Poinsettia Art Project

This is one of my most favorite art lessons to do this time of year. It originated from an Arts and Activities article entitled “Poinsettia Perfection” by Temple Skelton Moore. I’m so grateful to Temple for providing one of the most accessible art lessons ever. This is truly a no-fail lesson and I’ve done it with many grade levels and abilities. It takes very little class time–about 45-50 minutes–and you and the students will be thrilled with the beauty of these peices.

Play with the Paint

To change it up a bit, I don’t give the same paint to every class. In other words, if I am teaching this lesson to 3 different classes, I’ll give one class a yellow, blue, turquoise paint palette, the next class red, lime and yellow palette, etc. This is mostly for management strategies (easy to identify the different classes on the drying rack) but feel free to give as many or as few paints as you wish. One word of caution though…make sure to give good instructions on the dangers of combining red and green that produce a muddy brown.

Prepping the Project

The process is simple but requires a small amount of prep on your part. Take some old kitchen sponges and cut them into long petals or leaves.  Cut the scraps into smaller leaves. For a class of thirty students, you’ll need approximately five 4″ petals and Four 2″ leaves. Place a tray of petal and leaf sponges on each table and then 3 trays of tempera paint in different colors. Place one small tub of yellow paint with either Q-tips or small brushes placed inside.

Start with the Center

To start, dip Q-tip in yellow paint and make three or four flower centers. Be careful not to place the centers too close to the edge of the paper or the petals won’t fit. Now, dip or brush paint onto sponges. Press sponges around the center of the flower. Add leaves.

For a final step, place a few different colored tubs of paint onto the table. Use complimentary colors. Have children paint around the leaves. This is the step that takes the most time.

Second and Third Poinsettia Art!

32 comments

  1. Michelle says:

    This is so lovely! I’m going to try it with my two’s before Christmas. I just wanted to post to thank you – your blog is amazing and I really look forward to all your new posts!

  2. What size paper did you use for this project?

    • Patty says:

      Hi Margaret. I used 12″ x 18″. Pretty standard but you could use any size you wish. Scale the sponges appropriately though.

      • Thanks! Are the sponges dry and compressed or do you wet and sweeze them first?

        Thanks a lot, I am using this lesson next week!

        • Patty says:

          Wet and squeeze. If you use a dry sponge, I’m not sure the paint would be soaked up sufficiently. Do a demo first so you can get the feel of it. It’s really very simple. Have fun!

          • We did the project, and it turned out beautiffuly, thanks again for all of the advice. It was messy and fun. I did it with my fourth grade students. Not a single boy complained about flowers if there was sponge painting involved :).I posted a few pictures on my website if you’d like to see.

  3. Romy says:

    I have done a similar project, but instead of cutting out the petals ahead of time, I gave the students compressed sponge to cut themselves. Several catalogs carry “scrap bags” of it. They enjoy watching the “magic” as the sponge puffs up. They just need to really wring out the water before they paint. Usually I only have them print one, but I love the multi color idea.
    One year a local church asked for decorations for their tables last minute, so I gave them the poinsetta paintings (which we printed on 12X12 light green or pink paper) and suggested they put a candle on the center. They were gorgeous!

  4. Megan says:

    Hi Patty! I just love your blog! Thanks for sharing all these great ideas. We will definitely be making these pointsettias next week! Do you have any fun ideas for gingerbread men? I love them but am not too artistic!

    • Patty says:

      Hmmm…gingerbread men. I haven’t done one recently but it would make a great symmetry lesson, don’t you think? Fold a brown paper in half, draw half a gingerbread man and then open up and decorate with paper or paint. I think I need to try this one!

  5. Heidi says:

    I started this with my 2′s this morning and they LOVED it! I also love how bright and beautiful they are turning out:) They will be adding the leaves and backgrounds Monday as we have short Art classes. I can’t wait to hang them at our school Christmas Program (I teach at a Catholic school); I know they will be a huge hit and the kids are already so proud of them (some wanted to take them home wet and incomplete at the end of class today – lol! )! Thank you for sharing! I often look at your site for inspiration and everything I have tried has been so successful!

  6. Hey there! I just happened upon your site! How cool that my Poinsettia Project lives on and continues with great tweaking ideas! Love the different colors and the compressed sponges! It does have a high success rate with students! Thank you for spreading the love! t.

  7. Stringbean Art says:

    Hi Patty,

    What a fun lesson with great results for everyone! I used it to do a lesson on tints by having the kids paint first with the red on the sponge and then create different tins by adding some white which tied in with where we are in the curriculum nicely. Thanks!

  8. Teresa Everett says:

    Patty,
    I “lucked” into your website a year ago and absolutely love it! I teach Fine Arts at an elementary school (K-1st, about 250 kids) and then student art workshops monthly (4 yrs. – 6th grade) at our Fine Arts Center. I have tried several of your projects with great success! I plan to try the Poinsettia project this Saturday at our Christmas workshop!
    Thank you for all of the terrific art lessons!

  9. [...] to Deep Space Sparkle for the idea! I especially love her blue [...]

  10. Beth says:

    I love this idea! I teach art for all Lower and Upper Elementary Students for our small Montessori school and this is a great idea for art this week! It will look beautiful for the parents who like to keep their child’s art work! Thank you!

  11. Erin says:

    I just tried this project and it was so wonderful! I put one color at each table and students could take their papers around to sponge the flowers. It turned out great! Thank you! This website is by far one of my most favorite!

  12. [...] love to make these poinsettia sponge paintings with my girls, too.  If we get around to it, I’ll try to share [...]

  13. Brigit says:

    What an awesome project! I have a 3 & 5 year old and they loved this project. What kid doesn’t like sponge painting =) The most difficult part for my smallest one was painting the background in the smaller spaces but overall they did great. We just took it slow and step by step. Thanks so much for sharing such great projects. They are now displayed in frames on our Art Gallery wall! Thanks again!
    http://www.AMomsPassion.blogspot.com

  14. [...] I promised to post when I first mentioned them.  For instructions on how it’s done, visit here.  This project was a little ambitious for my girls, especially Louise, given their young ages (6 [...]

  15. tom freer says:

    Hi-thank you for the idea for my Las Posadas class…one silly question. What is the best kind of paper to use?
    thank you,
    Tom

  16. Kim N. says:

    My students loved this project. I teach 1st, 2nd and 3rd together and it was perfect for all ages.

  17. catherine cooper says:

    Your website and printable booklets are my lifeline! We tried the Poinsettia project today and all three of my art groups were just tickled with their finished product…the classroom looks so festive with all the poinsettias! Thank you thank you thank you!

  18. Jody says:

    It worked great for my 2nd grade homeroom class. I’m not an art teacher so I’m never sure how my art attempts will turn out. We got so many compliments from other teachers. I just used different shades of pink and red for the leaves and green for leaves. We didn’t have time to paint the background and it still looked good. This took us about an hour. Thank you for the nice idea.

  19. Whitney Hedrick says:

    LOVE this site!!!! I will be doing these poinsettias with my kiddos when I get observed next month…..Awesome and easy :) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Will also read “Legend of the Poinsettia” by Tommy DePaola)

  20. Pat Knapp says:

    I was looking for a project for my third graders. I did not have any sponges, but the kitchen had raw potatoes that they were going to throw out. I cut the potatoes into pieces and then into petal shapes for the poinsettia art.. Boys and girls alike enjoyed the project. I will definitely use this again. Thank you!

  21. [...] Poinsettia Art Project from Deep Space Sparkle [...]

  22. [...] Sunday Dec 15th, Art Explorers! Workshop (4 yrs +) 10:15 a.m. ‘til 11:45 a.m. – Painting Poinsettias. This Sunday we’ll be making flower petals from sponge and creating some gorgeous looking poinsettias. We’ll also add in some details with gold and silver pens to give our paintings that extra bit of festive flourish! Looking forward to seeing the stunning creations that I know our students will make! Thanks to Deep Space Sparkle for the inspiration. [...]

  23. My Poinsettia art project was a BIG hit with my first and second graders. However, I didn’t use paint. I used oil pastels instead. I also made a small simple easel out of index cards to display the work. I got lots of compliments from teachers and parents.

  24. Linda Holomah says:

    I can hardly wait to do this last project for the year. I can’t decide on the paints. The florescent paints were gorgeous, as were the glitter paints. I even tried a shimmery activity paint. Also gorgeous. The bio-color paint from Discount School Supply was brilliant in color. My samples were sealed with mod podge. So wonderful. The glitter paint really sparkled. Which do you prefer?

  25. Linda Holomah says:

    My kids LOVED the sponge poinsettias project! I let them choose the paint. It was glitter paint – hands down! The color was not as brilliant as my bio-color paint. But it was their day of fun, play and Christmas party. Guess what the preferred color was? Purple! So much fun! Thanks for these wonderful projects!

  26. Linda Holomah says:

    I forgot to mention – these were second graders.

  27. jen says:

    We did this project in December with my daughter’s 3rd grade class & I think it may be my fave art docent lesson ever! Thank you!!

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