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.
- 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”
- White construction paper or cardstock
- Tempera paint in bright colors
- 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.
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.