zondag 25 juli 2010

Pimp your chair

You need:

  1. wooden chair for each student or one chair for two students
  2. water-based paint in various colours
  3. paint trays
  4. paint rollers
  5. brushes
  6. sandpaper
  7. ammonia
  8. newspapers

Pimping chairs is a nice activity for older kids. Ask students to bring an old wooden chair, or buy some old ones in a reclycle store. Discuss how to pimp a chair. How do you manage that? Do you choose a theme, for instance flowers or sports, or do you want to decorate it with motives? You can even choose an artist. How about a Keith Haring chair, or a Piet Mondriaan table? What colours do you use? How do you draw the design on the chair? Just drawing or is it better to use a cut mold?

Create a design on paper, on which the colours and patterns / designs that are selected are clearly indicated. Talk about the roles when the chair is made in groups. Who's doing what?

Put the chairs on newspapers. Sand the chair and make it completely greaseproof with a cloth and ammonia water. Let it dry. Draw the design with pencil on the chair. Paint the chair.

The table below is pimped by a group of students. For the tabletop they used chalkboard paint. This table is still in our classroom as an instruction table. Handy, because you can write on it!

All furniture is pimped by students of 11-12 years old

vrijdag 23 juli 2010

Totem poles

You need:
  1. large paper tube
  2. egg cartons
  3. toilet rolls
  4. masking tape or duct tape
  5. wallpaper paste
  6. scissors
  7. cardboard
  8. newspapers
  9. tempera paint
  10. brushes
  11. varnish spray

Totem poles are an important art form for the Pacific Coast people. They are made from the trunks of red cedar trees and often depict people, animals, birds and fish. These characters are frequently arranged to be used to explain a story.

Divide the class in groups of four students. Give each group a large paper tube (aks a poster shop), a jar with wallpaper paste, cardboard, masking tape, egg cartons, toilet rolls and a lot of newspapers.

First decide how many characters you will make on your totem pole. Use cardboard to make appendages such as wings. These are first drawn out with a marker and then cut out. The appendages are then taped onto the tube. Use egg cartons or toilet rolls to make eyes or a mouth. Cover the armature of your totem pole completely with strips of newspapers.

Let the totem pole dry, this may take some days. The totem pole is then painted with tempera paint in bright colours. Finally spray the totem pole with varnish, to be sure the colours will shine.

Totem poles, made by students of 10-11 years old

woensdag 21 juli 2010

Sporting cow

You need:

  1. white drawing paper A4 size
  2. black and pink marker
  3. pink paper for background
  4. glue
  5. scissors
'Sporting cows, I can't draw that!' This was the first reaction when I came with this job. I understood that, who has even seen a cow hanging on the high bar? However, this is what it makes it so fun. What makes you recognize instantly a cow? Right, the black and white spots, pink udders and a pink nose. A drawing of a sporting cow will therefore look like a cartoon. Fold the drawing sheet in four. Draw in each rectangle a sporting cow. Cut the folds and paste the four drawings with a little space between them on a pink sheet.

Made by students of 12 years old

maandag 19 juli 2010

Tree of life, in the style of Gustav Klimt

You need:

  1. black construction paper A4 size
  2. thick gold marker papier
  3. fine gel pens in metallic colours

Gustav Klimt (Austria, 1862 – 1918) was born in the neighbourhood of Vienna in a poor family. His father was was a gold engraver. This may have influenced Klimt in his use of gold in his paintings. In 1876, Klimt was awarded a scholarship to the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts . His work consists of paintings of mostly women, but also wallpaintings , drawings and collages. Klimt is much praised for the use of gold in his paintings.

Show some artwork of Klimt, and especially the painting 'Tree of life'. Discuss the distinctive features in the work: use of gold colour, the spiral branches, the bird, circles that look like eyes. Tell students about the symbolic significance of these motifs: the tree of life curls, just like in paradise, in all directions. On the lush branches grow flowers with eyes of wisdom and the paradise bird underlines the enchanting impact.

Give students a black construction paper. Let them draw the trunk of a tree that leads to curling branches. Fill the whole sheet with branches, of choose, just like the artwork above, a round shape. Fill the spaces between the branches with different patterns in metallic-coloured gel pens or markers.

Both artworks are made by students of 12 years old

vrijdag 16 juli 2010

Me and my iPod

You need:

  1. drawing sheet A4 size
  2. compass
  3. colour pencils
  4. black print of a break dancer
  5. white sewing thread
  6. scraps of white paper
  7. scissors
  8. cutter and cutting mat
  9. glue
  10. coloured paper for background

After a dance project, students of our school made these break dancers, listening to their iPods while dancing. Use pencil and ruler to divide the sheet lenghtwise in five compartments. Draw two meandering lines from top to bottom. The sheet is divided in 15 compartments now. Use a compass to draw circles of different sizes at the intersections of the lines. Colour all compartments alternately using two colours. Work top to bottom , to avoid mistakes.

Search the web for a black picture of a breakdancer and print it. Enlarge it on the copymachine until it fits on the drawing sheet. Cut this dancer and paste in on the drawing sheet.

Draw a little rectangle with a circle in it on a scrap of white paper: the iPod. Cut it and paste it in the hand of the dancer. Cut two very tiny circles, the headphones, and paste them on the head.

Cut a piece of sewing thread and make a loop in it. Cut the loop at the top - see picture. Paste the thread around the dancer, leading the two separate pieces to the headphones and the long piece to the iPod. Finally paste the arwork on a coloured background.

Made by students of 11-12 years old

maandag 12 juli 2010


You need:
  1. black construction paper A4 size
  2. white drawing sheet
  3. colour pencils or markers
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. silver and gold marker

Draw half sunglasses against the fold of a black sheet. Cut the glasses. Draw a summer scene on the white sheet. Colour it. Put the glasses on it and slide until you see the best part. Paste the glasses on the drawing and cut them again. Decorate the glasses with gold or silver marker.

Made by students of 12 years old

zondag 11 juli 2010

The most beautiful soccer ball!

Made by students of 9-10 years old

With the upcoming Worldcup final between Holland and Spain tonight, a nice lesson to draw your own most beautiful soccer ball. You need:
  1. pattern soccer ball (download)
  2. black pencil of black markers
  3. ruler
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. coloured paper for background
Most modern footballs are stitched from 32 panels of waterproofed leather or plastic: 12 regular pentagons and 20 regular hexagons. The pentagons are mostly black, the hexagons white.

Give students a copy of the soccer ball. Let them finish the lines using pencil and ruler. Then all surfaces have to be filled with patterns. Students of higher grades can be asked to draw dark patterns for the pentagons and lighter patters for the hexagons. In lower grades you can ask to colour the pentagon in the middle of the ball black, and draw patterns in the other hexagons and pentagons. Cut the ball and paste it on coloured paper. Of course we chose orange!

dinsdag 6 juli 2010

Fabric flowers

You need:
  1. piece of cardboard 30 cm by 20 cm
  2. different fabrics
  3. glue
  4. fabric scissors

Choose a background fabric and paste it around a piece of cardboard. Cut the different parts of a flower (stem, petals and leaves) from fabric and paste them on the background; be sure the petals overlap!

Both artworks are made by children of 10 years old

maandag 5 juli 2010

Tropical fish

You need: 1.white drawing sheet A3 size 2.tempera paint 3.brushes 4.saucers 5.jars with water 6.drawing sheet A4 size 7.markers 8.paper towels 9.pieces of sponge 10.magazines 11.scissors 12.glue After a visit to a marine aquarium, children of our school made their own ocean with tropical fish. Dilute tempera paint with water on a saucer. Paint the A3 sheet blue and leave it to dry. Stamp paper plants and corals on the sheet using a piece of sponge or a wad of paper. Use undiluted tempera for the stamping.

Draw a fish on a folded piece of drawing paper. Cut the fish, so you'll have two of them. Colour these two fish with bright colors, just like the tropical fish in the aquarium. Draw and cut a few more fish. Colour them like the first two; all fish must be the same color, they should only vary in size. Create a beautiful composition of the fish on the blue-painted sheet. Stamp some strings of aquatic plants before the fish. Or cut green strips from magazines and paste on the artwork.

All artworks are made by children of 10-12 years old

zondag 4 juli 2010

Desert sunset

Made by a student of 8 years old

You need:
  1. coloured paper
  2. black construction paper
  3. scissors
  4. glue

By tearing stripes of different colours of paper, children create a sunset. Draw a big cactus on black paper and cut it out. Paste the cactus on the sunset sheet.

zaterdag 3 juli 2010

Design your own board game

World Cup 2010 game

You need:

  1. coloured cardboard
  2. coloured paper
  3. clay
  4. scissors
  5. glue
  6. laminator
  7. markers
  8. various materials

Truth or dare

At the end of elementary school, in our Dutch group 8, when musical stress strikes (every group 8 in Holland ends its elementary school career by performing a musical) and motivation to learn decreases, making your own board game is a great job. In groups of two or three students invent a game , complete with all attributes and a set of rules.


First, I let the children think about the basics of their game. Then I ask those groups to make a list of the materials they need. Cardboard? Paper? Colours? Sizes? The teacher ensures that all materials are in the group, as far as possible. Maybe children will also want to bring things from home.

Detail: pawns out of clay

After drawing, cutting, pasting, writing and colouring, question cards can be laminated. And if all games are ready and everybody's game has been admired, the games must be playedof! Always a successful lesson!

dinsdag 29 juni 2010

Auntie Annie's plants

Made by a student of 11 years old

You need:

  1. one piece of linoleum from 15 by 15 cm
  2. black construction paper
  3. lino knives
  4. mat
  5. white block printing ink
  6. flat piece of glass
  7. linoleum roller
  8. lino press
In auntie Annie's window you'll find a varied collection of plants. Plants in huge pots, small pots, big plants, tiny plants, a lot of leaves or just very little. As the evening darkness fills the room of auntie Annie, the plant collection may look like a group of creeps....

Draw the plants on a piece of linoleum and cut them out. Vary in the flower pots by cutting the whole pot away, of leaving just the edges. You may also cut decorations in the pots.

Shake the bottle of blockprint carefully to be sure oil will mix with the rest. Drip the paint on the glass and roll it out with the lino roller. Make several prints of your work. Choose the best one to be your artwork.

And, are Auntie Annie's plants really creepy?

zondag 27 juni 2010

Op art cube

Made by students of 12 years old
You need:
  1. white drawing sheet 21 by 29 cm
  2. pencil
  3. ruler
  4. markers
  5. glue
Give students a copied print of a cube, or let them make their own. I did it with a guided instruction.
  1. Lay the sheet in front of you with the small side up.
  2. Draw a dot on top of the sheet on 7 and 14 cm.
  3. Do the same on the bottom of the sheet.
  4. Connect the lines from top to bottom.
  5. Draw dots on the right site of the sheet on 7, 14, 21 and 28 cm starting at the top of the sheet.
  6. Do the same on the left site of the sheet.
  7. Connect the dots with lines. You have 12 squares on your sheet now, and three small rectangles on the bottom (picture 1).

Picture 1

8. Number the squares very thin with a pencil from left to right. 9. Draw a cross in square 1, 3, 4, 5, 10 en 12 (picture 2).

Picture 2

10. Draw edges to the sides of square 2 and 5. Draw this line 1 cm from the edges. 11. Draw edges to the three sides of square 11. 12. Draw a cross in the remaining narrow strips at the bottom of the sheet (picture 3).

Picture 3

Draw six different styles of optical illusions on the six sides of the cube. Colour them with markers and outline with fine black marker.
Cut the cube and paste the sides together.

zaterdag 26 juni 2010

I scream for ice cream

Made by students of grade 1

You need:

  1. coloured cardboard A2 size
  2. brown construction paper
  3. white drawing paper A4 size
  4. tempera paint
  5. brushes
  6. saucers
  7. tissue paper
  8. salt
  9. scissors
  10. gold markers
  11. fiber fill or cotton wool

In this lesson, children use each other's work.

Divide the class into six groups. Give each group of children some white sheets, a saucer, one colour tempera paint, salt, brushes, a jar with water and blotting paper in a slightly darker colour than the paint. Mix tempera on a saucer with a lot of water to get a light (ice cream) colour. Each group paint a few sheets of drawing paper with this diluted tempera. Salt can be applied to create texture and small pieces of blotting paper with water will suggest chocolate chips or fruit in the ice. Be sure there are so many sheets of each colour that every student can get half a sheet of all six colours.

Hang the sheets outside to dry.

Cut the large sheets of coloured cardboard lengthwise into three, so you get three large strips of approximately 15 by 60 cm. Give each child a coloured strip and a sheet of brown construction paper. Each student cuts a cone out the brown craft paper by folding the paper and cutting a triangle from the fold . Then the draw a wafer pattern on the cone with a gold marker.

Give each student half sheet of painted paper of all six colours. Let them draw circles on the sheets by outlining a cup. Cut the circles. Paste the ice-cream cone on the large sheet of cardboard, and paste six different circles on it. Remember that the first scoop of ice cream has to be pasted partly in the cone. Finally cream may be added, by cutting half a circle out of fiberfill or some cotton wool.

dinsdag 22 juni 2010

Sailing boat

Made by Naomi, 11 years old

You need:
  1. ribbed cardboard
  2. white cardboard
  3. carbon paper
  4. cutter
  5. cutting mat
  6. glue
  7. pattern boat
  8. pattern mast and sail

Enlarge the pattern till it fits on a A4 sized sheet. Use carbon paper to copy the pattern of the boat on the cardboard. Cut the boat. Copy the stripes and cut them out of ribbed cardboard. Paste the stripes on the boat.

Copy the sail and mast on ribbed cardboard and cut them out. Cut the sails again out of white cardboard and paste them on the ribbed cardboard ones. Do the same with the flag. Paste the artwork on a coloured background.

This sailboat can alse be done by a group of students. All students make their own coloured sailing boat and paste the all together on a big blue painted piece of paper.

zondag 20 juni 2010

Ocean animals

You need:

  1. black construction paper A4 size
  2. chalk pastel
  3. glue
  4. hairspray
  5. coloured paper for background

Which animals live in the ocean? These are not just fish! There also live mammals such as whales, walrus and seal. And what about jellyfish, crabs, octopuses, sea horses and sea turtles? The students make a choice for an ocean animal. They sketch the animal and his envorinmont with a pencil on black paper. Don''t draw too much detail, because the drawing has to be traced with glue. After sketching trace the lines with glue. Wood glue is very suitable. The glue is white, so visible during the drawing, and will turn transparent after drying. Practice drawing with glue first on another sheet: - Put the nozzle onto the paper; - Move the glue bottle away from you while you gently squeeze the bottle; - Don't get scared about stains, you won't see them later!

The glue is dry when it becomes transparent. This may take several hours. The drawing has to be coloured with chalk pastel. With a tissue the chalk can be wiped off the glue, so the black contours clearly remain. Finally, fix the drawing with hairspray. Do not panic if suddenly all the colour disappears, it will be back after the spray is dried (in seconds)! Paste the artwork on a coloured background.

All artwork is made by students of 11-12 years old

woensdag 16 juni 2010

Class team

Class team, by a student of 12 years old

With the worldcup coming up, you can design your own class team! Thanks to Anneriek Adema and her students, who sent me this fantastic lesson and artwork. You need:
  1. colouring page soccer team
  2. photographs of children, copied onto A4
  3. colour pencils or markers
  4. glue
  5. coloured paper for background

Colouring page class team (click and print)

Give all students a copy of the soccer team and a sheet with photographs of their classmates (just the heads). Ask children to compose their own favourite team by cutting out eleven photographs and paste them on the bodies of the players.

Design a shirt for the team and colour it. Don't forget the shirt numbers! Draw the hands. Colour legs, shoes and arms. Colour the background and paste the drawing on a coloured background. You may add the name of the team if you like to.

Class team with the Frisian flag on the shirts

dinsdag 15 juni 2010

Check this insect!

Made by children of 7-8 years old
You need:
  1. drawing sheet A4 size
  2. colour pencils
  3. black marker
  4. scissors
  5. glue

Study the anatomy of insects using photographs. Insects have segmented bodies supported by an exoskeleton. The segments of the body are organized into three distinctive but interconnected units: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. The head supports a pair of sensory antennae, a pair of eyes, and, if present, three sets of variously modified appendages that form the mouthparts. The thorax has six segmented legs and, if present, two or four wings. These characteristics of the insect must be processed in the drawing. For the rest it is free. Choose fancy colours and draw body or wings as you like.

Fold a sheet of A4 double the length. Sketch against the fold the half of a fantasy insect. If you're satisfied with your sketch, trace the lines thick using a pencil. Press firmly! Then fold your sheet and draw on the back half of what you just traced, your bug again. Press firmly again, to be sure the pencil lines will be visible on the other half.

Then fold the sheet open. You'll see that your bug is now very light on the other side of the sheet. Trace these thin lines with a pencil, pressing firmly. After this, your symmetric insect is ready to be coloured.

The colouring has to be symmetric too. Use colours you like, it doesn´t have to be realistic. Outline the drawing with a black marker. Then cut it out leaving about a half cm of white paper around. Paste the drawing on a coloured background. If you´re ready, show your drawing to your classmates: "Hey, check my insect!"