Hello Thanksgiving!

We wish you all a fantastic Thanksgiving! Please share with us here what you are thankful for – in words or pictures. We’d love to see it!

the messy artist thanksgivingWhile we can’t quite believe that the holiday season of the year is upon us, we are happy to embrace its sentiments. With Thanksgiving here next week, we are feeling thankful for all that we have in our lives, and feeling very grateful.

Our students are always at the top of our list of what we are thankful for, and we are grateful for every family who takes a class with us, has a birthday party here, comes to summer camp, etc, etc. So many wonderful people have passed through our doors over the past 16 years.  Here just a few:

One way we are expressing our gratitude for all to see is by taking part in the Gratitude Graffiti Project again this year. Everyone is invited to come draw (or write) on our windows with paint pens about what they are grateful for. It’s open to everyone – students or not. When we started this year’s project, a couple staff members went out to write on the window. At the same time, they both wrote “Art”!.   That is another item at the top of the list that we are thankful for.

Another way we are expressing our thankfulness this month is by hosting a food drive for the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown. The staff is donating food and other supplies to locals in need, and we welcome donations from the public as well. Donations can be brought by any time the studio is open; there is a box in the entryway to receive them.   We are proud to be able to “pay it forward” to such a wonderful organization.

Current Needs flyer w MA infoWe wish you all a fantastic Thanksgiving! Please share with us what you are thankful for – in words or pictures.  We’d love to see it!

hello vampire bites!

This week’s class focused on Halloween and stage makeup, specifically how to create realistic bites, bruises and wounds.

halloween vampire bite with makeupUnfortunately our highest level art students (AFI5), were attacked by vampires during class. They were left bruised and mangled, with seeping blood drying on their arms. Strangely though – they loved it!

This week’s class focused on Halloween and stage makeup, specifically how to create realistic bites, bruises and wounds.

nj art class for kidsWith supplies from makeupmania.com, the students were instructed in how to build up realistic looking injuries.

The first step was to create bumps from the Nose and Scar Wax,

halloween bite makeupAnd by using the rest of the makeup, they ended up like this!

the messy artist

The students were very impressed with the realistic injuries they were able to create. Coming up in next week’s class: gashes!

Have you taught students how to use stage or special effect makeup? What are your favorite things to create?

hello autumn leaf symmetry project!

art class camp and party new jerseyThis is a bright and fun project that never fails to intrigue the students. The children love the magic of the process, and we love that we can teach them about symmetry and color mixing in a memorable way. It also ties in the way the leaves around us are changing this time of year.  Click here to download a PDF of Autumn Leaf Symmetry Project

Age Level: 2 ½ – 4 years

To teach the kids about symmetry
To teach the kids about color mixing
To relate the project to what is happening in nature

Construction paper
Tempera paints
Small plastic (condiment size) cups
Plastic lids from takeout containers
Small wooden craft sticks
Small labels

Teacher Preparation:

  • Prepare construction paper for leaf shapes. First fold each piece in half, and then cut the leaf shape. It is important to do it in this order so that the leaves are symmetrical, with the sides of the leaf matching up when folding them. We use a template to ensure the same shape each time.
  • Place 3 colors of paints (that when mixed together will create brown) into small condiment cups. We use colors that make brown since the leaves are turning brown too. We used red, orange and green.
  • Arrange a set one of each color into a larger plastic container for ease of carrying and use by the students.process oriented art for children
  • Depending on the size of the class, we have one for every student or one for every two students.best art classes for kids north new jersey
  • Write children’s names on labels that will go on back of project.       Remember to prepare more than one if each child will be doing more than one leaf. You can also put the labels on the back of the papers beforehand and just make sure to distribute the leaf shapes to the appropriate child.the messy artist art studio for kids nj


  • Show the children an example of the project and explain that they will be making this kind of painting with sticks – and a special trick!
  • Demonstrate using the craft stick to get paint from the container and then tap, tap, tapping it onto the paper. Encourage the students to use a lot of paint: the more the better for blending the colors together.
  • Fold the paper in half. Rub the paper while saying “magic words” (abracadabra, shazam, etc) and then open it to reveal the symmetrical painting. Point out how some colors may have mixed together and how their leaf painting is symmetrical (the same on each side).autumn art project with children
  • Distribute leaf paper and sets of paint with sticks.
  • Remind children to use the sticks to tap paint onto their leaves.fall leaf art project
  • Caregivers may need to help with the rubbing and folding.fine art class new jersey
  • Students can add more paint and then refold and rub the leaves again.symmetry art project preschool

Do you have any favorite fall-themed projects? Please let us know!

hello autumn tree painting collage!

and….happy Halloween!

art class for toddler elementary school kids new jersey

This project lets the students put together skills they have been working on all session. It combines finger painting, cutting and gluing. This multi-step project works well with our class design; the children participate in station play for the first part of the class, where they complete the initial step of the project. Later, they all join together and finish the rest as a group. Click here for a PDF Autumn Tree Painting Collage.

Age level: 3-5 years


  • Following sequential directions.
  • Learning about color mixing and the color brown.
  • Developing cutting and gluing skills.


  • Finger paint (orange and blue)
  • Trays
  • Texture tools
  • Cardstock
  • 18” x 24” paper or cardstock
  • white glue in squeeze bottles
  • patterned paper
  • scissorsbest art class for children north nj

Teacher Prep:

  • Cut out tree shapes from cardstock, one per child
  • Cut patterned paper into ½” strips
  • Write each child’s name on a sticker that will go on the back of the cardstock tree

Cutting skills:  This class is often our 3-5 year olds’ first experiences with using scissors, a difficult skill to master, especially for this age group.  We do a few things to make this introduction successful for children who otherwise would not be ready for it.

  • We have two different types of easy to use scissors.  One set has a simple loop instead of finger holes; the others are the traditional type.  We start out giving the kids the traditional style, then offer the loop style if they are having difficulty.images-1
  • We prepare the paper for them to cut by creating ½ “ strips. This offers them a very small area to cut, much simpler than a larger area.
  • We offer lots of instruction to the caregivers who are helping out, giving them ways to aid the students.   For this project, we remind them “thumbs up” while holding the scissors, and encourage the adults to hold the paper strips for the children to give them one less thing to coordinate.

Note: It is helpful to have a co-teacher or assistant for this project as there is one step that adults do for the children


First phase:

  1. We usually do this during free-range station play, and put out trays with orange and blue finger paint.
  2. We encourage the children to mix the colors together with their hands until they get brown.the messy artist fine art classes for kids
  3. At that point, we give them the pre-cut tree trunk cut from cardstock and a texture tool. They finger paint the tree and can add texture with the tool – or their fingers – if they like.autumn kids art project
  4. Make sure to add their name sticker to the back so you know whose painting is whose.

Phase 2:

  1. Set the trees aside to dry; it doesn’t take very long.
  2. Have an adult glue each dried tree trunk onto an 18” x 24” piece of paper or cardstock with white glue.
  3. Write child’s name on front of paper.collage for kids art project 3 year old

Phase 3:

  1. The instructor should go over a brief cutting lesson as they demonstrate cutting the patterned strips into small pieces.
    1. We like to say “thumbs up” to remind the children which way to put their fingers into the holes.
  2. Pass out the scissors and the patterned paper strips.
  3. Asking the caregivers to hold the strips for the children can make it easier for them.morris county new jersey kids art classes art classes party and camp for children new jersey
  4. Once the children have cut up a few strips and have a pile of smaller pieces, hand out their trees and a glue bottle.
  5. Show them how to dab on a dot of glue and then place a square into it.the messy artist and art studio for kids
  6. It’s good to have some extra squares on hand in case a child is having difficulty cutting enough squares in the time allotted. They can the use some of these when it is time to glue.
  7. Let them add the squares to their project so that they look like leaves falling from their tree.new jersey best kids art class
  8. You may want to turn the paper around for the kids to reach more easily.
  9. These take some time to dry and go home the next class session.cutting project for 3-5 year olds

What are your favorite fall projects? We’d love to hear about them!





hello October events!

We’ve got lots of events coming up that we want to share with you. So fasten your seatbelts, here we go!

  • Book Drive. For the second year in a row we are partnering with Bridge of Books to collect new and gently used children’s books. Our book drive started at the beginning of October and is going until the end of the month.  Please come on by and drop off any donations in our lobby. Last year we were able to deliver over 400 books thanks to your generosity and we hope to do the same this year!
Student helpers who volunteered to help us sort books last year
Student helpers who volunteered to help us sort books last year

the messy artist art classes for kids

  • Pumpkin Carving at Field Station: Dinosaurs in Secaucus.   field station logoThis Saturday and Sunday (October 25 and 26), we are bringing one of our favorite activities – pumpkin carving – to a super fun place: Field Station: Dinosaurs. Staff from The Messy Artist will be on hand in a special event to help visitors unleash their creativity at Field Station: Dinosaurs from 11am-3pm each day. The carving workshop is free with admission to Field Station: Dinosaurs.Pumpkin Carvingpumkin carving art class for kids

You can bring you own pumpkin, or buy one there from Field Station: Dinosaurs.

And we have a special treat (no tricks!): 20% off your admission either day! Click this link to get the coupon to print out or show on your phone to get the discount: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/20–off-admission–Pumpkin-Carving-at-Field-Station–Dinosaurs-with-The-Messy-Artist-.html?soid=1116109131156&aid=wTDDkV8utIg


  • Halloween Bash!halloween party for kids nj

Join us for Messy Artist Fun with a Halloween Twist! We’ll decorate a trick-or-treat bag, play with slimy spaghetti, paint with fall colors – and more – at our Halloween Bashes on Halloween weekend. Great for siblings.

  • Spook-tacular Halloween Bash!
  • Friday October 31 and Saturday November 1, 2013
  • 10 am – 12 noon
  • 1.5 – 6 year olds with caregiver
  • $35 per child/$30 per sibling
  • (no costumes needed– we’re getting messy!)halloween MA logo


  • Mini camp for NJ Teacher Conference Days: Thursday Nov 6 and Friday November 7.october art events
  •  Thursday 11/6 and Friday 11/7
  • 9:30 – 11:30 am
  • $40 per child/$35 per sibling or additional day
  • (additional lunch add-on available for $10 (11:30 – 12:30)
  • 3-5 years/1st-2nd grade
  • drop off
  • Registration required.
  • https://www.formstack.com/forms/themessyartist-minicamp

For our 3 – 5 year old mini-camp, we’ll start out with some exploratory station play. Children are free to roam from station to station whenever they wish. The sensory box, easels, play dough, and a messy activity will all be available for your child to sample throughout the first part of the day. We’ll break for a light snack and a story, and then continue on with a spectacular fine art project. Teachers will give a short lesson, and then guide the children in creating a work of art they’ll be proud to bring home.

art camp for kids north jerseyFor our 1st – 2nd grade mini camp, students will immerse themselves in a multi-step, teacher directed project. We’ll discuss an artist, an art concept, or explore a new medium, all while working hard to create a one-of-a-kind mini masterpiece. We’ll also pause midway to have a snack.

Kids in both age groups are welcome to sign up for an add-on lunch option either or both days.

We hope to see you at one of our Fall events!