We have been having lots of fun coming up with ideas for this project, using the illustrations from some of our favorite picture books! These cardboard paintings make for an interactive, sensory way to paint and are a great way to incorporate an art activity into a story time or lesson based off of a book. The steps are pretty simple and easy to adapt to just about any book, although those with simpler shapes in the illustrations lend themselves well to this process.
What you’ll need:
- Cardboard (any corrugated box will do!)
- Heavier weight watercolor paper
- Tempera paints
- Ice cube tray (dedicated for crafts, optional)
- Masking tape
- Glue gun
- Card (plastic gift cards or membership cards work great)
- Books! We felt inspired by The Cat at Night, Goodnight Moon & Planting a Rainbow
Pick your book and cut out shapes from the cardboard from the illustrations from your book of choice. Planting a Rainbow gave us lots of ideas for flowers in rows, while the houses from The Cat at Night were great to recreate. We drew inspiration from the starry night sky in Goodnight Moon. If you want the ridges showing, simply separate the layers of the cardboard carefully to expose them. I cut out all the shapes by myself but this would be fun for older kids to do on their own.
Start by taping down your piece of watercolor paper to the table. If you’d like a background now’s the time to add it. We squirted blobs of paint on the paper and smeared it around with the edge of a card until it had covered all of the white. We also left our flowers with a white background, so feel free to skip this step if you’d like!
Next, it was time to glue! Using a hot glue gun, I adhered all of the shapes firmly to the paper. Then it was time for the painting fun to begin for my girl! I chose to squirt all of colors of paint into an ice cube tray we’ve dedicated to craft use and put in Q-tips for each color for her to use for painting.
When you’re all finished it’s time for the reveal, start peeling off the tape from the table (a 45 degree angle works best to prevent tearing) and ta-da! You have yourself a beautiful, dimensional piece of art.