Creating Art with Kids: Cookie Sheet Masterpieces


It all started with a tissue box. Walking through the drugstore, I spotted these adorable pen & ink owls and was inspired. Wouldn't the kids love to paint quirky animals like this!?It was such a busy week, but when inspiration strikes, you abandon thoughts of cleaning the bathroom on your one afternoon home and pull out the paints.

First, they sketched their creatures. My six-year-old boy isn't much for drawing; he prefers to "collaborate" with me, so I drew the robot's body, and he added the face, buttons and hat. My middle girl went for an owl, while my oldest (age 9) was stumped. What to make? Together we decided on an animal, and when I suggested her cat might look funny in boots, she added the umbrella. Once the sketches were complete, they transferred their drawings using graphite paper onto the painting surface - in this case, small cookie sheets I had left over from a craft project.

Here they are with their finished paintings. We had so much fun! We used bubble wrap, brushed with paint and pressed on to the surface, to add texture - leaves & raindrops - and after the animals were roughly painted, we used black markers to outline and add fine detail. I helped with this since we had a lot of trouble finding a marker that didn't rebel against the painted surface.

For my oldest, it's very hard to create from fantasy. She likes real things. I was pleased to see her trying to go with the flow of an idea!

This girl had lots of fun with her project, and loves to make her paintings as cute or as silly as she can! Even if she won't smile for the camera.

And the collaboration: he and I painted together (he did the bubble wrap printing, and the silver, and dotted the buttons on with a pencil eraser dipped in paint). I am amazed at how simple it can be to paint with kids - how the ideas come together, and how we can creatively use techniques like printing, stencilling and stamping to a project to create a work of art.

And if you're asking where my masterpiece is...well...I got as far as the sketch, and then the boy joined us and our partnership took up the rest of the afternoon. I still want to finish mine, someday!

Later my 8 year old asked me, "Mom, if you make a painting that isn't anything, what is that called?" It took several minutes for me to determine that she was looking for the word for "abstract"!