Paper Owl Art Project


Wow your students and start the art year off with a painted paper art project. There is simply nothing more engaging to students than experimenting with paint. So grab your tempera paints and paint brushes and have some fun!

How to make the painted paper:

  • Sheets of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper (70 lbs)
  • Liquid tempera paints
  • Brushes, sponges, texture tools, plastic forks, etc.

Then, watch this video for an easy approach to making painted paper:

How to make the owl:

This is what you’ll need:


1. Once painted paper is dry, cut in half and separate into color groups. Lay color groups on a back table and allow children to select 3 colors for their owls. Using oil pastel, trace one body, two wings, one face and some feet and ears on the back (white part) of the painted paper. Cut out all pieces.

2. Place owl parts onto a piece of 12″ x 18″ black sulphite paper (or any color). Encourage the children to move the body parts around to express movement. Glue pieces down.

3. Once owl is in place, use scraps of paper to create stars, a moon, tree branches or whatever the children would like.

4. Use oil pastels to add texture to trees, veins to leaves, dots to eyes, feather details in body or wings, etc.

First Grade owls

Aren’t these wonderful?




  1. Carmen Sleeth says:

    I LOVE your site and have taken 2 of your courses. Thank you for continuing to share your fabulous talent and ideas with us. I have recently completed 2 weeks of painted papers with K-5 and all grades loved it! I was explaining the process to a colleague from another school but I think viewing your video would be better. I didn’t see a link though. The area where I think the video should be is blank on my screen.
    I am doing a flower (using a small paper plate for the center of the flower) and templates for petals for K and 1st.
    2nd grade is making Eric Carle inspired butterflies.
    3rd grade is making Eric Carle inspired seahorses.
    4th grade is making Henri R. inspired Jungle scenes.
    5th grade is creating inspired self-expression. I googled painted paper collage and display the image page that comes up. It’s fun to see them express their passion via collage.

  2. says:

    Love these Patty! Just did tropical birds with painted paper the past two days! The kids have really enjoyed the process! They were wowed by what they could make with the paper they made the previous week! The mess is well worth it!

  3. Lucy Z says:

    Thanks for sharing this lesson. I love how painted paper looks but do you have any tips for minimizing your clean-up time? It took me an hour after school to clean brushes, cups and texture tools. I think there must be an easier way, or do you just take that as par for the course?

    • Patty Palmer says:

      Oh yes. Clean-up. It’s a bit of a nightmare for sure. What I like to do is place the brushes in a tub of water to soak if I can’t wash out right away. That way, the brushes are a bit easier to clean. Another trick is to reduce the amount of texture tools. The kids can share (and like to) so you don’t have to go full-out on the supplies.
      Have fun!

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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