Sunday, March 3, 2013

Mixed Media Ducks

The Grade Ones are hatching duck eggs at my current school.

For an art project we are making these mixed media canvases.

You can see by this side view that there are elements that stick out from the canvas, lots of great texture.


- 8x10 primed canvas, I buy mine at Michael's in the 10 pack when they go on sale, you could also do this on foam board or heavy corrugated cardboard
- cardboard
- duck template, feel free to use mine
- drywall compound
- painter's masking tape (green or blue)
- blue, green, brown, and yellow acrylic paint
- white tissue paper
- posterboard or manila tag
- glue
- air dry clay
- printed text  "is for duck"
- black pony bead
- a few feathers


Using my template or your own drawing, cut out a duck from cardboard.

Put some drywall compound on a plate and using a spatula or even an old gift card spread on top of your duck.

I buy my drywall at Home Depot in a huge container, (very heavy) for about $20.00.  It will last a long time if you are careful to keep it sealed.  One large container will do an entire school.

You can also buy it in smaller amounts.

Using a pencil or a chopstick add some texture to the body of the duck to represent the feathers.

Leave the head and bill smooth.

Set aside to dry.

Our ducks drying.

Take your primed canvas, lay it down horizontally, (landscape style).

Take some painter's masking tape and tape off the horizon line.

Paint the sky with blue acrylic paint.
Don't forget to do the sides.

Set aside to dry.

Take a small amount of air dry clay.  Roll flat about 1/2 an inch thick.

Using the "D" cookie cutter cut out a D.

Use a little water to smooth the surface if needed.

Set aside in a warm place to dry out. I put the whole art board on top of my fridge.

Because I only had one cutter and I found it a little finicky I pre cut all the D's for the Grade Ones.

When the blue paint has dried remove tape.

Take another piece of tape, place it right on the line but now on the painted blue side exposing all the white.

Most ponds around here tend towards the green side so I painted the bottom section green.  You could also do a dark blue or a greeny blue.

Do the sides and leave to dry.

When your duck is dry paint the body brown.  With the kids I taped off where I wanted them to stop.  The head and then the beak were painted in steps.

Some kids did a female duck.  We painted them light brown up to the bill and added some dark brown dashes when they were dry.

For the reeds I wanted to use some textured paper.  Due to this being Grade One and us being on a tight schedule I prepped the paper for them.

I took sheets of posterboard and spread glue over top.  While the glue was still wet I lay a piece of tissue paper on and smooched it in, creating lots of wrinkles.  Trim away excess tissue from sides and set aside to dry.

When the paper was dry I painted stripes on it with acrylic paint.

Leave to dry.

I cut the paper into squares for the kids.

Cut some strips out of the paper that resemble reeds.

Using the duck I figure out how many I need.

Glue into place.

Glue the duck into place.  I used hot glue, (adult operation only)  It made it easier to glue any ducks that warped a bit.

Glue a black pony bead on for an eye.

You can use a fine sharpie to add the hole in the bill and the dividing line between the upper and lower sections.

Paint your 'D' with some acrylic paint.

Glue into place and add text.

Mod podge the whole canvas at this point.

When the podge dries you can add a few feathers as well as some felt cat tails.

We added the touch of blue and white feathers on the wings.

That's it.  As soon as I have enough student ones to take photos of I will update this post.

See you soon.


  1. Awesome project! Forget grade one- I want to make one. :)

  2. I love the duck!

    This past month, my children participated in an art fair.My son who is 7 y.o. did a mixed media pieces with lots of unexpected items on it... I had as much fun as he did, just watching him create it. Check out my blog to see his artwork.

    I love to check your blog for inspiration. TFS!

  3. Have I contacted you yet about participating in Booking Across Canada? We'd love to have you!

  4. This is so wonderful!! I might use drywall compound in my art, too!! 8*)

  5. My grandsons would love this project. We may give it a try when they next visit!!(notice I said "WE")

  6. Love Love Love this question though we started this last week. do you have any suggestions on how to keep the ducks from warping? I used cereal, pizza ad show boxes and it does not seem to matter the thickness of the cardboard they still will not lay flat?


    1. Hi Lisa,
      I just gently bend it back, if it is really curvy I flatten it when I hot glue it to the background canvas. I find cereal box weight cardboard the easiest to bend back flat.