There’s a saying in Oregon that if you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes–and it has never been truer than this summer! We had a week of gorgeous 80° weather in early May, then lots of rain, then more sunny summer weather at the beginning of June, and now lots more rain! It’s nice to have a few fun and enriching inside activities up your sleeve for those unwelcome rainy summer days when your kids (or you) might start to go bonkers!
I have to give credit to my junior high art teacher for this idea. When I was in 7th or 8th grade, one of our big projects in art class was to recreate a famous painting. Doesn’t that sound like a daunting task? Luckily, with the help of a grid printed on a sheet of plastic transparency, it is totally doable, even for little kids, and the results are always stunning!
small color copies of famous works of art (you can easily find these online and print them at home)
nice drawing paper
colored pencils, crayons, markers, and other art supplies
square grids printed on transparency sheets
1. Find The first thing to do is choose your masterpiece to copy. I created a Pinterest board, pinned pictures to it, then let my kids look through and choose the famous piece of artwork they wanted to recreate. I pinned pictures I thought my kids would like that weren’t too complicated for children their ages, and that didn’t have too many naked torsos! Wikipaintings.org is a great place to find photos of paintings, even if you don’t know where to start.
2. Print When you have your masterpieces chosen, open each one in a new window and print in color. I played around with the paper orientation and scale so that each picture took up about 1/2 a sheet of paper and printed with the best quality option.
3. Grid The key to the whole project is the grid! You’ll need to design a simple grid, print it, and copy it onto a transparency sheet. You can make a grid in any word processing program, or you can spend about 30 seconds creating and printing one online at Incompetech.com. Once you have your grid, it’s time to make it transparent. I did this same project with a large group of jaded and disinterested teenagers recently (oodles of fun, as you can imagine), so I have a box of transparency sheets on hand and copied the grids myself on my home printer. However, most copy shops have transparency sheets as well. You can take a black and white original in and have it copied to a transparency sheet for less than $3. Trim your grid and artwork to the same size. Try to stick to whole squares on your grid and avoid cutting them. If you can’t trim your artwork to match your grid, try resizing and reprinting it. Tape the grid over the artwork. Using the pencil and ruler, create a grid on your drawing paper that matches the grid on your artwork; feel free to leave a little border for framing too. Use a light touch so that the pencil doesn’t show up in the final masterpiece. And PS, it doesn’t matter if the grid on your paper is the same size as the grid on your artwork. If you make smaller squares on your drawing paper, your final masterpiece will be smaller than the original; if you make larger squares, it will be bigger than the original.
4. Create Let your kids use their art supplies to copy the artwork onto the drawing paper, box by box! You’ll be amazed at how beautiful the finished mini masterpieces will look. Totally frame-worthy!
- Mosaic Stepping Stones from Lulu the Baker
- A Family-Friendly Weeknight Barbecue from Alexandra Hedin
- Sharpie-Dyed Shirts from Pars Caeli
- Bug Habitats from Classic Play