Writing up the owl post yesterday reminded me of some other owl art projects I have done with students, so I went rummaging in my box! This one was with a Year 3 class and was an absolute hoot! (Sorry, bad pun!) It was lots of fun though, and the students LOVED making mess on their desks! You can be adventurous and do it as as whole class activity, or just set up one desk to contain the mess and minimise the clean-up operation, while the rest of the class work on something else.

The lesson started by squeezing a blob of paint directly onto each student’s desk (alternatively you could use baking trays or pet litter trays, just check your paper size will fit). They can’t believe their eyes when you do this! This was followed by a squirt of dishwashing detergent, and then students use one hand to smear and spread the paint and detergent together to cover an area that roughly matches the size of paper you are using. (Putting their other hand behind their back helps to keep it from getting involved accidentally!)

Then they used the index finger of that same messy hand to draw an owl into the paint. The beautiful thing about this was they could just smooth it over and start again if they didn’t like it!

Some added detail and backgrounds and then, once happy with their picture, the students used their clean hand to carefully lay their paper on top and very gently rub to transfer the paint. They lifted their paper off carefully by peeling from one corner with their messy hand and there was their beautiful picture, perfectly printed onto the paper!

The ooh’s and aah’s are priceless and you can repeat as many times as paint and time allow! The desks clean up beautifully with a large sponge and bucket of water, thanks to the helpful ingredient of detergent!

A delightfully fun activity which is easily adaptable to any theme! Special thanks to Anne Bamford for sharing this idea at the ‘Adventures in Art’ course! Love it!

Happy Mess Making!


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