Multimedia Bird Art Using Clay and Paint

January 21, 2017

Multimedia bird painting: Kids combine paint, pastel drawing, model magic, and found objects to create a textured bird


Multimedia Bird Art Using clay and Paint



Do you and your child ever go on a vacation or even an outing and come home inspired to make art?  Well, that is what happened to us when we took a trip with family to the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, PA this past summer!  This place was truly amazing, and my four year old son and I were talking about these awesome bird experiences for a while. We both decided it would be fun to make some! What a great way to preserve our memories!

 I think all children’s art looks great in layers, especially for very young children’s creations. Another bonus is that kids typically love the process of adding a variety of media to their art.  As you can see in my son’s bird masterpiece above, we layered paint, textured paint, oil pastel drawing, model magic, and some found objects.  It was a pretty simple and straightforward one day project.

Age range:  I think this project is suited to a range of ages from preschool through elementary school age.  Older kids may want to add their own variations and details.

  If you would like to try it, I have broken if down in steps in this post.

Multimedia Bird Art Materials

Setting up all your supplies ahead of time will make this project more simple and keep the momentum up for your young artist.  Here is what you will need:

  • a piece of very heavy paper like tag board or  cardboard
  • a piece of heavy paper precut into a semi-circle
  • tempera paint, a brush and a small piece of a kitchen sponge
  • Model Magic or other lightweight air dry clay
  • glue and a cotton swab
  • oil pastels
  • found materials fitting for a nest such as string, raffia, yarn, sticks, torn up paper, etc.
  • Optional: feathers and googly eyes. 

Multimedia Bird Art: Setting out all the supplies before staring a multimedia art project helps the art experience to flow smoothly for the parent and keeps the momentum going for the young artist

I set out the supplies ahead of time to make it easier for myself to facilitate the art making, but I don’t give it all to my little artist at one time.  Because he is so young, it is less confusing for him to have only what he is using at the moment. 

Painting the Background Paper

I squirt two blobs of paint, blue and white, onto the large board and he has fun mixing the colors and seeing how the white changes the blue.  Once the paper is completely painted, we take a break while it dries. 

Once dry, he draws the branches all around the paper to make a place for the nest using an oil pastel, which shows up great on top of paint. 

Next, he rolls a handful of model magic into a round smooth ball and flattens it.  I do one too so he has a demonstration to follow.  Then we do the same steps with a smaller piece for the head.  I show him how to add a small pinch of clay for the beak.

Sculpting and Painting the Bird

Next we paint the bird.  I used small pots of tempera, but you can also pour little dabs onto a paper plate, or use water colors.  Tempera will show up brighter.

Next we add a layer of glue to the semi circle nest.  An easy way may be to spread the glue with a cotton swab to get an even coat.  I keep a container of glue mixed with a little water and a glue brush on hand.  Either way will work.  Next make sure all your found items for the nest are cut into manageable pieces.  We used yarn and raffia, but things like string, torn paper, and sticks would work too.  Next, layer your pieces onto the glue.  You may need to add more glue directly from the bottle if needed.

We assemble the nest and bird onto the large paper.  Then he stamps a mix of green and yellow tempera paints with a piece of sponge to create a leafy effect.  Last we add the google eye and feathers and a couple eggs from left over model magic.

Have you tried working in layers in a multimedia art project with your child or students?  Did they enjoy it?  Were there any challenges that you faced?

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