More Art Show Display Ideas


devan's super space saving display

Our students are so lucky! Why? We have dedicated parent volunteers in our art program. One very special volunteer is Devan, chair of the annual art show.

I wanted to share a few of Devan’s ideas for displaying a lot of student art, both 2D and 3D, using just three 6-foot tables.

Here’s how Devan does it:

  • arrange the tables in a ‘T’
  • skirt all the tables with student art
  • place narrow risers in the center of the tables

Table Skirt Display

We created table skirts from bulletin board paper, and stapled the art to them using a long reach stapler.


We use long, narrow ‘beams’ of styrofoam as risers for the table. They are twelve inches tall, six feet long, and about six inches wide. We we able to pin third grade self-portraits to both sides of the styrofoam.

Result: we had space to show ceramics on top of the table and the risers:

The space-saving display

The space-saving display.

Door Display

Do you like the cut out I made for the handle?

Do you like the cut out I made for the handle?

Do you like my door display? I used the time-saving ‘Deep Space Sparkle’ method to hang these: mount the art on construction paper, then staple the art to bulletin board paper using a long reach stapler. I urge you to read this post – it contains so many practical, time-saving tips.

Want more of Devan’s creative display ideas? Click here to see images of our beach-themed 2012 art show.  Thanks again to all the parents, art room and art show volunteers for supporting art in our school.

Note to art education bloggers: if you look carefully, you may see an art project from your blog!  

Art Show 2013

art show 2013

Whew! We had a fabulous art show last week. Everyone – students, parents and staff – loved the show! Here are some ideas from our show.

Pick a Theme

She’s back! “Crazy Quilt” is our creation for Cow Parade La Jolla.

All of our art shows have a theme, and we keep it secret until the show. This year it’s Cow Parade. Our school created this cow, “Crazy Quilt” back in 2009 for Cow Parade La Jolla. It is inspired by a 3rd grader’s design. The cow made a visit to our school for maintenance and ended up being the star of the art show.

Create an Interactive Event

Cow Parade coloring contest

Our art shows always have an interactive event. This year it is a Cow Parade coloring contest. In past years we had a QR code scavenger hunt, and a stamping station with eraser stamps made by our sixth graders.

Music and Video

Molas and a slideshow

We always have music and video during the art show. This year I made a slide show of all the cows in Cow Parade La Jolla, followed by a slide show of all our iPad art projects. This would be a great time to show student-made movies.

In back (under the balloon arch): our iPad Love Stamps.

Up front: our paper Molas of Panama, from Dynamic Art Projects for Children.

Creative Clay Displays

Sixth grade clay fish.

Sixth grade clay fish.

How do you display 70 plate-sized ceramic fish? Try the stairs. We decorate the stairs with plastic table roll covering.

Self Portraits: 4th grade CD case double portraits, 1st grade clay self portraits.

Self Portraits: 4th grade CD case double portraits, 1st grade clay self portraits.

How to label all those clay self portraits? Cover the table with paper and write the students’ names in Sharpie. Better than all those labels! The clay looks great leaned up against colorfully wrapped cardboard boxes.

Doll house filled with clay pots.

Doll house filled with clay pots.

We use this doll house for clay display. It has nice, open walls and saves a lot of space.

Thanks to…

Our entire art program is made possible by the parents at our school. A big thank you to the art room and art show volunteers for all their hard work during the year and for three CRAZY days hanging the show. The gorgeous room layout and decorations are the vision of our amazing art show chair, Devan, a professional party planner. We are so lucky to have Devan on board.

100% of our art program is funded by our school PTO. Thank you.

One more thank you – to my husband.


My husband had flowers delivered to me at the art show. WOW!

My husband had flowers delivered to me at the art show. WOW!



p.s. More art show display ideas in the next post!


Wayne Thiebaud Ice Cream Cones Roundup

wayne thiebaud ice cream cones


Summer is almost here. Why not try a warm-weather twist on Wayne Thiebaud with an ice cream art lesson? Check out these ice cream cone lessons using paint, collage, papier-mache and more.

thiebaud cones

cone collage

Directed Draw/Paint:

  • 1. I discovered an entire Wayne Thiebaud unit at the fabulous Danish Fru Billedkunst (“Mrs. Fine Art”) blog. Click here for her step-by-step ice cream cone drawing diagram.

Our second graders began by folding their paper into quarters. The horizontal fold became the table edge. Students drew two cones on each side of the vertical fold. We used crayons and tempera cakes. Students had the option of painting a background, or cutting out their art and gluing it to construction paper. They looked so beautiful at our school art show (see photo at top of post).

Here are some more interesting ideas for Thiebaud-inspired ice cream fun:


  • 2. Miss Young’s Art Room has a simple ice cream collage for kindergarten
  • 3. ARTASTIC! has a torn paper collage that would be great for using up all those paper scraps at the end of the year


Group project:

  • 5. Kids Artists has a whole-class painted paper ice cream cone collage.

Papier Mache Sculpture:

  • 6. Phyl’s There’s a Dragon in My Art Room blog has an awesome papier-mache ice cream cone sculpture project using a paper water cone, newspaper, masking tape and art paste.

More resources

My Wayne Thiebaud Powerpoint includes repetition of simple shapes, variety, use of thick paint, horizon line and shadow.

I always show my ancient (circa 2000!) Behind the Scenes with Wayne Thiebaud [VHS] – it includes Mr. Thiebaud drawing an ice cream cone. Oh, why can’t I find a DVD or digital version??

Wayne Thiebaud video from CBS

Whatever project you choose, your students are bound to have fun!




Do you have a favorite ice cream cone project?

LIFELIKE: Trompe L’oeil Sculpture (and More)

Trompe l’oeil means ‘fools the eye’ in French. Maybe you have seen a painting or sidewalk chalk art that looked so real you felt you could walk right into it. I just came from MCASD’s extraordinary LIFELIKE show which features trompe l’oeil sculpture (and painting) of everyday items. It is one of the rare museum exhibits I’ve seen that is perfect for children of all ages! Here are a few pieces.

Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflower Seeds:

Ai Wei Wei's  porcelain sunflower seeds look absolutely real!

Ai Wei Wei’s porcelain sunflower seeds look absolutely real!

These sunflower seeds are unbelievably real, even close up. They are porcelain, hand painted with slip.

Not your everyday bag:

Susan Collis' 'Refugee' bag


Susan Collis’ bag looks so ordinary – something you’d use to carry your laundry. Look closely – it is not woven, but constructed of paper meticulously colored with ballpoint pen and graphite. WHOA.

Hyper-realism on a different scale:

Mueck's unbelievably lifelike sculpture of a child. Photo source: New Orleans Museum of Art

Mueck’s unbelievably lifelike sculpture of a child. Photo source: New Orleans Museum of Art

Ron Mueck makes hyper-realistic sculptures of people. The scale is off – this crouching boy is too small. Mueck uses polyester resin for the skin – you can see every toenail and wrinkle.

A ‘working’ elevator:

These tiny elevators' doors open and close.

These tiny elevators’ doors open and close.

Maurizio Cattelan’s tiny elevators are really popular. The doors open with a ding and close with a tiny thud. Folks were crowded around the artwork waiting for the doors to open.

LIFELIKE originated at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.  It closes at MCASD on May 27 and reopens in Austin, Texas in June. If you are in town, check out the museum AND TAKE THE KIDS!

p.s. to San Diegans: The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) always has FREE admission to everyone under 25!

Want to see even more? Check out this 5-minute video.





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