Art Workshop for Children - More Cardboard Portraits
Collage Kids Arts and Crafts Activities

3D Cardboard Portraits from The Art Workshop for Children


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
3D Cardboard Portraits from The Art Workshop for Children


  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 8:37 am

    These are too cool and look like so much fun! Art Workshop is now on my Amazon wishlist… I have a feeling it’ll make its way into my cart sooner than later! ;)

  • Reply
    Marisa maloney
    October 17, 2016 at 9:12 am

    I love following the art bar blog and was happy to see that she wrote book. That would be an awesome addition to my homeschool art curriculum.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 9:26 am

    Thank you for the wonderful insiprations!

  • Reply
    Lauren Cohen
    October 17, 2016 at 9:35 am

    I would LOVE LOVE that book! I think I entered to raffle correctly!

  • Reply
    Becky Honaker
    October 17, 2016 at 9:36 am

    How cool! I would love to use this book in my lessons!

  • Reply
    Sarah M
    October 17, 2016 at 9:58 am

    I love the cardboard faces project. This looks like such a fun book! Fingers crossed. :)

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 10:05 am

    I love art and my kids would love to make carboard faces from this new book.

    Art it is very important for children. I agree!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 10:06 am

    These are very cool. I like the idea of leaving materials out for progressive work sessions (we don’t have space). I’d adapt it for character portraits from books we are reading.

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 10:15 am

    I need to get my hands on this book! Looks incredible!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Oh, wow, this looks like a fun and inspiring book. My 2.5-year-old and I have been having a great time delving into the world of process art together, and I’ve even started an informal art group with her and a bunch of other little ones (heavily influenced by all your wonderful ideas here, Jean). Would love to add this title to the mix!

  • Reply
    Keli Henderson
    October 17, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Love the cardboard portraits. Looks like a fun book!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 11:54 am

    I love having inspiring books like this on hand for my seven and five year old to page through. Art Bar Blog is one of my must-reads, so we’ll have to own this book sooner or later. :D

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I would have loved this book when I was teaching art in the classroom but I know it’ll be even more fun to create with my babies at home.

  • Reply
    Sara vwB
    October 17, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Can’t wait to get these going with the boys! We love self portrait projects!!!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I loved the idea of these faces so I set it up for my three year old and she had a blast. I’d love to have the book and do more activities like this!

  • Reply
    Jordan Ashby
    October 17, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    This looks so fun! I will be trying this with my art students very soon!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    This activity looks so fun and I will be trying this with my art students very soon!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    This book is on my list. Wonderful blog too!

  • Reply
    Lise McGuinness
    October 17, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    What an appealing-looking book. I’d love the chance to win a copy! I adore your cardboard portraits; we might need to do some immediately!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I was following the process of creating these masks on IG with pleasure and it’s great to read more datailed about it here. If all the project are as good as this one, the books sounds like a dream!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    I would LOVE this book. I have been following Bar’s Instagram feed and love her work. I loved your review!

  • Reply
    Crystal D
    October 17, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    These cardboard self-portraits look like such a fun idea – and we have a TON of cardboard in our recycling, I’ll have to go pull it all out! The book looks awesome! Thank you for this generous giveaway, keeping my fingers crossed that we might win a copy!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Such a great idea with beautiful results. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    I’m so looking forward to reading this book!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    What a fantastic project! This would really appeal to my girls! What a great project. Looks like fantastic book!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    Looks like Bar has compiled an amazing book. I would be thrilled to have a copy and get to making with the little people on my life. Your cardboard portraits turned out good.

  • Reply
    Sarah Gillespie
    October 17, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    This is so cool! We love to get messy and paint, this would be awesome!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Always looking for fresh ideas and this book looks like a winner! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Angie D
    October 17, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    My daughter loves creating art projects of all types and thus would be a wonderful resource to add to our home!

  • Reply
    Renee G
    October 17, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    This book looks like a lot of family fun.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 2:39 am

    This looks like such a beautiful filled with inspiration.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 3:59 am

    What a great idea! Can’t wait to try it with my daughter!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 4:20 am

    We love your blog and follow it all the time. Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions!

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Bar’s book (and your blog!) are so very helpful for anyone living or working with little artists! Thank you for supporting the arts :)

  • Reply
    October 18, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    What a wonderful book! I can’t wait to try out some of these art activities. I’m always looking for new art ideas for my students.

  • Reply
    Heather Butow
    October 18, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book! It looks great & my sons & I would love to have a copy at home! I love your blog & your friend Barbara’s blog too! So inspirational! Keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    Heather Butow
    October 19, 2016 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for the opportunity to win this book! My sons & I would love a copy at home! Also, I love your blog & your friend Barbara’s blog too, so inspirational! Keep up the great work!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 12:30 am

    Can’t wait to try these with my class.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    As a mom of two little ones this would be a wonderful source of creative ideas!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks so much for telling us about this book. It looks AMAZING! Wish I still had little ones in the house. :-)

  • Reply
    stephanie morency
    October 20, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Fun project! super excited for this book – we love all things from Art Bar!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Would love to win!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2016 at 9:15 pm

    sounds like a fun project!

  • Reply
    Erin S.
    October 20, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I would love to win this book!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    This looks like a must-have for this artful parent/art teacher. Thanks so much for another wonderful post on your wonderful blog- and for the giveaway!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 5:42 am

    I am an elementary art teacher and think my students would love the activities in this book! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Reply
    Mrs. P
    October 21, 2016 at 8:20 am

    When entering the raffle, I inadvertently submitted the comment without actually commenting :-) Oh well! This book looks gorgeous, my kids and my students would love it–I want to make one of those cardboard self portraits too!

  • Reply
    Rebekah Gienapp
    October 21, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    These portraits look so fun. They remind me of a Todd Parr illustration!

  • Reply
    Jacquelyn Ross-Hertel
    October 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    This book looks like a lot of fun and a ton of inspiration. I would love to share it with my kiddo and my kiddos in class too!

  • Reply
    Angela L.
    October 21, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I really would like to get this book because I have a hard time transitioning the wonderful ideas I see online to my time with my two kids. They always want to “make art” but I haven’t quite figured out how to guide them. I think this book would be great for that.

  • Reply
    Carrie H.
    October 21, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    As a totally un-crafty parent, I truly appreciate all the help from this blog. A book to refer to would be more awesomeness.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Our family has thoroughly enjoyed your art books, Jean, and I’m sure we’lol love your friend’s book as well. Looking forward to making cardboard portraits!

  • Reply
    Savannah Stewart
    October 21, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Those cardboard portraits are just stunning!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Love the vivid colors and fun ideas.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Love this project! Think this will be so much fun for our afterschool outreach program.

  • Reply
    Laura Ilardo
    October 21, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    These are great ideas to do with my little one! Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Reply
    Lisa Hebdon
    October 21, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Congratulations! The trailer was really cute and my kids and I got excited about making a cardboard cake to decorate. Art is fun!

  • Reply
    Sara Levasseur
    October 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    This looks like so much fun. I’m always looking for creative ideas to share with my 6 year old daughter.

  • Reply
    Linda WItt
    October 21, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    I love the ideas of the cardborad masks. I am a mental health therapist who works with children and adolescents. I can see using this activity in a very therapeutic way

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    I do not consider myself an artsy person, so I can use all the help I can get, and this book looks like just the ticket! I also have both of your books, Jean, and I love them! Thanks for helping me along in the art dept!!! :)

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    The book sounds so interesting!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    This book looks fantastic! My grandchildren and I have so much fun creating. I can use some new ideas! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Reply
    Jenn A
    October 21, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    Awesome idea! I could really use a resource like this for my art loving child.

  • Reply
    Shirley Gilchrist
    October 21, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    The cardboard faces are quite a nifty project.
    I think the book will encourage me to do more art activities with my grandchildren.

  • Reply
    Karla Pamanes
    October 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    I love the masks! and would love to win a book! :)

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Wow! This looks like such a fun book!

  • Reply
    Jenn Christensen
    October 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    This looks like so much fun! I’m constantly looking for new art ideas. My son has autism and loves painting and glue. Anything slimy and sticky goes all over his hands!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Love working on art projects togethers and sharing our creations.

  • Reply
    Nikkie M
    October 21, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    Love this project!! And your book looks so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    Looks like an amazing book!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I love your ideas an my kids do too. Thanks for such a lovely blog! Even if I don’t win a copy, I’ll definitely check out this new book. ?

  • Reply
    petra paukova
    October 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    I love your ideas. I am working with kids with autism an have to simplyfy a lot. Card board portraits are perfect! I am gonna to win this book. I am gonna to win this book. I am gonna to win this book!!!!! ;)

  • Reply
    Katie Wurtz
    October 22, 2016 at 12:17 am

    I love these ideas and they’re inspiring me to do more art projects with our son – thank you! ;-)

  • Reply
    Janet Paech
    October 22, 2016 at 2:55 am

    Beauty in in the eyes of the beholder and the little hands that create it. With a dob of paint here, and blob glue there and giggles everywhere a happy world is is ours to be apart of. I run a family daycare at home and when the children have returned to their own home and I reflect on our day my laugh muscles ache. Thanks for inspiring me to inspire them.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 4:53 am

    Wow…looks like it is a very fun project and all the faces turned out great! I am sure the kids had loads of fun. Can’t wait to try myself! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Another inspirational activity! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 8:26 am

    Gorgeous! I love all the activities you share! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Linda Maxwell
    October 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Looks like the kind of resource I need. Homeschooling two grandchildren (twins age 12) and three great grands from 9 to 5 years. The projects look adaptable to various skill and interest levels.

  • Reply
    Peggy Graceffa
    October 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    I love when the masks we wear are made from the stuff of our creative imagination — portraits as hand-made expressiveness almost as sweet as those real faces pleased with their creations. Love our collective beauty; thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 10:56 am

    This would be a welcome book for our granddaughter a budding artist with lots of talent.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    This looks like such a fun project and is a great way to recycle bits of cardboard lying around!

  • Reply
    Andrew Doyle
    October 22, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Love this post! I’m planning an after school art class next semester and that book looks terrific!

  • Reply
    Caro Luzzatto
    October 22, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Love the open-ended nature of this project! I’m thinking about trying this with “monster faces” because my students are so intrigued with extra eyes and fangs!

    • Reply
      October 22, 2016 at 9:16 pm

      Such a great idea — especially given it’s close to Halloween. Not that anytime of year isn’t great for monsters:->

  • Reply
    Susie Sung
    October 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I teach 4th grade and have 4 daughters. This would be a great book to have.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    At my son’s school they do a few rounds of self portraits each year in art class. The life-size cardboard renditions would make a fun twist on the project. I am excited to read more of the projects and ideas in this book!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    What a great idea- already put it to use today!!

  • Reply
    Jenn Butcher
    October 23, 2016 at 1:52 am

    These look like a super fun craft! And the book looks marvelous!

  • Reply
    Erin Browning
    October 23, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Love the 3D eyes!

  • Reply
    Connie Allen
    October 23, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    I LOVE the quote by Betsy McKenna about cultivating the dawning of children’s creativity! What an awesome joy!

  • Reply
    Julie Jones
    October 23, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    This book looks lovely… I would love a copy for some inspiration for my work as a preschool teacher.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    I teach an art class for homeschool co-op with ages 5-8 and this book looks very inspiring and practical, too.

  • Reply
    colleen Talbot
    October 23, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Oh My Gosh i would love to win this book, you teachers are so inspiring. Im an artist living Australia, and am contemplating teaching kids art classes, and have been gathering ideas, which is totally fun. Love your website thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Patricia Hauschild
    October 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Ironically, I was admiring this book over the weekend. Amazon sent me the update on it.
    It looks perfect for my Montessori elementary art classes, as well as the projects I enjoy with my grandchildren:)
    “Pick me! Pick Me! :)”

    • Reply
      October 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Hello from another Montessori art teacher! I would love to connect and chat about where you teach and what you’re up to in your classes! I am located in Ann Arbor, MI. If you’d like, my email is [email protected]. Would love to hear from you! – Emily

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    What a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    This book looks amazing! I am an art teacher teaching toddlers – 8th graders and I have a feeling I would find some great inspiration in this book!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    This looks like so much fun! We will certainly be trying this out at our house. I have 2 art loving kids, so the book would be awesome!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I would love to win this book, sooo inspiring. I have 2 kids who would truly enjoy making all those fun things. Thanks for the giveaway. Tunde

  • Reply
    Tammy Page
    October 24, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    What a beautiful book! We truly believe it’s all about the process and that it’s important that everyone’s masterpiece is unique and special and unlike anyone else’s. This book would be perfect in our classroom.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Love this blog. Will love to have this book.

  • Reply
    Lindsey Parker
    October 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    My daughters would love this book! We’d have so much fun!

  • Reply
    Gina Bell
    October 24, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Looks like a great book to have!!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    This look so amazing! I am a volunteer art teacher at my children’s Montessori school, this would be such an asset to my tools.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    What an amazing art project! So expressive!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    This looks so fun!

  • Reply
    Tracey Leys
    October 25, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I really want this book! Beautiful, beautiful cardboard portraits. Want to try this project with my first graders.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for the post! Bummed I missed the giveaway, but glad the book is now out there!


  • Reply
    September 2, 2017 at 9:43 am

    What a beautiful, colorful, inspirational book of art ideas! If I’m not a lucky winner, I will definitely be purchasing!

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