Over the years, we’ve made hundreds of coffee filter flowers. It’s one of my go-to art projects in my list of spring activities for preschoolers because it’s both super easy to set up and super engaging.
The children can explore so many different concepts with the coffee filter flower art, too. From math to science to fine motor skills, there’s a lot going for this simple little project. Most importantly, it is FUN for both kids and adults, alike.
Plus, it’s very easy to go from making coffee filter art flowers to making all kinds of other coffee filter art. I love when I can tweak a concept to fit many different themes.
Related: Spring Activities for Preschoolers
Below I’ll share tips and ideas for your flower-themed coffee filter art project. I wasn’t joking when I said we’ve made hundreds over the years. In fact, that number might be in the thousands at this point. So I’ve happened upon a few points to share about this art idea.
Also, you can grab a free printable flower template at the very bottom of this post. After multiple requests from Fun-A-Day readers, my friend Angie (hi, Angie!) helped me make that a reality for you.
Coffee Filter Flowers
These are seriously 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!
I keep referring to spring, as that’s when we often have a flower theme. But, really, this coffee filter flower art can be made any time of the year.
Materials for the Flower Coffee Filter Art
Before we head into the nitty gritty of how to make coffee filter flowers, let’s talk materials. Here’s what we like to use (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
You can find even more material suggestions on my Amazon Coffee Filter Art list. And don’t forget to grab the free printable template at the bottom of the post too!
How to Prep Your Coffee Filter Flowers
There are a few different ways you can get the flowers ready for your students:
I think you can cut multiple coffee filter flowers out whichever way you choose. The die-cut machine is definitely the fastest, though. I’ve only used a manual machine with this, so I’m not positive how well a digital one works.
The first time we made coffee filter flowers, 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 flowers out of coffee filters).
Of course, you can get the children in on the prep work, too. Consider having them free-hand cut their own flowers, or use the template to trace before cutting.
Once you have a multitude of flowers cut out of coffee filters, grab your paint! 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. If you’re concerned about breakage, put the paint in sturdy plastic containers instead.
I highly recommend that you place down a piece of wax paper to serve as each child’s work space. The wax paper helps contain any escaping watercolors and makes it easier to move for drying.
How to Make Watercolor Coffee Filter Flowers
First, explain to the children that they’ll be using liquid watercolors to create art. Then model how to fill the eyedroppers and drip paint onto the coffee filters. Finally, let them get to it!
Your students will interact with the flower art project differently. You might see:
- Meticulous choice of colors and placement of watercolor drops.
- Excited splatting large amounts of paint onto the coffee filters at first.
- Experimenting with mixing colors.
- Testing saturation and oversaturation.
- Using just one color on all of their flower coffee filters.
- Mixing all available colors.
Related: Tape and Watercolor Canvas Art
Of course, you might see your students do something completely different! The point is that each child will approach this art in their own way. Even though the focus is on making flowers, the kids have tons of choice in how to create.
Coffee Filter Flowers Video
I’ve got a video showcasing how to make this lovely coffee filter art. That way you can truly see what I mean when I say this coffee filter art project is super easy. It only has adult hands in it because I’m usually elbow-deep in the art when I set this up for the kids. But it should still help show you the process in-action:
How My Students Created with Their Coffee Filter Art
I loved watching how each child took on their coffee filter flowers. Those who used a ton of paint at first got into 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!
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 they’re making that discovery themself. The kids also noticed that the darker colors sometimes overtook the lighter colors.
What are Kids Learning with This Flower Art?
Here are some of the concepts we explored with this awesome science and art project:
- Color mixing
- Fine motor skills
- Color identification
Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of learning opportunities with this art activity! Of course, making art for art’s sake is just as important!
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.
More Coffee Filter Art for Kids
If the coffee filter flowers are a hit with your students, here are some more ideas to try:
- Coffee Filter Planets
- Watercolor Wreath
- Mother’s Day Handprint Art (using the flowers made here, and can be given as a gift to anyone)
- Snowflake Craft
- Coffee Filter Bats
Flower Lesson Plans
Let Preschool Teacher 101 make your teaching life a lot easier with done-for-you early childhood resources. We have lesson plans, circle time songs, STEM challenges, dramatic play packs, classroom management guides, and so much more. Be sure to take a look at The Pack, our membership for preschool and kindergarten teachers. Members have access to our materials at a steep discount.
Click on each photo below to read more about our flower-themed products:
You can also find us on Teachers Pay Teachers.
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