One of the greatest things about creating art with children is providing them with opportunities to explore and try new things. In my elementary art room, I love to pique my students’ curiosity and even surprise them a bit. Sometimes I ditch the paintbrushes and give the children everyday objects to create art with. I can’t help but smile when I see their confused facial expressions when I tell them we’re using paint—but not paintbrushes. Incorporating the use of found objects really helps children think outside-of-the-box. It also helps them to see how things that are usually thrown in the trash can contribute to making art. Plus, it’s just plain FUN!
This project can be altered to almost any age and any subject matter. All you have to do is collect items to dip into paint and stamp or drag onto your paper. Whenever you stamp paint onto paper, you are using a printmaking technique. We chose to create an animal, but you could make an abstract design, as well. Sometimes it’s more exciting to not have a plan and just start putting paint onto paper and see what happens!
Adapted for: Ages 3 and up
- Paper (any color)
- Tempera or acrylic paint in any colors (we used black, white and silver)
- Found objects such as: plastic lids, pieces of cardboard, Q-tips, corks, plastic cups, marker caps
- To make an animal, begin with the animal’s body shape. I suggest using a piece of cardboard dipped in one color of paint to stamp lines to make the outside shape of your animal’s body.
- Look at the found objects you have to work with and decide what shapes you need to use to add the rest of the details. Add eyes, ears, wings, tails, etc., to complete your animal. Don’t forget fur, hair and whiskers.
- Consider gluing found objects onto your paper, such as buttons for eyes.
Adaptions: To make an abstract design, I suggest choosing one color of paint and one object at a time. Dip object into the paint and start stamping paint onto the paper. Then continue to switch colors and objects as you like. Overlap or connect shapes and colors to see what happens.
I hope that you enjoy this project as much as my second graders did! They created some fantastic animals and had a great time creating these prints.