Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Galaxy forest animals

Although I've been blissfully off on maternity leave for almost a year, every so often I get an idea for an art lesson that I just need to try now.

I was scrolling through Pinterest one night in December and came across this photo. It spoke to me - outer space paired with art? Who did I know that taught grade 6? More importantly, who could watch my kids so I could go play art teacher? I needed to do this lesson, fast. The next afternoon I was in my friend's classroom, armed with an idea and...not much else. Luckily this lesson is very low prep. You'll need:

  • black construction paper
  • white cardstock
  • an assortment of paints (we went with red, blue, green, and white.)
  • paintbrushes and sponges

 To start, give your students a sheet of white cardstock (8.5x11 is a good size.) I did a demonstration on the board of how to draw three different animals - a bear, a wolf and a deer. I personally found the deer the easiest to draw, followed by the wolf and the bear. Clearly the kids disagreed with me, as most opted for the wolf . The most important instruction here is to keep your animal BIG and to anchor it to the bottom of the paper. I had to remind some kids not to do floating animal heads.

After the animal is drawn on the white cardstock, cut it out carefully. Then, PUT THE WHITE PAPER AWAY! Oh goodness, put it away. If not, I promise you someone will paint on it or rip it or color on it or SOMETHING and then you'll have to find another white paper and the student will have to restart and then you'll have to stay in at recess while they finish. Or maybe that's just what happens when you haven't taught in a year.

The next part of this super simple activity is painting the galaxy. I actually did a lesson on how to paint nebulas here and the idea is very similar. Students can use big brushes or sponges to sponge color on in circular motions until they're VERY faded, then build on them with more colors until they have a dreamy, cloudlike look to their paper. The most important part is not to oversaturate the paper with color. We're talking light coats of paint, all over the paper until it's covered.

After that, it's splatter time! Kids will love this. Teachers and custodians will not. Use a small brush to gently splatter stars all over the black paper.

Now, put the black paper aside to dry.

*Here's where a bit of planning and perspective comes in. You know what would make more sense? Paint the black paper first, THEN do the drawing and cutting on the white paper. Hindsight, 20/20 and all that.*

Once your black paper is completely dry, glue the white paper over top and you're done! This project could be modified in SO many ways. I plan to try it with my toddler, letting her paint the background paper and I will draw and cut the animal in white. So many possibilities!

Have you tried this project? Please link me in the comments!


  1. Soooo happy you're back! I love your projects and this is a great one! Thank you Aly......Congratulations BTW!

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