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Art Project for Kids: Beautiful Styrofoam Mosaics

Apr 24, 2013

Making a Styrofoam mosaic is a whole lot of fun! It's an open-ended, colourful art project using one of my favourite thrifty craft materials: the Styrofoam produce tray.

In my home daycare, we love creating with recyclables. Using items that would normally be tossed into the blue box not only keeps our crafting costs down, it's a great way to teach the children about repurposing and upcycling.

What you'll need:

  • Styrofoam produce trays *
  • acrylic paints
  • scissors
  • glue
  • card stock or construction paper

*Always sterilize your produce trays by running them through the dishwasher first.

How we made them:

Trim the edges off your trays, so you're left with a flat piece of Styrofoam.

To colour your tiles, give one side of your Styrofoam two coats of acrylic craft paint. Let the first coat dry completely before re-coating. Acrylics dry quickly, but you can speed the process up even more with the help of a hair dryer.

We've used tempera paints for this process in the past, but the temperas tend to flake when you cut the trays up. I've remedied that problem by applying a light coat of craft sealer or varnish over the paint, and letting it dry before proceeding.

Once your Styrofoam trays are completely dry, have your child cut them up into irregular sizes and shapes.

This process is a lot of fun, and it's a great opportunity for your little one to strengthen his or her fine motor control and to practice scissor skills.

I just love how vibrant the pieces are, and how much they look like real mosaic tiles.

Now it's time to create your work of art!

Each Hooligan chose a piece of card stock to work on. I offered a selection of dark colours so their brightly coloured tiles would really pop against their backdrops.The Hooligans brushed white school glue onto the backs of their tiles, and pressed them onto their paper.

Encourage your child to completely fill his piece of paper, filling in any gaps with smaller bits of tile. Have a pair of scissors handy so your child can cut larger pieces down to size to fit into the gaps.

This project doesn't have to be one dimensional. One little Hooligan quickly discovered he could glue his tiles on top of each other to add some height to his artwork.

No matter how your child chooses to lay out his or her tiles, you'll end up with a piece of art that will add a welcome burst of colour to any space. If you enjoyed this project, be sure to visit my blog at Happy Hooligans! You'll find lots of inexpensive and easy art, craft and play ideas there!

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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