Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mixed Media Skyline

So here is a project I'm doing with the Grade Ones....Mixed Media Skylines.

The buildings have different widths so we have some 3D interest going on.


- canvas or cardboard substrate (base)
- cardboard, chipboard, heavy corrugated cardboard, Styrofoam, or packing material
- Dry Dek or drywall compound (a huge bucket will only cost $20.00)
- wax paper
- household items for texturing, (combs, toothpicks, Lego, straws, etc.)
- acrylic craft paint
- paintbrushes
- assorted screws, washers, whatever excess hardware on hand
- colored paper, book pages, newspaper
- scissors
- Aleene's tacky glue
- moon clip art from "The Graphics Fairy"
- star sequins
- Mod Podge, acrylic medium, or sealer

Cut some rectangles out of cardboard and chipboard.  If you don't have any packing material (I just happen to have some 2 inch wide corrugated cardboard) you can use Styrofoam, even boxes.  You can also glue several pieces together to make a thick piece.  For the Grade Ones I'll have this already cut into rectangles, triangles and semi circles.
Lay it out on top of your canvas or background so you know you have enough buildings.

Apply the drywall compound onto the cardboard.  Use a spatula from the hardware store (only 88 cents) or even an old gift card. Apply to just the front for the thin pieces and include the sides for the thicker pieces.  You can use some household items for texturing if you want.
You can stick in some washers now if you want or glue them on later after you have painted.  I did it both ways. Let dry about 6-8 hrs.
Paint your background with black acrylic paint and let dry.
Splatter on some white paint for stars.  With the kids I use a splatter box.
Paint the buildings with acrylic paint.  Let dry.  Glue on some windows with colored paper, book pages, or newspaper.
Glue the buildings onto the background.  Add the moon and a few sequin stars.
Finally add a coat of Mod Podge, acrylic medium, or your usual sealer for a nice shiny finish.
That's it.  What a wonderful project!
See you next time.


  1. I'm a sucker for just about any cityscape, but I just LOVE the depth and texture in this one. Thanks for the detailed tutorial, too!!!

  2. I just have to ask.... how many students do you have in a class? Your projects are absolutely amazing but I can not fathom how you manage with the young ones. Let alone the budget and outside prep time they would take. I have 45 minutes per week with my classes and average class size of 25 students. If yours are similiar... hats off to you, you're a much better woman than I.

  3. In my current situation (artist in residence) I have 2 classes of Grade ones at about 20 students each and I see them for 1 hr twice a week. The only prep for this one is making a full sheet of moon graphics, printing it off, and cutting the cardboard rectangles, squares, and shapes. I tend to store some of my cardboard this way so I have about 1/2 of it already to go. Budget wise, the canvas is part of the special projects each class is doing so that is out of the ordinary but they were on sale($2.00 each). The drywall is being used by the entire school (with more for later projects) huge pail for $20.00. The acrylic paint is part of the standard supplies. The washers/screws are leftovers from a Kindergarten project. 1 session for drywalling and painting of canvas, 1 session to paint buildings and splatter background,and finally 1 session to glue everything together. Mod Podge is optional.

  4. Oh I love this idea!! I am going to use this with the little ones that visit!

  5. Fantastic project as always! My favourite part is the charming moon- it reminds me of the moon in the film 'Moulin Rouge'.
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Its a fantastic project!! Best regards from Greece!!

  7. Hi! LOVE your blog. I've given you an award. Come on over and check it out:

    Grade ONEderful

  8. Hello to my art hero!
    I fell in love with this project as soon as I saw it, and am currently re-doing my little boys' room...I decided to give it a try, but on a larger scale (I had a much bigger canvas).
    I blogged about part one of this fantastic project here:

    ...and yesterday, we finished painting the buildings. We're about to glue it all down today and then hang it up! Can't wait to see it on the wall.
    While I did this with my boys, my kindergarten girl worked on her drywall-compound rainbow fish, which also turned out WONDERFULLY...and you are so right about kinders loving bling. That was her favorite part of the project :)
    thank you for sharing your ideas. I adore your blog.

  9. Gail, I am Barbara's copycat today! I'm also giving you an award {she gave me mine!}. Our penguin books turned out super cute - thanks again for that idea and allowing me to use your photo.

  10. Hi,

    First of all, i must say your ideas are awesome. I just love going through your posts.
    I want to know if i canuse somethng else instead of drywall? I want to give a try to your city skyline idea with my 4 nd 7 yr old. Thanks.

  11. Hey anonymous, you can do so papier mache on the cardboard instead of drywall.

  12. Hi Gail.
    Thanks for commenting at the ol' blog! I just posted part 2 of our (finished) project today.
    Thanks again for the's nice that someone else out there thinks this amazing stuff up for the rest of us copy-cats! And now I see you've gone and done it again with your most recent post.
    I gotta say I am loving working with drywall compound for something other than, er...patching up drywall!

  13. My boys would love this! Just found your blog, and there are so many ideas to read through! :)

  14. This is THE MOST GORGEOUS project! Warning: I will credit you but steal the general idea. It's fantastic.