I have THE PERFECT project to use up all those colored Easter eggs you’re going to have this week!!!
Mosaics are an art form that have been around since the dawn of art history and grace the interiors of beautiful cathedrals all over the world. Tiny pieces of glass, stone, ivory, or other materials are used to create an overall pattern or picture.
For this project, we will be using your broken egg-shells as the tesserae for our Easter mosaic. So when you make your famous egg-salad recipe, don’t throw away those pretty shells!
Don’t have any colored Easter eggs? No problem! You can still do this project using bits of colored construction paper! (Skip to “Variations on this Project” at the bottom of the page.) I am all about the options over here at Project Artwork at Home!
This project works best with 1st grade and up, mainly because mosaics require a good measure of patience. However, with a few modifications, your younger children can do it, too. Keep reading to see what I suggest or skip to “variations on this project” at the bottom of the page.
This Project Artwork can be completed in two blocks of time. Allow at least 45 minutes-1 hour for each block. Younger children can work in 30-minute blocks.
Here’s how you can make this Project Artwork at home:
- Easter eggshells- I separated mine into individual bowls according to color
- Liquid Glue (I used good ol’ Elmer’s)
- 9 X 12 Heavyweight, white paper (I used Bristol, but watercolor paper would work well, also.)
- watercolors (I love the OOLY palette available here )
- cup of water
- graph paper
- cut-up construction paper in pretty colors (if you are going the non-eggshell route)
Cover your work table with an old party tablecloth, paper, or some other protective covering–the glue gets messy!
Set out all the supplies.
Step 1: Draw a Shape (or not!)
I started by drawing my shape. I chose a cross shape and played around with different designs.
The graph paper is optional but it does make it a lot easier. You don’t have to use a ruler to get straight lines, and it helps keep everything symmetrical–your kids can just count the squares on each side!
Your child can choose any shape they like, but it’s best to keep it simple and only draw the outline. An egg, a flower, a heart, or even their handprint will work–whatever they can think of!
And for that matter, they don’t even HAVE to draw a shape at all and could just skip right to Step 4! That is what I recommend for your child if they are very young and are still heavily into process art. My daughter had a blast just glueing eggshells all over her paper willy-nilly-style:)
Step 2: Trace Your Shape Onto Your Heavyweight Paper.
Bristol and heavy watercolor paper are what we need to support the glue and eggshells, but because they are so thick, you can’t see through them. If you have a light-box at home, then I’m super jealous of you! However, a little trick I learned when I was young is that a window becomes an instant light-box!
I simply tape my graph paper to the back of my heavyweight paper, and then tape it to a window.
Step 3: Paint Your Shape Dark Gray.
If you are going the construction paper route, you can skip this step, unless your child will leave spaces between their scraps of paper. The idea here is to re-create the look of grey grout.
Let the watercolor dry before moving on to Step 4. Watercolor dries pretty quickly, but you can use a hairdryer to speed this up.
Step 4: Apply Glue to Your Shape.
I do not cover the entire shape with glue right off the bat. I work in small sections at a time.
Younger children who aren’t working inside a shape can just add glue to sections of their paper wherever they choose.
You must use liquid glue for this, and try to keep a fairly thick layer of glue. Don’t even think about cheating and using glue-sticks, because they won’t work and you’ll end up hearing crunching sounds on your floor for a week from all of the broken egg-shells that fall off later!
Step 5: Press in Your Eggshells!
Keep a wet-wipe on hand while you do this. The eggshells have a tendency to stick to your fingers. I found it easiest to set the eggshells lightly on top of the glue and then press down. It breaks the shells but then they are flat and stick better. Plus it makes the most satisfying clicking sound–kind of like a Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle! Also having a little toothpick on hand helps push an eggshell into place if it settles outside the lines.
Step 6: Use Glue for “Grout.”
I was really paranoid about ending up with broken eggshells all over my floor–mainly because I had just finished a marathon house-cleaning session the day before –insert Chris Fleming’s, “Company is Coming” video here.
So, I took an extra 45 seconds to squeeze some more liquid glue in all the cracks between the eggshells and breathed a little easier. Don’t worry about the glue covering the grey watercolor; it dries clear.
Step 7: Wait for it to Dry.
Can you hear the elevator music? Crickets chirping? I know its a bummer to have to wait, but art-making is a PROCESS, and like I always tell my students, good art takes time.
Step 8: Add Watercolor to Background.
Your child can add any design they choose that will complement their composition. Even if you had a young child who just glued the eggshells randomly, they can still add this extra layer of watercolor to help fill in their page.
And that’s it!
I just love it when something that is destined for the trash ends up turning into something beautiful!!
Variations on this project:
For the non-eggshell mosaic:
Just use construction paper instead of egg-shells. You could still do watercolor in the background or continue sticking your paper scraps.
Here’s a Recap of This Beautiful Easter Eggshell Mosaic: