Tempera Moon Project

This week, as we were cleaning up for art class, I frantically threw together a last-minute idea for our art project.  I knew I wanted to do something related to our study of astronomy, but had nothing ready.  Looking at the tub of art supplies, I was struck by an idea far better than most of my last-minute ideas.  Here is what we came up with.

The project that we made was a tempera paint moon.  For this project we used card stock, tempera paint, cotton balls, construction paper, and a bit of school glue.

We started by making a large circle on a piece of card stock for each of my kids.  I just used my printer to print out the circles, but a good compass would have worked just as well.  We did not cut out the circles – I wanted the kids to be able to paint without worrying about neat edges.

Next, the boys and I mixed up white and black paints in several shades of gray, plus pure white and black.  We put all these colors into a palate and got out a cotton ball for each color.  The texture of the cotton balls allowed them to add some really nice texture effects to the moons with no visible brush strokes.

The boys went to town adding detail and shadow to their moons.  They worked off of a picture of the moon, trying to replicate some of the major features of the moon.  With the gradient we had created, they were able to do some really smooth color blending.  The cotton balls were wonderful for keeping the borders between colors sharp when they needed to be, and gentle when the blend called for it.

After the boys had finished adding all the details to the moon, we set them aside to dry as we cleaned up.  After lunch, once they had completely dried, we came back to them and cut them out.  My oldest insisted I cut out his, but my youngest wanted to do it himself.  We then glued them to the black construction paper and set that to dry again.  Afterwards, they needed a little flattening under a heavy book.

The boys and I were very pleased with the project.  I was thrilled with the quality of the color blending, and even if the moons weren’t completely accurate, they still looked really pretty.  It just goes to show that tempera paint and card stock can rescue almost any art class.


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