Paper mosaics

What: Mosaic-like pictures made by gluing irregular “squares” of coloured paper into a design.

Flower and butterfly, made by Kid 6 with varicoloured paper squares on black paper.

How: This was three linked activities.

First, one afternoon, we coloured in random cuts of paper with textas. That was hard work for them to get the paper so there was very little or no white left. They each had a piece of used-on-one-side paper to use as a colouring mat, in the interests of saving my table, and those became a kind of artwork of their own with the overlapping outlines. As they finished each piece of paper I took it and cut it into rough squares, some larger and some smaller, and added them to a mixing bowl. That took enough time that they were “done” for the day, even with me doing the cutting and quite a bit of the colouring (Kid 4 spent a very long time colouring in his first scrap of paper and then ran out of steam). They did like seeing how the bowl ended up, and tried sticking their hands in and mixing up the squares.

Second, another afternoon, we took pieces of black paper and a glue stick and picked out paper squares and stuck them down into a pattern or design. I didn’t insist on any particular design elements such as filling a space or matching edges neatly, just let them do whatever they came up with. They also each did one on white paper. I thought the black paper made the colours come up more vividly even if they haven’t been coloured in that well, but the white works fine too.

Kid 4’s dragon, same coloured squares on black paper but stuck with glitter glue. The colours of the squares have become much more washed out.

Third, on a later afternoon, we used up the rest of the squares but stuck them down with glitter glue. We tried this on both white and black paper. The most interesting effect was that because the glues were quite liquid, and coloured, you got a lot of running and blending with the texta on the paper squares and that wasn’t entirely predictable. I spent a bit of time playing with it to see what effects I could get, but that’s my training – neither Kid 4 nor Kid 6 was quite that reflective and try-adjust-try-again about it. Plus the full effect doesn’t show up for at least ten minutes or until the glue’s fully dried, and that’s way too long for small humans to remember – I barely managed it myself!

Glitter glue on white paper by Kid 6. You can see the bleeding of the texta and glue colours together a lot better like this.