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

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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.

 

 

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