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Art Project Ideas for 5th Grade

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

These art projects are designed to help your fifth graders expand their ideas about what art is and can be. Upon completing these projects, students will have learned new forms of self-expression and new art techniques.

Art Projects for Fifth Grade

By the time that students are reaching their upper-elementary years, they have been exposed to many of the basic ideas of art and art history. So, this is a good time to put those ideas to use while also expanding ideas about what art is and can be.

Pointillism Self-Portrait

Start by either asking students to find a photograph of themselves, or by letting them take Polaroid photographs of each other in the classroom. Students should consider their facial expressions and poses as they will be using these as the basis for a self-portrait. Show students images of pointillist paintings and portraits.

Using the picture as a guide, students will very lightly draw an outline of their self-portrait on canvas or paper using pencil. Students will then use fine-tipped brushes to fill in the outline one tiny dot at a time. Ask students to make sure the dots are still far enough apart as to be distinguishable. You may either ask students to try and paint using realistic hues or give them more abstract color palates to work with.

  • Materials: Reference images of pointillist paintings, canvas or craft paper, fine-tipped paintbrushes, acrylic paints, Polaroid cameras (optional), other art and craft supplies as desired

Batik Project

For this project, students will make batik fabric art. Start by asking students to draw a design on paper. For these designs, you could ask students to draw plants or animals, Indian-inspired mandalas, or patterns from Victorian or Art Deco furniture and interior designs. Students will then trace over these designs in Sharpie.

Ask students to place a piece of wax paper over the drawing, and a white fabric over that. Tape the fabric down so that the Sharpie design is visible. Students will trace this design onto the fabric using glue. Let the glue dry overnight. The next day, students will paint the fabric using fabric paints or watered-down acrylic. They should paint over the glue lines as well. After the paint has fully dried, students will remove the fabric from the wax paper and rinse it in warm water, rubbing it gently until all the glue is removed. Hang it and allow it to dry.

  • Materials: White fabric squares, drawing paper, wax paper, reference designs/patterns, glue (blue gel glue works well), sharpies, basins for warm water, fabric or acrylic paints, other art and craft supplies as desired

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