Ms. Mahan's Art Time

Paint swatch snowmen
Winter 2013: Paint Swatch Snowmen

In my elementary art class, I always look forward to winter so we can make these cute paint swatch snowmen. I look a bit ridiculous walking through the hardware store with a handful of paint swatches for about 100 kindergartners, but it is so worth it. Kids love paint swatches! This is a no-fail winter project for every kid.

I often like to accompany an art lesson with a book. One of my favorite books on snowmen is Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner, and the illustrations by Mark Buehner are lovely. Look at the library for other children’s books about snowmen.


Inspiration from

Adapted for: Ages 4 –7


  • Paint swatches with 3 sections
  • White and blue paint
  • Glue
  • Buttons
  • Brown yarn
  • Scraps of wallpaper, construction paper, gift wrap paper, patterned paper
  • Snowflake stamping materials: marker lids, erasers on pencils, q-tips, or cardboard toilet paper rolls
  1. Make a wavy line through the middle of your paper to create snowy hills. Paint the top portion of the paper blue. Dip your printmaking tools into white paint and print snowflakes all over the blue paint. I like to do a combination of sizes and types of prints to emphasize perspective. The larger the snowflake is, the closer it is to the viewer.
  2. Glue on your paint swatches. You may curve the corners with scissors if you would like them to be rounded. Glue on buttons for the eyes and jacket.
  3. It is often easier for children to understand drawing or cutting objects if you refer to the approximate shape. Cut triangles out of orange paper for carrot noses. Cut rectangles and glue together for a top hat, a triangle for a stocking cap, a half circle and a small triangle for a ball cap, oval ear muffs, two rectangles for scarfs, oval gloves, etc. Glue brown yarn for the tree branch arms.

For an accompanying art lesson, discuss value with the child. Value is how light or dark a color is. On a paint swatch, the value of the color goes from light to dark. To make a color lighter, add white. Add black to make the color darker. You can also paint or color in shadows in the snow next to the snowmen.

Jessica Mahan
About author:

Jessica Mahan, an art teacher for the Republic School District, is also an area artist. Her artwork can be viewed at

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