Eric Carle is not only one of our forever favorite authors, but he’s also one of our forever favorite artists! Create Eric Carle inspired paper collages using basic art supplies.
Eric Carle inspired collages are a delight
Chances are that you own, have read, or can recognize an Eric Carle book. From The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and a million in between, his books are gorgeous, iconic, and perfect for little learners.
And one of the BEST things about Eric Carle’s art is that his collage style is easy (and fun!) for kids to try, too!
If you have colored paper, you can make Eric Carle inspired paper collages
Eric Carle’s technique for making his art was through painting tissue papers with various colors and textures, letting them dry, and then cutting them into shapes to make the art that we know and love.
With young kids, it’s easy to modify that technique by using any colored paper you have on hand (ex: colored construction paper, colored cardstock, colored tissue papers, etc.).
Let’s make some Eric Carle art!
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- Colored paper – construction paper or cardstock are our faves
- White paper
- Glue sticks (or regular glue)
- Eric Carle books (alternatively, if you don’t have easy access to Eric Carle books, you can find images of his art online or visit YouTube, search “Eric Carle,” and find people [including Eric Carle himself] reading his books)
Chop chop – let’s collage ✂️
Begin by looking at some of Eric Carle’s art and discussing the shapes you see. For example, when looking at the bear on the cover of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” ask your child to name the shapes they see. Then, talk about the colors used, how the shapes are placed together, and so on.
Next, provide your child with colorful paper, scissors, and glue, and invite them to create their own collages!
Some kids will come up with an idea before they create it and then use the materials to make the design they had in mind. Some kids will begin by cutting up paper shapes, putting them together, and then deciding what it is. Either method, pre-planning or just going for it, yields gorgeous art!
When making Eric Carle inspired collages, I also love sitting down and making art with the kids. There’s something relaxing and beautiful about cutting out shapes and putting them together to create designs. It’s just the best.
Want to see Eric Carle in action?
Photos: Check out these photos of Eric Carle painting tissues and see if they remind you of any specific piece of art that he has made.
Audio: While creating, it might also be fun to listen to The Very Hungry Caterpillar being read in different languages! On Eric Carle’s website, you can listen to the story being read in several languages, and it’s extra fun to create art while listening to beautiful languages from around the world.
I’m forever thankful that Eric Carle’s techniques are captured and documented so well, and I only wish I had the opportunity to have watched him create in person.
Is this a STEAM activity?
YES! We love STEAM activities as they connect so many essential parts of learning.
STEAM is the educational acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Because Eric Carle inspired collages are full of Art and Math, it easily qualifies as a fantastic STEAM activity.
Art: recreating an object in real life, inventing a new thing, creativity, composition, colors
Math: naming shapes, spatial awareness (how the shapes “go” together), geometric and non-geometric shapes, counting, comparing
What age is this activity best for?
Any age that can use scissors independently! Our preschoolers always enjoy doing this type of art, but guess what?
ADULTS LOVE IT, TOO!
I used to do this activity every semester with my college students in my art class, and the designs they came up with each time blew me away.
Check out some adult Eric Carle inspired collages:
You’re going to love making Eric Carle inspired collages, too!
There’s just nothing not to love. They’re open-ended, there’s no “right” or “wrong” thing to create, and it’s a special way to honor such a special man, author, and artist.