Friday, November 11, 2011

Wayne Thiebaud Inspired Cupcakes with Texture! (And the Joy of Pinterest)

This is my new favorite Kindergarten lesson.  I might even try it with Second grade just to see how far I can push it.  First, I talk about texture and show the kiddos a short video clip.  Then I set up "centers" in the room for the different textures.  At one table, I set up tissue paper and watered down glue, and let the kids cover a half sheet of drawing paper with the crinkly textured paper.  For this example, I just used straight water, and pulled off the tissue when it all dried.  The dye left the inpression of texture, just visual texture, not tactile.  But for the kids I put a little bit of glue in the water, and so far they are doing just fine with this technique.

At another table, I set up my "epic sparkle paint" or "lumpy paint" as I called it in one class.  I just literally poured all the remnants of various specialty paints I had into a cool whip container and mixed it all up.  I had mostly gold tempera, with various colors of glitter glue and loose glitter, and some "texture-it" paint.

The kids painted another half sheet of drawing paper with the gold sparkle paint.  I ALMOST let them use their hands for this, but with 28 kindergarteners in a class at a time, I couldn't deal with it all.  if you have a smaller class, or you want to do each step one day at a time, then it might work to let them use their hands.  I've done that with first grade before, and it was a lovely mess.  :)

At the third table I set up texture rubbing plates, crayons without paper, and free draw scrap paper.  This was a great filler activity, because it related to what we were making, but they could take it with them, instead of having to let it dry. 

On day two, after talking about the fabulous Wayne Thiebaud and his deliciously textured paintings, the kiddos will be given trapezoid-shaped stencils to trace onto their gold paper and cut out.  Those will be glued onto the tissue paper background with glue sticks. 

Finally, the PUFFY PAINT!!  This was so easy I almost choked with joy.  :)  In a ziploc bag, I squirt equal parts Elmer's glue and cheap Shaving cream.  I smush it all up.  Thenm I empty the air out of the bag and reseal it.  I cut the corner of the bag off and squeezed it out just like icing!  You may have to make a fresh batch for each class, so don't make too much at once!  I am trying to get some red pom poms or buttons to add to the top of our cupcakes as little cherries.  I've also seen people use colored rice for sprinkles. 

I like this puffy paint better than other texture paints, which I've made with sawdust and joint compound in the past.  This was just so fun to squeeze and it even smells nice!

I am a little worried I might have some kiddos try to eat their cupcakes.  Haha!  And you know what, while this project is ever so slightly cutesy, I like that it can be so closely tied to the Element of Texture and the artist Thiebaud.  It's almost over the top for me, but the puffy paint made it way fun.  Above is my Gigi's style cupcake, with 90% icing.  :)

I am going to experiment with another texture paint recipe I found on Pinterest.  This one uses flour, salt, and tempera paint.  They put it in condiment bottles, and that may be easier to mix up than the shaving cream. 

By the way, if you are an Art Educator, a teacher, or a parent, you MUST check out Pinterest.  It's a bulletin board system for pictures and links.  I can't say enough wonderful things about it.  Since I made my boards I have tried countless recipes, activities, and even put together outfits, and teaching ideas just because of other people's brilliance.  Lost of hits for my blog there too!  Here's a link to my pinterest page, feel free to follow me!

My Pinterest


  1. Speaking of Pinterest ... I just pinned your cupcake for the puff paint recipe!

  2. Aww, thanks, hun! How are your kiddos doin this year?

  3. Great Thiebaud lesson, plus I love cupcakes! I've used this puffy paint recipe before and didn't believe it would dry, but it really does! And it makes the room smell great!

  4. I love Thiebaud! Great lesson, I tried it during my prep and it was so much fun! Can't wait to do this with my students. -Jamie

  5. Great idea! I also use 'puffy paint' with my Kindergarteners, but we call it 'liquid clouds' and use it to make cloud pictures when reading Eric Carle's Little Cloud.

  6. OOh, I'll have to check out that Eric Carle book. I love using his books in class. We had a ball last year making texture paper using one color and either black or white (to introduce value to the littles) and I'm still using it for Eric Carle-esque collages! :)