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.
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:
We all know kindergarteners love birthday parties. Cake, presents, decorations – what’s not to love? So it was no surprise that this birthday cake art project was super-popular with the kinders.
Kindergartens started by viewing my birthday cake powerpoint (note: if art class is before lunch your students will say they are hungry!). We discussed the lines and shapes we saw on the cakes, and in the frosting and decorations.
Cake drawing emphasizes lines and shapes.
Kinders drew the cakes with crayon. I emphasized that they didn’t have to color the large areas with crayon because we would paint the cakes next week. However, they should use crayon to color in the small areas such as candles, flames, balloons, numbers, etc.
We added cut paper birthday gifts with glue stick, then painted with regular and metallic pan watercolors.
Kindergarteners painted their crayon drawings with regular and metallic pan watercolors. Allow two 40-minute sessions.
Completed birthday cakes:
This would be a great end-of-the-year lesson to celebrate all the ‘summer’ birthdays that occur when school is out of session. This could also be a nice project for a Wayne Thiebaud lesson.
How about adding a book to the project? When I was little, Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You! was one of my favorite books and I still remember reading it on my 6th birthday (I also remember Baskin-Robbins clown cones plopping all over the back yard at the birthday party, but that is another story).
I’d love your suggestions on a book to read along with this project.
Do you have a special birthday-themed book for primary students?
Next we watched a great 7-minute long Thiebaud video from CBS this Morning. Here is the link.
Drawing paper, 9″x12″
pencil and eraser
bulletin board paper (allow 5 foot length for 22 students)
Students drew the basic cylinder cake first in pencil, then in oil pastel. We outlined in bright colors. Because we were making a mural, for consistency students added purple shadows on the right side of their art.
The kids had a fabulous time ‘decorating’ their cakes, again with oil pastel. We had a ‘no words’ rule, but numbers were OK.
Students outline their cakes with vibrant colors
Students cut out their cakes and covered the backs with glue stick. I arranged the cakes on painted bulletin board roll paper.
Assembling the mural
I made two murals: a 9 foot mural for 45 cakes, and a 5 foot mural for 22 cakes. Next year I will make one 5-foot mural per class as the big one was beautiful but too unwieldy.
After the art show I will cut apart the mural. The second graders will trim and mount their cakes onto 12″x18″construction paper.
The perfect jewelry for any Thiebaud lesson
P.S. Want to try a digital Thibaud art activity? Try the National Gallery of Art’s
Maybe you have used scratch foam for printmaking in the art room. I’ve seen a lot of beautiful art work using scratch foam and printer’s ink applied with brayers. But did you know scratch foam prints can look like this?
This set of four cupcake prints were all made from the same scratch foam plate during a single 40-minute class.
3rd graders used watercolor marker and scratch foam to create multiple prints. We did an easy directed drawing of a cupcake onto scratch foam, colored the foam with watercolor markers, and then printed the cards onto damp paper.
Scratch foam, cut to desired size
sketch paper, cut to same size as foam
watercolor markers in assorted colors (I use Mr. Sketch markers)
oil pastels or other embellishments (optional)
shallow tub (dishpan) of water
beach towel (several if you are teaching multiple or large classes)
plastic sleeve protectors for printing station
white construction paper for printing – cut larger than scratch foam
Set up a printing station. Fill tub with water depth of 2-3 inches. Set out a folded towel. Tape a sleeve protector to the table. Slide in an alignment sample (see below). Cut a stack of printing papers, enough for each student to make at least 3 prints. Think about drying space (always an issue when printing multiples). Drying rack? Clothes line?
Remind students: NO LETTERS, NO WORDS, NO NUMBERS.
tape sketch paper on top of scratch foam.
go over cupcake sketch with a dull pencil. The lines should transfer to the scratch foam below.
pull up the paper. Drawing directly on the foam, go over any lines you missed with the pencil. You can also add sprinkles or other small lines at this time.
discard the sketch paper and tape.
Tape sketch on top of scratch foam. Go over lines with dull pencil to incise foam below.
use the watercolor markers to ink the scratch foam. Students should use multiple colors. Fill the scratch foam completely with color.
Color in the scratch foam with watercolor markers.
take your foam to the printing station.
write your name in small letters on white construction paper. Use pencil.
dip white construction paper in water
put wet paper in folded towel to blot
align inked scratch foam on sleeve protector INK SIDE UP
put damp white paper on scratch foam NAME SIDE UP (align using the sleeve protector)
rub paper firmly without wiggling
PULL THE PRINT
Printing station. Students align foam with white rectangle, damp paper with blue rectangle.
The third graders were amazed!!!! Vibrant colored cupcakes for their beautiful birthday cards.
ARE YOU READY FOR EVEN MORE FUN?????
Students re-ink the scratch foam plates using a different color scheme. It doesn’t matter if the plate still has a little color on it – go right over the plate with a different color.
Students should carefully sign their name on the back of the foam plate WITH PENCIL. Write small.
A word of caution: as always, test this project out yourself before attempting with your students.
1) The degree of dampness of the printing paper is critical. Too dry and the ink won’t transfer to the paper. Too wet and the ink will bleed and blur as the paper dries. For blotting, a fresh beach towel is ideal. My towel was too damp by the third class of the day. I wish I had a couple of fresh dry ones with me. Next year!
2) Size of drawing matters. Tiny drawings the size of a thumbnail just won’t look good.
Day 2: Embellish Prints with Oil Pastels
Students have the option of embellishing their dry prints. These cupcakes are decorated with oil pastel. This is a great way to rescue students less-than-perfect prints. Can you imagine these with a little clear glitter and/or a sequin?
Next we trim our cupcake prints and glue them onto colored construction paper. What fabulous birthday cards for all our family and friends.
Fun – colorful – successful – easy to clean up!
This would be a great Wayne Thiebaud lesson plan – it relates to his dessert paintings in terms of subject matter and repetition.
Wayne Thiebaud. Cakes. 1963
A huge thank you to Carol Catelano Webb, master art teacher, who taught this printing process at a San Diego Art Educators workshop back in 2005.
Hi! I'm Rina. I teach Kindergarten-6th grade art to 400 students at a public elementary school near San Diego. At k6art.com you will find lessons with extra resources - a Powerpoint, video or helpful links - that make your teaching easier. Whether you are a teacher or parent, if you love teaching kids art there is something here for you.
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