Back to School Arts and Crafts: Mini murals using mixed media

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back to school crafts
As kids begin their new school years many teachers start looking for back to school crafts ideas. Focusing on what they did that summer is often a common theme.

This activity is mural making. I love mixed media art.  When I do mixed media art I usually use  a combination of painting, collage and drawing.

I do mixed media mural art with individual kids the same way I do larger murals with groups.

The title of these murals are:

What I did on my summer vacation or A Summer Day in My Vacation

Part 1:

  1. Discuss with the children or child what some of the things they did on their vacation
  2. Try to narrow them down to one experience that they would like to remember and depict
  3. Out of that experience narrow them down to what they remember about it.
  4. Give the children plain white paper and with markers and crayons let them draw many of the things they remember. You can use a few sheets of paper as they are going to be cutting out these pictures.
  5. After they have finished with their people, bicycles, animals, boats, suns etc., give them scissors and have them cut out these pictures and put them in a special place. If they are indoor activities that they are drawing that is fine as well.

Part 2:

  1. Give children a large pieces of manila tag board, either white or manila colored. Do  not work on small pieces as they have no room to maneuver.
  2. Depending on what scene they have decided to do will depend on what colors of paint you will give them. The basic idea here is to paint a background for their pictures. If they were at a beach they will be making either sand, water and sky or just sand and sky etc. If they are doing a park they may want green and blue. Discuss with them what colors they think they will need.
  3. Instruct them to divide their paper either in 1/2 of more unevenly depending on how much stuff they made for the ground or the sky.
  4. Let them paint their ground and their sky and allow paintings to dry.

In my post on value paintings I have some good insights on teaching kids how to make skies that cover more than just a strip of the top part of the paper.

Part 3:

  1. When painting is dry they can take all of their pieces of artwork that they drew and cut out, arrange them on their background and when ready, paste them in the places that are most pleasing to them.
  2. After they are done, you can give them some black  or other colored markers and have them add in with the markers any additional thing they wold need to complete their artwork.

When they are done, you can take an index card, write the title of their artwork with their name in the corner and put in the corner of the art.

back to school crafts

back to school craftsback to school craftsback to school crafts

The images below are much more recent. I have images of the drawings the children made to paste onto their murals.


These are some of their images cut out.

cut outs

The 3 images below are what the murals looked like after they pasted their cut out pictures onto their painted backgrounds.

back to school 2

back to school 3

back to school 1

Below is a new image of an older child who did a beach mural when asked to do a  mural of what they did on their summer vacation.

She used all kinds of collage material to create an illusion of sky, water and sand and then cut out people and a sun and added buttons for shells.

back to school crafts

There are many types of crafts teachers and parents use to get the children ready for a new year but, what better craft to do then one that ties in to their past Summer vacation. (of course, for us here on this side of the world that is)

back to school crafts


Leave a Comment:

Miriam says September 21, 2014

This looks like a fun activity for back to school. I love the new look of your blog!

Jenn @ BeautifulCalling says September 26, 2014

Confession: I love the idea of art, understand the fine-motor skills and creativity it fosters, I love the outcome – and yet it’s one of my least favorite things for the kids to do.

Pencil crayons, markers, crayons and paper – that’s all fine but the glue, and scrap paper all over and paintbrushes and paint…and mess…{sigh}.

We homeschool and my children each take a 4 week art class each fall and spring (they are 7 and 6) and they love it and love painting…but I never liked art in school and don’t really like it that much more now that I am the teacher 😉

Faigie says September 28, 2014

Jenn I think the reason you did not like art in school was probably because of how it was taught.I think if you realized how much your kids were getting from it and you made a special table or place for it, and got really organized about it, it would make it less stressful for you. Its important not to do too much at once because then it is indeed overwhelming. I think you need to take an art class that you really love and then you’ll really be hooked. Thanks for your confession 🙂

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