Sunday, January 25, 2015

Northern Lights

Occasionally here in Calgary we can see the Northern lights.

This is the second project I'm working on with Kindergarten.

I found this great youtube video for this technique from wecreate art lessons.

I changed it a bit by adding some extra elements in the foreground to complete the composition.


- black construction paper
- chalk pastels
- posterboard or heavy paper for stencil
- kleenex
- watercolour paper, we used 90lb student grade
- blue and purple disk tempera
- plastic wrap
- textured wallpaper
- green and black acrylic paint
- a piece of sponge
- glue
- animal silhoutette cutouts, optional, you can create your own animals


Cut a strip of watercolour paper the same width as your black construction paper.

Paint with purple and blue disk tempera.

While the paint is still wet lay a piece of plastic wrap on top.

You want to smoosh it so that there are wrinkles in it.  This creates the ice like texture.  If yours is not working it might be too dry.  Re wet with the water and try again.

Leave plastic wrap in place while the paper dries.

I want my trees to also have some texture so we used textured wallpaper from the hardware store.  You could also pass some paper thru a crimper or embossing folder (cuttlebug).

Paint with green acrylic or liquid tempera. We are using acrylic as tempera doesn't stick too the wallpaper.

We then sponged on some black paint. I asked the students to not sponge too much so we could see both colours.

Watch the video to get the technique down.
I made quite a few stencils.  If you cut your poster board or heavy paper in wide strips and then cut your wavy lines you get 2 stencils.

Make sure your stencil is as long or longer than your background paper.

Apply your chalk pastel along the stencil, we just followed the line.

I asked the kids to choose bright colours.

Use the kleenex and wipe upwards.

I asked the kids to swap stencils for each new line.

Continue all the way up the black construction paper.

When the watercolour paper is dry remove the plastic wrap.

Cut a curvy line from one side to the other.  This will be the snow and ice in our foreground.

Glue into place.

When your textured paper is dry turn it over and draw some triangles on the back in different sizes.

Cut out.

Glue into place.

For the kinders I pre cut some animal silhouettes from the cricut for them.

If I had more time, (another session) we would have drawn our own animals and added them to our nightscape.

That's it.



  1. with kinder?! wow! please post their takes on this project soon!

  2. I love this project! Thank you.

  3. Thank you for sharing not only how you did this, but also the original source links you used. It's a great way to found other creative sites. Seeing ways to include in preschool lessons also.

  4. I just discovered your blog and lovely art activities. I am a retired librarian who studied to be an art teacher but got hired for the library and never looked back. Now that I am retired, I have been accepting sub jobs for art teachers. I love your ideas and hope to someday be able to use them with a real class!

  5. I love that, in so many of your projects, you use mixed media. I find this very inspiring. I really enjoy your blog It's fantastic!! I am a K-12 art teacher who just recently started blogging and even if I am half as good as you, that would be an accomplishment :)

    1. Thanks MoonArt, I checked out your blog and you are doing some fantastic work of your own with your students!

  6. What a beautiful project, especially as you did it with kinders! We used your work as inspiration for our own northern lights pictures which also included words/lines from an arctic poem they wrote. Thanks a lot for your ideas. Here's how our take on them came out if you're interested:


    1. Thanks Daniel, I love your student work, they turned out amazing.

  7. Hi Gail! Thanks so much for sharing your art projects! We're a homeschooling family and we LOVE to do art and we've done several of your projects. I've never done any art with pastels--I was looking for some online and it seems there are many different kinds. Could you share which type (soft, hard, etc) you used and the brand? Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Hi Aisha,
      For this project you want to use chalk pastels and soft would be preferable. Chalk pastels can be pricey, I would just use a student brand and you can also use coloured chalk, it won't be as intense in colour as a pastel but will still work.
      Good luck and I'm thrilled you are enjoying the projects and doing art with your kids. "Long live the art projects!"

  8. I'm a homeschool mom who loves to include art projects with my elementary age kids and even my son, who hated art in public school, loves your projects. Maybe he would have liked art if you had been his teacher. Thanks for sharing your procedures so I can replicate them with my kids. :)