Monday, June 17, 2013

Nautical Inchies

Working my way through the last 2 weeks of school.  I'm doing these nautical inchies with Grade 5 tomorrow.

Now I love inchies, they make a great little art collection, but you can do each of these as a larger art project.

We have a lighthouse theme going.  I have been doing some planning work in my visual journal.


- 6 squares of wc paper, we are doing ours 3" x 3"
- disk tempera paint
- fine black sharpies
- scrap of bubble wrap
- old book page
- yellow oil pastel
- white, black, and red crayon
- white and red scrap paper
- tacky glue
- metal duct tape
- drinking straw
- acrylic paint in white, light brown, and a few bright colours
- coloured sharpies
- cheesecloth
- a little sand
- a few small shells
- letter stamps, printed text from the computer, or hand written
- black mounting paper


Original inchies are 1" x1" but I find that way to small for the kids.  I like working with 2", 3", or even 4" squares.

For this project we are using 3" x 3".

Take your first square. Paint the top half with a pale sky blue using tempera disk paint  (white and blue mixed).

Wash your brush out.  Dip in plain water and scrub the paper where the 2 colours meet.  Blot on a paper towel and repeat until you have some white showing and it looks like an ocean wave.

Add some text and a few seagulls drawn in with sharpie.

Take another square.  Paint bright blue with disk tempera.

While the paint is still wet lay a scrap of bubble wrap on top.  Leave on until dry.

Paint half of an old book page.

When the book page is dry turn it over and sketch out a starfish.

Cut out, draw a few circles on it with sharpie.  Using a black crayon colour the edges.  This gives it a nice outline.

Glue onto the blue square with the bubble wrap impression.

On another square sketch out a lighthouse in pencil.

With a yellow oil pastel add the light and glow to the lighthouse.

Colour in the lighthouse with white crayon.  Add some red crayon to the top.

Paint over with purple disk tempera.

Take a kleenex and blot while the paint is still wet.

Paint the rocks black and the water deep blue.

Take another square.  Paint in a sky.

Take a kleenex and lift out a few clouds.

Paint in a green blue ocean.

Using scraps of white and red paper cut out a boat and 2 sails.

With a fine black sharpie add some details.

Paint a square blue.  Before the paint dries sprinkle on some salt.

Take some metal duct tape, using a pencil draw on a fish.

Using coloured sharpies add some colour to the fish.

Cut out.

Brush the salt off the now dry square.

Using white acrylic and a straw add a few bubbles.

Peel backing off fish and stick in place.  Using letter stamps add the word FISH.

Spread some glue on a square and lay on a piece of cheesecloth.

Let dry.

Paint with some sand coloured acrylic paint.

Select a few small shells and add some bright colour with acrylic paint.

Glue some sand onto the square.

Glue on the shells and add some text.

Glue onto some black paper and you're done.


  1. This is a great project. I love the multi-medium usages and also the different effects with your paint techniques. I see so many possibilities. Love your blog.

  2. Love this! I appreciate the step by step instructions. I think my kids would really have fun doing this at home!

  3. These are terrific--what great ideas. I want to do some "inchies" of my own!

  4. Gail, your projects inspire my daughter and myself! Your blog is one of my all time favorites! I am going to tweet about you now :)
    Good thoughts, Karen

  5. Love your Blog. Beautiful blog.

  6. This is a fantastic project! I did a riff on it today with some kids at the park. We made a watercolor background of sand and water and glued on some paper flip flops, a crayon-resist sailboat, and a sponge-painted background with a paper and ribbon jellyfish. Thank you so much for such a great tutorial and ideas!