Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Poppy Inchies

I recently completed these Poppy inchies with a Grade 5/6 class in honour of Remembrance Day.

The students made all 4 and then picked their 3 favourite to be mounted on 1"x 4" boards that are cut in 12" lengths.

Here they are up on the bulletin board. We completed them in two 1hr. sessions.

Please note: Like all my inchie projects each one of these squares can be done as a large project.


- 1"x 4" fence board cut into 12" lengths, you could also use black paper
- 4 watercolour paper inchies, we used 3"x 3" inchies
- cereal or cracker box cardboard, about 3" square
- scraps of corrugated cardboard
- drywall filler
- masking tape
- acrylic or tempera paint in red, blue, black, green, yellow and white
- disk tempera in red
- black and red paper scraps
- white paper, about 3" square
- old book pages
- tacky glue
- black button
- black pony bead
- black pencil crayon and/or fine black sharpie
- oil pastels in yellow and orange


We started by painting our boards with black acrylic paint.  We painted the front and the 4 sides.

Set aside to dry.

Now when I do inchies with the kids we work on several at once, when one stage is drying we are working on another step/inchie.  But it's easier for me to explain the steps for each inchie one at a time.

We will start with our Georgia O'Keeffe inchie. I tell the kids that O'Keeffe took a bee's eye view when painting flowers.

Give each student a length of masking tape, about 6 inches or so.

Have them cut it into 3 pieces.

Have them cut each piece in half lengthwise using a wavy or curvy line.

Choose 3 and tape off 3 corners.  Make sure the tape goes from one side to the other.  It's OK if a white corner peeks out.

Take the orange and yellow oil pastels. Make a outline next to the tape.  Then do a inner outline.

Using disk tempera paint inside the tape.  The kids can mix up a second shade of red to add. Just add a touch of blue for a darker red or a touch of yellow for a lighter red.

Set aside to dry.

Remove the tape.

Use a sponge and add some black acrylic to the one corner that had no tape.

Using black pencil crayon add the stamens.

Now we will do the inchie based on Irish painter John Nolan's work.

Draw a horizon line in the upper 3rd of the inchie.

Paint the upper portion with blue acrylic.  We used a nice electric blue.

Paint the bottom portion with green acrylic.

Let dry.

Mix a lighter blue (original colour + white).

Add some of this to the upper edge of the inchie.

Add some yellow and lighter green (original green + yellow) to the meadow.

Let dry.

Using a very small brush add some poppies to the meadow.  I asked the kids to make tiny ones in the distance, a few medium ones and then a few large ones in foreground.

Let dry.

Using a fine sharpie add the stems and a few buds.

This inchie is based on a project I did 2 years ago.

I gave the kids 2 small pieces from a newspaper or phone book.  They glued them randomly to our next inchie.

With the leftover paint from the last inchie dilute it a bit with some water and then paint this wash over the square.

You want to still see the bits of paper.

Let dry.

Take the piece of white paper and paint red.

Using a little piece of cardboard (this is not that 3" piece), add some lines to the red paper with  dark red acrylic paint.

With the red and black papers cut 2 circles out for the flower (1 large than the other) and a stem for the poppy.

Glue onto the inchie.

Glue the black pony bead into the centre.

I printed "is for poppy" off the computer and we added a P stamp to our inchies.

Our final inchie.

Take the 3" or so piece of cardboard and cut out a poppy shape.

Add some drywall to the front for texture.

Let dry, it takes about 4 - 6 hrs.

Cut your old book page in half.  Spread some glue on your inchie.

Stick your book page on the inchie.

Trim to fit.

Take some black acrylic paint (maybe the leftover paint from the O'Keeffe poppy), water it down a bit and give your book page a wash.

You can also splatter a bit of that black paint as well.

Let dry.

When your drywalled poppy is dry paint with red acrylic.  We used 2 different reds.

Cut a circle out pif a scrap of black paper, glue to the center.  Add a black button on top of the black circle.

Pick your 3 best and glue on your black board.

Great work Grade 5/6!



  1. These poppy inchies are very interesting and great looking!

  2. Gosh, I wish you had been my art teacher. I feel that my art education was minimal, and was directed only at those who had an innate talent.

  3. Do you show the kids all the steps of each inchie FIRST. Or do you walk through them step by step as one is drying show them the next inchie.

    1. At school we work on several at once. We will do step 1 on an inchie and then while that step is drying work on another. I have a powerpoint for the kids in the order that works best for me. For the poppy inchies I did them over 2 sessions and this was my order:
      - cut out cardboard poppy and drywall
      - paint blue sky of John Nolan
      - glue book page on inchie, trim
      - glue 2 paper pieces on other inchie
      - paint green of John Nolan
      - paint black wash on text page
      - paint light blue in sky of John Nolan
      - use leftover blue paint to paint inchie with the 2 pieces of paper glued to it
      - paint board black
      End of 1st session
      - paint light green/yellow on John Nolan
      - paint drywall inchie using 2 reds
      - paint piece of paper red, print with cardboard darker red
      - do Georgia o'Keeffe inchie
      - paint poppies using leftover red paint on John Nolan
      - do poppy and stem for 'P is for Poppy' inchie
      - glue drywall poppy to inchie
      - add stems to John Nolan
      - choose best 3, mount on black board
      Hope that helps

    2. Thank you! I am "the art teacher" at a small rural school, but am not intrinsically artistic myself or had any real formal art training, so steps that might seem obvious to you are NOT to me! My 4/5/6 class are doing this project for the front foyer bulletin board display for November, so we are going to start tomorrow to ensure we get finished in time.
      I only have two 40 minute blocks/week (I know...I've tried to get it scheduled so I have them for one 80 block/week, but the principal just can't make it work) so I will need to split it up a bit more than you have, but this is at least a jumping off point!

  4. Hi Gail, My grade 1/2 class is doing this project this week. Wow, I think I bit off more than I can chew but when they are done they will be beautiful!
    I'm just checking in with you to get permission to use the images of our reproductions. I couldn't find your email. Hope this gets to you.

  5. Hi Mrs. Gale and Mrs. Gates,
    Of course you can use the images of your reproductions and you are free to use my images when teaching the lesson as well. Good luck I'm sure they will be terrific.

  6. Hi Gail,
    I could not find your email address and I would like permission to use your Georgia O'Keeffe project with my K-3 Distance Learning students. You will be listed as the source. You have amazing projects, thank you for sharing. Thanks B I hope this makes it to you.

  7. There are so many art projects here that I LOVE! I have no idea where I want to start but thank you for the beautiful inspiration!!


  8. You do FANTASTIC work with your students! They are very blessed to have you. Thank you for providing us all with ideas we can spring off of and use in our curriculum.