Art Class

Recycled Art for Earth Day

For Earth Day I thought it would be a really neat lesson for my fourth grade class to create art using all recycled materials. The projects turned out great and my recycle bin was happy for the reprieve!

I subscribe to Hello Fresh and have a couple of meals delivered to our house each week. It’s great for our busy lifestyle, but those meals come in a lot of packaging. It’s necessary, but it is a “thing” each week for us to break it all down and dispose of it. So, I started to hoard save the boxes and packaging in anticipation of this art lesson. When I finally had enough saved, I cut up all the boxes. I was able to get 4 13×14 squarish rectangles, 8 top and bottom flaps, and about 8-10 irregularly shaped large rectangles of bubble wrap from the interior packing of the boxes.

Full disclosure: I’m not a full-time art teacher. Don’t get me started, but my son’s elementary school doesn’t have an art teacher. None of the elementary schools in this district have an art teacher. Instead, they have an art docent program where volunteers come in and teach the kids art. I volunteer once every two weeks to teach my son’s fourth grade class art.

Yesterday was my art lesson day. I gave each student one cardboard square to use as their substrate, one rectangle of bubble wrap to stamp with, and one cardboard flap to use as a paint palette. I also gave them some blue, yellow, and white paint, a large foam brush, an old credit or gift card, scissors, and glue.

First, I had them paint their entire substrate with pure blue paint. While it was still wet, I had them add a section of yellow to the bottom to create a grassy base. They loved mixing the wet paints right on their art. Next, I demoed how to paint their bubble wrap with the white paint and stamp it into the background. They loved that part, too, but some of the kids thought it was “too polka-dotty.” For the next layer, they mixed their leftover white and blue paint to create a blue tint and used their credit/gift cards to scrape it around the sky. If they had yellow left, and they wanted to, I suggested they pounce it into the grass to create some color variation and texture.

I had them set that aside to dry and handed out the color wheels they painted in the beginning of the school year. We had made 12×12 color wheels including the primary, secondary, and tertiary colors like the one to the right. I explained we were going to recycle their art, too. They cut flower petals out of each color wheel section and a long stem from the green part. Lastly, they glued the flower down onto their cardboard surfaces and voila! The Earth Day Recycled Art Color Wheel Flowers were done.

The kids were SO proud of their works. Here’s my son proudly showing his off. This was definitely one of the most well-received lessons I’ve done with them this year. I love what they produced. I can’t wait to go back and hang them in the hallway when they dry.

Let me know if you can think of another way to recycle color wheels. Last year I did eyeballs, this year flowers, and I have one more year to go.

Tags: acrylic, art lesson, elementary art, lesson ideas, mixed media

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