Year End Accordian Book

This can be a quick journal project for kids to record some of their favorite memories from last year, or write hopes and wishes for the new one.
1. Start with large watercolor paper, the 22" x 30" size sheets, and cut into panels of 6" x 24". Fold the...
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Homemade Holiday Gift Box

I admit I get an urge to make more crafty things this time of year. But when I am looking for a good gift project, I tend to end up more in that camp. But hey, it’s all creative, which is the bottom line for me.
1. I found a box pattern online that I adapted to fill a standard letter paper. You can download my template here. I recommend that you copy it on at least cover, if not card stock paper.
2. After cutting out the top and bottom, it really helps to score the fold lines. This can be done by taking a ruler and semi-sharp edge like that of a butter knife, and running it several times over each fold line. Try to make a ridge, but not any tears.
3. After all 8 dashed lines have been scored, make the 4 cuts on the solid black lines. Fold on all the dashed lines in towards the middle of the box. See diagram for illustration on how the ends need to stand up like “C” shaped walls, and then the long sides go up and over, and then get tucked inside. These edges may be glued in place once you see that they fit.
4. The sleeve is easy as you just need to score 4 lines, and then wrap around the box bottom, overlap one side, and glue or tape in place. Once you see where the fold lines occur, the sleeve sides can all be colored in and decorated. Now you just have to decide what special goody to put in your homemade match box!
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Free Draw a Winter Town Download

This time of year it’s easy to add a little winter flair to architecture drawing. I love vintage features found on old buildings, so I’ve made a pdf file that has samples, along with a grid template that encourages students to draw straight lines. You can preview and download my free pdf file HERE.
1. Print on letter size paper. Students may refer to the sample page for ideas and then draw their own cityscape on the grid paper.
2. When the drawing is complete, all lines are traced over with a thin black marker.
3. Crayon or colored pencil may be used to color. Happy Holidays to all!
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How to Draw Rudolf the Reindeer

Here’s a follow-up to my Santa drawing from a few days ago. I used a grocery bag again and made this drawing that was inspired by some clip art I saw.
1. Follow the instructions on the Santa posting to draw your stamp border on a 6" square. Score by folding or use a ruler to draw the center guide lines.
2. Draw the back of the head as shown.
3. Add the front of the head, with the nose just touching the border.
4. Draw the ears and antlers.
5. Add the eye and the points on the antlers.
6. Erase all connecting lines, trace over with a thin black marker, and color with crayons or colored pencils.
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How To Draw a Santa Stamp

I had really good results with this Santa drawing today. Any colored paper works, but my favorite is just a swatch of a brown grocery bag for that earthy, recycled look.
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How to Draw a Giraffe

I tried out this giraffe drawing project today in my afterschool class. Just when I thought that maybe it was a bit too difficult for my youngest students, I turned around to see this amazing work of art by Lily G., a kindergartener. I can’t draw things this charming, but Lily sure can.
1. Students started with an 8.5" x 17" sheet..
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DragonArt Evolution Book Giveaway

And the DragonArt Book Giveaway Winner is. . .

 Janet who wrote...
I teach in a depressed urban district and my students love “how to draw books” especially ones with dragons. Even the “I can't draw crowd” will joyfully give it another try when they see this book! Thanks for the heads up and the chance to bring it home for my students.

Congratulations Janet, I have your email address and will contact you.
 Thanks so much to www.mediamuscle.com for sponsoring this giveaway.

I’m happy to start off the new year with a book giveaway, perfect for your dragon enthusiast. This book from J “NeonDragon” Peffer contains more than 20 different dragons to draw, all in very exciting poses with exotic and colorful backgrounds. Older kids will love the step-by-step instructions as shown on the sample page, and younger would probably just love to trace their cool shapes with tracing paper (that’s how I learned to draw).


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Draw a Christmas Ornament Card

I made this Christmas ornament drawing using a set of fine tip markers. If you draw the edges of a shape lightly in pencil, fill in the inside with lines, and then erase the outside pencil, the look can be rather sophisticated.
1. Lightly draw three straight lines of various lengths from the top of the card, and then add the outer shapes of an ornament.
2. Fill in little circles for the chains, add sets of horizontal lines and shapes to fill each ornament. Erase all pencil lines.
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Cut & Tear Candle Card

This is a very simple paper project that has been my holiday staple for kinder classes for many years. Just change the colors to blue and gold for Hanukkah, or pink or blue for custom birthday cards.
1. Tip: Test the grain of the paper...
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First Printmaking Project

I learned in my afterschool printmaking class, once again, that keeping things simple really helps to introduce young students to a new process.
1. I spied some foam gingerbread men recently at the art store and knew they would make great printmaking shapes. My prep...
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Tinted Christmas Tree Painting

This picture looks best with just white crayon lines (no pencil) so my lesson plan calls for tracing cut-out shapes instead of drawing them.
1. Each student needs to draw three trees on a smaller sheet of scrap construction paper and cut them out. They may use...
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FREE New Year's Card Coloring Download

I’ve used the illuminated letters at clipartETC.com to create a template for a New Year’s card. Click here to download your free pdf file.
1. Print on 8.5x11 card or cover stock in the landscape orientation.
2. Use fine point markers or colored pencils to color in the letters.
3. Fold the paper horizontally and you are ready to add your personal greeting inside.
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Tissue Paper Christmas Tree

I’ve seen some really beautiful decorations made from just clear contact paper and tissue paper.
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Gingerbread Man Drawing

My graphic design days taught me that simple shapes take on much more interest when cropped or positioned in unusual ways. This gingerbread man has a lot more personality when large and peeking in from a corner, as opposed to small and standing in the middle of a paper.
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“Stained Glass” Holiday Candles

 I’ve found that a candle theme works well for the holidays as so many religions celebrate with them. This is simply drawing candles and then breaking up the background for a faux stained glass look.
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Monoprint Holiday Stars

 My afterschool printmaking class last week learned how to make simple monoprints. I found that given the diversity of students (and the young age) this very simple star drawing on plexiglass plates worked really well. Some also drew simple snowflakes after their stars were complete.
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Giant Paper Mache Nutcracker, Part 2

My paper mache Nutcracker is now ready to be covered with a layer of white paper towels. The outlined figures represent 4 ft. tall students, which shows just how tall this guy really is. I’d love to make a whole row of these to line our school hall.
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Giant Paper Mache Nutcracker, Part 1

I had often thought that my collected juice cartons could make a really cool giant paper mache figure, so with my Nutcracker theme going on this year, I guess it was only a matter of time before I put the two together. This figure is made from heavy cardboard cartons that contain 12 of the pouch-type juices. There are many brands, but the sizes are all the same and the boxes are all wonderfully strong.
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Gingerbread “Cookie” Painting

This is a good way to turn ugly brown construction paper into something pretty cute. The white tempera paint looks a lot like real frosting, and oil pastels are an easy way to add details.
With an 18" x 12" sheet of...
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Nutcracker: Crayon with Texture Rubbing

Here is the most budget conscious version of my Nutcracker project, using just good old-fashioned crayons on white paper. I added a twist of placing a plastic needlepoint tapestry underneath when I was coloring the red suit to give my guy some extra texture.
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Giant Paper Mache Nutcracker, Part 3 and 4

Last week my giant nutcracker project was completed, just in the nick of time for the school’s holiday show. 

White paper towels were paper mached over the newsprint. The next day students painted a layer of red, black and peach acrylic paint. The face, buttons and belt were added when all was dry, and white fur beard pinned at the end (one minute before curtain, to be exact.)

The kids loved working on this project, and a smart 2nd grader already suggested how we could recycle him after the holidays – turn him into Abe Lincoln for President’s Day! Does our school have clever kids or what?
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Nutcracker: Colored Pencil on Black Paper

Here is a sample of my Nutcracker project using metallic marker and colored pencils on black construction paper. I used black construction paper from Michael’s (it’s very black) and Prang Metallic markers (about $1 each from Staples) and Dick Blick Student grade colored pencils. A bit more expensive than your average supplies, but the results are amazing.
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Nutcracker: Watercolor Painting

I like to have students create one really special piece of art for the holidays, and I remember having good results with this nutcracker drawing last year. My only dilemma is figuring out which media to use. I have some Crayola Mixable Watercolor trays and watercolor paper, so this is a sample of how that media would look. I like the vivid red, the only catch is that a lot needs to be mixed (combining the violet and orange) and I’m not sure if I’ll get a lot of splotchy nutcrackers that way. More tests to come...
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Nutcracker: Oil Pastel on Black Paper

 This is a breakdown of my Nutcracker drawing project, this time using oil pastels on black construction paper. I tried the steps shown in my diagram and had really good results, and lots of proud smiles to go with them.
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Klutz Craft Books Giveaway

My friends at Klutz are sponsoring a great giveaway – an assortment of craft books plus a $25 gift certificate, all valued at over $100, for TWO lucky winners. Two new Klutz books are included, Draw DC Universe and Stamp Art, both which come with detailed instructions and all the supplies needed for their fun projects. The cartoon book even has transparent pages inside so kids can practice tracing their favorite characters.

Two (2) winners will each receive Draw the DC Universe, Stamp Art, Pom-Pom Monster Salon , Friendship Pixies and a $25 Klutz.com gift certificate.

To enter my giveaway, leave a comment with contact info by Tuesday, November 29th at 12pm midnight, PST. Continental US shipping only. Good luck everyone!
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Homemade Christmas Card

There’s nothing like a homemade holiday card. I tried this method to make a quick “quilted” card that didn’t actually call for any sewing.
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How to Draw Thanksgiving Pumpkins

Students can learn how to make circles look like spheres when they practice drawing pumpkins. I’ve broken my drawing into steps to show how even just lines can be used to make a flat shape look dimensional.
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Abstract Snowman Card

I needed a simple and quick card project, and was inspired by some stock snowman art. After deliberating on all my options, I settled on using Sharpie markers to get the brightest color for the least amount of cost.
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Stained Glass Hanukkah Menorah Mural

This year's Hanukkah celebration, the Festival of Lights, begins on Dec. 1st. My Hanukkah Menorah Mural consists of a 30 pages and measures 45" x 48" when complete.

You can purchase my pdf file with instructions for just $5. Click the “Add to Cart” button below to make your payment and receive your download instructions.

Add to Cart
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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Day Card

This my gift to all you super-busy creative types who still want to make a homemade Thanksgiving Day card, but are flat running out of time. I’ve collected a bunch of decorative letters from clipartETC.com and arranged them on a jpeg file that you can just print, color, fold and deliver. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Click here for the rest of my post.
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Turkeys from Brentwood, CA

Volunteer art docent Tricia, from Brentwood, CA sent these beautiful turkeys painted by 4th graders. Based on my "One More Turkey Drawing" project, she had the students draw them on 12x18 white paper with Sharpies. They added oil pastel accents and finished with water color from edge to edge. Absolutely beautiful use of color! Thanks so much for sharing them, Tricia.
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Turkey “Hand” Print

The idea of turning a hand into a turkey has been around for awhile. Here’s a twist using a craft foam hand and acrylic paint to make a simple and easy monoprint.
Prep: Craft foam hands are sold in lots of craft stores. Glue each with craft glue onto a large (10" x 13"ish) piece of corrugated cardboard. Let dry overnight.
1. The students each get their own cardboard with hand, flat paint brush, and several pieces of letter size paper. With my young students, I opted to walk around and squirt a bit of brown acrylic paint on each board. The students used their brush to spread the paint around and spread out any puddles. They placed a piece of paper on top, rubbed it with their hand, and lifted to make a print. They were able to make several prints to get one that they really liked (clean shape with minimal splotches).
2. After the prints were dry, each student used a black Sharpie to draw just a few details on their turkey. Shapes were colored in with pencil crayon when finished.
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Burlap Weaving Bookmarks

Weaving lessons can come in many forms, the simplest being with just plain paper. My preference though is using actual fabric, and burlap has the most open and visible weave for beginners to work with.
1. Give each student a rectangle of burlap, about 3" wide by 9" tall. They are to pull about 5 threads from all four sides, one a a time, to make a decorative fringe.
2. To make some room to add new yarn, about 3 consecutive horizontal threads are pulled out.
3. The students thread a tapestry needle with some colorful new yarn, and run it through the new open row in the burlap, weaving up and down as often as they could, the ideal being over or under every thread. The yarn is pulled through and the ends trimmed when finished.
4. This process was repeated as often as possible until the end of class. I had a 2nd grader that did 13 rows!
UPDATE: I wanted to add that this has been one of my most successful projects to date. About 300 second through fifth graders completed their weavings last week, and not one of them went away feeling frustrated or deciding that weaving or sewing (as some called it) was not for them. Teachers loved it too, asking for more when school gets back in session. After the investment of the tapestry needles (metal are best), the cost is about $7 for a class of 24.
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How to Draw a Turkey

I found this turkey shape in a stock art illustration, and I think it works well for a basic turkey drawing lesson. It also uses radial symmetry, which is one of the Arts Standards for the 2nd grade.
1. I plan to have the students follow along with my drawings steps as shown in my diagram. The most important thing is that they draw large and fill up the paper they are given.
2. After the pencil drawing is complete, they will trace all their lines with a black Sharpie. I like the variety of using some thick and some with fine points.
3. This turkey is actually painted in with instant coffee and then sprinkled with salt before it dries. The salt soaks up bits of the water and leaves a cool textured look behind. A bit of red orange paint completes the picture.
4. When the coffee is completely dry, brush off the crystals to reveal the texture pattern behind.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Two
2.5 Use bilateral or radial symmetry to create visual balance.
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Paper Mache Pumpkins from Barcelona

One of my favorite blog finds has been “Fem Manuals” from Barcelona, Spain. This teacher always seems to have amazing and unique projects. So, imagine my surprise when she contacted me about her latest post – one inspired by my paper mache pumpkin project! I just can't get over how well her kids made these, and what gorgeous colors they used. I think it’s the perfect blend of nature and art. Thank you so much for sharing these Cristina.
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Warhol Hand Prints

I’ve started a new afterschool print class, and this Warhol hand print turned out pretty well, for even my young kinders. The watercolor background (quick drying time) allowed for the project to be done in one class.
1. I had pre-drawn the grid on the 11" x 15" watercolor paper, but the students had to trace it heavily with a dark crayon. Afterwards, they painted each rectangle a different color. I had them use my liquid watercolors in spill-proof cups to speed up the process.
2. The watercolor sheets were taken away to dry and the students practiced making leaf prints with white acrylic paint on black paper. It was quite messy, as I knew it would be, but they did all have a lot of fun.
3. After about 20 minutes of leaf printing, I set up a station with one plate of black acrylic paint and one with white. I wiped any excess paint off the hands, and the students made hand prints on the watercolor paper. The hands were flipped for the bottom row to make a checker pattern.
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Kinder Watercolor Resist Snowman

This is another kinder art + book match that I feel is about as good as you can get. “The Biggest, Best Snowman” by Margery Cuyler not only tells a great story about friends, it involves the actual creation of a snowman. This is helpful to little ones that may have yet to build one of their own.
1. Each student started with a 9" x 12" sheet of watercolor paper and pencil. I gave my students a roll of masking tape to trace (the inside) to establish the bottom circle. The middle and top circle were drawn freehand by the students. The arms, face, hat, scarf and ground line were added.
2. After the snowman was finished in pencil, he (or she) was traced with a dark crayon. Any small shapes like the hat and scarf were colored in with crayon.
3. Using a white crayon, I asked the students to draw lots of snowflakes around their snowman, either as crisscross stars or small circles. Whichever shape they chose, they just needed to use lots of pressure to make sure thick white lines were created.
4. I had recently gotten hold of some blue Dick Blick Liquid Watercolor Paint, and I watered it down a bit (maybe 30%) before letting students paint over their sky. I love the shade of this blue, but I’m sure others would look fine too.
Note: I used this project for my school’s artwork fundraiser with originalworks.com and so far have some very happy parents to show for it. I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes the simplest projects create the best results.
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Turkey Pinch Pot

I found this pinch pot in Arts & Activities magazine and it's a great project for 1st graders on up.
1. Give each student a lump of modeling clay about the size of a small apple. Point out that softening the clay is an important first step and this is done by wetting the clay and squeezing it until it becomes warm. They then roll it into a smooth ball.
2. To form the pinch pot, the students press their thumb into the middle of the ball and pinch the sides until a bowl is formed with sides about the thickness of a pancake.
3. The students then pinch together one side of the bowl to form the turkey head. On the opposite side, the clay is pinched flat and curved to form the tail. When the shape is complete, feathers are etched into the sides.
4. Fire the clay, paint with glaze, and fire again. A very cute addition to your Thanksgiving table!
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Creativity for Kids Giveaway

And the Creativity for Kids Giveaway winners are. . .

Briana who wrote...
My little girls would love either one of these!

and katiebird who wrote ...
My little girl would love either of these! What a neat opportunity. Thanks!

Congratulations winners, I have your email addresses and will be contacting you shortly.
Thanks again to Creativity for Kids for sponsoring this generous giveaway.


ABOUT CREATE YOUR OWN ENCHANTED STORYBOOK
This adorable castle-shaped book comes ready to decorate with markers, glitter stickers, color-in-stickers and rhinestones. Write your story on the lined pages then use the blank pages for your illustrations. Open the drawbridge door and personalize the story with your name. You can add your picture to the tower window too!
Age Range: 5 – 95
$17.99

ABOUT DIVA PUPPIES
Pamper 3 pooches with paint, sequins, flowers, ribbons, heart charm collars, fur, boas and tutus. Time for a nap? Each puppy has a soft furry bed to curl up on. Each bobble-head pup measures 5" x 2 1/2" x 2 1/2", all packaged in an adorable doghouse style box.
Age Range : 9 – 99
$17.99
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36 Strathmore Art Journal Kits Giveaway!

I recently tried out a great new art journal, the Art Journal Kit made by Strathmore® and designed by Artterro®. They've teamed up to create these inspiring journal kits, complete with examples of how to make your own beautiful pages.

Strathmore will send one winner 36 Art Journal Kits, with a retail value of $400. This prize will make a wonderful gift for any classroom or art journal party.

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment that includes your plans for using the journals and your contact information. This giveaway is limited to the continental US and one comment per entrant, please. Comments must be posted by Wed., Nov. 9th at midnight PST.

For more ideas on how to use these journals, I will be posting my own Art Journal Kit pages through Wednesday. Good luck everyone and thank you to Strathmore for this fabulous giveaway!
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Strathmore Journal Kits Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the 36 pack of Strathmore Art Journal Kits Giveaway is...

Samantha B. from Somerville, MA

Congratulations Samantha, I hope your students have a wonderful time with their journals. Thanks to all who entered my giveaway, I have more planned for the holiday season so check back often!

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Student Art from Minnesota

Last week I received this wonderful photo from a 4th grade class in Royalton, Minnesota. Their teacher, Erin, had tried out my Picasso Paper Bag Costume project with her entire class and agreed to share her results. Are these a bunch of cute and creative kids or what? I love all the colorful faces and the animated posing too, it really makes for a wonderful photo. Thanks kids, for letting me share your art with my readers.
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Sir Ken Robinson on Education and the Arts

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Day of the Dead Skull Drawing

Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and Latin American on Nov. 1st and 2nd. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to remember friends and family members who have passed on. I like how the festivities include lots creative imagery with patterns. This project was inspired by a Day of the Dead postcard which featured a very patterned skull drawing.
1. Students could draw their own outline of a skill or use a template that I have posted HERE.
2. I gave each student a silver Sharpie marker and had them trace their lines. They could then draw in whatever patterns they wanted, I just stipulated that all shapes must be balanced to make the drawing symmetrical. If they drew a flower on a left cheek, they had to draw the same flower on the right. I think this is a good introduction to symmetry for those as young as first grade. Older students can get the idea reinforced,
3. The students were instructed to fill the face with as many symmetrical shapes as possible. When spaces got smaller, they could make lots of circles, and when the spaces were smaller still, they could fill them in with dots.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Four
2.2 Use the conventions of facial and figure proportions in a . . . study.
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A Positively Negative Pumpkin

I tried this with 2nd and 4th graders, and they both seemed to enjoy the puzzle aspect of making a whole pumpkin from cutting out just a half. I like how this is an example of using both positive and negative shapes, and positive and negative colors.
1. Give each student an 8.5" x 11" sheet of cream paper and a 5.5" x 8.5" black sheet of paper. With my sample, I first aligned the black paper on the left side of the cream.
2. Starting on the middle edge, students draw a large half of a pumpkin. Next, one eye and one half of a mouth are added. When complete, the eye and mouth are cut out, all as complete shapes, not in bits and pieces. I show students how to cheat with the eye triangle by cutting a line over to it and then cutting around to get the triangle out. The little slice will seal itself back up when glued.
3. The negative shape is glued down on the left, and the newly cut shapes are to be flopped from their cut out positions, and then glued down with a glue stick on the right.
4. Finally, the students could add some detail to their pumpkin, using black marker on the cream side, and white colored pencil on the black side.

CA Visual Arts Standard: Grade Four, Creative Expression
2.6 Use the interaction between positive and negative space expressively in a work of art.
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Halloween Monster Gloves

OK, so maybe this is more craft than art, but Halloween can be a great time to challenge your creative muscles. And if I could inspire even just one person to make something instead of buying that awful ready-made stuff in stores, I will be a happy camper.
1. The key is finding fake fur from fabric stores that matches the color of some knit gloves. I think that all black or all white are the easiest to look for. I cut the largest square of fur possible for the top of the glove, and hand-stitched in place. I think you could glue, but would need to put some kind of divider inside the glove to keep both sides from gluing together. If you really want to get "hairy", also add a small strip on the top of the thumb.
2. Once the fur is on, you need some stiff craft felt in the color of your desired fingernails. These are cut out and glued on also, taking care to keep the glue just on the top of the glove. Try making the nails really pointy for an extra scary look!
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Bone Letters

You could make this a lesson about anatomy and what the different kinds of bones in your body look like – or you could just make some creepy looking name signs for Halloween!
1. I drew examples of some typical bones on the board. They generally look like sticks, but have large bumps on the end. I gave students long pieces of paper and had them write their name lightly in pencil, using just stick letters.
2. The students can then turn those letters into little sections of bone as they see fit. Curved letters can be made from several short straight ones, or something that looks like a rib bone, which has just a rounded point on one side.
3. Trace all the pencil lines in marker and add shading by using cross-hatching to one side.
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Black Cat with Glowing Eyes

These glowing cat eyes are made from blending a few layers of pencil crayons. White on the bottom, then yellow, and for those interested in more detail, a bit of brown. Please note though, that the average pencil crayon and black construction paper won’t deliver these results. You need crisp black art paper and soft pencil crayons, such as the Prismacolor or Dick Blick brand to get the rich color against a very black background.
1. I gave the students a 7" square of black art paper, and had them follow my drawing steps, as shown above.
2. When complete, they traced all their lines with a white pencil crayon.
3. The students added a heavy layer of white pencil crayon around the pupils, and then added a golden yellow on top. Older students were shown how to add a bit of brown near the top edge to create a bit of a shadow.
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Halloween Pasta Skeleton

A fun way to teach students how to apply basic anatomy to art is by creating skeletons from pasta.
1. To make a sturdy pallet, the students arranged 20 popsicle sticks horizontally and secured them with 4 sticks glued vertically to the back.
2. A variety of pasta shapes were needed. I started by briefing the students with a simple sketch illustrating the proportions and the placement of shoulders, hips and joints.
3. Using white glue, they started by placing the head, spine, ribs and hips. They then added the shoulders, arms, legs, hands and feet and let dry until the glue turned clear.
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Jack-O-Lantern Painting in the Round

Most kinders have trouble drawing large free-hand circles on rectangular paper. For this project, inspired by a window decoration I recently spotted at a paper store, I pre-cut the paper to help guide them to make a better circle.
1. I started with orange 65 lb. card stock and used my circle cutter to cut out the circles approximately 8" in diameter. Printing and cutting by hand is of course and option.
2. In pencil, the students drew their circles about an inch or so from the edge and then added the stem and the rest of the features.
3. I gave each student a sheet of plastic canvas and a peeled black crayon to do a light rubbing over the entire surface to add texture. They then added shadow by doing a rub around the outer edge of the paper.
4. With a small paintbrush, all of the detail lines were painted white with either tempera or acrylic paint.
5. The insides of the mouth and eyes were painted in dark orange.
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