Sunday, June 4, 2017

Fun Ways To Wrap Up The School Year In The Art Room

I remember every year focusing really hard at the end of the year on getting my classes to finish those final projects, getting them graded so I could get it all passed back by the last day of school. Gradually putting away supplies for the summer and each day limited their art supply access as more difficult to clean up and put away supplies were no longer available in classes that had art supply choice for projects. I loved taking them outside whenever possible at the end of the year but that also took away from time I could work on cleaning the art room while they worked on their final artworks. However, it was also a great time to play and experiment in the art room. Most major assignments were completed for the year and we were all just counting down the days to summer vacation. Here are some fun final art projects and experiments to help inspire you to make it through the final week or so of school as well as make some neat memories with your students that will have them looking forward to seeing you in the fall.

Gel Soap Resist Acrylic Painting   (courtesy of Michelle East at
This looks like such a fun project. I love the idea of layering and a non-traditional way work with acrylic paint that creates some really interesting abstract images. It would be really interesting to then take this a step further and use the paintings in a collage, draw or paint into them after they dry, or use them to cover the surface of a sculpture piece.

Squirt Gun Painting   (courtesy of
Although this goes against my strong desire to remove the messier art supply options it is a project that I wish I had known about while I was still in the classroom and definitely plan to do with my own son one day as well as with future art classes.


Make a Giant Spirograph   (courtesy of
Any child of the 90s remembers playing and creating with a spirograph. It's awesome that they are back on the shelves in the toy aisle. However, how about having your students become the spirograph in this kinetic art making activity.

Soufflage Mixed Media Paintings   (courtesy of Betsy Wellfare)
Soufflage is a Surrealism art technique invented by Max Ernst's son Jimmy Ernst that involves blowing thin paint across a surface. I have done it with my students using watered down acrylic as well as watercolor and straws. It is part of my Surrealism unit for an Art History class I used to teach at the high school level. After the students played with the soufflage technique they'd go back into their paintings with various media to take them even further and be inspired by what had happened when they had blown paint around the surface.

Popcorn Inspired Artwork   (courtesy of Betsy Wellfare)
This isn't one I would do at the end of the year but it would work well there too. I often did it leading up to a holiday break when we were often already done with the previous project but it didn't make sense to start another one only to have a week or two off from school. I always loved on creative my students were and how differently they all were with being inspired by the popcorn we ate and observed.


Printmaking with Found Objects and Inkblot Prints   (courtesy of Betsy Wellfare and
I love using various ways of getting my students interested in and exposed to printmaking processes. We often start with inkblot prints that they would then have to choose one of the minimum of three they created to go back into with any medium they liked. Many would look for what imagery the inkblot inspired and let the inkblot lead their creativity. Others would use it as texture or a starting point that would be added on to and often significantly altered. Other times we played with using fingerprints as our printmaking technique and using watercolor or acrylic start with the texture our fingerprints created as we built up an image or surface texture. And other times we worked with found objects as our printmaking means and acrylic paint. It was always fun to see where the various techniques led each student as they intuitively created. We did gradually work into block prints but I always loved the more experimental, non-traditional printmaking processes and creative experiments best. If you are interested in lessons that involve inkblots, The Inkblot Book website is a wonderful resources for all sorts of creative directions inkblots can take.

Best of luck in your final days of creating with your students! I hope you find some time to play with some of the ideas included above.

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