Draw, color and paint pretty sleigh bells. Holiday art project from Deep Space Sparkle

Sleigh Bell Holiday Art project

Draw, color and paint pretty sleigh bells. Holiday art project from Deep Space Sparkle

This maybe the closest I've ever gotten to creating a Christmas art project in my art room. I couldn't help it. After seeing this vintage Christmas Card (see image below), I was reminded of the time when a sleigh (yes, a real sleigh) sat out in our backyard.

I was young so the details have started to fade. It may have sat in the yard for a day or a month. I can't recall. I do remember the sound of the sleigh bells. My dad was a big horseman and my mom decorated our farm house with a rustic flair. She curated a few sleigh bells which were nailed to the brick wall above our fireplace.

When I saw this card, I had to share my stories with my 3rd graders. Thinking back, they were pretty polite allowing me to reminisce.

I created a short video to show you how I taught the kids how to draw and color the bells. This was a transformative project for many students as the circle shape was made easy by tracing a plastic cup and so everyone was able to create a pretty cool looking bell.

Here's what You'll Need:

  • 12" x 9" blue or green paper
  • Small squares of colored paper (about 4" x 4")
  • Pencil
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Plastic condiment cup or small circle template
  • White and black chalk pastel
  • Scissors and school glue
  • Paper scraps for making the paper ribbons or just use real ribbon (so much easier)
  • Embellishments like glitter or sequins (totally optional)


The inspiration for this project came form a Vintage Card found on Pinterest. Don't you love the white spruce needles?

Holiday cards really do make the best source for art projects. I can't tell you how many ideas have come to me looking at vintage and contemporary cards.

Draw, color and paint pretty sleigh bells. Holiday art project from Deep Space Sparkle


I contemplated how to teach this rather simple looking drawing. After a few attempts I decided that tracing a template or cup for the round shape was by far the easiest way to go. You can teach children how to draw a circle, but drawing small circles is somewhat hard for 8 year olds.

The pencil didn't stay out for long. As soon as the circle was traced, the kids used a black marker to draw the ridge of the bell. This extended beyond the contour line of the bell, so it was important to draw first.

After that, the drawing was easy to complete.

I taught the kids to use a complementary color to add shadows to their bell, figuring the color wouldn't be as harsh as black, but after a few class discussion, we decided to skip the colored chalk and go straight for the black. More contrast.

Draw, color and paint pretty sleigh bells. Holiday art project from Deep Space Sparkle

Here are a few alternative steps to think about:

- It might be easier to cut out the sleigh bells before you add the black chalk contrast. Place a piece of scrap paper under the shape and smooth the chalk right off the edge of the bell.

- When adding the paper ribbon, make sure to cut the strips thin. The strips are more manageable (bend better) if they aren't too big. Or better yet, just use pre-cut lengths of thin craft ribbon or yarn. A lot less gluing and pressing this way.

- To keep early finishers engaged while some students worked on the cutting and shading of the bells, I set up an embellishment station. Many of the students who finished before the others, entertained themselves with adding glitter and sequins to their artwork. I thought it added a great touch.


Here's a sampling of what my seven and eight year olds created. Pretty cute, right? I think they would all make lovely holiday cards.

Draw, color and paint pretty sleigh bells. Holiday art project from Deep Space Sparkle

Want more lesson ideas for the holidays? Download this free lesson guide by clicking the yellow button below and I'll send you my 5 Non-Religious Projects for the Holidays!

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  • Kira

    Great lesson! You are a lifesaver. I have really been struggling to come up with a idea for our homeschool group that could suit all the ages. I think this will be perfect.

  • Tami

    Thank you for this awesome Christmas gift!

  • Leanne

    Thanks so much! I wanted some art to tie in with our Polar Express unit…love the bells….

  • Amber Hadley

    I love the finished cards, they are beautiful!

  • Kathleen Crowe

    beautiful, and fun, again!

  • Katyuska Moran

    Thanks Patty for sending all these goodies! Happy Holidays!

  • Barbara

    Thank you for all you do and for all the great ideas! My students will love this!

  • Sharon

    A wonderful way to spend a foggy morning in Virginia. Thanks for helping me to teach my kids to LOVE art!

  • Shonni Hassoldt

    I did this with my homeschool children today – eight children. They loved this and we had so much fun. Each child did a very unique picture. Thank you for sharing this with us!!!

  • Emily Schultz

    Patty-this is great! Love the sleigh bells–I’ll tie in 3-D form and value. Was this a two day project or one day lesson for your 3rd graders? (We have 50 min. art classes each week)

    • Patty Palmer

      I think it took about 2 ½, 45-minute art sessions. Most kids finished during the last class and spent the time catching up on unfinished work. Depending on your students and class management, you could probably complete in 2, 50-minute classes.

  • Jane

    We are in summer here in New Zealand but sill love the clip – kids very keen to try it. Thanks for all the cool ideas!

  • Mary Strader

    Love this lesson as I do so many of your inspiring lessons. Thanks so very much for sharing.

  • Karen Henry

    Hi Patti!
    This project is absolutely darling for the holidays! Thank you for sharing this. I am planning this project next week for our art class. My kiddos will enjoy making them right before Christmas break. I can’t thank you enough for all the lessons that you create and share, especially for free. Because of your talent and generosity, I am able to incorporate beautiful art into our homeschool and treasure the many memories spending time together creatively! I look forward to your newsletters and blog entries as I can wait to see what you will be sharing next! These are truly a great gift idea to make and share with someone special!
    Merry Christmas!
    Karen Henry

    • Patty Palmer

      Thank you, Karen!

  • Kristi

    We completed this art project today and it was such a hit! Thank you!!

  • Kristen

    Awesome! Awesome! Thank you!

  • Harriet Watson

    I can’t access your video, although I did earlier today. did you just change things? help! I love this project!

    • Patty

      Okay…very weird! Let me check it out. (???)

  • Allison

    There is no lesson or video showing up…

    • Patty

      Fixed 🙂

  • Betty

    I love this project so much…and your story twice as much. Those children were lucky to be your listeners…..what a great bit to know about someone…a real sleigh!

  • mamapayne12

    Sparker Team….I really like all the Holiday Projects….but can I make a request……any chance since you have the 5 non religious projects, can you create 5 religious projects for us homeschooler’s. I have been having a tough time coming up with some.

    • Hannah

      Hi this Hannah from Team Sparkle. We haven’t planned any yet, but maybe we can add it to the list in the future for those of you that are able to teach them!

      • Sheri

        What about an advent candle using construction paper and the same techniques used on the bells. You could even still do the paint splatter or put it behind a window using white oil pastels.

        • Hannah

          Hi Sheri!! That’s a wonderful idea, the menorah project has a great walk through video on making candles you can easily adapt that into an advent candle project- making a wreath or even an orange (German Christingle) for the candle to stand in if you’d like a cultural reference. Happy Holidays! -Hannah (Team Sparkle)

  • Sheri

    So cute and easy!! Thank you!!

  • Kathy Naas

    This project looks simply JOYOUS‼️ I love the steps and medium incorporated .

  • Hege Bygmester

    Thank you for all your good inspiration.🥰🎄

  • monique

    Thank you

  • monique

    Thank you this is awesome

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