Scrap Box Birds

Need a project that uses up a bunch of scraps and end of the year bits & pieces?
Then this project is perfect! The pieces turned out great, and in a short amount of time.

Art History:
We discussed the artist Charley Harper, who is from our state of Ohio, and looked at various examples of his many pieces with birds as the subject.

9" X 12" white paper or some type of paper for a base, paper scraps- all types (scrapbook, painted paper, construction, etc.), glue, scissors, pencil, craft odds & ends (buttons, ribbon, stickers, foam pieces, etc,)

Day 1:
We viewed a lot of Charley Harper's artwork and then looked at several photos of birds. The students observed how the birds' bodies were made of simple shapes, such as ovals, teardrops, and triangles. They made sketches of birds using simple shapes as a warm-up to our collages.

Day 2:
We glued all sorts of scraps to the white paper to create a background of one color family. I suggested to the students to save the really patterned scraps for the making of their birds.

Day 3:
Students chose larger scraps of painted paper that we had created earlier in the year and used these to create the bodies and tails of the birds.We discussed contrast and tried choosing colors that worked well together. A wing & beak were added using paper from the scrap box.

Next came the really fun part! I put out all of our leftover craft items from this year and the kids went to town giving their birds some real personality.

We used buttons for an eye.

We also outlined our birds with black marker and drew on legs. 
Some birds ended up flying, while some were standing. 

 This student cut the bottom off a tulip shaped foam piece to make a crown.

Scrap ribbon was used by some to make a border around their collages

 More "action" shots!

 Enjoy our finished scrap birds. We had a ton of fun creating them!

A few added a headband.

 This guy remembered our Wild West unit!


  1. What a fantastic project.
    I love the colors and textures of these birds.

  2. This is one of those projects that really gets me excited to be an art teacher! I know how much prep is involved in this type of activity and just how great the finished effort can be. You ROCK! These birds are too fabulous! You have inspired me to try this next year (we only have 8 days left! WooHoo!)

  3. what a great project! They came out really nice! thanks for sharing!:)

  4. Gorgeous! So full of personality. I don't have 3 sessions left, so it will have to wait for next yeaR. THANKS for posting.

    Rina at

  5. I wish I would have seen this a week or two ago to use up all of my scraps around the room! What a great lesson! And to add in an artist from Ohio is even better! I'll have to do this next year for sure!


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