Finished TreeAs I was out for my run this morning, I was spurred on by the view of the apricot trees and forsythias in bloom. I don’t know if it was sentimentality or allergies from the forsythia, but I certainly felt an itch to paint spring trees with Megan. This is a perennial for elementary art projects. Little ones love the novelty of painting with a straw and it is easy adapted for more advanced artists. Similarly, it can take 15 minutes or much longer, it’s a very flexible activity.

Materials:

Paper

Acrylic paint (Tempera will also work)

Straws

Paint well or paper plate

Sandwich bags

Megan working on her painting

Directions:

1. (We did this on the floor so that Megan could get over her painting easier.) Squirt a generous amount of paint into a sandwich bag and add a few drops of water. (Keep adding until it is about the consistency of milk.)

2. Cut off a very small corner and drip a puddle onto the paper. (I recommend doing it about 1.5 to 2.5 inches or so from the bottom of the page.)

3. Put your straw close to the puddle at the bottom and gently blow, directing it upward to create your tree trunk. The paint will naturally want to branch off. Just have fun with it. (I also blew down to make some roots.)

4. Squirt a little paint into a paint well or paper plate (soft pastels will look realistic, but feel free to do whatever strikes your fancy. Megan wanted “Super Why” green, which is her current favorite.) You only need a little puddle, you don’t want it to be too deep. Dip your finger tips in and press them onto the paper to make blossoms on the tree.

4. Experiment with doing different types of trees or up-close views of branches. Have fun!

Advanced adaptation:

Use fabric, yarn or ribbon, or tissue paper to make your own 3D blossoms. Have fun coming up with interesting designs for the blossoms using different materials.

tissue paper blossom The one to the left is made by punching holes in tissue paper and gluing the punches onto a little mound of glue stick glue.

Yarn blossom

The one to the right is made by loosely knotting a couple of strings of yarn and then (arranging them while) pushing them into a mound of glue stick glue.