer. This also gets rid of any excess paint before rolling onto the printing plate.

Then the brayer gets rolled onto the printing plate.

Once students evenly coated their printing plate with black tempera paint, they carefully lifted it up and printed onto 12×12″ white 80# paper. It’s important to have the printing plates edges lined up with the papers edges and have the arrow pointing to the center of the paper.

Then students pressed down with the flat of their hands and then used a CLEAN brayer, and rolled over the backside of their printing plate all over to transfer the design to create the first print like below.

Then, lifted it off to repeat those steps 3 more times, rotating the printing plate so the arrow pointed towards the center of their paper each time they printed.


Students reviewed the printing process and continued to print their design onto their rainbow painting that they painted on day 1!

It was fun… but very messy!!!

This is why we drew a BIG arrow! So you can see it!

If you haven’t see it yet, Here’s my YouTube video tutorial below. I hope you like it!

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Radial Symmetry Printmaking – NEW YouTube Tutorial!

Hi everyone! It’s been a LOOOOoonng time since I’ve posted any new YouTube tutorials ( 5 months or so I think?) and wanted to share here that I just finished uploading this one!

4th graders are currently creating their prints for this lesson and a few students have finished printing! I will be posting the entire lesson here with photos of student artwork as well as photos of students creating their prints later this week!! I can’t wait to share!

Stay tuned for that and in the meantime, you can view my latest video tutorial below! If you didn’t know I had a YouTube channel, you can click HERE to get there to view all my art tutorials…. Slowly, but surely adding more and more… *******UPDATE******* I wanted to edit this video tutorial after watching in class with my students a few times. I wasn’t too happy with the sound quality or edits here and there…..Still learning how to create/edit in iMovie. They always take me longer than I think, and I’m always terrified to record my voice!

So, here’s the new version….I adjusted the volume, (I have more of a quiet voice and noticed it’s hard to hear in my videos sometimes), switched out some of the music I used, and sped up the ending demonstration parts. This one is *hopefully* better than the first one I posted.

I would love and appreciate your feedback! Feel free to email me or comment below this post. Thank you!

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for watching! 


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Mondrian Inspired Printing- 1st Grade

Read below student artwork to learn how students created these, what they learned about throughout the process, and see photos of students creating!

When students came into the art room and sat down, without showing them my teacher examples, I asked them, “who can remember and tell me what the primary colors are?” (They all learned about primary colors from the previous lesson when creating secondary colors from mixing primary colors)

I was happy to see everyone’s hands shooting up in the air!

***I feel like I should explain here that Kindergarteners don’t have art class in our district, that’s why I’m teaching them about primary/secondary colors, line, shapes, overlapping etc. etc. to my first grade classes***

Then I showed them my teacher examples and explained we’d be creating artwork inspired by the artist Piet Mondrian.

From there I showed them a brief PowerPoint about his life and artwork.

Students learned he was an artist from the Netherlands, who lived from 1872 to 1944 who was and still is today, a very influential and famous abstract painter. He is known for being one of the pioneers of 20th century abstract art.

One fact about his life was that he was an elementary school teacher before creating art full time. They also learned how he painted more realistically in the beginning, then developed a strong interest in creating more abstracted images, and eventually reduced his artwork to simple geometric elements, focusing on horizontal and vertical lines. He also paired down his color palette using mainly primary colors.

Below are some screenshots of slides taken from my powerpoint I showed students.

I asked students to show me how to draw vertical and horizontal lines with their finger in the air. Then I asked them how many vertical lines there were in his paintings, and how many horizontal lines and what shapes they created.

I asked my students “who can tell me what a shape is?” Students said rectangles, circles, squares…” I said yes those are all examples of shapes you’re right, but do you know what the definition of a shape is? What is a shape? I drew on paper a random line connected end to end that resembled a cloud, and asked “ is this a shape?” They all said yes!

I explained how any lines that connect end to end is a shape.

As I motioned my hands in the air – I asked my first grade students “what happens when 2 horizontal lines connect with 2 vertical lines?” ——they knew right away! They create rectangles and squares!

Students all loved this picture with the lady on the car!

DAY 1 (OF 2)

Students used a small rectangular piece of Styrofoam dipped into black tempera paint, to stamp one end and print horizontal and vertical lines onto 12x 18” paper.

I explained to focus mainly on making squares and rectangles (just like Mondrian) but they could create triangles and other shapes here and there too!


Students colored in their shapes with primary colors using markers.

Some students took more of a Kandinsky approach to stamping their lines. I love the sense of movement these have below!

They really got into it, and some students told me they couldn’t wait to go home and create more!

Check back later this weekend for a new blog post on 4th Grade Radial Printmaking!! And check below to see 4th graders beautiful Dandelion Puffs! Thanks for stopping by!

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