Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall-Inspired Matisse Cut Paper Project

This project was inspired by Matisse's La Polynésie. I saw a similar project on the blog Ms. Sortino's Elementary Art Lesson Plan Page (it seems this blog is now defunct).

We talked about different fall icons: pumpkins, apples, gourds, leaves, acorns and what colors remind us of fall: orange, brown, yellow, gold, red (and some said black).

We then created artwork combining those shapes and colors made entirely with cut paper and scissors (no drawing first). I told the children they could either place one object in each section of the background or make the shapes floating all over, like Matisse did. BUT, they needed to create at least 8 shapes and they needed to be different sizes: some small, some medium and some large.

This would also be a cute Halloween project, and could be done on a smaller scale (on a 9" x 12" piece of paper instead of a 12" x 18").

Fall-Inspired Matisse Cut Paper Project

Supplies Needed:

  • One 12" x 18" piece of construction paper for background
  • One 9" x 12" piece of construction paper for background
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • One 12" x 18" piece of construction paper for border and shapes


1. Fold the 9" x 12" piece of construction in half lengthwise and then again widthwise and cut on folds to create four equal rectangles. Glue to 12" x 18" background paper to create a checkerboard pattern.

2. Fold the other 12" x 18" piece of construction paper in half widthwise and, starting at the fold, cut about 1" away from the edge all the way around to create a border for the piece.

3. Glue the border to the background using a glue stick.

4. Use the construction paper left over from making the border to create the eight fall-inspired shapes for the piece. Attach them with glue stick to the center of the piece either one per box or floating all over the background.


  1. This is a really exciting piece - it can be adapted to a range of age groups (which always interests me, as I have students ranging from Prep to Year 7 in all of my classes. It can be quite a challenge finding projects that appeal across the board!) I will definitely file it away for the future, thanks so much for sharing it!!

  2. Mrs P, we did a similar lesson yesterday. It was the last day of term for me and I was packing up my room to vacate it for another teacher so the children had to be quite independent. The extra care taken with your lesson has paid off, nice work.


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