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3D Cardboard Portraits from The Art Workshop for Children

by Barbara Rucci
October 17, 2016

How kids can make 3D cardboard portraits from the Art Workshop for Children by Barbara Rucci of Art Bar Blog. An easy portrait-making art activity for kids from a beautiful new book that is full of process art activities for kids.

Art Workshop for Children - Cardboard Portraits

“Let’s raise creative thinkers who explore their world, express their dreams, embrace differences, and never lose touch with their inner artist.” – Barbara Rucci

My friend Bar Rucci of Art Bar Blog teaches art classes for children in her home in Connecticut. I’ve often thought about how lucky those kids are to have her encourage them creatively and offer beautiful process art activities every week. Any child I know would thrive in that environment and enjoy the art activities she offers.

Cardboard portraits and many process art activities found in the book Art Workshop for Children.

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Art Workshop for Children Book

Well now, even if we can’t all go to Bar’s home for art classes, we can bring Bar and her art classes into our own homes.

Because she has a new book, Art Workshop for Children: How to Foster Original Thinking with More than 25 Process Art Experiences. This book presents her art activities and philosophies together in an accessible and encouraging way.

Display kids art pages from the book "Art Workshop for Children Book".

Bar’s new book is a beautiful introduction to process art, with conversations about art spaces, materials, displaying art, and parenting throughout.

Kids art activity pages from the book "Art Workshop for Children Book".

Above all, though, the book is full of lovely art activities that would work as well with one child as with a classroom full of children. Each activity includes the materials needed, set up tips (great to have!), instructions, and ways to extend or vary the activity.

Plus gorgeous photos!

Here’s a sweet peek into the book:

Doesn’t that look nice?

Beautifully and colorfully painted 3D cardboard portraits.

We made the cardboard collage faces project from her book and got SO into it, it’s taken over our studio!

We’ve kept the materials out in the studio for over a week. We worked on our big cardboard faces (and other creations) every day through three separate playdates and with kids ranging in age from 7 through 39. (Did I just call myself a kid? I still feel like one sometimes!)

Cardboard Portraits from the “Art Workshop for Children” Book

To make the cardboard portraits, I followed Bar’s instructions:

Step 1:

I cut a variety of big and small shapes out of cardboard for the project. I set these up on the art table, along with glue.

A young girl gluing cardboard shapes together for the 3D cardboard portrait.

Step 2:

We glued necks on our heads. Added cardboard shapes for eyes and noses, ears and mouths, and even necklaces.


Making cardboard faces today thanks to the beautiful new book, Art Workshop for Children, by my friend Barbara Rucci of @artbarblog .

A photo posted by Jean Van’t Hul | Artful Parent (@jeanvanthul) on

Step 3:

After we glued all parts of the head, we used black Sharpies to add details to the cardboard portraits such as eyelashes, teeth, etc. to our faces.

A young girl adding details and painting the cardboard portrait.

Step 4:

Then got out the paints to add color.

More cardboard portraits with details and embellishments.

Step 5:

In subsequent days and rounds, we drew and painted more, added extra embellishments and got even more 3-D with egg carton eyes and exposed cardboard ridges, etc.

Cardboard portraits got even more 3-D with egg carton eyes and exposed cardboard ridges, etc.

Maia, my 11-year-old, enjoyed making a cardboard portrait as much as my 7-year-old and her friends. In fact, while process art is traditionally associated with younger children, I think that many of the activities in this book can be easily adapted for a range of ages.

We found this activity so inspiring and could keep going and going. Our windowsill is lined with our cardboard faces and I have more ideas for variations. I love ideas like this that continue to influence.

And this is just ONE of the inspiring ideas from Barbara Rucci’s new book!

Cultivate Creative Process Quote by Betsy McKenna

The Kids Art Book 

Art Workshop for Children Book by Barbara Rucci

Bar Rucci shows that process art can be beautiful as well as creativity enhancing and developmentally appropriate. She wrote the Art Workshop for Children book in collaboration with Reggio-educator Betsy McKenna, who says:

“All children need just one adult in their life who will cultivate the dawning of their creative process.”

How true!

I highly recommend you do yourself and your children a favor and get your hands on a copy of this beautiful, colorful, and inspiring book.

It is available wherever books are sold, online and off.

More Kids Art Activities by Bar Rucci on The Artful Parent

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Cardboard portraits kids can make by gluing cardboard shapes together and painting the faces. (Plus a beautiful book about kids' art called Art Workshop for Children by Barbara Rucci.) #kidsart #repurposed #cardboard #kidscraft #artsandcrafts #arteducation #kidsactivities #craftsforkids

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