Sanity Savers: Paper Strip Art

Sponsored by: M&T Bank

Written by: Julia McMahon
Lead Play to Learn Facilitator

Sanity Savers: Paper Strip Art


Paper: 2 pieces the same size, the thicker the better
Glue stick
Paper strips: different colors, about 1/2″ – 3/4″ wide, or a bunch of stickers


Set up: 5-15 minutes
Active: 10-30 minutes 

Academic Subject(s):

Arts, Math  
This lesson supports your student’s curriculum: PreK.ARTS.16
MST 1.G.A.2
MST 2.G.A.1  


Step 1: Collect or cut out two pieces of paper the same size. The thicker the paper the better.  I like card stock, but construction paper, printer paper, or even a paper bag will work! One piece will be the base layer, the other will be the silhouette layer.

Step 2: Draw a silhouette of a picture on one piece of paper. The simpler the better!  Examples include a star, heart, flower, tree, bunny, duck, cloud, etc. 

Step 3: Parents, cut out the silhouette.

Step 4: Trace the silhouette onto the second sheet of paper, the base layer, as pictured.

Step 5: Cut strips of colored paper, about 1/2″ – 3/4″ wide.  Cut as long as the widest part of your silhouette.

Step 6: Once your paper strips are cut, decide how you want to lay out the strips on the page.  I chose the following pattern: rainbow stripe, brown chevron, pink flowers, repeat. Patterns are an important concept in both math and science.

Step 7: Glue a strip of paper horizontally, starting at the bottom of the traced picture on the base layer of paper. Glue the next piece of paper above and parallel to the first, as shown. Leave as little space as possible between paper strips. It may be necessary to overlap the strips a bit, depending on how straight they are.

Step 8: Glue the entire back of the silhouette paper. Be sure to glue well along all inside and outside edges.

Step 9: Place the silhouette layer (glue side down) on top of the base layer with the color strips, as pictured.       


•    Use the front of an old card as the base layer and make an outdated card new again!
•    Use stickers instead of paper strips on the base layer.
•    Use ripped pieces of scrap paper (like construction paper or old pictures) instead of paper strips, on the base layer.  

Vocabulary Words

•     Silhouette: the outline of someone or something
•     Parallel: side by side lines that are the same distance apart and never cross each other
•     Pattern: when numbers, colors, shape or sound are repeated over and over again.
•     Horizontal line: line that runs left to right (not up and down)  

For more Sanity Savers projects click here!

Upcoming Hours - OPEN: 7/17-22 | CLOSED: 7/23, 7/30