Valentine’s Day Heart Collage


Inspired by Valentine’s Day , I pulled out my file on Jim Dine and created this multi-step collage project for my second graders.

I used a station-method of attack with this lesson. I set up a different art lesson/technique at each table: oil pastel resist with watercolor, metallic paint, sparkles and glitter, and tissue paper collage. Lots of movement and activity, but worth the effort!

To begin, a child finds a seat and writes his name on the piece of 12″ x 15″ white paper set at the table. This paper then becomes his tray.  He will use this tray to carry around the different hearts he will soon make, then the tray will become the background paper in the next step.

For the stations, you’ll need:

– 3 hearts cut out of regular white construction paper

– 1 heart cut out form watercolor paper. Note: I used cardboard heart templates set in a tray at each table and had the kids trace and cut their own hearts, but precut hearts saves time.

– 1 sheet white construction paper (12″ x 15″) for the tray

Station #1: Watercolor Resist

– 1 tray of liquid water colors (red, purple, blue, etc)

– 2 water containers and brushes for 5

– Tray of oil pastels

At this table, the children use their watercolor paper heart and color it with oil pastels. I encourage them to make patterns, flowers, hearts, circles, etc. Then they wash watercolor paint over the heart.
Have the kids place their finished watercolor heart on their “tray” and move to the next station.

Station #2: Tissue Paper Collage

Using scraps of tissue paper,  kids brush on either liquid starch or Mod Podge (watered down) on their paper heart to moisten. Then add layers of tissue paper, brushing each one flat.
Tip: It’s fun for the teacher or an adult to carry around a jar of glitter. As the kids finish, a sprinkling of glitter can be added to the wet heart. So pretty!

Station #3: Metallic Mess

Set out a tray of regular tempera paint in white, red, lime green and yellow. In another tray, set out metallic tempera paint in gold, silver or bronze.
Show the kids how they can mix the metallic paint with the regular paint, swirling and blending, splattering or dabbing.

Station #4: Paint and Sequins

Set out a tray of tempera paint and trays of buttons, sequins, etc. Anything you have around the art room would work for this random collage. Let the kid’s personal expression come through, with no specific direction. Let them create.

For me, this marked the end of part 1…I know, what a mess!
Using the white paper “tray” from the last class, have the kids stack their now dry hearts into a pile and set aside. Painting the paper is fun and can be done in many ways. I set out texture rollers and trays of lime green and pink paint. The kids rolled their favorite color on the paper, making sure to roll all the way to the edges.
Next, I set small tubs of red and purple paint on the table. Using small brushes, I have the kids make small jelly bean shaped dots, hearts, swirls or anything they want on the background.

Final Step:

Glue the paper hearts to the patterned white paper. Ahhh! It’s done and by now, the kids are covered in paint but mighty proud.

Want more Valentine’s Day art inspiration? Download our free drawing guide that includes a tints color wheel, heart template and shade worksheet!

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  • selena

    I did this at home with my five children aged nearly 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. It was a bit of a gamble but for the oldest three it was great! Big mess, of course. We didn’t have metallic paint. But lovely effects and very relaxing. Thanks Patty!!!

  • Adriana

    Mira, hace unos días conocí tu pagina ya descargue dos pdf, son muy buenos, gracias, pues soy maestra de infantes y todo tu material me cae del cielo sigue dándonos lecciones maravillosas de arte.
    Desde Colombia un fuerte abrazo.

  • debra wuliger

    thank you so much for this idea. today i had a studio warming party and the theme was making valentines. i needed a way to have many people of all different ages create successfully together. this idea of setting up several different work stations allowed everyone to experiment and let their imaginations run wild. we had such a good time. thank you. thank you. thank you.

    • Patty Palmer

      I haven’t done this lesson in a while but it’s a really good one as it allows so much creative expression. I’m pleased it worked for you. Thanks so much for letting me know 🙂

  • Lacy

    I love this project! Thank you so much for all that you share! I was wondering do you wait until their background papers are dry and then glue them during the next class? I’m still learning how to space out projects over class periods and such!

  • Patty Palmer

    The background papers will dry relatively fast. If you use white school glue, you can glue them even if the background is wet.

  • H

    We did this in homeschool on canvas. They really loved it. One is 7 one 10 and one 18. All had a different spin and the 2 younger never having been to school did not know what a village was and now do! Wish I could post their photos

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