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Bullis SchoolK-12 Private Co-Ed College Preparatory Day School

Make Art This Summer

Make Art This Summer
by Kelsey Donegan, Bullis School Visual Art Teacher

With summer fast approaching, Art Teacher Kelsey Donegan offers 10 ideas to keep your middle school students’ creative juices flowing.

Idea 1: Watercolors

watercolor techniques


Do you love to paint but aren’t sure where to start? Consider embarking on an adventure in Watercolors.

Supplies needed:

Learn different watercolor techniques by watching and following along with the book Hello, Watercolor! Creative Techniques and Inspiring Projects for the Beginning Artist by Jeannie Dickson or YouTube videos like this one - Watercolor For Beginners.

Use your new watercolor skills to paint landscapes, animals, flowers, or anything!

Idea 2: Masking Tape Painting

masking tape art


Another fun painting project is masking tape painting.

Supplies needed:

Simply paint your canvas, use masking tape to draw a design, and paint each area. You can even do a second layer of masking tape and paint to get even more complicated!

Check out these YouTube videos to see someone making a masking tape painting.

Idea 3: Stop Motion Animation



Feel like exploring the technology side of art? It’s surprisingly easy to make a stop motion animation.

Supplies needed:

Tinklerlab has a great tutorial on how to start making your own videos, using the free app Stop Motion Studio.

Idea 4: Optical Illusions and Zentangles

If drawing is your preference, look into optical illusions or Zentangles.

optical illusions

Optical Illusions 

Supplies needed:

Simply follow along with the tutorials in this YouTube playlist How to Draw Optical Illusions to learn to draw these extraordinary images, or search online for “Optical Illusion Tutorials”.



Zentagles are yoga for your brain. It is a way of doodling with lines, shapes, and patterns, that make incredible artworks.

Supplies needed:

For inspiration, check out Zentangles online or use this book, The Great Zentangle Book: Learn to Tangle with 101 Favorite Patterns by Beate Winkler. Or watch some YouTube videos, and get doodling!

Idea 5: Bead Weaving

bead weaving

Do you want to combine your love of art and your passion for fashion? Bead weaving is a fun way to make unique fashion accessories that your friends will be envious of! It takes a little practice to get the hang of it, but once you get it down it’s easy. Watch this short intro video How to Bead Weave to see if it’s right for you.

Supplies needed:

There are tons of tutorials online to help you get started like Jewelery Fundamentals: How to Use a Bead Loom.

You can also weave beads without a loom! Check out how to do it in this tutorial Off-Loom Bead Weaving Two Minute Class.

Idea 6: Sculpey


If you are more interested in 3-D art, consider Sculpey. Sculpey is a type of polymer clay that can be baked in the oven. This type of clay works best for making small sculptures, like animals, foods, beads, and more. 

Supplies needed:

Watch this tutorial 20 Polymer Clay Tips and Tricks for Beginners, and start making! You can also check out more awesome tutorials on YouTube.

Idea 7: Origami


Another 3-D option is the ancient tradition of Origami. Origami is the art of folding paper, but it is so much more complex than that. 

Supplies needed:

There are so many different tutorials out there to make origami, but I recommend using tutorials on YouTube. It’s easier to follow than books, in my opinion.

Idea 8: Wood Burning

wood buring art

A great option for parents and students to explore together is wood burning. Wood burning is a method of using a heated tool to burn designs into wood. Watch the video How To Wood Burn to see if it’s something you want to get into.

Supplies needed:

Idea 9: Dream Catcher

dream catcher

Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a dream catcher? Summer is prime time to learn! Dream catchers are Native American weavings believed to catch bad dreams and dispose of them.

Dream catchers take patience and precision, so make sure you’re up to the task before getting started.

Supplies needed:

Make your own by following these tutorials How To Make A Simple DIY Dreamcatcher or DIY | How To Make A Dreamcatcher. Both tutorials list the materials you will need. 

Idea 10: Paint By Numbers

paint by numbers

Want to wow your friends? Paint by numbers kits help anyone paint like a master. Kits come with a surface broken up into different areas, corresponding with a certain color of paint. Beware: these take a lot of patience and precision. Watch this video Paint by Numbers to see if it’s right for you.

Supplies needed:

Kelsey Donegan

Kelsey Donegan teaches Middle School Art and Upper School Photography and Digital Art at Bullis School. Artistically, she is a jack of all trades, working on painting, sewing, digital collage, and photography. Her favorite things involve biking, reading, or going on adventures. She lives in Alexandria, VA with her dog Cameron and her partner Jarryd. 



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