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Mini Museum/Project No. 1: Eric Carle Collage

Hello beautiful summer! My name is Shelley and I am a mom to two creative girls. Together, the three of us are often found in a pile of something colorful - yarn, paper, felt, paint, pencils. I decided this Summer, we would start to work on projects to fill their walls, a mini museum for each of them.

About Art and Me:

I never really considered myself an artist, but I can't seem to stay away from making things. For twenty years I worked as a Financial Analyst. During this time I found myself squeezing in moments to work as a freelance artist in the scrapbook industry, to volunteer at my daughters' school teaching art, to run my etsy shop, and to write a children's book. Finally, at the end of 2014, I figured I was more artist than analyst and I left my corporate job.

About Projects I Love:

1) I love projects that teach a technique

2) I love projects that teach about an artist or culture

3) I love projects that enable kids to express their uniqueness and allow them to work independently

About Mini Museum:

Hmmm...the Mini Museum mission is still TBD. It is an art journey for the three of us; one mom, two girls, and lots of color! For now I just want think up some fun projects to do with them and fill their walls.


This first lesson was inspired by the children's book writer and illustrator, Eric Carle. I scoured Pinterest and found several projects that followed these basic steps 1) paint your own paper 2) create a collage based on nature. These instructions below mimic many of the other projects out there, but here is an account of our journey.


  1. Eric Carle has published more than 70 books

  2. Eric Carle was born in New York, but was raised and educated in Stuttgart Germany

  3. Before becoming a children's book writer and illustrator, Eric Carle worked as a graphic designer and as an art director in advertising

  4. Many of Eric Carle's books are based on his love of nature and are written to teach children about the world around them

  5. Eric Carle creates his images using handpainted paper and collage

  6. Eric Carle's official website:


  1. Construction Paper/White - We used Tru-Ray Construction Paper in White

  2. Tempera Paint - We used Dick Blick's Premium and Student Tempera Paint

  3. Brushes/Credit Cards/Stamps/Forks - Anything to help layer on the paint

  4. Paint palette - We used an old muffin tin

  5. Tape to hold the paper down while painting


  1. Tape down your paper to a covered surface

  2. Add thick blobs of tempera paint

  3. Spread the paint using the edge of a credit card or gift card - We found that the edge of the cards were perfect for applying a quick smooth layer of paint. My six year old enjoyed smearing the paint much more than brushing it on

  4. Cover the entire paper with a bottom layer of paint - In this example we used yellow and pink in our first layer

  5. Once the first layer of paint is down, use various tools (forks/stamps/sponges/splatters/dry brush etc.) to add more layers of paint. In this example we applied turquoise paint with a dry brush and then stamped on white dots. Even with thick layers, the paint dried within minutes in the sun.

We ended up making ten sheets of custom paper. While we used many colors in each sheet, we tried to create each one with a dominant color. This is kind of a rainbow...


  1. We decided to create a collage based our initial inspiration, the butterfly at the end of the book, THE HUNGER CATERPILLAR. Having the image visible while we worked was a good reminder to cut and layer many shapes

  2. I tried to copy the butterfly from the book to show the girls that our homemade paper could result in an image like the original. Both my girls, cut their own wings and details. With this project, we realized that with handmade paper - it is difficult not to end up with a beautiful result, not matter how simple the shapes.

  3. Funny enough my six year old, was more interested in the negative shapes she cut from the wings. To her, they looked like colorful doorways - which she called portals into different worlds.

Reagan's Butterfly: Age 6
Autumn's Butterfly: Age 10

Mr. Jellyfish decided to tag along.

For our next project, I have been checking out works by Matisse. I am especially drawn to his Fauvist portraits.

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