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How to Make Colorful Painted Papers for Collage

Four colorful examples of painted papers

It’s easy and fun for kids to make their own painted papers for collage. The resulting textures, patterns, and color variations will add extra delight to every project. Making painted paper is a perfect “process-art” activity for the first day of school or anytime you need some “art therapy”!

What you’ll need for making painted papers:

  • 9 x 12 white construction paper, at least 3 sheets per student
  • tempera paint – red, yellow, and blue (avoid “washable” paint – the colors are less vivid)
  • paper plates
  • foam brushes, 2” wide
  • water and water containers
  • old (used up) gift cards, cut in half, with notches added to one edge

How to make colorful painted papers:

1. Have students write their names on the backs of 3 pieces of paper (or however many you want them to paint).

2. Use primary colors (red, yellow, and turquoise) to mix large pools of bright colors on paper plates. (Tip: Mixed colors are always more interesting than colors straight out of the bottle.)

3. Paint each paper with a different color.

4. While the paint is still wet, drag a notched card across it a few times to create pattern and texture.

5. Set papers aside to dry (about 1-1/2 hours).

What will you do with your painted papers?

These painted papers are ideal for making an Eric Carle-inspired collage. You can even add small bits of these papers to a Self-Portrait Collage or a Surrealistic Collage. The colorful nature of these papers also makes them a great choice for a cheerful greeting card or poster.

As kids cut these papers into the shapes they need, make sure to save even the tiniest scraps. This painted paper is too wonderful to throw away! You will continue to find uses for even the smallest pieces over time. Sorting them by color and size is a great way to keep all your random pieces organized.

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