Tag Archives: Using Soft Pastels to Make Bursts of Color

Using Soft Pastels to Make Bursts of Color, Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids

Today’s art activity uses soft pastels (sometimes called chalk pastels) to make bursts of color inside or outside various shapes.

This is another activity that can be easily adapted for both younger and older children. Encourage older children to make more complex shapes and plan different color choices.

I’m also continuing with the 2 new sections at the end of the lesson to help you extend art learning into other areas:

  • How this art lesson can help your children’s physical and mental growth for achievement in other school subjects.
  • How this art lesson can help point your children to God.


  • Scrap paper to make shapes
  • Colored paper for the actual designs
  • Soft pastels in various colors  (colored chalk will also work, but won’t have as vibrant colors
  • Pencils, scissors, tape
  • Lots of tissues

Clean up Note: Put down an old plastic table cloth or something similar because pastels are pretty dusty and messy! To cut down on the dust and make clean up easier, wipe up excess chalk particles with a dry tissue as you work. Do not blow the dust away unless outside on a nonwindy day!


  1. Draw various shapes and creatures on the scrap papers
  2. Cut the shapes out, trying to keep the outside paper together as much as possible.
  3. Keep both the cut out shape and the paper you cut it from. If necessary tape the outside shape back together. Use the tape on just one side as pastels don’t stick well to tape.            
  4. Choose a background paper, and pastel colors that will show up on that background
  5. If using the cut out shape, lay down patches of pastel colors all around the outside of the shape
  6. If using the paper you cut the shape from, lay down the pastel colors around the opening
  7. Place the pastel-colored paper in the center of your background paper
  8. Holding the pastel-colored paper in place, (or tape it) use a tissue around your finger to push the colors out onto the background paper
  9. Carefully pick up the pastel-colored paper to reveal your design. If excess dust gets on the actual picture, don’t use tissues to rub it. Tap the paper edge against your work surface. And just consider any that is left part of your design. Here are a couple of my designs done the two different ways.

Experiment with layering colors. Pastels are wonderful for achieving color blends.

Variations and Extensions:

  • Try making some smaller shapes and overlap the color bursts as you move the shapes around your background paper
  • Cut a strip of paper in a wavy line, lay down patches of color, push these off onto a background paper. Move the wavy paper down a little and repeat the process. Use this variation to create buildings, (just make rectangular shapes) the aurora borealis for a winter scene or just a cool design!!

 1.  How this art lesson can help your children’s physical and mental growth for achievement in other school subjects:

Once children have done one of these pastel creations, they’ll begin to be able visualize the shapes before they’re revealed.  This sort of art activity, therefore, helps develop visual/spatial skills and how to understand and use visual information—important in learning to interpret photos, graphs, maps, etc.  

2.  How this art lesson can help point your children to God:  Molly and I saw a double rainbow a few days ago. You could see them stretching all the way across the sky, and they lasted a good 15 minutes!

Actually I should say I saw the rainbows, because the rain came with some thunder, and Molly is terrified of thunder! She wears a thundershirt during thunderstorms, but it only helps her a little. so here she is looking out and hoping for the rain to stop. The snuggly shirt makes her ruff stand out!

But God promises you that He will always be with you and help you when you’re afraid.

  1. Together read the story of Noah, the flood, and the sign of the rainbow that God gave to Noah.
  2. Have fun thinking of all the animals that clambered two by two aboard the ark. Choose a favorite and draw and cut it out.
  3. Lay down the colors of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet—around the creature.
  4. Discuss how a rainbow is such a wonderful sign that our God is always faithful to keep His promises.

Molly is recovered now and has her artist beret on, so she and I hope you will meet us back here next week for Another Fun and Easy Art Activity for Creative Kids!