Tag Archives: Children’s Art Activities

Cat on a Mat, An Artsy Corgi Art Activity

Let’s have fun making a cat on a mat. We’ll paint wet-in-wet with the light-filled colors loved by the Impressionists and weave the painting into a mat for a happy cat! You’ll discover how to draw a cat and learn a basic tabby weave.

In this post you’ll find:

  • Supply list
  • Step-by-step directions
  • Helpful hints
  • Creative variations and adaptations for different ages
  • 4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn
  • 4 ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development
  • Clean-up tips
  • Cute Molly Photo

Let’s have Fun Making Art!


The Mat

  • 9X12 “ Watercolor paper (smooth or rough is fine). You can find inexpensive pads or packs at craft stores and in the craft section of places like Walmart.
  • Choose your favorite color of construction paper for the loom.
  • A larger white piece of paper as a background for the mat
  • Crayons or oil pastels
  • Watercolor paint set and brush

The Cat

  • Pictures of cats
  • Drawing paper
  • Pencils, erasers, scissors
  • Crayons to color the cat
  • White glue


The Mat

  1. With crayons draw curvy and straight lines, dots, spirals, etc. in different colors all over the watercolor paper. Leave lots of white space for the paint. These marks have to be crayon or oil pastels.
  2. Mix several puddles of watercolor paint. Your puddle should flow, but have lots of pigment.
  3. Use a large wet but not dripping brush or rag to wet paper with clear water. The paper should be a more than just damp, but no standing water.
  4. Start adding watercolors, allowing them to flow and mix . Paint right over the crayon or oil pastel. The wax resists the paint and stays bright.
  5. Allow to dry.

The Cat  (do this while your painting dries)

  • Really study pictures of cats. Notice these details:
  • the roundish shape of heads
  •  the oval shape of bodies
  •  the rounded triangular-shaped ears that are more on top of their heads
  •  the shape are eyes and pupils
  • the thickness of tails
  • cats often wrap their tails around themselves so you can’t see their paws
  1. Before drawing, picture in your mind where the cat’s head and body will be. Use your fist to help you imagine where to put the head that will leave room for both the ears and the body.
  2. Draw lightly, sketching, so you can erase a line you don’t want.
  3. Color your cat. You may want to color it in a Tabby pattern, which is stripes in any color.
  4. Cut out your cat

The Loom and Weaving

  1. Cut the painting into 1 inch strips the long way.
  2. Make a paper loom  (See pictures)
  3. Use masking tape to temporarily hold the loom on the white paper
  4. Weave the 1st watercolor strip through the loom—under, over, under, over
  5. Start the 2nd strip the opposite–over, under, over, under
  6. In tabby weave each strip should be opposite to the previous strip
  7. Keep gently pushing the strips together and up toward the top of your loom, until you run out of room for more strips

Putting It All Together

  1. Glue your mat to the white paper
  2. Glue your cat on top of the mat
  3. Draw and color cat-related designs around the border of the mat

Now display your happy cat on its colorful mat for everyone to see! Enjoy how the crayon glows through the watercolor!

More Ideas and Tips to Make Your Cat on a Mat

Helpful Hints:

  • As you paint, pick up your paper and move it around to help colors mix
  • Don’t mix too long, or colors become muddy
  • If your painted paper curls, flatten it with a book after it’s dry
  • When drawing lines for the loom and watercolor strips, do these on the back so they don’t show later
  • Masking tape holds the loom in place but can be removed without as much damage as cellophane tape

Variations and adaptations for different ages:

  • Cut wavy lines for the loom
  • If you don’t have watercolor paper, sponge paint some sturdy paper with tempera paints
  • Add ribbon or yarn bows to your cat
  • I do this project with 1st graders, and I cut the watercolor strips and make the looms, but they love doing everything else!
  • If children aren’t sure whether they want their painting to be cut, number the strips so they can weave them in order.
  • Color your cat in wild colors

4 Vocabulary and art and design principles children will learn

  1. Crayon resist—crayon’s wax content resists water-based paints and remains bright. Oil pastels work the same way.
  2. Sketch—to draw an object with short, light strokes, sometimes lightly redrawing a line before erasing the unwanted line.
  3. Pattern—the repetition of a design. Tabby cats have a striped pattern.
  4. Tabby weave—the over and under pattern that is opposite in each row.

4 Ways this activity aids children’s mental, physical, and social development

  1. Weaving helps children develop fine motor skills.
  2. Drawing helps children take time to look carefully, seeing details as well as the overall picture. Important in every subject, but especially in learning to recognize individual letters and word patterns for beginning reading.
  3. Making choices with colors, patterns, etc. enhances problem-solving skills.
  4. Making art enhances creativity and refreshes minds and eyes tired from screens.

Clean up Hints:

  • Plastic table cloth or large paper under your work
  • Paper towels
  • A plastic dish tub holds things to be washed
  • A wastebasket for paper scraps
  • After washing and rinsing brushes, reshape bristles and lay them flat to dry. Store with bristles up in a container.

Check out these Great Freebies Before You Go

Watch for a special thank you gift for our newsletter subscribers coming in early December. Molly the Artsy Corgi has some Christmas art ideas you and your children will love. These fun and easy projects will provide shared moments of calm and invite Jesus into your busy holidays. Don’t miss out. Sign up for our newsletter today!

If you sign up, you’ll right away receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. And once a month more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources will come to your inbox.

Visit our website to get free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages and coloring pages for kids and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.

Molly the Artsy Corgi hopes you enjoy making a happy cat on a mat! You can read our first post about Renoir here, and Molly and I hope you’ll come back next time for a devotion based on our cats on a mat art activity.

And finally a cute Molly Photo

She thinks she’s helping me get ready for our walk!


Let’s Make an Easter Card with Tulips and 3-D Butterflies

Maria van Oosterwyck loved to paint tulips and butterflies—tulips for spring and butterflies for Christ’s resurrection! So let’s make an Easter card masterpiece with tulips and 3-D butterflies in a Delft pot!

But before you begin your masterpiece, follow this link to my website, where you can sign up for my brand new newsletter and receive a free booklet to help you Make Museum Visits a Masterpiece for Your Family!   http://www.kathy-oneill.com/

Now Let’s get started.

You’ll need these supplies:

  • White construction paper
  • Cardstock in various colors
  • Watercolor paper if you have it, if not, cheap white paper plates will work
  • Scrap paper for patterns
  • Crayons and markers
  • Glue stick or white glue
  • Scissors, ruler, pencil
  • Watercolor set and brushes
  • Wax paper or plastic cloth to protect surfaces from paint and glue

Directions: because there are several steps to making this project, I’ve divided the steps into 7 short sections  (A-G) for clarity.

A. To make beautifully-colored paper for the tulips and butterflies, follow these steps:

  1. Make puddles of several colors of paint and water. Use enough water so paint will flow and enough pigment so colors will be bright on the paper.
  2. Using a flat brush, wet your watercolor paper or paper plates with clear water. Don’t saturate them, but be sure the surface has a good sheen of water.
  3. With brushes or even a spoon, add paint from the puddles to your paper or plate and allow these to swirl together and mix. It’s fun to swirl the paint on the paper or plates, but stop before your colors mix too much.
  4. Let dry.
  5. Repeat steps 1-3 on the backside of the paper or plate.
  6. Set these water-colored papers aside to dry.

 B. To make patterns for butterflies, tulips, and the pot, follow these steps:

  1. Cut and fold scrap paper squares of the appropriate size in half.
  2. Draw half of each object, then cut with the square folded. This gives you symmetrical objects (see photos).
  3. If you’re making a card, the pot needs to have a fairly long, straight side for the fold.

C. To make the card, follow these steps:

  1. Fold in half the colored cardstock you’ll use for the card.
  2. Place your unfolded pattern up against the fold line of the colored cardstock and cut out the pot-shaped card, cutting through both layers of cardstock.
  3. Now cut the pot pattern piece a little smaller all around and use this smaller pattern to cut out a front for the pot from the white construction paper.
  4. Cut another piece of white construction paper for the inside message, in whatever shape you’d like

D. To make the green stems and leaves, follow these steps:

  1. Cardstock is really best for this, and you may need to glue 2 stem pieces together to provide a stiff enough stem for the tulips.
  2. Draw or make patterns or cut freehand several stems and leaves (see photos for shapes)

E. To make the Delft designs on the pot, follow these steps:

  1. Use a pencil to lightly draw whatever designs you’d like on the white paper pot (repeat some of these on the inside paper, see photo)
  2. If you remember from the previous post, Delft designs are blue on a white background.
  3. Depending on the age of your children these designs can be simple or more detailed. I’ve included both and also the easy way to make some of the more intricate designs.(The red lines are what are added to complete the designs)
  4. If using watercolor paints, go over the pencil lines with blue crayon so it’s easier to keep the paint inside the designs.
  5. Use much less water when mixing paint for this small painting, and do not wet the paper.
  6. Once the papers are dry add an Easter message to the inside paper.

F. To make the tulips and butterflies, follow these steps:

  1. Use your patterns to cut tulips and butterflies from the water-colored paper or flat portion of the paper plates.
  2. Cut double the number of tulips you want if you don’t want the stems to show.
  3. Use crayon or marker to color the body of the butterflies.
  4. I liked these watercolor butterflies, but found they didn’t contrast enough with the pot, so…
  5. In the end I used orange cardstock and black marker to make some stylized monarch butterflies (see the photo).

G. To assemble the card follow these steps:

  1. Have an adult use an x-acto knife to make a slit along the lip of the Delft “pot” paper (see photo).
  2. Insert your stems and leaves through the slit and arrange these in the way you’d like.
  3. Apply glue to each stem and leaf and stick to the back of the Delft “pot.”
  4. Now apply glue to the back of the Delft “pot” and attach this to the front of the pot-shaped card (the stems and leaves will now look as if they are coming from inside the pot).
  5. Glue the other white piece of paper on the inside of the card.
  6. Glue each pair of tulips pieces together with the top of a stem in between (see photo).
  7. Fold the butterflies so one wing can stick up.
  8. Apply glue to the butterfly’s body and the back of one wing and place these where you’d like them (I put one inside and one on the front).
  9. Let all the glue dry completely before closing the card.

Helpful Hints:

  • You can also just cut away the top part of the Delft “pot’s” oval and then glue as explained above
  • Score around the butterfly’s body to make the wings fold more easily
  • When you close the card, make sure the inside butterfly’s unglued wing is folded up.

Clean up Hints:

Wax paper under objects as you apply glue protects surfaces and helps prevent things from sticking where they shouldn’t.


  • Skip the painting, and use colored paper for the tulips or have children color these with crayon or maker.
  • Use markers or crayons for the blue Delft designs also.
  • Instead of a card, make the project and attach to a colored background for a poster to hang.

Now that you’ve created your masterpiece, Molly and I hope you’ll follow this link to my website, where you can sign up for my brand new newsletter and receive a free booklet to help you Make Museum Visits a Masterpiece for Your Family!    http://www.kathy-oneill.com/