Textures art activities

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By Karen Hart

Too often we think of art and design topics as focusing solely on the merit of their visual appeal, but why neglect our other senses? The following topics are designed to appeal to our sense of touch. They are all lovely to look at too!

Before starting any of the activities below, ask children to bring in one item from home that has an interesting texture, to share with the class. It could be anything they like – a cuddly toy, a washing-up scourer or piece of clothing.

Ideas for using textures in craft work

When planning art and craft sessions, we can tend to unintentionally restrict ourselves to paints, pens and the collage box. The following are all good tried and tested materials which are both tactile in nature and give interesting results. Use on their own or combine various mediums to make craft sessions really exciting.
  • Newspaper – can be used in so many ways, not just paper mache. Newspaper has a distinctive feel and smell, is lovely to cut, and makes an excellent material to use as an example of recycling. Use as a filler to make art work 3D, or roll up into sticks and use to construct models.
  • Sandpaper – The rough surface grips crayons and chalks beautifully, giving a greater intensity of colour than you get by using drawing paper – brilliant for drawing patterns. Sandpaper is also great as a collage material when creating a coastline scene, or something requiring a rough surface.
  • Broken toys and mechanical parts – Ask children to bring in small toys (Christmas cracker gift size), little nuts, bolts, springs – anything interesting that they think can be glued down onto thick card to create a collage picture. Abstract designs are great – art doesn’t have to be specific.
  • Add texture to your paint – Try mixing a variety of materials to your paint to add texture. Some good materials to use are sawdust, crumbled up shredded wheat, large glitter shapes and sand. Add a little PVA glue to the paint too, to thicken the mixture a bit and help it hold the materials. Alternatively, you can add PVA glue to your paint, then sprinkle bits on top before the paint dries.
  • Eggshells – Collect and wash eggshells, then place on newspaper for children to paint in bright colours before putting in a warm place to dry. Once dry, children can break shells into small pieces and use to glue down in beautiful mosaic patterns.


Making a metallic effect textured picture

Foil owl Foil robot

These look really effective, with the black paint adding a weathered metal appearance. They do take a bit of time and patience, so are really good for small group work.

You will need:
  • One piece of A4 card per picture
  • Cooking foil – not the really inexpensive kind as it can tear too easily
  • A good assortment of scrap collage objects which can be used to add depth and texture. Some suggestions could be string, plastic milk bottle tops, foam shapes, bolts and washers, corrugated and plain card, drinking straws
  • Black paint and tissues
  • Paintbrushes
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