Friday, October 26, 2012

"P is for Poppy" Project

Every year I come up with a new Poppy project for Remembrance Day.  This is the 2012 version.  The poppies can be made in three ways, using white streamers, paper towels, or coffee filters.


- wc paper or heavy sketch/drawing paper
- scraps of newspaper and/or book pages cut into squares and rectangles
- disk tempera paint
- eye dropper
- stapler
- white streamers, paper towels, and/or coffee filters
- little square or rectangle of corrugated cardboard
- text printed from computer or by hand
- a large letter "P" stamp (you could do this by hand/computer if you don't have a stamp)
- black pony beads or buttons
- tacky glue

At school I prepped my artboards by taping down the background paper on one side and then had a small piece of wax paper on the other.

Take your scraps of newspaper or old book pages and glue a few pieces down on your wc paper.  This will add a layer of visual interest to our poppy composition.

Paint your background.  I chose a light blue made from the white and blue tempera disk.  I varied the colour with darker paint at the top and lighter colour at the bottom.

  I use large "one use" only brushes I buy at Walmart or the Hardware store.  They cost anywhere from $1.00-$2.00 so you can pick up several.  They are meant for applying sealer,  hence "one use" only but I have used them for years.

Set your background aside to dry.

Take your streamer and cut off a strip about 8 inches or so.  For a class, you will want to pre -cut your streamers.

I like using white streamers, I can paint them and get lots of variation in my colour, so no 2 poppies would be the same. 

Start to gather into a circle, making your poppy shape.

Then staple in the center.

You might be left with a square corner that doesn't look too poppy like so I round it off with the scissors.

With paper towels just cut a strip

and then form in the same way. 

Once you have made your poppies paint them.  Mix up some red, orangey red, and purpley red and dab on the colour.

Streamer and paper towel poppies must be painted after making up the flowers.  The streamer and paper towels are a bit delicate to paint on their own.  Make sure you dab when applying the paint as they are still quite fragile and you don't want holes.

Coffee filters can be painted ahead of time if you wish.

You then can cut a strip and form the flowers.

When the flowers are dry mix up some watery black paint.  Drop into the center of the flower with an eye dropper.  This gives the poppy that natural look.

You then can glue a black pony bead or button into the center.

Place your poppies on your dry background.

Using a pencil sketch out the stems.

Paint in the stems over your pencil lines.  I added a few leaves at the bottom.  Poppies tend not to have leaves near the flowers but in a mound near the ground.

Glue the poppies into place.

Take your little square or rectangle or cardboard and paint red.

When the paint has dried you can stamp a letter "P" on it or use a sharpie to hand letter.

Print out or write out the "is for poppy" text.

Paint with a little red paint.

Glue into place.

That's it.

 Those of you who joined me last Saturday at the Mini Potpourri made a little one of these on a file folder book using the white streamer sized poppies.

A file folder book on Remembrance Day would be an excellent project to try.  We made our stem from black paper strips from paper run thru the shredder.

Before I go I just want to show you this year's version of the Woven Bat project.  I changed it a bit.  We made the wings from paper we painted and then added some plastic wrap on top before it dried.  We smooshed it and left it on to form wrinkles.  (More details on this technique in this post).

The body paper was still painted and combed.  Instead of stringing the wings we used black paper that was run thru the shredder making strips.  We then glued these on the wings.

Grade 2 did an awesome job and we now have lots of bats in the hallway along with the Grade 1 Pumpkin Stacks.

See you next week everyone.


  1. I usually do a poppy picture for remembrance day, so thank you for this post. I love the 3D effect. I'm thinking it would be great to find some text (for the background) that was related to the wars, to encourage the kids to think further about the significance of the day.

  2. I loved making this at your workshop, I had the BEST time at that PD, got so many great ideas. Can't wait to use this in my class!

  3. I love the 3-dimensionality of the poppies! Beautiful work.

  4. Oh, that's lovely - and perfect timing! I love the book/newspaper idea. If you found some clippings specific to war/history/Demembrance Day, that would give it an another layer of meaning, too.

  5. What a beautiful project!! I may have to do this next week! Thank you for your amazing blog and the incredible ideas you share! I think Elizabeth had a great idea... text about the wars as part of the background. Deeper thinking....?

  6. Hi Gail,
    I love reading your blog for ideas! Lots of inspiration here, and, not being an art teacher, I love having explicit instructions.
    I tried my version of this with my Grade 3 class this week. I used photocopies of some illustrations and the poem In Flanders Fields for the background text and pictures.
    My advice to anyone trying this with the streamers would be to have LOTS of pieces pre-cut so you have extras for the kids who have trouble folding them. Most of my kids had to try several times before they began to get it. I also had extra flowers pre-made in case anyone needed them, but in the end most kids were happy with their own.
    I would also strongly advise having the wide brushes for applying the wash, especially if your class doesn't have much experience with watercolour. With smaller brushes they tend to paint here and there instead of sweeping across the page ( at least my class did). I had only one wide brush and the kids who used it got a much better result.
    We haven't added the poppies to our background yet as the the papers weren't dry enough. Can't wait to see the finished work on Monday!

  7. Hey anonymous,
    Thanks for the advice. I did this project with Grade 4 this week and I did have lots of pre cut streamers, I will add that to the instructions. Big brushes do help in painting backgrounds and they are quite easy to find these days at Walmart or any hardware store. They are considered "one use" only brushes but they will last you for years. You also have to make sure the kids dab when they paint with the streamer as it is quite delicate. I had the background paper taped to one side of the artboard and a piece of wax paper on the other side. They painted the streamer poppies on the wax paper side. They clung to the wax paper as soon as the paint hit them. They poppies dry quite stiff with the paint on them so they are easy to glue into place. I'm sure your finished work will be awesome! Thanks so much for commenting.

    1. Thanks for the tips. Sorry to be Anonymous but I can't figure out how to put my name on the publish thingy.
      Lee Anne

  8. LOVE your blog, so inspiring! So happy to have found you on Pinterest! We included a link and picture of this craft to our Remembrance Day round up - here's the link (hope that was ok! Had to tell others to check out your tutorial - brilliant and fun!)