Have you heard of London based artist, Marcus Oakley? I was recently introduced to him by my friend Ana from BabbleDabbleDo via this gorgeous pinterest board. He often uses simple shapes and color in his work that I thought would really speak to children. These shape collages, in particular, really inspired me, so I decided to give them a try with my art classes these past few weeks. Recycled shape art is a great way to talk to children about our environment, shapes and art. The kids who did this project ranged from 3-7 years old and every child was successful and engaged throughout the process. Thank you Marcus Oakley! See how to make this easy art project for kids below.
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What you need : A piece of cardboard, any size, for the background (We used rectangular shapes about 8×7 inches) glue, cut out pieces of cardboard in different shapes including arches, circles, triangles, rectangles and squares, primary color tempera paint, (here’s a great set) black and white paint, and paint brushes (here’s a great set.)
First, we talked a little about Marcus Oakley and I shared some of his work I had printed out and glued to cardboard as a reference point. Then we talked about recycling and how there are artist’s in the world who come up with all kinds of great ideas to turn trash into art.
Next, I demonstrated how to glue the cardboard pieces onto our background. I encouraged everyone to try and fill their whole board in the style of Marcus Oakley. We set these aside to dry in the sun when we were done. They dry pretty quickly.
Next, we made and named our own paint colors from the primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and added white. *Art Secret* I like to add white to pretty much all paint. It just makes the colors look so beautiful. Click here for more art secrets every parent should know. Kids LOVE mixing their own paint. It’s easy to do and so much fun, plus a great study in color theory. I have these great paint trays, our favorite squeeze bottles for easy squeezing and popsicle sticks for mixing. Every child picks two primary colors and white to mix and then gets to name their paint based on the color. I highly recommend this part!
Once we had our paints, we got our boards out of the sun and started painting. Kids are usually most excited to use “their” paint at first and then begin to branch out when they see how beautiful all the colors look on the cardboard. The older kids focused on painting each shape carefully and added polka dots and stripes as they went. The younger kids enjoyed painting their whole board and filling every last space with color. Some kids wanted to do the black details at the end like Marcus Oakley, where others left theirs with the just the colors they made.
As an art experience, I give this project a ten. It is definitely something I will repeat with kids of all ages. I’ve done a slightly varied version with 2 year olds and it worked great as well. It’s easy, inexpensive, and really fun. For more awesome process based art, check out these wind chimes and these self portraits. If you give this a try, I’d love to hear about your experience. Thanks for reading along and have fun!