These beautiful seahorses are adapted from an amazing torn paper collage I found at Torn Paper Paintings by Wanda Edwards. I thought it might be fun to recreate this seahorse in a way that children could color and cut with ease so I drew a template based on this seahorse and decided to color it with bleeding tissue paper instead. It’s not as stunning as Ms. Edwards torn paper art, but I think your children will be amazed at the work they can do, and this technique might inspire them to start making their own shapes from paper as well.
Suggest Resources for a Unit Study:
Art Project Tutorial:
Print up your template on cardstock or watercolor paper. You will need one template per child, and your final project will be facing the opposite direction of the seahorse template
Cut out punch out small bits of bleeding tissue paper. Bleeding tissue paper is different then standard tissue paper. You can purchase bleeding Tissue paper at your local craft store on with the resource link above
Take a moment to look at your seahorse and decide what colors you might put around what part. I suggest you encourage children to start with warm colors on top, cool colors on bottom and maybe a cool color near the ends of the fin. Otherwise when you mix the blues, greens and reds you start to get brown :)
Turn your seahorse template over so that you're working on the backside of the paper. Using a small paintbrush and a dab of water begin arranging your tissue paper onto your paper.
As your paper gets wet it will start to bleed the color and blend with surrounding colors for a stunning effect.
You can always lift your paper to be sure that you've added color to the entire template.
Allow your tissue paper to dry a bit and then carefully peel off the tissue paper. The color will remain
After your paper has dried completely (use a hair dryer if you are impatient or doing this in a single classroom setting) you can begin to cut out your shapes. I suggest cutting these out one at a time then assembling them. Younger children will need help with the cutting so be sure to plan for that if you're doing this project with multiple young students.
Using a piece of black construction paper as your background, begin to assemble your seahorse parts. You'll want to leave black spaces shinning through.
As you add more and more pieces you can see your seahorse come to life.
Be sure to look at a reference paper if you can't remember how the seahorse was supposed to look
Arrange all of your pieces and get them to your liking before gluing to your paper
One at a time, glue your pieces to your paper. We only put glue in the middle of each piece and founded the edges a bit so that our seahorses appear to come off the paper with a 3D effect.
Cut a small almond shape eye from your scrap paper if you like.
You can stop here if you like, your seahorse is beautiful!
Or you can use a small grey or black marker to add in some texture to your seahorse. Try adding dots, circles, half circles along the back edge of your seahorse
You can add small lines across your seahorse fins
Stand back and marvel at your beautiful sea creature! These look amazing lined up next to each other as every one comes out differently and each child glues their seahorse back together in a different way. Encourage children to make more paper templates and cut out their own sea creatures or backgrounds. For example, greens and blues can be cut out to make seaweed, bright orange would make coral, etc.......use this opportunity to introduce children to the art of paper cutting from their own art.