Once again the change in seasons is an inspiration for our art projects here at The Messy Artist. With the first day of autumn recently upon us, we turn to the pumpkins, leaves, corn and apples that are so wonderful this time of year. We not only use these as subject matter, but as artistic tools! Here are three of our best-loved fall art projects.
Pumpkin Stained Glass Window Project
These pumpkins are an all-time favorite because even the youngest artist can create a lovely piece. This project does require a bit of prep work ahead of time, although once prepped it is clean, easy and fun.
Materials: Clear contact paper (you can buy this in a hardware store or craft store)
9 x 12 Orange construction paper
One or all three of the following:
Orange tissue paper
Orange crepe paper
- Cut a pumpkin out of your 9 x 12 construction paper, making it as large as you can.
- Cut out the inside of your pumpkin shape so that you have about a 1 1/2 inch wide pumpkin frame.
- Cut a 9 x 12 piece of contact paper.
- Carefully, peel off the backing of the contact paper, but don’t throw it away!
- Very gingerly, stick your pumpkin frame on the contact paper.
- Place the contact paper backing back on the contact paper.
- Trim the edges of the contact paper to follow the shape of the pumpkin.
- Cut assorted small (1-2″) shapes out of your tissue paper, cellophane and crepe paper.
- Peel the backing off of the contact paper.
- Stick the assorted shapes on the sticky contact paper.
- Hang in a sun drenched window.
Printing with Apples
In this fall favorite we use apples to print onto paper. We use red paint and red apples and learn a bit about color, too. We like to use Delicious apples (in this case Red Delicious) as they have the most interesting shape.
- Cut apples in half, making sure to cut some lengthwise and some width-wise for a variety of shapes. Using a sharp knife and cutting as straight across as you can will result in the best prints. If you can cut the apple right through the seed area, you will get a star shape in the middle of the apple. To do this, lay the apple on its side with the stem horizontal, and cut through the core. Stick forks into the apples for the kids to hold onto.
- Place thin layers of different colors paint on paper plates; less paint makes for a better print. Too much will muddy up the print. We used different shades of red, and some that had glitter in it.
- Have the kids dip the apple into the paint, then press it onto the paper. They can usually get more than one print from the painted apple.
Pumpkins at the Messy Station
Station play is an integral part of our program for our youngest artists; the Messy Station is where children use their senses to gather information about their surroundings. Varied materials facilitate exploration of color, texture, temperature, density, and fluidity. Children experiment with our stretchy goop, drippy slime, icy frozen paint, airy shaving cream, and in the autumn – pumpkin guts.
This is the easiest of the activities to prepare – just cut the top off of a pumpkin or two and let the kids explore. For easier clean up, you can put the pumpkin on a tray or use a disposable tablecloth. If the weather is like this gorgeous fall we have been having on the east coast, you could even do it outside.
If your child has an aversion to getting messy, try providing a fork or popsicle sticks for them to approach the pumpkins. After they get comfortable with poking at it with a tool, they may just stick their hands in and have fun with the stringy guts and seeds inside.
We’d love to know which project is your favorite – happy autumn!