Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

grass and geranium 2047

Create beautiful outdoor art using homemade paintbrushes from plants and items found in nature.

Tips for Teachers/Parents
Teach children to respect living plants and only use found or discarded flowers and plants for this project. I save pulled weeds or clippings when doing yard work. Stems and flowers from a bouquet that has begun to droop are also great for this project.

brushes 2047

Supplies

  • Newsprint, paper grocery bag or placemat to cover workspace
  • Discarded plants: leaves, flowers and/or grass (Be sure plants are not poisonous and don’t have thorns.)
  • Chopsticks, old paintbrush handles, craft sticks, twigs or clothespins
  • String or rubber bands to hold materials to the “handle”
  • Scissors
  • White construction paper or cardstock
  • Tempera paint in bright colors

clothespin dandelion 2047

Directions

  • Gather together several types of discarded leaves, flowers and grass
  • Attach a bundle of discarded plants to the paintbrush “handle” of your choice with string or a rubber band. Or clip the bundle with a clothespin. (See first photo.)
  • If your flowers or grasses have sturdy stems, use them without adding a handle—just hold them by the stem ends.
  • Trim the plants, if desired, to shorten or use them long and then trim them shorter.
  • Using tempera paint, paint a picture. It can be abstract texture or try painting as if using regular paintbrushes.
  • If using flowers, make flower prints by gently pressing the flower into paint and then onto the paper.

long stemmed grass 2047

stems of orchid 2047

----------------------

Alyssa Navapanich is a nationally recognized art educator who teaches art to elementary school kids in East San Diego County. She is the author of San Diego Family Magazine’s “Art with Alyssa” column.

 

 

Make Potion Bottles for Halloween

Make Potion Bottles for Halloween

If you’re into decorating for Halloween, making potion bottles is a fun project to do with the family or at a Halloween party. The Harry Potter-inspired bottles can be crafted into spooky (or not- . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Halloween Luminaries

Art with Alyssa: Halloween Luminaries

Supplies Something to cover your workspace (opened large paper bag, placemat or plastic cloth) Glass jars such as jelly, pickle or small yogurt jars and/or mason jars; cleaned and dried. Sponge . . .

Read more

Make a Schultuete for the First Day of School

Make a Schultuete for the First Day of School

Now that the kids can actually GO back to school, there's never been a better time to celebrate the first day! Have you ever heard of a schultuete (pronounced shool-too-tuh)? The "school cone" is a . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Paper Bag Memory Books

Art with Alyssa: Paper Bag Memory Books

Create a unique memory book to save special keepsakes and photos—and to reminisce about all the fun you had this summer!Discussion Points for Parents/Teachers Talk about your favorite summer me . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Alebrijes, Mexican Folk Art Sculptures

Art with Alyssa: Alebrijes, Mexican Folk Art Sculptures

Alebrijes, familiar to those who have seen the movie “Coco,” are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures—mythical creatures with body parts from varying animals. Making them is a fun way . . .

Read more

Ice Painting

Ice Painting

Creating art with frozen paint cubes (ice painting) is a super fun summertime or warm-weather activity. It’s also a great party activity for a Frozen-themed birthday party (or any winter-themed ce . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: How to Make a Nature Journal

Art with Alyssa: How to Make a Nature Journal

Creating and maintaining a nature journal is a fun, relaxing and educational activity for children (and adults) that encourages time outdoors and connection with nature. There is no right way to kee . . .

Read more

DIY Instruments for Kids

DIY Instruments for Kids

Get creative and have a festive backyard parade with these beautiful homemade musical instruments! Local artist Emily Dolton shares step-by-step instructions on how to make a Melon Maraca, Citrus Dr . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Mini Halloween Piñatas

Art with Alyssa: Mini Halloween Piñatas

As an art teacher, I love connecting arts & crafts to literature and recycling. This Halloween craft is a great way to repurpose cardboard toilet paper tubes. If you want to link your mini piña . . .

Read more

How to Make a Campfire Crown

How to Make a Campfire Crown

Nothing says camping like a gooey s’mores goodness, so it’s only fitting that kings and queens of the campfire wear s’mores-themed crowns. Here are instructions to make campfire crowns for you . . .

Read more

DIY Kiddie Car Wash

DIY Kiddie Car Wash

This fun, do-it-yourself kiddie car wash keeps kids and their ride-on toys cool and clean. Add a spray hose, mild dish detergent and a bubble gun for hours of outdoor playtime. Total cost of materia . . .

Read more

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Art with Alyssa: Nature's Paintbrushes

Create beautiful outdoor art using homemade paintbrushes from plants and items found in nature.Tips for Teachers/ParentsTeach children to respect living plants and only use found or discarded flower . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!