Monday, June 6, 2011

Collaborative Canvas

As one of our final projects of the spring session, we created a collaborative canvas art piece. The children worked on the canvas in 7 phases, beginning with this picture of the canvas on the floor. To preserve each phase of the work, I used painters tape to cover up some of the areas on the canvas each time a new group worked on it.
For the second phase, I brought the canvas to a block party in my neighborhood. The kids had a blast going at it with long brushes, rollers, and child-sized mops and brooms.
For our final week of spring classes, each group contributed to the canvas in different ways. Some classes worked on the floor with bouncy bean bags and long tools, while other groups worked on it vertically, attached to an easel.

Each day when the canvas was dry, I added more tape (often with help from Karuna and Aaron). For this project, the tape was placed randomly (except for the small heart at the top), but next time I want to try doing a more planned out design!
The tempera paints don't keep their true color when painted over, but often turn muddy after many layers. So I decided to let the oldest class use non-toxic acrylic paint to get back to some brighter colors add more texture.
After some painting, the kids decided to stick collage materials onto the canvas... brilliant!
The next day, I wanted to preserve the collage materials from the previous class, so I taped up a large piece of paper over that section of the painting.
I realized that the kids enjoyed having one area that was a blank canvas, so I taped up another piece of paper for the final class. 

After 7 phases painting and taping, I spent about 2 hours peeling off all of the tape (much of which was hidden under all those layers!) And here is the final piece...


  1. It looks like the kids had so much fun! What a great way to get all the children involved in a multi-step hands on project!

  2. I love the extended art. We just had a meeting about incorporating more extended art into the classroom. I never thought to use real canvass! Great idea! Thanks.

  3. Thanks everyone! I agree that extended art is really important. It would be fun for kids to do this project individually and do their own taping. The young kids might want to just pull the tape off rather than paint it, but maybe I'll give it a try anyway!

  4. Devine! Love the layers and different age groups contributing to the same canvas with varying methods. Reminds me of a grand finale on Fourth of July. Great balance with kid's contributions and adult aesthetic archiving with the tape. The end result is something I'd love to have on my wall. My kids painted on canvas last summer and it's the first thing people see when they come in the house. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. I'm definitely going to give this a go with my grandsons. I am SO taken by your blog!! Wow. I have done some teaching of art to younger kids but never preschool (except my own family) I love your blog and love what you do!!

  6. This is such a great idea for collaboration within the program community.

  7. What a fun project! Great idea and thank you for sharing it!

  8. This project looks like such fun! I love getting to see the little one paint!

    Stopping from the Kid Bloggers Hop!

  9. This is amazing! I, too, am stopping by from the Blog Hop.