Valentine Op-Art

This les­son was inspired by an Art­so­nia project I LOVED on Pin­ter­est.  I knew that the boys in my 5th grade class were not going to go for the tra­di­tional valen­tine project this year, so adding a heart to an Op-Art hand draw­ing seemed like the per­fect compromise!
I’ve done this project a few times now, and some of my 5th, 6th and 7th graders have strug­gled with it a bit.  So, through trial and error I came up with a slightly dif­fer­ent approach than the direc­tions I first found via Pin­ter­est.  I think it’s eas­ier this way.… try it and let me know what you think!
  • Paper
  • Pen­cil
  • Black (UF) Sharpie
1. Very lightly trace your hand with pen­cil, then draw a heart in the open space between your thumb and first finger.
2.  Now, put your pen­cil away!  You’ll be using Sharpie only for the rest of your drawing.
3.  First, cover your wrist and hand with curved lines.  Start about an inch from the bot­tom, and draw curved lines from one side of your wrist to the other.  Keep them as close together as you can.  The wrist is a great sec­tion to prac­tice on, to get the feel for draw­ing the curved lines.  You can go back and fin­ish the wrist after you get the hang of it.
4. Now, work your way up the hand and out each indi­vid­ual fin­ger, cov­er­ing the whole hand with curved lines packed closely together.  The more curved you make your lines, and the closer together they are, the bet­ter 3D effect you’ll get!
5.  Then, cover the heart with curved lines, just like you did for the hand.
6.  Next, fill in all the open spaces with lines that are par­al­lel to the top and bot­tom edges of your paper.  Wher­ever pos­si­ble, try to make these straight lines con­nect with the curved lines you drew.  Turn your paper any way you need to as you draw so that your draw­ing feels com­fort­able and natural.
7.  Finally, erase your orig­i­nal pen­cil lines, which should be no prob­lem because you drew them so lightly, right??!
8.  Add some color, if you want.  Voila!  A valen­tine even a 5th grade boy can be proud of!

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17 Responses to Valentine Op-Art

  1. Christie - Fine Lines February 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

    I can see where this mod­i­fi­ca­tion would be eas­ier. I, too, found the orig­i­nal method of using one line from side to side and curv­ing the hand was dif­fi­cult for some. I think it takes more patience! Thanks for shar­ing this.

  2. Katrina Reed February 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Per­fect tim­ing! I have 12 books to cover for my twin’s Year 1 class and I’m run­ning out of cre­ative ideas. I just traced my daugh­ters’ hands (the ones they write with — one left and one right) and got busy. They loved watch­ing their hand come to life. Even­tu­ally I may be brave enough to let them try it them­selves but right now, it was about get­ting the job done quickly.

  3. Mrs. C February 12, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    This is great! I love it! Thanks for shar­ing your modifications!

  4. Mrs. Claypool February 13, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Very cool! I am also doing this project with a class right now, just with­out the heart, and I have already done a Valen­tine project with them this year, but what a great way to incor­po­rate a sea­son with a lesson!

  5. Snippety Gibbet February 15, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Hal­lelu­jah. I was fran­ti­cally try­ing to find an image for this lesson…and here you are!!!!! jan

  6. Stacey February 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    What a fan­tas­tic idea. I love this.

    I dis­cov­ered your blog (Mix­ing 100 Col­ors Post) tonight on Pin­ter­est. I look for­ward to vis­it­ing it over and over again!

  7. Amy February 23, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    This is AWESOME!

    The Crazy Adven­tures of a Uni­ver­sity Graduate

  8. Anonymous February 24, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    this is my first time, hope am wel­come… very inter­est­ing and i love it

  9. Nathaly February 26, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    wow! très intéressant :)

  10. Felicity April 19, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    I’ve just had fun doing this and hope to be able to do it with a class tomor­row — thank you.

    Happy day!

  11. Linda Martin February 5, 2013 at 2:50 pm #

    I did this Valen­tine project with my classes today, 2–5-13. I have three lev­els of stu­dents, K-1; 2nd-4th; and 5th –8th graders in a home­school co-op that meets twice a month. With­out excep­tion, every stu­dent was excited about his or her results! I would like to add another tip that I found very effec­tive. I knew that my stu­dents would find the fin­ished prod­uct intim­i­dat­ing and feel that it would be beyond their abil­i­ties. There­fore, I intro­duced the activ­ity by ask­ing if every­one felt capa­ble of trac­ing a hand on a paper. Of course, all thought this very sim­ple. Next, I asked if every­one felt capa­ble of draw­ing straight par­al­lel lines. Yes, again–giggle, gig­gle. Last, I asked if they could draw arched lines. I demon­strated on the white board. Nat­u­rally, every­one felt this was silly and easy! Then, I showed them a sam­ple that I had made of the fin­ished project. Their eyes “popped out” and they were intim­i­dated, as I thought they would be, until I showed them how it was made with the out­line of the hand, the arched lines within the hand, and then the par­al­lel lines out­side. Thank you for shar­ing this won­der­ful project! We all had fun with it and I think the par­ents will be impressed!

    • Cheryl Trowbridge February 11, 2013 at 11:40 am #

      What a great way to break it down and make it seem less intim­i­dat­ing! Thanks for shar­ing that, Linda!

  12. Tate's Kitchen September 17, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Hey — that’s my image! SO HAPPY you loved it!

    • Cheryl Trowbridge September 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      One of my stu­dents did the draw­ing pic­tured in this post. Do you mean the image from Art­so­nia that was on Pinterest?

  13. Sue February 6, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Do you need to use con­struc­tion paper or would reg­u­lar copy paper be okay? My stu­dents will ask if they can use rulers for the straight lines. What do you think?

    • Cheryl Trowbridge February 7, 2014 at 8:50 pm #

      Reg­u­lar copy paper is fine for this project, Sue. It might be inter­est­ing to let stu­dents choose if they want to draw free-hand or use a ruler. Some­times rulers really slow them down, and for the per­fec­tion­ists a ruler can end up frus­trat­ing them even more. But prac­tice with rulers can be valu­able, too. It might be a fun exper­i­ment to let them choose and see what happens!


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