Giant Cardboard Self-Portrait Busts in Grade Four

I am the official cardboard recycling queen! I can’t throw away anything especially cardboard because of it’s sturdiness and versatility. Turn those big cardboard pieces you want to throw out into gorgeous self-portrait busts!

After practicing and drawing their faces, the grade four students were more than ready and eager to draw themselves on huge pieces of cardboard pieces that I had  previously cut up for them. Our basic self-portrait drill is: 1. start with an oval for the head, 2. ears, 3. neck and finally the shoulders.

This done, the students painted two layers of white paint to make it easier to put on the skin colored paint. After this was dry, they add the eyes (using the ears as a guideline), nose, mouth and the rest of the facial details. Skin colored paint was next and the kids did a fabulous job mixing the colors to match their own skin tone.

Painting the clothing and hair was last and when everything was dry, the students outlined and added the final details with oil pastels before cutting them out with an exacto knife. We will soon make  hinged stands with you guessed it…cardboard! so these can stand up.

Aren’t these so wonderful?


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Name Art in Grade Five


This gallery contains 12 photos.

Here is a great lesson you should try with your students and it’s a project that can be done with any grade level. Your students will be creating a square radial design! Decide on the size of the paper you … Continue reading

Mini Me Self-Portraits

Grade 3

    I love starting the year with self portrait lessons. It’s a great way to get to know your students, new and old. Sometime ago while searching for ideas on Google, I came across an image where there were … Continue reading

Chagall Inspired Dreaming in Grade Two

Back by popular demand, I decided to do the Chagall inspired dreaming project again with my second grade class this year. This time the kids did their drawings on 12×18 paper which meant more space!  To see the lesson outline for this project you can go here to read my old post.

It’s amazing how kids love to talk about their dreams. Even better when they are given the chance to illustrate some of their dreams.

Everyone had fun and these turned out quite lovely, don’t you think?

Recycled Paper Weaving in Grade Two


What happens when the copy lady in your school accidently makes too many copies?  You  recycle the paper  into wonderful paper weaving creations of course! I saw this idea in an Arts and Activities magazine many years ago and thought it would be a perfect lesson to try with my second graders.  As I have mentioned before, I pretty much save EVERYTHING! You never know what wonderful art project could be in store with your recycled items.

1. Find some old cardboard and cut them up into 9×12 pieces for each student. Get all your recycled paper (it could be colored paper too!)  and give  8-10 pieces to each student.

2. Have each student  twist each piece of paper until they have 8-10  ‘logs‘. Make sure they start twisting  from the longer side of the paper so the logs will be long.

3. Have the students  glue down the ends of their twisted paper onto the cardboard. These should be glued in a VERTICAL manner as they will be the warp. Use white glue and have the students count to 20 on each end to make sure it sticks down.

4. Put your kiddos into small groups and give each group a  different color as you will be rotating the paint throughout the lesson. They should begin by painting the cardboard base and under the paper logs. Switch the colors around between groups and let the kids paint each log with lines, stripes, dots, etc. They will come up with creative ways to paint. Just make sure they don’t paint the bottom of the logs as these will STICK to the cardboard and you don’t want this to happen.        


Next lesson, give out the rest of the log pieces and explain they need to go under, over and weave their paper. Some logs will come loose and this is ok. Have the kids finish weaving and then glue the end back down. Give out some more paint and let the kids finish their creations. Try this lesson with Grade ones and even grade three. They could even weave in other recycled material such as thick yarn, corrugated pieces of paper, etc.



These look pretty cool huh?




Louise Nevelson Art in Grade 5

I thought this project would be a great opportunity for kids to learn about a wonderful artist called Louise Nevelson and look at recycling with an artistic eye.
After discussing and researching who Lousie Nevelson was the students got into pairs to plan and make a drawing of how they envisioned their final project. They planned the materials they would bring from home and there was excitement in the air to make ‘recycled junk art’.

Every team got a large cardboard piece as their base. The first step was to place all their carboard boxes, bottles, bottle caps and plastic knick knacks in place.

Next step was glueing everything in place. This was messy but a lot of fun. make sure you have PLENTY of GLUE handy and water it down just a little and use your old brushes.


The final step was to spray paint the finished masterpiece. Louise Nevelson was famous for using black or white paint and very ocassionally gold or silver. All the teams names were put into a bag and I randomly chose who would spray paint black ,white ,gold and silver. Make sure one team gets gold and one silver and the rest black and white.

The kids loved spray painting but make sure they are all wearing art smocks, gloves, goggles and masks. This was the best part of the project because all the creations came to life! They named their projects and then went ahead to work on the written part of the assigments which was a research paper on Louise Nevelson.

Don’t these look fantastic?