Below you’ll find directions for making beautiful coffee filter art flowers with kids. I even have free printable templates for you to grab at the end of the post.
I love art.
Science with kids is something else I adore.
And I love teaching children, whether they’re kindergartners, preschoolers, or my own son.
How about you? If so, why not combine all three of these passions into one super fun science and art project? That’s what we’ve done with our spring coffee filter art.
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Coffee Filter Art Flowers are a Favorite
These coffee filter flowers are one of my favorite art projects to do with kids. Of course, my son likes to say that I have a lot of favorite art and science activities, “like you have a lot of favorite books!” He’s got a point, but I digress.
When I first tried this with my preschoolers, I went in knowing they’d enjoy it. However, I couldn’t have predicted their level of interest!! We were practically drowning in beautiful flowers when we were done.
And over the years I’ve discovered that wasn’t a one-time deal. Every group of kids I’ve done this with has gotten into it so much that we ended up with tons of beautiful spring art. What a great problem to have!
In addition to the enjoyment factor, the children learned a lot about science, math, and art concepts along the way.
Materials Needed for Spring Coffee Filter Art
You can find material suggestions on my Amazon Coffee Filter Art list.
Don’t forget to grab the free printable template at the bottom of the post too!
Related: Coffee Filter Solar System
How to prep this activity
Using the school’s die-cut machine, I cut out a zillion flowers from a stack of coffee filters. Okay, so it probably wasn’t a zillion! I’m glad I was able to get my hands on a die-cut machine, as this project extended farther than I originally planned (meaning I had to go back a few times to make more coffee filter flowers)!
Hand-cutting the flowers wouldn’t have been difficult, though, just more time consuming. You can also have the kids free-hand cut their own flowers, or use a template to trace before cutting.
If you’d prefer, I made two flower templates you can print and use. They’re available at the bottom of this post.
Next up, squirt some liquid watercolors into a few containers. I used a variety of old glass jars I had on-hand. I’ve found that the glass jars work best for holding the liquid watercolors, as the jars are less prone to tipping over. Unless you’re like me and you knock them over, of course!
Related: Free Printable Counting Flowers Book
Directions for Making Coffee Filter Art Flowers
I highly recommend that you place down a piece of wax paper to serve as each child’s work space. With each child, I placed a piece of wax paper down and wrote his name on it with permanent marker. The wax paper helped contain any escaping watercolors and made it easier to take the coffee filter flowers over to our drying rack.
Show the kids how to use an eye dropper in case they need that instruction (or that reminder). I reviewed how to use an eye dropper with the children, just in case.
Then let those little art scientists at it!
I loved watching how each kid took on their coffee filter flowers.
Some children excitedly splatted large amounts of paint onto the coffee filters at first. This led to a great discussion of over-saturation versus saturation!
Once they’d experimented with over-saturating the flowers, the kiddos were much more intentional about dropping the paint sparingly. Well, unless they were enthusiastically experimenting with over-saturation!
Related: Colorful Tape and Watercolor Canvas
Using the eye droppers, the children watched how the watercolors were absorbed by the coffee filter flowers.
The first year we did this, we ended up doing this experiment on and off for more than 5 days. Every successive year I’ve tried this with kids, I’ve made sure to plan extra time for the project.
We enjoyed exploring with different colors and types of liquid watercolors. This allowed us to see that some were absorbed much quicker than others. A few of the kids and I explored this in-depth, “racing” some of the colors on the flowers. We found that the glitter watercolors were absorbed a lot less quickly than the regular watercolors. We hypothesized it was because the glitter watercolors are thicker.
In addition to saturation and absorption, we delved into color theory a bit too. There were grand exclamations about making new colors by mixing some of the paints!
The concept that red and yellow make orange is so much more meaningful to a child when she’s making that discovery herself. The kids also noticed that the darker colors sometimes overtook the lighter colors.
Related: Kid-Made Cupcake Liner Flowers
Learning with Beautiful Spring Flower Coffee Filter Art
Here are some of the concepts we explored with this awesome science and art project:
- Color mixing
- Fine motor skills
- Color identification
These coffee filter flowers look gorgeous displayed in the window.
We decided we liked the flowers better when they’re taped directly to the window, as the colors are brighter. That’s in comparison to placing the flowers on a piece of contact paper to display in the window.
We even used these gorgeous coffee filter flowers to make mixed-media Mother’s Day handprint art as presents. I think they’d be great for gifts for anyone in the family, too.
Preschool Lesson Plans for Spring
Save time and jump right into hands-on, multi-sensory learning fun with done-for-you lesson plans. Each of our preschool lesson plan packs come with:
- Printable plans (both a one-sheet grid plan and multi-page plans that describe the learning activities)
- Whole group ideas
- Small group activities
- Center time activities
- Book suggestions
- Related printables (read below the photo for specific printables)
- Blank, editable lesson plan outlines in case you want to rearrange a few things on your own!
Click on each photo below to read more about the lesson plans:
Free Printable Flower Template
As promised, I put together two flower templates you can use if you don’t have a die-cut machine and don’t want to freehand the cutting.
If you’re a member of Fun-A-Day’s free email community, just enter your information and you’ll be able to get the printable.
Not a member? No worries! Enter your information below to join, and you’ll get the templates as a welcome gift.
Originally published April 2015