Art With Jenny K.


Bottle Top Flag




A few years ago, our state celebrated its centennial. For our annual art show, the theme was going to be centered around this celebration. Therefore, I designed a bunch of lessons based on the state of Arizona. One of the lessons I created was a collaboration project that would involve as many kids as I could. We used bottle tops to create the Arizona flag and used pennies as the star since we are sometimes called the copper state. You could use this idea to make your own state flag and the buy-in would be great for all of your community.

This project has extra credit! Check it out!

Everyone helped with this project in one way or another. First and foremost, we had to round up all of those bottle tops. I asked the kids to bring them in. And in they came…and came…and came…and came! There were so many bottle tops I could have made several of these flags. The best part was that they were all different. The really little kids helped me sort the colors.

Arizona Bottle Top Flag

Since this was going in an art show, I didn’t plan for it to be a permanent piece of art, although after I saw how it came out, I wish I had thought of it that way. Also, the structure we were attaching it to would be moved to the place where the art show was. So, with those factors in play, I attached large thick black paper to the bulletin board that it was going to be displayed on, and I drew with a white pencil the outline of the Arizona Flag. In each space, I wrote the color that corresponded to the flag design.

Arizona Bottle Top Flag

My older students and I then started hot gluing the bottle tops on. At first, I did all the gluing because I was so afraid to let any of the kids do it and get burned. However, my fifth graders set me straight fast and told me they were used to them at home and could handle it. Turns out they were right and they did a great job. Many different kids worked on attaching the pieces (and no one got burned…exhale, art teacher). 

Arizona Bottle Top Flag

At first, I was intending to put brown bottle tops in the middle, but I quickly didn’t like how that looked and came up with the idea to use real pennies since our state is famous for copper. This also created a neat effect because the pennies sat so close to the surface of the board, and the bottle tops stuck out at all different depths. There was so much movement and depth in the final work. 

Arizona Bottle Top Flag

After the centennial show, I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy this work, so it stayed on display in our office for a long time until, finally, it had been touched and picked at enough that it was “time” to take it down…as much as it pained me, we did. You can use this method and create your state flag …and then show me because I’d LOVE to see it!!!

Check out my art integration resources for classroom teachers, art teachers, and parents HERE.

Other recycled material ideas you might like:

I would love to see your students’ work if you decide to create this project with them. Feel free to tag me (@artwithjennyk or #artwithjennyk) on social media so I can see what they make! You’ll find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Thanks for reading and for making art with your kids!

Jenny K.

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Extra Credit!

State Flag Collaborative Posters. These posters are intended to complement any lessons on your state’s history and are a great way to infuse art into your social studies lessons!

This poster is the perfect way to start a unit or cap one off. It is an engaging and entertaining way for students to work together to create a large poster of their State’s Flag. It makes a great classroom focal point and a lasting example of collaboration for your students.

Poster Details

  • There are 30 pieces.
  • Each piece fits on a regular 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper.
  • The final poster is approx. 35″ x 42″ depending on your printer settings.

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