HighSchool Art Room: instruction and providing choice to students

Tear it Up! Spring Collaborative Collage Using Painted Paper Scraps

A project for early finishers or just a fun collaborative endeavor to decorate your halls for Spring, you can churn out these large torn paper collage in just one week!  I am using these to decorate our entryway for the Spring Art Show, but they're really a nice element for any occasion. 

  • paper to tear (I like to use our painted paper scraps)
  • large paper to use as a base
  • white glue or  my preference *mod podge
  • foam brushes
  • tempera paint for small finishing details
  • large, simple imagery


My students have loved working together on these large scale artworks using our painted paper scraps. I elected to keep a Spring theme, but any simple imagery would turn out well. Depending on what grade level I was working with I would either draw a big basic shape ahead of time or allow the students to draw the shape.  We basically stuck to flowers, butterflies, a sun and birds/bees.

My school has a fabulous monarch butterfly way station garden right outside the Art room windows.  In connection with the garden, we have an initiative to educate all of our students on the monarch butterfly beginning in Pre K.  The Pre K teacher and I are Monarch Teacher Network grads so this is really our thing!  But our second graders also study the butterfly life cycle as part of their Science curriculum.  Naturally the butterflies we collaged were monarchs! For the monarchs, I had to draw all the color sections first as this was a bit too complicated for the students to do, but they were able to do all the rest without much direction.  That's part of what makes this such a nice early finisher project! 

I recommend that you cover your tables with butcher paper or newspaper first, lay out your paper (before the shape is cut out) and put out some of the paper you want students to use.  I used mod podge for the glue, instructing students to paint under and over the paper. I love the finished gloss the mod podge gives versus just white glue.

The large monarchs were the only project in which I chose the colors.  Students chose the color schemes for all the other images.  It was a good learning experience for them to 1) work together and 2)reflect on

their choices in comparison to their peers. 

I heard many great reflective comments wishing, for example, they had limited the collage to two colors instead of going multi-color.  When I asked why, they were able to tell me that the image is less clear if there are too many colors.

This didn't stop me from hanging them all up! But it was wonderful to hear them work and think as artists.