I’m back with another community event at our local library, and this time, I made cakes from recycled materials and set up the table for still-life paintings. Children used oil pastels and liquid watercolor (my favorite combination) to draw and paint what they see!
Supplies needed for Still-Life Cake Paintings:
~ Recycled cakes (I’ll go into more detail below)
You don’t need to make recycled cakes for this still-life set-up. You can use real cakes, real cupcakes, real donuts, or any colorful, fun foods! But making these recycled cakes was a challenge I was here for, so let me tell you what I used and how I made them.
Materials needed to make recycled cakes:
~ Tea boxes, milk or juice cartons, berry containers, oatmeal or breadcrumb containers that are cylindrical
~ Glue gun
~ Wrapping paper
How did I make these recycled cakes?
1. For the cylinder ones, I just cut down the containers a little, wrapped them with wrapping paper or colored paper, and glued some ric-rac and pomps on them. I cut out flowers from a postcard and glued them to the one with colored paper.
2. For the two pyramid-style cakes, I stacked two different-sized berry containers on top of each other and glued them together. I then cut 5 felt pieces, one for each side and one for the top. I made a pattern out of paper and then cut 4 of them for the sides. I used hot glue to attach the felt to the containers. Then, glued on more ric-rac and pom-poms.
3. For the tower cake with three different size squares, I cut down the juice carton for the bottom and used cut-down tea boxes for the middle and top. I used postcards for the sides and tops, and then added the ric-rack and pom-poms.
Setting up the still-life table:
~ I was able to push two tables together to make one long table, and I covered them in brown butcher paper.
~ I had two cake stands, but the other ones were makeshift, with a plate on top of a glass jar.
~ I made a garland from cupcake liners to weave around the cakes on the table, just to add another visual for inspiration.
~ Lastly, I always tape a swatch of the paint color to the outside of the jar when offering liquid watercolor, which can look very dark since it’s so concentrated.
This open-ended invitation to paint piques the interest of children at every age. Here you can see older children taking the time to draw what they see with realistic representation, or artistic interpretations.
Younger children spent more time exploring the materials, often using what was in reach and wanting to touch and feel the cakes before and while they were working.
This very young child was not yet two, sitting on her mother’s lap and painting for the first time. I love that this mom chose a painting activity to do with her child, unworried about the outcome and allowing and trusting her child to touch the paint with her hand and make a mess.
When we trust children to explore materials independently and in their own way, we communicate to them that their work is important. This helps them find their voice and build creative confidence.
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Did you like this post? Here are some more Still-Life painting ideas: