Art Projects and Lessons for Fourth of July Crafts

Updated on July 13, 2016
Easy art lessons with step by step instructions on how to make American flags and 4th of July fireworks in oil pastel, watercolors and acrylic paints. Sparkles and glitter optional.
Easy art lessons with step by step instructions on how to make American flags and 4th of July fireworks in oil pastel, watercolors and acrylic paints. Sparkles and glitter optional. | Source

3 easy art lessons for kids for the 4th of July

As an art teacher and designer, I am always trying to come up with new and fun ideas for lessons for my kids. Since I also teach families, I try to come up with lessons that both kids and adults will enjoy too. Last weekend we had a lot of fun doing 4th of July art and designs - American flags and fireworks that we did in both oil pastels, watercolor and mixed media.

Below are 3 easy lessons that you can do with your kids for any patriotic holiday, including Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. These would also be great lessons for the Presidents Holidays - Lincoln's and Washington's Birthdays. Below are step by step instructions on how to make beautiful art for your holiday fun.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper. | Source
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper. | Source
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper. | Source
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper.
Fireworks art done with oil pastel on black construction paper. | Source

First Art Lesson: Oil pastel fireworks on black paper

This is the easiest way to make fireworks that I have done. To do this beautiful firework art you will only need a few things:

  • Black or dark blue construction paper
  • Oil pastels
  • Glue stick or Elmer's glue (optional)
  • Sparkles or glitter from the Dollar Store (optional)

The black paper will serve as the sky so there will be no need to paint in this lesson. The main thing is showing the kids how to "build" their fireworks. Since fireworks explode from the middle out, make sure they focus on starting from the middle and working their way out. Have them choose a bright color for the middle from their oil pastels. Then:

  • Make a small burst with the first color anywhere on the paper. The rings should not be perfect, in fact, the circle should look ragged looking.
  • Choose a second bright color and color another ring around the first
  • Repeat with a third color (they could use multiple colors and make multiple rings - the possibilities are endless here)
  • Then have them use their finger to smudge from the inside burst out to shade the color rings together. Remind them they are working from the middle out. As each color becomes blended a nice blended burst will begin to emerge.
  • After their blending, have them add curling and swerving lines out from the middle of their burst. The swirly lines go past the burst and should look like fireworks shooting out. They can choose whatever colors they like for this. Don't be surprised at how wild looking the fireworks may get!
  • At the end have them stipple dots at the ends of the lines and also throughout their paper. These will be the little end parts of the fireworks that trail off the main ones.
  • They are done! If you want too, you can also use glue sticks and have them retrace some of their curly lines going out, then add glitter and sparkles to their fireworks! Beautiful!

Oil pastel fireworks on black construction paper

These are the oil pastel and sparkle fireworks I made for the class with step by step instructions. In the middle I put sparkles (optional) There is no painting in this lesson.
These are the oil pastel and sparkle fireworks I made for the class with step by step instructions. In the middle I put sparkles (optional) There is no painting in this lesson. | Source

Before

Fireworks and 4th of July artwork done with oil pastels. Although beautiful as is, by adding the next step it makes it look like nighttime, which is when fireworks light up the sky.
Fireworks and 4th of July artwork done with oil pastels. Although beautiful as is, by adding the next step it makes it look like nighttime, which is when fireworks light up the sky. | Source

After watercolor is added

Fireworks and 4th of July artwork done with oil pastels and watercolor. Step by step lesson. Blue and black watercolor can be mixed for the background. Sydney did this one.
Fireworks and 4th of July artwork done with oil pastels and watercolor. Step by step lesson. Blue and black watercolor can be mixed for the background. Sydney did this one. | Source

Fourth of July oil pastel and watercolor fireworks art

This second Fourth of July or patriotic fireworks artwork is done the same way as the first except you will create your fireworks on white paper instead. After you have completed your design, use watercolor to paint the background. We used a combination of dark blue and black for our sky and you can paint right over the oil pastel.

Because water does not stick to oil, the watercolor will bubble above the oil and "resist" the design. This is OK, this is the effect you want. If you want to leave some white spaces in your design, just don't paint them. Make sure your watercolor is watered down a lot or it may get too dark on the paper and on the oil pastel fireworks. Let dry and then you can add glitter or sparkles like the first lesson (optional)

Mixed media fireworks art and designs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted with watercolor. Step by step instructions.Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. The watercolor resists the oil.Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. Step by step how to do this. This one looks like 60's fireworks!
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted with watercolor. Step by step instructions.
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted with watercolor. Step by step instructions. | Source
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. The watercolor resists the oil.
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. The watercolor resists the oil. | Source
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. Step by step how to do this. This one looks like 60's fireworks!
Fireworks colored with oil pastel then painted in watercolor. Step by step how to do this. This one looks like 60's fireworks! | Source
How to paint an American Flag - 4th of July
How to paint an American Flag - 4th of July | Source

Paint an American flag for Fourth of July

The last art lesson I taught to the class was a painting of the American flag and they had the option to add fireworks or just paint the flag. I like doing the flagpole with the flag because I think it looks better - and if you want, you can do the fireworks in different colors in oil pastel, or you can paint them in red,white and blue. You can also add sparkles to your fireworks or like one person did, put them on your flagpole. If you have any gold paint it would also be nice to paint the ball at the top of the pole gold.

The American flag has 50 white stars on a blue background, and 13 stripes (red and white) The red stripes start at the top. If the flag is small and it's too hard to draw all the stars, then use the back of your brush or white pastel to make 50 dots where the stars should be. Just dip your round brush end into the paint and it will make a perfect dot.

These American flags were done various ways, some were painted in acrylic paint, but you could also use oil pastels, watercolor, or tempera paint and make it a mixed media art lesson. Various ways the students did them are pictured below.

Paintings of American Flags

Painting of an American flag with acrylic paint with the fireworks done in oil pastels. Then a watercolor wash was added to the background. Very nice effect!
Painting of an American flag with acrylic paint with the fireworks done in oil pastels. Then a watercolor wash was added to the background. Very nice effect! | Source
Painting of an American flag. In this one, the American flag and fireworks were done with oil pastels, then a watercolor wash was added for the background night sky. The optional sparkles were also added.
Painting of an American flag. In this one, the American flag and fireworks were done with oil pastels, then a watercolor wash was added for the background night sky. The optional sparkles were also added. | Source
Painting of an American flag with acrylic paint. Charisse added clouds to her American flag painting. The clouds were done with oil pastel then a watercolor wash was added to the sky.  Beautiful job!
Painting of an American flag with acrylic paint. Charisse added clouds to her American flag painting. The clouds were done with oil pastel then a watercolor wash was added to the sky. Beautiful job! | Source

Lots of fireworks!

Ideas and art lessons on painting fireworks for Fourth (4th) of July or any other patriotic holiday. Step by step instructions with Dorsi Diaz
Ideas and art lessons on painting fireworks for Fourth (4th) of July or any other patriotic holiday. Step by step instructions with Dorsi Diaz | Source

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    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 

      2 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Am sharing. Some of my relations will probably like this.

    • thranax profile image

      Andrew 

      3 years ago from Rep Boston MA

      Great Article! Made me feel like a patriotic kid again! Sometimes I forget how meaningful small things are like creating custom decorations for holidays.

      Keep writing fun articles!

      ~thranax~

    • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorsi Diaz 

      4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      @Ann1Az2) Thanks Ann, glad you enjoyed it.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 

      4 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Sounds like a fun project and it looks like the kids enjoyed it. I enjoyed the photos - thanks for sharing ideas!

    • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorsi Diaz 

      5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      @rebeccamealey) Thanks rebecca. I love that look too!

      @ torrilynn) Thank you torri.

      @rebekahELLE) Enjoy my friend, these were a lot of fun and so creative!

    • rebekahELLE profile image

      rebekahELLE 

      5 years ago from Tampa Bay

      Love this Dorsi. It's simple enough for the preschool set. I love working with oil pastels, and the kids love the wow factor that the colors give. We'll give these a test run this week.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 

      5 years ago

      @Dorsi really nice hub you have here just in time for the fourth of July. Voted up.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      These are simply amazing Independence Day art projects. The flag art has an antique look that I love. The fire works look like fun. The kids will love these!

    • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorsi Diaz 

      5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      @Glimmer) Thanks and have fun. Thanks for pinning it too!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Claudia Mitchell 

      5 years ago

      Gorgeous hub. Gonna show my daughter. We both love to draw. Pinned.

    • Dorsi profile imageAUTHOR

      Dorsi Diaz 

      5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area

      @RTalloni ) YW and thanks for coming by. Let me know if you try the craft - it's really fun!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      5 years ago from the short journey

      Delightful! Pinning to my patriotic holidays board and sharing. Thanks for putting these project ideas together and posting them with neat examples.

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