Tag Archives: Art

Art Projects for Sunday Church School: Mixed Media Collage

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.


Mixed media art can be used with children of all ages. It is an art form that can be very detailed and take a lot of time, or can be basic and fairly quick to complete. The materials vary according to what is available and/or what the artist wishes to incorporate into their piece. Mixed media is an art form that can be easily used in the Sunday Church School classroom, especially in collage form. Here is one example of a mixed media collage project. (This project is geared towards older children because of the many steps required to complete it.)


Cover your workspace to protect the table. Gather all of the art mediums and supplies that you wish to make available to the children, and place them in the center of the workspace. (Generally speaking, this is the point where you tell the students to use the mediums/supplies as they wish to create a piece of art reflecting whatever it is that you taught about in the lesson. This blog will show the process of creating one specific piece of mixed media art featuring an “embossed” cross on a mixed media background.)


For a project like this, first draw the focus piece (in this case, the cross) on a piece of cardstock or cardboard. Cut it out if desired.


Outline the focus piece and any details you wish to include with tacky craft glue or hot glue. (The type of glue you use is up to you: it can depend as well on the age/ability of your students and the amount of time you have for the project to dry/cool.) Set the focus piece aside, to allow the glue to dry or cool.


While the glue on the focus piece is drying/cooling, begin to decorate the background. (Students can use any type of media for this part of the project. Watercolor art is the base for this particular piece.) Paint a piece of watercolor paper with plain water. Paint over that water with different colors of watercolor paint. The colors will run together and mix on the already-wet paper.


While the paint is still wet, sprinkle salt on the paint. Set the background piece aside to dry.


When the glue on the focus piece is dry/cool, cover the entire piece with glue from a glue stick.

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Gently place a piece of tin foil over the entire piece, wrapping the foil around to the back. (This requires a bit of careful thought if your piece is a shape, such as a cross. Cut the foil as needed to be able to wrap it around to the back.) Add a little glue stick glue to the back if desired, to hold the folded-back parts in place.


On the front side, smooth the foil down carefully with paper towel-covered fingers to avoid tearing the foil.

Use a cotton swab to push the foil against the paper at the glue ridges. Work slowly and carefully: the foil tears easily.

Use a blunt pencil to add additional details into the foil.


Rub the whole thing with dark shoe polish, let it dry for a few minutes, and then gently buff it off with a paper towel. The focus piece is now finished. Set it aside while you finish preparing the background piece.

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Returning to the background piece, gently brush the salt off of the paper. Add scraps of other paper, stamped images, bits of fabric, or whatever is desired for the final effect.


Glue the focus piece onto the background piece and add any desired additional touches.


Your mixed media collage piece is finished!

Note: this project can be easily simplified for use with younger children. For example, the focus piece could be simply cut out of cardstock and decorated with crayon, rubber stamps, or even stamped fingerprints. The background could be decorated in a similar manner, or with swatches of colorful paper. The beauty of a mixed media collage is in its versatility: whatever you have on hand is fair game for use in whichever way the students wish to use it in their art piece!

The cross for this project was inspired by this: http://makeitawonderfullife.blogspot.com/2011/12/owls-foil-glue-and-shoe-polish.html

The watercolor ideas for this project can be found here: http://artfulparent.com/2014/04/watercolor-techniques-for-kids.html

Here are more collage links to inspire you:

http://mollymoocrafts.com/art-project-for-kids-collage/ (using paint, magazine photos, and stickers)

http://mollymoocrafts.com/art-project-for-kids-collage/ (using marker, paint, fabric, and sequins); http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/3f/0c/d5/3f0cd50ed003b06d4d362b2c0e38c0cb.jpg (this is a picture only, but shows use of fabric/lace scraps in collage)

Following are other ideas for mixed media collage:


Create a still life with a mixed media collage as illustrated here: http://theartclassroom1.blogspot.com/2013/05/adaptive-art-collaged-still-life.html?m=1


Gather pictures, color swatches, and/or letters from cereal boxes to use in your mixed media art as suggested here: http://www.carlemuseum.org/blogs/making-art/artist-michael-alberts-visit-carle


Glue colorful strips from magazine in parallel lines and then cover that with a negative cut-out of black paper as suggested at  http://suzyssitcom.com/2012/06/feature-friday-cut-paper-art.html


Start with wiggle eyes glued on paper, and allow the children to draw around them: http://www.houseofbabypiranha.com/2012/07/wiggly-eye-drawing-starter.html


Sew buttons onto paper and have the children draw them into some part of the Creation. http://ertoris.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/knappeblomster_26.html

Or, glue buttons on paper and allow the children to incorporate those buttons into their drawing. http://www.redtedart.com/2014/04/02/button-crafts-button-art-button-cards/


Stamping ideas that can be used in mixed media art:  make your own foam stamps like this: http://www.carlemuseum.org/blogs/making-art/make-your-own-foam-stamp

make prints using found materials as demonstrated here: http://www.carlemuseum.org/blogs/making-art/printing-found-materials

print with the wheels of toy vehicles as shown here: http://www.carlemuseum.org/blogs/making-art/printing-toy-trucks

make your own stamp pads for stamping as demonstrated here: http://www.carlemuseum.org/blogs/making-art/make-your-own-stamp-pads


Use mod-podge, paint, and paper scraps on a piece of wood to make a beautiful scripture verse wallhanging as found here: http://www.crayonfreckles.com/2013/04/mixed-media-art-for-kids-mod-podge.html

Art Projects for Sunday Church School: Using Watercolor Paints

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.

Watercolor paints are easy for children of all ages to use. They are also inexpensive, but produce beautiful results. There are many ways in which watercolor paints can be used in the Sunday Church School classroom. Here is one of them: Create a watercolor resist with contact paper shapes and stickers.

First, cover your workspace and gather the items you will need for the resist.


Create the resist. Place stickers and/or shapes cut from contact paper onto watercolor paper, creating the desired covering. Remind the young artists that whatever they cover on the paper before they paint will resist the paint and leave a white image when it is removed.


Paint the watercolor paper completely. Be sure to paint right up to the edge/cover the resist shapes with watercolor paints. (You may want to have tissues or paper towels available in the event that color begins to pool where an artist doesn’t want it. The pool of color can be gently dabbed away.)


Allow the paint to dry.


Carefully remove the resist shapes to reveal the white paper beneath them.


Your project is finished!


The following inspired this project:

contact paper resist: http://artfulparent.com/2009/06/the-art-group-lives-again.html

stickers (or tape) resist: http://artfulparent.com/2013/12/sticker-resist-starry-night-cards.html


Age-related notes:

Younger children will want to use ready-made stickers or cut very simple shapes from the contact paper for their resist. Teachers of younger children can tape the children’s watercolor paper to the table cover, so that the piece does not move around as the children paint on it.

Older children can spend more time cutting more intricate resist items from the contact paper, to stick on the watercolor paper before painting. Perhaps they will want to use sticker letters to include a word or message. They may also want to use different treatments for the wet paint, such as dabbing it with a scrunched up paper towel or plastic wrap; or sprinkling it with salt or oil to add another effect to the color.


Following are a myriad of other ideas of ways to use watercolor paints in the Sunday Church School classroom.


Apply white glue in the desired shape, and, while it is still wet, cover the glue with salt. Drop watercolors (or slightly-watered-out food coloring) onto the wet, salty shapes, allowing the color to soak into the salt and mix where the colors meet. This is not a long-lasting project (because the salt dries and can easily peel off), but it is fun and pretty! http://www.cbc.ca/parents/play/view/art-science-salt-glue-watercolour-experiment or http://artfulparent.com/2012/08/watercolor-and-salt-painting-revisiting-an-old-favorite.html


Create a watercolor resist “stained glass” picture. Draw on a piece of watercolor paper with crayons. Paint over the drawing with watercolors. When it’s dry, “paint” the back with olive oil. When that dries, tape the “stained glass” picture to a window! http://artfulparent.com/2011/08/a-rainbow-stained-glass-window-1.html

Here is another crayon-resist watercolor project: Create watercolor resist blocks by drawing on warmed wooden blocks with crayon, then painting over the image with watercolor. http://artfulparent.com/2012/06/beautiful-art-blocks-melted-crayon-on-wood.html


Create your own watercolors as suggested here: http://www.learnplayimagine.com/2013/08/homemade-paint-natural-watercolors.html. This could easily be tied in with a lesson on the Creation!


Paint large swatches of color on paper. Sprinkle the wet paint with salt. Allow it to dry. Brush the salt off (with a paper towel or your fingers). Cut an image (snowflakes are used in this example) from a different piece of solid-colored paper to glue on top of the salted paint background. http://artprojectsforkids.org/watercolor-salt-and-snowflakes/


Drop vegetable oil on freshly painted watercolor images for an interesting effect. http://babbledabbledo.com/easy-art-projects-for-kids-watercolors-oil/


Use watercolors to paint doilies as suggested here: http://megduerksen.typepad.com/whatever/2011/02/craft-thursday.html?cid=6a00d8341c469c53ef0147e28576c3970b#comment-6a00d8341c469c53ef0147e28576c3970b or to paint coffee filters as suggested here: http://handsonaswegrow.com/watercolor-coffee-filter-flowers/ or here: http://www.pinkandgreenmama.blogspot.com/2010/12/coffee-filter-art.html#.VMK3LVWJOuY.
Once dry, the doilies and the coffee filters can then be used to create something (a garland, a flower, or a snowflake, for example).


Find 32 fun ways to use watercolor paints with children at http://www.howweelearn.com/easy-watercolor-painting-ideas/.

Art Projects for Sunday Church School: Using Markers

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.


Markers of all sizes should be a staple in the Sunday Church School classroom. Both wide-tipped and fine-tipped washable markers are versatile for use in art projects with children of all ages. Older children can safely use permanent markers (wide, fine, and ultra-fine tips are available) as well, greatly expanding the variety of surfaces on which the art can be created.

Here is one way to use markers in the Sunday Church School classroom: create a piece of zentangle-inspired art. Zentangle is an art process that begins with basic shapes drawn in marker, overlapping each other, creating a variety of different new shapes. After that, all of the empty spaces are filled in with color or repetitive doodles. Zentangle-inspired art can be done with wide or narrow markers, depending on the skills of the artists, and only requires two basic materials: thick paper and markers. Note: depending on the degree of detail that the artists use, this project can be very time consuming. It could be completed over a period of several Sunday Church School classes.


First, draw (or trace) the main image on the paper. (Zentangle is usually drawn on 3.5” squares of paper, but zentangle-inspired art can be used for any size of paper.)

Add additional squiggles or shapes to fill up the paper.


Fill in every “hole” with repetitive doodles and/or solid blocks of color.


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Your art piece is finished!


Find the answer to the question “What is a Zentangle?” here: http://tanglepatterns.com/zentangles/what-is-a-zentangle


Here is a link to an idea page with a free printable pdf of some basic doodle ideas, as well as many ideas of ways zentangle (at the end of the blog): http://tinyrottenpeanuts.com/zentangle-patterns-starter-sheets/


Here’s the blog of one parent who is using zentangle with a five-year old: http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2014/02/zentangles-with-5-year-old.html.


Children of any age can use washable markers to color on coffee filters, spray with water, and watch the colors spread and mix. This is effective for a “rainy” scene or to create a colorful paper that can be used to create something else such as a butterfly as demonstrated here: http://savegreenbeinggreen.blogspot.com/2014/03/try-it-tuesday-coffee-filter-butterfly.html?&cuid=acdff711a7fea12e0459a453f73ed5ef, or a snowflake as demonstrated here: http://handmadekidsart.com/how-to-make-a-snowflake/


Tie markers together with rubber bands to make multiple lines at the same time, as illustrated here: http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2012/07/drawing-in-bunches.html?m=0


Create an object lesson about the beauty of the individual being greatly enhanced in the context of a group, as this teacher discussed with her class, and then use permanent markers on clear plastic cups, baked and shrunk to create “glass” as mentioned here: http://alexisanneart.blogspot.com/2012/02/5th-grade-dale-chihuly-installation.html


Create colorful coasters with plain white tiles, permanent markers, rubbing alcohol, and a sealant as demonstrated here: http://blog.sharpie.com/2013/04/coasting-into-spring/


Sunday Church School students can collaborate on a group project, each using markers to create one (or more) square(s) of a grid. When put together, this grid will create a piece of art (in this case, a face). http://mseatonsart.blogspot.in/2012/11/this-lesson-originally-came-from.html


Permanent marker on cotton fabric (tshirts or socks work well), with rubbing alcohol dripped onto it, creates a tie-dye effect as demonstrated here:  http://blog.intellidance.ca/blog/4-22-2012/simple-tie-dye-using-sharpies.


Make beautiful “embossed tin” art with aluminum and permanent marker, as demonstrated here: http://babbledabbledo.com/art-ideas-for-kids-embossed-tin-art/


Art projects for Sunday Church School: Chalk

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.

Chalk is a little-used, but versatile, bright and beautiful medium for children of all ages to use for art. It is fairly inexpensive and can be used on paper, chalkboards, or sidewalks, depending on how permanent the art piece is desired to be. Here is one way to use chalk in the Sunday Church School class: glue-resist chalk drawing. Note: this is a 2 week project, since the glue needs to dry before the coloring begins.


Cover the work area with newspaper, to protect the table from glue and/or chalk. Select a sturdy paper for the base of the project. White or black paper will make the chalk colors really “pop.”

Have your students draw with glue on the paper. (You can use white, black, or colored glue on white paper: and white glue on black paper) Encourage the students to draw large shapes; not small details (they can be added later with chalk), because the glue may run/pool.


Allow the drawing to dry.


When it is completely dry (at the next week of Sunday Church School), color the spaces between the glue with chalk. This can be done in several ways: coloring with pieces of chalk; or coloring with chalk and then blending the colors with fingers or cotton swabs (demonstrated); or using fingers to spread colored chalk powder (pulverized chalk) in the spaces and perhaps even over the glue, if desired. You can use slender chalk (like teachers used on blackboards long ago) or sidewalk chalk: either comes in many bright colors! Note: provide dry paper towels for the students to wipe the chalk dust off their fingers between colors.




Lightly spray the finished results with chalk fixative or fine-spraying hairspray to keep the chalk from rubbing off.


Your project is finished!

Here are links to similar projects: http://totschool.shannons.org/glue-paint-and-chalk-pastels/ used colored glue; and http://missartypants.blogspot.com/2013/10/stained-glass-windows.html uses white glue on black paper.

Following are many other ideas of ways to use chalk for art projects with children:


“Paint” with chalk! This link recommends this method for preschoolers, but suggests that kids of all ages would enjoy it, as well. What’s NOT to like about painting water all over a piece of black (or white) paper and then drawing on it with chalk? The colors left behind are vivid; and can even be smeared with fingers (like finger paint) to blend them. http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/46190/painting-with-chalk-and-water


Allow your students to use chalk to draw on the sidewalks outside of your church, to help parishioners see what you’ve been learning about! Here’s a suggestion for a variation on drawing with sidewalk chalk: draw, and then paint/sprinkle over the drawing with water! http://www.mykidsadventures.com/chalk-plus-water-art/


Do you have tiny nubs of chalk that you don’t know how to use? Separate them by color and crush them. Allow your Sunday Church School students to “draw” with glue and sprinkle the chalk powder on the wet glue. Spray with hairspray to affix. (Inspired by http://www.savvysource.com/activities/activity_b786_crushed-chalk-art-work.)


Draw or paint with chalk onto sandpaper as suggested in the first two methods listed here: http://www.blogmemom.com/art-activities-for-kids-sand-paper-art13169/


Soak sidewalk chalk in a water-sugar mixture for brighter drawings that don’t rub off so easily as dry chalk drawings: http://mom.me/toddler/12637-kid-talk-wet-chalk-art/


Trace around a stencil with chalk. Smudge the chalk line away from the stencil shape with a cotton ball for a “glowing” effect: http://buggyandbuddy.com/crafts-kids-chalk-stencil-heart-collage/ or http://buggyandbuddy.com/christmas-light-chalk-stencil-art-kids/


Here are a variety of uses for sidewalk chalk, indoors or outside: http://www.brighthubeducation.com/preschool-crafts-activities/113203-eleven-sidewalk-chalk-activities-for-indoors-and-outdoors/. Although it is suggested for preschoolers, many of these would work for a variety of ages of students.


Art Techniques for Sunday Church School: Using Crayons

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.

There are many techniques for using crayons in the Sunday Church School classroom. Here is one of them: create a colorful picture in dots of melted crayon. To do so, gather your materials. You will need newspaper, paper, pencils, candles, matches, and crayons.


Prepare your work area. Cover the area with newspaper. Peel wrappers from crayons, leaving only the wax. Place a votive or tealight candle between two students, or provide one per student. Provide each student with a piece of sturdy paper (drawing paper or cardstock) and a pencil. Encourage each student to use the pencil to very lightly draw a basic shape, or write a message on the paper. When you are ready to begin, light the candle(s).


Show the students how to hold the crayon near the flame of the candle. (You may also want to show them the black soot that gathers in the melted wax if they put the candle INTO the flame, so that they can avoid making that mistake.)
Demonstrate how to carefully move the crayon, about to drip, to the spot on their paper where they want that drop. Allow the wax to drip from the crayon onto the paper.
Every color melts and re-hardens at a different rate. Reassure your students that it is okay to drip wax in the candle (it makes the candles pretty!). Also let them know that it is okay for wax to drip on the paper at a place they were NOT planning to have color. That is the nature of this project!


Repeat the melting and dripping process many times, with a variety of colors, until your image or message is covered in melted wax drops. You may only want to cover the outline of the shape (as shown), or you may want it to be completely filled it. Each artist can decide how they wish their project to look, and drip the wax accordingly.
Blow out the candles and set the art pieces somewhere for a few minutes to finish cooling before sending them home. Encourage the students to handle their piece with care. The pooled wax can easily fall off.


Suggestions for different age levels:

Preschool: This project will be difficult for a large group of preschoolers. If you have a small class that follows directions well, you may wish to attempt it, with additional helpers on hand. If not, this may not be a technique you wish to use. Read on for others that would work well with preschoolers!

Elementary: Elementary school students as a whole enjoy this project very much. The younger grades can get frustrated with the labored pace of the project, and with how easily the crayons drip at the wrong place. Consider limiting the number of colors for younger grades, suggesting that each child select a few with which to work. Small pieces of paper and/or large shapes/words to cover with dripped wax will work best for this age group.

Middle/High School: Older students will be able to carefully plan this technique to create a fairly detailed finished project. The students may balk at hearing they will be working with crayons, until they see that they will also be working with fire. There’s something about melting things that students of this age enjoy.

For more information and/or inspiration on this method, see https://everythingburger.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/burger-158-melted-crayons/ and/or http://www.piecesbypolly.com/2011/09/melted-crayon-art-and-pointillism-books.html.

Crayon-related helpful tips:
To quickly remove the wrappers from crayons, simply soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes. The wrappers will come right off, according to http://www.happinessishomemade.net/2013/08/18/recycled-crayons-back-to-school-with-crayola/.

To remove unwanted crayon marks from the walls of your Sunday Church School room, check out the tested methods in this blog: http://www.whatsupfagans.com/2014/03/how-to-remove-crayon-marks-from-walls-pinterest-experiment/

To create a simple art-related gift for your students, check this out: http://www.smallfriendly.com/small-friendly/2012/02/no-sew-crayon-wrap.html


Following are additional techniques for crayon art:

Crayon-related art projects that could double as gifts:

  1. Use crayon pieces to make a Christmas ornament! Making these melted crayon ornaments would require a Sunday Church School Teacher to hire a few helpers to handle the blow dryers. It would also require pre-cut crayon pieces, and a glove for each child to wear as they handle their warm ornament… But what a pretty result! http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2013/12/melted-crayon-ornaments.html
  2. Color a design on fine sandpaper, then iron it onto a tshirt, napkin, or other fabric to make a crayon print: http://alphamom.com/family-fun/crafts/sandpaper-printed-t-shirt/
  3. Glue the crayons themselves around a bowl or picture frame: https://feltsocute.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/holiday-gifts-for-teachers/.  Or cut them to size (if needed) and then glue them onto a canvas to form a shape or picture: http://the3rsblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/18/project-21-week-23-crayon-alphabet/.


For Pascha, draw on hot, just-boiled eggs with crayons. The crayon melts on the eggshell and leaves a colorful (and waxed shiny) surface! http://www.diyhangout.com/1624/create-colorful-easter-eggs-using-melted-crayons/

Or, at other times of the year, allow students to draw on hot rocks with crayon. (You will need to have a well-covered work area, a way to heat the rocks beforehand, and a way to handle the hot rocks safely.) http://twigandtoadstool.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/wax-rocks.html


Here’s a simple crayon art idea (especially useful for very young students): create a scribbled-crayon tape resist! Create a shape on paper using painter’s tape (ie: a cross), and then allow the children to scribble all over the page. Remove the tape to reveal the finished image! http://www.linesacross.com/2012/02/scribble-card.html

Use crayons to scribble a block of intense, solid color onto a piece of cardstock (or a paper plate, as shown here), cover the color block completely with black crayon, and then scratch off the black to reveal the image in the colors beneath. http://nurturestore.co.uk/wax-crayon-pictures

Or, color a full sheet of paper with intense, solid colors, then lay that page upside down on a blank sheet. Use a ballpoint pen or a sharp pencil to draw on the white side of the colorful paper, The crayon will be impressed onto the blank sheet beneath, leaving a colorful drawing! See http://tinyrottenpeanuts.com/crayon-transfer-technique/ for a tutorial.


Rub the sides of peeled crayons over paper-covered items* to create a beautiful rubbed image. Try natural items such as leaves (see http://www.firstpalette.com/Craft_themes/Nature/Leaf_Rubbings/Leaf_Rubbings.html) or create your own images with hot glue on cardstock (as demonstrated here http://www.freshlyplanted.com/2013/01/create-with-kids-valentines-week_8726.html).

*For an accurate image, keep both the item being rubbed and the paper still, so that neither moves during the rubbing. Consider affixing the to-be-rubbed items to a clipboards, and then simply clip a piece of paper over the item(s) before rubbing.


Iron crayon shavings (you know your Sunday Church School kids want to help you sharpen your classroom crayons anyway, right?!?) between pieces of waxed paper; then cut shapes from the finished product. See http://buggyandbuddy.com/crafts-for-kids-make-a-sun-catcher-with-crayon-shavings/ or http://hazelnutgirl.blogspot.com/2010/02/crayon-and-wax-paper-hearts.html for tutorials.

Art Projects for Sunday Church School: Paper

This series of blogs about including art in the Sunday Church School will offer a variety of art techniques and ideas. Each week will focus on one medium, offering a tutorial for one project (which can be used at multiple age levels), as well as several other suggested ways to incorporate the medium in other projects. The purpose of the series is to offer Sunday Church School teachers ideas which they can keep in mind for future reference as they plan to use art in their classroom. Each technique can be applied to a variety of lessons, whether Bible stories, Church history, lessons on the Faith, etc. For the purpose of keeping it simple, the cross will be used in each illustration throughout the series.

One important art medium, which is often overlooked or taken for granted is paper. It is frequently used as a base on which to apply other mediums. However, the very paper itself can be used in many ways as an art medium. Here is one of them, “painting” with tissue paper.

Brightly colored tissue paper pieces can be applied to wet watercolor paper, allowed to dry, and then carefully lifted off, leaving their color behind on the page. See http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/tissue-paper-art.html for details and directions on how to use a spray bottle as the means of moistening the paper. This method creates a beautifully colored sheet of paper which can be used as a background for other art, or can itself be cut into a shape/shapes to use in your finished project as illustrated here: http://kidsartists.blogspot.com/2010/12/colourful-christmas-trees.html.
However, if only a portion of the paper is made wet and covered with tissue paper pieces, a design can be “painted” with the color of the tissue paper pieces. This is the method which will be illustrated in this blog. To complete this project, you will need watercolor paper, a pencil, a template or ruler (if needed for your design), bright tissue paper (pass over the kind that specifically says “no bleed” on the packaging – you want the kind that bleeds!), a paintbrush, cardboard, and a container of water.

Begin with a piece of watercolor paper, a template or ruler (if needed), and a pencil.
Use the pencil to very lightly trace the template or draw the image onto the paper.


Tear up the brightly colored tissue paper into the size and shape of your choice.
Set the watercolor paper on some cardboard, to absorb the extra moisture and “bleed” before you begin this next step. Then, use a paintbrush dipped in water to wet the portion of the watercolor paper (either inside or outside of the pencil sketch) which you want to “paint” with the tissue paper’s color.


Carefully set the tissue paper pieces atop the wet portion of the watercolor paper. They should overlap if you want their colors to blend.

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After the to-be-colored portion of the watercolor paper is completely covered in tissue paper pieces, wet the paint brush again and gently paint over the tissue paper to completely moisten the pieces.


Allow the project to dry.


Carefully pick off the tissue paper scraps and reveal the beautiful colored image beneath!


Age-leveled suggestions:
Preschool: This method is a great way for preschoolers to learn about art and to practice tearing paper. See http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/02/tissue-paper-bleeding-art.html for more about that. Preschoolers will need a very basic shape to “color” with the tissue paper, and will need assistance with the painting. A preschool teacher may consider cutting out their finished shape or having a pre-cut shape to glue atop the students’ “painting” instead of trying to keep the painted area limited to the shape. 

Elementary: These students will be able to follow the directions as they are, to complete this project. They will enjoy the challenge of keeping the tissue paper “paint” within the lines.

Middle/High School: These students will be more precise with their tissue paper, regulating the piece sizes and perhaps even cutting the paper into shapes that enhance the finished project. They will likely pay better attention to evenly spacing the colors and may even be careful to avoid putting colors together that are opposites on the color spectrum, whose blended “bleed” would create a dull grey or muddy brown. Their years of experience with art will allow them to create a finer finished project.


Following are suggestions of other art project ideas using paper as the main medium:

Colored paper can be torn to create any shape, and then glued to another piece of paper, to create a picture. See http://www.artwithmsgram.com/2013/01/van-gogh-sunflowers-2nd.html for an example. 


Colored tissue paper can be torn or cut, then glued directly on paper, or wadded up and glued for a more three dimensional effect. See http://suffieldart.blogspot.com/2012/04/georgia-okeeffe-inspired-tissue-paper.html#comment-form. Colored tissue pieces can also be used to create a stained-glass effect, outlined by black paper cutouts, as illustrated at http://mosswoodconnections.com/stained-glass-art-activity/. 


Use paint chips as part of your artwork. Here is how one artist did so: http://www.oopsicraftmypants.com/2009/10/paint-chip-city-art-journal-page.html.


Painted paper, once it has dried, can be cut to shapes that can be glued together to create an image. See http://www.fabdiy.com/diy-handmade-colorful-panel/. A similar effect involves the use of magazine pictures or pieces of magazine pages. See http://craftsbyamanda.com/2011/09/fall-magazine-tree.html for one example.


Different types of papers can combine to create an effect. For example: bright tissue paper creates the sunset background, while pieces cut from newspaper create the forefront buildings here: http://gretchenbuwalda.blogspot.com/2014/11/kandinsky-skies-k5.html. Or, the effect can be reversed, as illustrated here, where bright colored paper pieces create the focal shape, and pieces of newsprint create the background: http://nancystandlee.blogspot.com/2012/07/mixed-media-torn-paper-collage-painting.html.


Create a collective artwork piece by allowing each student to illustrate a single sticky note. Display all of the sticky notes together as one piece of art. Here’s one version: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/65/fb/a7/65fba758a3b47c6e274f878c4a5b8e00.jpg. 


On Including Art in the Sunday Church School Classroom

Art belongs in the Sunday Church School classroom. It should not be included simply as “an extra thing to do,” or “so we have something related to the lesson to send home with the kids.” Some teachers who feel pressed for time may see art as unnecessary fluff and simply skip doing any artwork during Sunday Church School. But educational research has indicated otherwise. On their webpage at  http://www.artsedsearch.org/students/research-overview, Artsedsearch quotes a variety of studies, stating that research has found increased overall academic success for students involved in programs that include the arts. Other studies have shown improvement in cognitive and creative skills for students who are involved with the arts as well as “traditional” curriculum. Furthermore, personal skills such as perseverance and self-confidence as well as interpersonal skills such as collaboration and mutual appreciation have been proven to be greatly enhanced by students who are involved in the arts. These findings suggest that art is not just an “extra piece” in the curriculum. Rather, it appears that it is imperative that we find ways to incorporate art into our lessons. Including art in the classroom offers a great benefit to all students, not only the ones who learn best by working creatively with their hands, but everyone else, as well.

However, simply knowing that we should include art does not automatically translate into actually including it in our Sunday Church School lessons. Here are suggestions of steps we can take to begin incorporating art into our classrooms. We need to have supplies readily available, select age-appropriate projects, and think through the implications of using art in our classes.

  1. We need to plan ahead, and be sure that we have any needed art supplies ready for use in the classroom. Here is a starting point of basic supplies for Sunday Church School classrooms. The suggestions are listed in age-appropriate groupings:

Preschool: blank paper, construction paper, sturdy preschool crayons, preschool markers (washable), preschool colored pencils, pencil sharpener, glue sticks, blunt safety scissors, clear and masking tape, newspaper, old magazines

K-2: white paper, age-appropriate lined paper, construction paper, crayons, wide markers (washable), colored pencils, pencils, pencil sharpener, glue sticks, craft glue, safety scissors, watercolor paints/brushes, clear and masking tape, newspaper, old magazines

Grades 3-5: white paper, lined paper, construction paper, crayons, wide and narrow markers (washable), colored pencils, pencils, pencil sharpener, pens of various colors, glue sticks, craft glue, scissors, watercolor paints/brushes, clear and masking tape, newspaper, old magazines

Middle and High School: white paper, lined paper, construction paper, crayons, wide and narrow markers (both washable and permanent), colored pencils, pencils, pencil sharpener, pens of various colors, glue sticks, craft glue, scissors, watercolor and acrylic paints/brushes, clear and masking tape, newspaper, old magazines

You may also occasionally need supplies like these: paper plates and cotton swabs (for paint or glue sharing), pipe cleaners, pom poms, wiggle eyes, feathers, notecards, beads, specialty papers (such as rice paper), chalks, pastels, acrylic or oil paints and canvas, duct tape, etc., but that will vary project to project.

2. We need to carefully select art projects that work for the particular group of students in our class. We want to encourage them to try new things, while also being careful not push them beyond what they are capable of doing, frustrating them or setting them up for failure. This website offers helpful ideas to keep projects age-appropriate: http://www.examiner.com/article/how-to-choose-age-level-appropriate-art-projects-for-youth-groups. Here are their practical suggestions:

“Kindergarten: Look for projects that teach them how to use a tool, such as scissors, by cutting on a preprinted line. Glue sticks work better than white glue because they don’t have fine motor skills developed enough to squeeze lightly.

“First Grade: Step up the skills from Kindergarten one notch, such as cutting a curved line. Introduce new materials, such as white glue, by first demonstrating how to use it as a tool. For example, before using markers, show them how the cap can be put on the other end while it is in use, and how the cap should snap shut when it is put back. Teach rules about cleaning up and taking care of the tools. Teach how to use a tool safely.

“Second Grade: When the students begin to write neatly and demonstrate control of a pencil, it is time to introduce projects that use small finger motions such as using glitter or making sand drawings. Girls develop their finger muscles first, while boys develop their arm and leg muscles first. Both can be taught how to use a paint brush, but boys will need something that is painted all one color while girls will be able to paint a smaller area.

“Third Grade: This is a crossroads age level. Third grade is the time when some students decide that they just aren’t good at art, and give up trying. It’s because they are comparing themselves to the professional masters like Michelangelo… Use step by step drawing books where they can compare their art to the one in the book. Use examples of other students’ work that are found in a magazine or saved from the previous year. Let them compare themselves to you by showing them something you made when you were that age. Ask… if they can play baseball as well as the St. Louis Cardinals can, and if that means they “aren’t any good” at baseball.

“Fourth and Fifth Grade: By this age, boys and girls have both developed fine motor skills and are able to do projects that have more detail. Craft projects can include tying a knot, weaving, or using basic hand tools such as pliers, hammer or a saw. At this age level, students want to express themselves. Look for art projects that allow them to tell the world who they are such as a collage of their favorite things, or drawing a picture of what job they want when they grow up.

“Middle School: At this age, students want a practical use for what they are learning. Cover the Principles of Design, but apply the knowledge to a concern they have in their own life. For example, understanding the use of balance can help them arrange pictures on their bedroom wall…”

This is, of course, only a beginning of what is appropriate for each age. Experience will also give a teacher a sense of what works and what does not. Each class will be unique, because it comes with its own set of individuals, every one of which has his or her own gifts and challenges. As you work with your class each year, you will figure out what they can handle.

  1. Successfully incorporating art in the Sunday Church School class requires forethought. Before class, take some time to think through any implications and plan for possible glitches in any project. In order to do so, gather all needed supplies in advance. Once everything is gathered, and well in advance of the class period, make a sample of the project. This will allow you to think through the directions, discover needed but missing supplies, and find potential problems with the project. (Note: consider carefully whether or not to show your sample to your students. Sometimes students feel daunted by trying to match the teacher’s sample at their more-limited skill level. Also, showing them “this is exactly what we’re making” can limit the students’ creativity in using the provided supplies. One solution could be to show the sample to the students to give them the general idea of one way that the project can work, and then put it away while they create their own work.) After making a sample and working out all of the potential problems, all that remains to be done before carrying out a project in the Sunday Church School classroom is to think through what happens after the project. Be sure to have a plan for how/where to allow wet projects to dry. Also, have cleanup supplies available in the room so that you can tidy up any messes that may happen during the project. Have a plan in place for kids who finish their project early (or late). Unless you are sending the work home immediately, you will also need to think of how to display the students’ work in your classroom. A little advanced planning can make the whole process smoother, and thereby more successful!


Since art has been proven important to learners of all types and ages, let us do what we can to incorporate more of it into our Sunday Church School classes. Having basic supplies readily available in our classroom will aid us in reaching that end. Carefully planning our projects to be challenging-but-doable by our students will also assist us in this endeavor. Thinking ahead through the projects and planning accordingly will help to guarantee the students’ success as they express what they are learning in their own creative and unique way. And, as we all learn and try a variety of art styles together, we will experience the joy of creating, an ability given to us by God Himself; the Author of all Creation!

Stay tuned over the course of the next few weeks for ideas of art projects for Sunday Church School classrooms. What ideas or resources do you have to share? Please comment with them for the benefit of the entire community. Thanks!



Here are additional resources for the suggestions above:


If you wish to stay abreast of what is happening in the arts and education field, consider subscribing to this bi-monthly professional art educators’ newsletter: http://www.aep-arts.org/resources-2/artsed-digest/


For an extensive list of possible art supplies to keep on hand in the Sunday Church Schoolroom (as well as a link to a printable checklist), see http://www.kidssundayschool.com/1236/teaching-aids/materials-and-supplies-what-to-have-on-hand.php. See also http://www.homegrownfriends.com/home/best-materials-for-creating-art-with-kids for further inspiration.


If your students are preschoolers through age 8, check out the developmental stages and appropriate art activity suggestions in the charts here: https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/200407/ArtsEducationPartnership.pdf.


To further think through some of the possible challenges with incorporating art into the classroom, read the 10 challenges of an art room listed here: http://www.theartofed.com/2011/02/19/top-10-challenges-of-managing-an-art-room/


Want to start gathering some ideas? Check out these age-level-appropriate ones that may give you an idea of what your class can handle: http://www.fun-stuff-to-do.com/craft-projects-by-age.html. (Note: these are not religiously themed at all, but can act as a springboard for your creativity as you look for ideas of ways to incorporate art into your Sunday Church School classroom.)