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How to Draw Shadow Art for Kids

by Jean Van't Hul
April 23, 2023
shadow art featured

Create beautiful shadow art for kids. Simply trace any pattern of shadow and light on paper, then paint it.

Updated May 2023

This is such a simple art activity. Yet so absorbing. And so beautiful.

We simply traced the pattern of shadow and light made by the morning sun streaming through the sheer floral curtains in our dining room window. And then painted our shadow tracings.

You could trace any shadow, by the way—no need for special curtains.*

We’ve done shadow tracing before by setting up a bouquet of flowers between the sunlight and the paper. You could also set up a lamp as a light source and place your object between the light and the paper. Or go outside and trace your body onto the sidewalk with chalk.

A young girl tracing the shadow coming through the sheer floral curtains.

Shadow Art for Kids

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*These sheer floral curtains are from Ikea, by the way. This particular one is not available anymore but they have another similar curtain here.

Shadow reflected on a watercolor paper taped on the table.


Step 1. Set Up for Shadow Art

Tape your watercolor paper to the table to hold it in place as you trace. Either arrange the paper first where there is a nice shadow (from the window, for example) or arrange an interesting shaped object and a lamp or other light source to create a shadow on your paper.

Step 2. Trace the Light

Trace the light and shadow shapes with a pen.

A young girl painting over the shadow coming through a sheer floral curtain.

Step 3. Paint the Shadow Drawing

Paint your shadow art with watercolors if you’d like.

A young girl painting over her shadow tracings.

Step 4. Tracing More Shadows (Optional)

Trace more shadows over your painted shadow art with a metallic marker.

More Tracing Activities from The Artful Parent

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Kids Shadow Art

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