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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.

shadow art pin
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Shadow Art for Kids

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  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 object and a lamp or other light source to create a shadow on your paper.

  2. Trace the light

    Trace the light and shadow shapes with a pen.

    shadow drawing (1)

  3. Paint the shadow drawing

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

    shadow painting

  4. Trace more shadows (optional)

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

    shadow tracing

This is such a fun and simple drawing activity, and the results are lovely!

More Drawing Activities

Does your child want to explore the world of drawing and expand their skills? Check out our three-part Drawing Skills Master Class for kids! Your child can learn to draw at home with 3 unique modules: Line & ShapeLight & Shadow, and Perspective. With at-home video lessons and easy-to-follow printable workbooks, your child will build skills and confidence as they learn to draw!

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