Cut-Paper Portraits - MetroFamily Magazine
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Cut-Paper Portraits

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

Create a colorful picture of you!

Vocabulary and concepts:

  •  Portrait & Self-portrait
  •  Color & Shape
  •  Pattern


  •  Construction paper
  •  Drawing paper
  •  Cardstock (optional)
  •  Patterned paper (optional)
  •  Black marker
  •  Pencil
  •  Glue stick
  •  Scissors
  •  Mirror

Adults: This project gives you a chance to discuss with your kids all the things that make them unique and special. Encourage your kids to think of their best internal qualities, and point out what you most appreciate about them. Younger kids will need help with cutting and gluing, while older kids can focus on details and making portraits realistic. Self-portraits make great holiday gifts for grandparents or relatives!

Discuss together: What are your favorite features about yourself? What makes you feel confident or beautiful? How can you represent your character, like kindness, bravery or persistence, through your self-portrait?

Look in the mirror. Sketch your self-portrait using the pencil and drawing paper. Look for details: what color are your eyes? What style is your hair today?

Your sketch will be like a map for creating the final product. Label your sketch with the colors and details for each section of your portrait, for example, “brown for hair, green for shirt.” Select the construction paper and patterned paper you’ll need to create your self-portrait based on your descriptions.

Cut the shapes of your head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, neck and clothes out of construction paper, cardstock or patterned paper. Remember to include accessories like your glasses, hat or earrings.

Now it’s time to put the puzzle together! Choose a background paper and glue down your cut-paper shapes to create a colorful picture of you! Use the black marker to add details and outlines.

Adapt the projects in whatever way works best for your family, then share your family’s art on social media with our hashtag #okcfamilyart. We’ll share as many as we can via our social channels. We can’t wait to see the art you create together!

Editor’s Note: This project is the final in a three-month series by this dynamic duo, featuring process-based, open-ended art projects that can be modified for all age groups. Projects include simple, straightforward instructions, use easily available and affordable materials and encourage kids to move, create, explore and play. Heather White is an art teacher, museum educator and inclusion specialist. Katherine Hickey is a children’s librarian.


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