Whether you need a last-minute craft for your Halloween party, or are looking ahead to November and Thanksgiving, using FREE paint chip swatches as the base of your craft saves time and looks amazing! Even better is that paint swatches are great for academic language activities that are engaging and pleasing to the student eye. In this two-part blog, I’ll focus on crafts using paint swatches in this post, and academic activities in next week's post. Read on for instant ideas, tips, tricks, and techniques to get your paint chip-a-palooza started today!
One of the best aspects of these activities is the bang you get for your buck, except even better — the materials are FREE! I am not advocating that you raid your local hardware store and take all of their swatches, however, there are multiple ways you can gather the quantity of swatches you need to complete the activities:
Scrounge through your own stash of leftover paint swatches. I know in our house we have accumulated a ton over the years, and they’re now sitting around with no purpose.
Reach out to your class parents. I guarantee that most of them have the same huge stash you do and will be thrilled to give them up for classroom use.
If donations fail or don’t produce enough swatches, go to your local store, tell them you are a teacher and your purpose for the swatches. Ask if they have any old swatches they don’t need any more, and I bet they’ll have some to give to you! (Extra points if you send a thank you note to them with a sample of the finished product!)
Need a last-minute Halloween craft idea to help your party be a hit? Grab some paint swatches, click on the image below, and set up a monster creation station that requires hardly any materials and very little supervision.
The best tutorial with materials, instructions, examples, and even free downloadable templates is by Angela Sgro Designs. See the supplies list and basic instructions below. Click on the image to see more information on this fun Halloween craft!
After finding the adorable and easy Halloween paint chip crafts above, and because I have a TON of neutral-toned paint swatches, I wanted to continue our plethora of paint chip crafts into the month of November. You can imagine my delight when this darling little paint swatch scarecrow popped up on my Pinterest search results!
For this version of the paint swatch character faces, you will need basically the same materials as those listed above, just customized for the scarecrow:
Neutral-toned gradient/color fade paint swatches (wide)
Templates for scarecrow pieces (make your own)
Red, brown, orange, tan, and black construction paper
Red and black permanent markers
Instructions are extremely similar to the ones listed above for the Halloween crafts, but just tailored for the scarecrow design.
Make templates out of cardstock (or use file folders) in simple shapes for the hat, eyes, nose, and straw hair.
Students trace the cardstock pieces, cut out the construction paper pieces (see colors on example photo), and glue them onto the paint chip swatch to form the completed scarecrow head.
Once all pieces are glued, students may use the markers to draw the mouth and rosy cheeks.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I searched for paint swatch activities themed for giving thanks. From the inspirational paint swatch leaf images below (found on Pinterest), I think I will either have students trace leaf templates onto the swatches and cut them out, or run some paint swatches through our die cut machine to create various leaf shapes. Then, students will write what they are thankful for on the leaves. Finally, we will add our leaves to either a Thanksgiving TREE (using actual branches with leaves hanging off of them or by taping/gluing the paint chip leaves onto a paper bulletin board tree) or a class Thanksgiving wreath (as seen below). I know that local dollar stores have simple wreath forms for one dollar, so I can jazz them up with the colorful leaf cutouts with student thanks written on them.
Along the same lines as the leaf tree and/or wreath above, I LOVE the idea of writing things we’re thankful for on paint swatches and then assembling them to look like a turkey (with the feathers being the swatches). Scholastic has some awesome November craft ideas, and this paint chip turkey is one of my favorites. Go to the November Craft Collection for more crafts that include full instructions and step-by-step photos!
Don’t underestimate the power of a great bookmark! Paint swatches are actually pretty durable and need only a few quick steps to take them from an ordinary swatch to a super cool bookmark that will add to your students’ reading excitement. Below are a few examples of ways you can punch out shapes in the swatches, add illustrations, ribbon, and more, to let your students create their own special place marker for their reading! Click on each image for more details and instructions.