Skip to Content

Three Art Lessons

Found in: Free Resources for Educators

Berry Basket Prints

Plastic berry baskets begin as containers for delicious fresh berries and end as recycled art. Try this print-making activity:
Tempera paints, paintbrushes
Grocery tray for each color of paint
Plastic berry baskets
Choice of paper
Optional—decorating materials: fabric strips, sponge pieces, plastic bag strips
Optional—tub with water and liquid soap for bubbles
1. Use several colors of paint. Pour each color into a separate plastic grocery tray. Put one berry basket in each color of paint.
2. Use the berry baskets to create prints on paper.
3. Make single prints or overlap prints.
Fun Basket Print Idea: Poke things like fabric strips, sponges, plastic bag strips, or any other material through the holes in the berry baskets. Dip or drag in paint and make prints.
Basket Bubbles Idea: Fill a plastic tub with water and liquid soap to make a bubble mixture. Dip a plastic berry basket in the bubble mixture, and then wave the basket gently in the air to make tiny bubbles. Mix some paint with the bubble mixture, and the bubbles will make prints when they pop on plain paper.
Note: Like any paint, bubble paint mix can stain clothes.

Coffee Impressions & Fossil Slabs

Save coffee grounds to enjoy for fragrant, textured art explorations and creations.
Coffee dough ingredients: used, dry coffee grounds, flour, salt, cool liquid coffee
Bowl, spoon or fork
Waxed paper
Butter knife
Small toys or objects to make impressions in the dough
1. In a bowl, mix together 1 cup used, dry coffee grounds, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, and about 1/2 cup cool coffee (add just enough liquid coffee to form a pliable dough). Knead the dough and then flatten on waxed paper.
2. Use a butter knife to cut slabs of dough large enough to make impressions with objects.
3. Press objects firmly into the dough to make impressions. Let the slab dry overnight. When dry, imagine that the slab of dough is rock and the impressions are from fossils.

Bumpy Canvas Painting

Egg cartons come in colorful Styrofoam or pressed paper in blues and grays; both are equally useful for many creative art experiences.
1. Cut four or six paper egg cartons apart, and glue or staple the bumpy rectangle sections together side by side to form a larger carton surface.
2. Completely cover the outside of the bumpy carton with one color of tempera paint (the part the eggs sit in is face down and not painted). Dry briefly.
3. With the painted side facing up, paint a picture or design with tempera paints. The carton bumps make this “canvas” an artistic challenge, which ultimately yields a visually captivating painting. Some artists prefer to paint designs and patterns as a first exploration on the “bumpy canvas,” while other artists will jump in and paint a detailed picture.
4. Frame Idea: When the “bumpy canvas” is dry, create a silver frame for it by adding duct tape around the outside edge of the carton to bind the edges.
These art lessons are from MaryAnn Kohl’s new book, Art with Anything, which has 52 weeks of art projects using everyday materials, including address labels, fabric scraps, hole-punch dots, junk mail, leaves, rocks, salt, and more. Available May 2010 from Gryphonhouse.