Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Art Project: Pastel and Glue Pysanky

If you follow this blog on a regular basis, then you know that I am a big fan of Pysanky, the ornate Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Though I love to make real ones with children, the time constraints of the Easter Club just don't allow for it. So I decided to introduce the kids in to them in a different medium: glue and chalk pastel.

This is a technique that I have seen on many art blogs, such as this post by That Artist Woman. Chalk pastels can be difficult for elementary-age students to work with, because it so easy to accidentally smear everything together and end up with a big mess. While I am a big fan of allowing children to explore different mediums without a lot of instruction, many children become seriously frustrated when using chalk pastels and left to their own devices. 

In this technique, the children draw a pattern and then trace it with glue. The glue, when dried, makes a natural boundary that helps keep the smearing in check. The American sites show pictures where the glue stands out from the page and is an extra element in the artwork. Unfortunately, our glue here in Berlin seems to have a different consistency than Elmer's, so it became transparent and dried a bit flatter. Nevertheless, it did help make these boundaries for the children to aid them with the chalk pastels. 

For this project you will need:
- colored paper
- chalk pastels
- glue
- pencil 
- ruler
- examples of symbols found on Pysanky (I found this page helpful.)
- a black permanent marker 

First, you have the children draw an egg shape and divide it into 8 sections, by drawing a vertical line down the middle and then a horizontal one.  Then you divide each of these four sections with a diagonal line. I encouraged the children to use a ruler. 

Then, I provided the children with some simple ideas for symbols that they could draw on their eggs. But, of course, I gave them full freedom to draw anything they wanted. 

The next step is to lightly sketch the symbols in each quadrant of the egg.

Next comes the fun part of tracing with the glue.

After the glue has dried, you color in each section with oil pastels. (We did this step a week later.) As a finishing touch, some of the finer details can be outline with a black permanent marker (such as a Sharpie).

The picture above and the eggs below are some of the examples of the children's artwork. Aren't they lovely?

. . . . . . . 

In der OsterAG haben wir "Pisanki" (ukrainische Ostereier) mit Bastelleim und Pastelkreide gemacht. Da Pastelkreide nicht gerade leicht für Kinder zu steuern ist, hat sich eine Methode in der Kunstpädagogik entwickelt, in der die Kinder zuerst das Bild mit Bastelleim umskizzen. Nachdem der Kleber getrocknet wird, kann das Kind mit der Kreidepastellen in diesen "Kleber-Grenzen" leichter arbeiten honen das ganze zu verschmieren. Danach kann man ein schwarzes Edding nehmen um Details nachzuskizzen.

Ich habe den Kindern Ideen gegeben, was für christliche Symbole sie zeichnen konnten, aber sie haben die Freiheit gehabt zu malen, was sie wollten. 

Die Kinder haben sich Mühe gegeben, und ich fand die Ergebnisse toll!

Linked to Friday's Nature Table at The Magic Onions

and Eco Kids' Tuesday at Like Mama-Like Daughter and Organic Aspirations

and Waldorf Wednesday at Seasons of Joy


  1. Absolutely loving it! It's on my to do list! It was smart to use the coloured paper - thought the glue is invisible, the blue, green and pink boundaries work a lot better than a plain white would.

  2. Thanks, Asmic! Also, the glue can turn yellow on white paper, and not look so nice.

  3. These are lovely. I remember using glue and then watercolour paint like this some years ago, I must see if that would work well too. They are so colourful and I guess less fiddly than tiny eggs for younger ones. One to try!

  4. Oh very nice!!! Thanks for sharing this with us last week! Hope you join us again at Eco-Kids Tuesday!!

  5. This is just lovely!

    Thank you for visiting Waldorf Wednesday. Hope to see you back this week!

  6. In addition to our weekly Monday Kid Corner, this week's theme is MUD. Brush off those archives and link them up at See you there! Jennifer