I first shared a sneak peek of this gorgeous Starfish Mixed Media art project when I showed our Bermuda vacation wall in our DIY Shadowbox post, and after 3 requests to finally put up the craft tutorial – here it is!
This was a really fun open-ended, mixed media art project that Ella and I tackled on a rainy afternoon. I encouraged her to try different brush strokes and techniques, compare how different brushes handled different tasks. We talked about different ocean waves and currents and how those might look in a painting, or how those waves made us feel.
As a bonus, this project allowed us to explore several different artistic concepts and techniques – like how using different hues of blue, different sized and textured brushes, experimented with different brush strokes suggests not only texture, but depth of the painting, emotional connections, etc.
Ella said she wanted to make the painting show how happy swimming makes her and how it’s always a little bit different. I love those streams and waves, along with the little riptides and ripples.
How to Make this Starfish Art Project
First, gather your materials:
- Sugar Starfish (I bought a pack of 500 super cheap here)
- Different hues of blue paint, at least 2 and you can mix the remaining
- Different sizes of paint brushes
- Glue (we used Ella’s cooltouch hot glue gun but school glue would work)
You can add in sand, additional seashells, glitter, etc – whatever will make this an engaging activity for your kids.
Even though I provided Ella with a paint palatte, she took an interesting approach of dropping bits of paint straight onto her canvas and then spreading them out from there. This is really great for kids who get frustrated at mistakes – allowing them to really experiment with playing with their art and how beauty can come out of something you aren’t fully in control of.
Very methodically, every time Ella cleaned her brush she began working on a new “movement” of water. Whether it be ripples, or a stream, or big waves, she brought a new approach to the canvas and so there was still a rhythm and flow to her work, but new textures appeared side-by-side.
After the entire canvas had been filled with paint, we let it dry and picked out our favorite starfish.
Once the canvas was dry we attached the starfish using hot glue and then picked out a special place on our wall to hang Ella’s gorgeous ocean art.
I love doing open-ended art activities that allow children to feel proud of their work without feeling like they have to create a pre-designed craft or be perfect in imitating something. Ella loves her crafts (and we have quite a few on our kids’ craft ideas page) but it’s nice to give them something a bit freer and higher-concept every once in a while.
This project is great for families who love the beach as much as we do, or if your child is fascinated by the ocean and all it’s beautiful creatures.
Would your kids love this easy ocean art idea? Be sure to pin it for later!