Mixed Media Art Summer Camp Project Ideas

Mixed Media Summer Art Camp

Mixed Media Art Summer Camp Project Ideas

This summer I am teaching two summer camp art sessions: mixed media and painting. These sessions are 1 hour per day for 4 days and are part of a full day camp at my school. Mixed media is so much fun because it is open to more mediums and combination of mediums!  Because of adding more mediums there must be good PLANNING to make successful projects! Below are the projects that we created plus some additional mixed media project ideas. Please follow my Mixed Media Pinterest board for TONS of ideas!


Flamingo clay with acrylic painting3D Flamingo or Dolphin with Acrylic Sunset Painting

(2 Classes-1 hour each)

I really wanted to add some sculpture in this camp and found this AMAZING project on Pinterest- Please give full credit to the art teacher at this URL: the direct link to the picture is hereI made some changes to this project by adding the choice of sculpting a flamingo or a dolphin and we did not do the foliage around the border of the canvas-that was more of a time limit thing.

Here’s how WE did it:

Supplies: AMACO 41811R Claycrete Paper Mache, 5-Pound Bag or Model Magic (would be easier) , US Art Supply 9 X 12 inch Canvas Panel Boards  12-Pack, acrylic paints: white, yellow, yellow-orange, orange, pink & turquoise, 1″ flat paint brushes, palettes, water cups, newspaper, plastic sheet protectors (great price!) -one per student, hot glue or tacky glue

Day 1 Preparation:

  • Print an outline of a flamingo and a dolphin (on separate pages), then placed them in a plastic sheet protector back to back.
  • Measure a cup and a half of paper mache pulp (cotton) and place in a zip-lock bag for each student
  • Make a mark about 3/4 at the top with a permanent marker in a 12 oz cup (so around 8oz of water).
  • Set out supplies on table.

Sculpture Instructions:

  1. Students choose between a flamingo or dolphin.  Students used Vis-a-Vis markers to write their names on the side of the sheet protector that has the animal they wanted to use.
  2. Mixing the paper mache: open bag, pour water in, leaving bag open-gently squish and squeeze the bag to mix and distribute the water. Add a small amount of water if there is still dry paper mache pulp.
  3. Use the paper mache to sculpt the flamingo or dolphin directly on the sheet protector. Press it down so it’s not more than 1/2″ or it may not dry. We want it to be flat on one side so we can glue it to a canvas panel.
    1. Sculpting the Flamingo
      1. Form the head with a small ball.
      2. Add the nose with a small amount of clay.
      3. Roll out a “snake” or coil for the neck.
      4. Attach to head so it makes an “S”. Smooth out with your finger.
      5. For the body, form a ball. Then gently press and pull one side to form the tail feathers.
      6. Attach the body to the neck and smooth out with your finger.
      7. Let dry overnight.
    2. Sculpting the Dolphin
      1. Form the main body with a large ball. Shape it into a long oval shape (or banana shape).
      2. Add the nose with a small amount of clay.
      3. Add all the fins with small amounts of clay forming them into triangle shapes.
      4. Smooth out all seems with your finger.
      5. Let dry overnight.
  4. Let dry with fan blowing on it overnight.
  5. Next day, turn the sculptures over, write names in sharpie, poke holes in the back with a fork, and let the fan blow on them for a couple more hours OR take a heat gun to them to help dry faster.

3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting Day 2 Preparation:

  • Place a quarter size amount of all the paint on a palette (Styrofoam plate).
  • Set up water cups, paper towels and paint brushes

3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting







Painting Instructions: (Video Tutorial)

  1. Draw the horizon line with a ruler.
  2. Use a compass to draw the sun setting on the horizon line.3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting
  3. Paint the sun first either pure yellow or yellow mixed with white. Yellow is usually a semi-transparent paint and by adding some white to it (which is opaque), you shouldn’t be able to see your pencil lines.
  4. Next, paint a yellow-orange around the sun. While the paint is still wet, overlap your strokes and add pure orange, then pure pink. Bring the pink all the way to the edge.
  5. To paint the sun’s reflection in the ocean, draw a triangle from the edge of the sun to the bottom of the canvas. Fill in the triangle using horizontal strokes. the strokes should be irregular and can go beyond the triangle.3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting
  6. On the outside of the triangle, add horizontal strokes of yellow-orange first, then orange, then pink, and finally turquoise on the outer most edges.3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting
  7. Tips on using Acrylic Paint:
    • Always keep brushes in water. If the paint dries on the brush it will ruin it.
    • Always dry off your brush on a paper towel before getting any paint on it.
    • Paint the Sun & SKY first. Work from background to foreground.
  8. Paint the flamingo or dolphin with acrylic paint. Let dry.3D Flamingo and Sunset Acrylic Painting
  9. Hot glue flamingo or dolphin onto the canvas. Use a permanent marker to draw in the legs of the flamingo.

Under the Sea – Eric Carle Style Painted Paper Collage

(2 Classes-1 hour each)

This project is based on the cover of the book Eric Carle’s Animals Animals. I have done this project MANY times and the key to its success is PLANNING & ORGANIZATION! It is best to limit the theme (ex: Under the Sea or In the Jungle) and number of creatures (One main one a couple small extras).

Supplies: 12×18 90lb watercolor paper, Liquid Watercolors Turquoise & Brown, salt, rubbing alcohol, Finger Paint Paper, Tempera Paints-blue, purple, white, black, brown, yellow, orange & turquoise, Paint scrapers, scissors, glue

Day 1 Preparation:

  • Pre-cut finger paint paper into 2-6×9 (for fish and starfish) & 2 or 3-9×12″ sheets (for Octopus)
  • Dilute liquid water colors 50/50 and place in small cups for the background.
  • Place salt, rubbing alcohol with droppers, paint brushes, paper towels and newsprint on the tables.
  • Set up stations for the different colors and techniques with tempera paint, scrapers, circle stamps (any found objects that would make a circle), bubble wrap or anything else you want to use. Make at least 4 stations depending on how many students you have and the layout of your space. I had 6 different stations. Make a sign for each station that says what that station is for and what size paper they should be using.
  • What to do with all their papers? I have 18×24 newsprint that I write each students name on. After they finish at each station, they are to place their papers on their newsprint. I have a large hallway outside my room and that’s where I put the newsprint.

Background PaintingEric Carle Octopus backgound

  1. Give students the 12×18″ watercolor paper and have them write their names on the back.
  2. Draw the sea floor lightly with a pencil.
  3. Painting a small section at a time. Apply the turquoise paint with a large brush and while it is still wet, drip small drops of rubbing alcohol into it.
  4. For the sand, again paint a small section at a time. Apply the sand colored paint (I mixed brown, orange, and yellow liquid watercolors), with a large brush and while it is still wet, sprinkle salt into it. This effect takes about 45 minutes to have the full affect. Do not try to speed the drying time with a hair dryer because the salt will not be able to slowly soak up the paint!
  5. Set on drying rack to dry overnight.

Painted Papers

  1. Give students their finger paint papers first and have them write their names on the back of each sheet.
  2. Give instructions for stations:
    1. How you want them to rotate through them
    2. How much time they will have at each station
    3. Where to put their artwork
    4. What to do if a station needs a refill on supplies

Day 2 Preparation:

  • Set up tables with pencils, scissors, and stick glue.
  • Give each student reference pictures of octopus.


  1. Hand back students’ backgrounds and painted papers.
  2. Instruct students to draw the shapes on the back (unpainted) side of the paper. Draw large in pencil.
    1. Fish: cut out a minimum of 4 fish of different shapes and sizes.
    2. Starfish: cut out at least 2 star fish.
    3. Octopus: cut the head and 2 tentacles out of one piece. Using your other octopus papers, cut out the other 6 tentacles.

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Mixed Media Summer Art Camp


  1. Elizabeth

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