I have been waiting to share these amazing body tracing self portraits with you but kept putting it off because I forgot to take pics of the actual body tracing part. Alas, I realized I’ll probably never get a chance to take those photos so I’m just going to go ahead and share what I do have, especially since this id such a perfect art project for Back to School.
Jean from The Artful Parent has done a ton of body tracing activities and I’ve always admired them. This is definitely just the beginning for me of exploring self portrait body tracings. They are so much fun!
1. Cut out a portion of the drop clothe and lay it out with the plastic side up. This drop clothe is amazing because one side is smooth and plastic, while the other side is absorbent like watercolor paper or a sturdy paper towel. I can’t recommend this stuff enough. It’s huge and super cheap. I will be sharing a bunch of ways to use it for collaborative murals in the upcoming months.
2. Have your child lay down on the drop clothe and trace their head and body with a sharpie, plastic side up. I just did from the torso up because I was working with a lot of kids at once, but if it’s you and your child, I would recommend doing the whole body. If you have an older sibling they can do the tracing.
3. Still working on the plastic side up, you can play a game of Simon Says with your child to add all the details of their self portrait. “Simon Says draw your eyes…Simon Says draw your nose.” Or just invite them to add any details they want. We then used fun chalk markers to color in some of the details.
4. When they are done adding all the details with sharpies, turn the self portrait body tracing over to the absorbent side and begin to add color. We used lots of vibrant liquid watercolors and droppers and sponge brushes. I like to keep mine in baby jars. They are the perfect size for kids. First we taped the portraits to the wall to apply paint and then on the second day of class we placed them on a table. Both ways worked really well.
5. The final step was to cut out the silhouette of the body tracing and glue it to a poster board backing. Once it was dry I cut out the silhouette again. This makes the body tracing firm so you can hold it and hang it without it flopping around. Someone also suggested mod podging the whole thing for stiffness, instead of using the poster board, which seems like it would work great as well and then you can hang it on a window and the light will shine through.
Overall, this was a killer project. The kids enjoyed it so much and it was pretty incredible to see all the body tracings hanging together. I didn’t want them to leave the art studio!
If you like this project, you might want to check out these All About Me self-portraits. Thanks for following along and happy Back to School. xo, Meri