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!


  • 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:


This is what you’ll need:

  • 12″ x 18″ black sulphite paper
  • Scissors and white school glue
  • Oil pastels


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?


Want more children’s owl lessons? Learn how to draw and paints owls by downloading this free PDF!

What do you think?

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  • Carmen Sleeth

    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.

  • adshuler@ntinet.com

    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!

  • Lucy Z

    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

      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!

  • awerboff@gmail.com

    Patty, do you think this project could be done with K’s? If not, is there an animal that you’d recommend, using cut out and painted paper? Thanks. Andrea

    • Patty Palmer

      Absolutely. Keep the drawing super simple and big. Owls are about as easy as you can get. Try it yourself first so you can see how it’ll work with your kiddos.

  • Lesly

    Patty I have a question: where do I find metallic oil pastels??? I love OP and have many sets, the kids love them too. I’m dying to add some metallic ones but they are no where to be found for me. Thank you! Lesly.-

  • Christina Torres

    Love this idea! Curious how colors are selected for the painted paper. Do you pre-select a few colors for each table? Or do the students select their own?

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