I created this unique mermaid project for kids because my daughter went through the “mermaid” phase of growing up like many other little girls do. She grew out of princesses pretty fast, but the mermaid phase lasted MUCH longer and involved pretending to be a mermaid in the pool for a few years.
Since she and her friends enjoyed mermaids so much, I decided to create an art lesson centered around mermaids—a mermaid project for kids.
Just like so many of my lessons, you can easily adapt them in various ways. I’ll share with you how I did this lesson with my students, but feel free to adjust in any way that works for you.
This lesson would be best with small groups, at home, or in a setting where students can get one-on-one supervision. The last step of the project involves pouring resin onto the final artwork. While I think we can all admit this makes it a cool project, it does make it less “kid friendly” (adults will have to help with this step) and adds to the price—so adjust the lesson accordingly.
Let’s dive in…
Mermaid Art Project
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For this mermaid project, you will need the following supplies:
Mermaid Project Steps
Step 1: Paint the Background
If you plan to follow my lesson to the letter, I suggest you buy small canvases about 5” x 7″ (or thereabout). The resin that goes on at the end is expensive, and the larger the canvas, the more of it you will need. However, you want to have a canvas that is large enough for the kids to work on. You can use board canvas or stretched canvas—either is fine.
I had my students all create the background of their canvas to start this mermaid project. Your students can paint a solid color, a gradient color scheme, or just about anything that “floats their boat” (should I stop with the ocean/water/mermaid puns?!?). We used acrylic paint for this step, and I encouraged my students to paint the canvas edges.
Step 2: Paint a Mermaid Tail
Once the backgrounds were completely dry, I had my students draw a mermaid tail onto the canvas using white acrylic paint. I created a template the children could use to trace, but you could allow your students to do this part independently—your choice!
Some of my students left the tail white, and some painted them a very light peach color. This is optional for this step as well.
Step 3: Add Sequins to the Mermaid Tail
For this step, I provided my students with different sequins—in various colors. I instructed them to cover the tail using these colorful sequins.
To do this, I had them “paint” glue onto the tail and then place the sequins into the glue. I used little bottles of glue with brushes integrated into the tops of the bottles. You could easily have your students use a paintbrush to paint on the glue.
TIP: Make sure your students don’t paint the entire tail with glue all at once. The glue will dry before they can set all of the sequins into place. Instead, your students should glue and place sequins in small sections. How your students create their mermaid “scales” is entirely up to them!
Once the children covered the mermaid tails in sequins, then we let them dry. The children loved getting to see all the designs the other children made. I was impressed, as always, by their creativity!
We added one final and fourth step to this project, but if you wanted to stop here, you could. This project shimmers and shines brilliantly at this step.
However, if you want to go on and finish your mermaid project as we did, here are the details you’ll need.
Step 4: Pour the Resin
You can buy resin at any craft store or on Amazon HERE. Please read the instructions and follow them carefully. Be sure to pour the resin in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves. Resin is fun but very messy, so only use supplies that can be discarded later.
Adding the resin to the final mermaid project was, of course, the step the kids were anxiously waiting for and most excited about. However, before you can pour resin onto your canvas, you need to set it up so that it won’t get stuck to the surface.
I poured the resin into small disposable cups and let the kids stir them. The children then poured the resin, carefully, onto their canvases. There will be a lot that drips over—that’s okay, let it drip (Be sure it drips onto something that won’t get ruined. I used foil-lined cardboard box tops).
After we poured the resin, there were tiny little bubbles in the mixture. The children carefully blew on those to help pop them. The carbon dioxide from our breath helps with this—which the kids think is pretty fun.
After this was all done, we let them dry (again!). It takes overnight before they are dry enough to pick up.
Once they are dry—they are smooth, soft, and oh so shiny!
I hope your students enjoy this mermaid project as much as mine did. If you decide to do this lesson, I would love to see what your students make. Feel free to tag me on social media so I can see their creations. You’ll find me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and by using the hashtag #artwithjennyk
Once your eyes open to the wonderful world of resin, you might get hooked—as I did. Here are a few other resin projects I have done.
Years (almost 10) before I ever did this with children, I made a Robert Indiana-style LOVE painting for my husband for Valentine’s Day and poured resin over it. It came out beautifully! We still have it in our house all these years later. It’s currently sitting on a bookshelf in my daughter’s room.
I also created this project for a friend. It’s of her lake house and was a gift for her.
…and recently, my daughter’s beta fish died, and she was upset about it. I helped her create this painting of her fish, and we glued colorful little pieces of glass to the canvas. We haven’t poured the resin onto it yet, but we plan to very soon! I will update you with a picture once we have done so.
The effects are truly magical no matter what you do with resin—from my mermaid project to some creation of your own!
Thanks for reading!