Presidents’ Day Art Projects
President’s Day is a great time to make art with your students. I have several engaging and memorable projects to help you do just that with your students. I have a collection of color-cut-assemble collaborative portrait posters, some fun unscramble activities, and also, for older kids, some grid drawing projects–all designed to make your President’s Day celebrations more colorful and hands-on.
While I know that the official holiday is to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, if you don’t want to limit the President’s Day art projects to just them, I also have art-infused resources for Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Barack Obama.
By far, my most popular President’s Day art projects are my collaborative portrait posters. These posters are big, engaging, colorful, inclusive, and surprising–a combination which adds up to a memorable project that is a lot of fun for your kids!
I have collaborative posters for the following presidents:
OPTION #1: Color-Cut-Assemble Collaborative Posters (grades K-5)
The posters are pretty easy to make. First, students are given a piece of the mosaic poster to color. Some pieces are very simple, and some are a bit more challenging (smaller, detailed pieces to color), and this serves as a great way to differentiate in your class without anyone really knowing about it. After the pieces are colored, students write the grid coordinate (for example, B2) on the back of their piece and then cut out the square at the bottom.
After having put the grid poster together, students really “get it” that something large and complex can be broken down into smaller (easier) manageable size shapes. The final poster sizes are approx. 35″ x 42″, and there are 30 pieces. Each piece fits on a standard 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper.
After all the pieces are finished, then the poster can be put together. There are a few ways to put the poster together. The easiest way is to first get a large piece of butcher paper and then glue the pieces together right to the paper. The students below are using this method with my Martin Luther King Jr. poster.
Use a glue stick for the best results. However, if you don’t have access to that size of paper, you can tape the pieces together from the back. I like to put the tape on 1/2 way under the piece so I can line up the next piece perfectly. I don’t like to tape on the front because I think the tape makes it look messy.
You can also tape the pieces right onto a door, wall, or bulletin board if you like. Many teachers like my collaboration posters for door decorations and bulletin board displays.
If you want to laminate the poster, be sure to use colored pencils or markers because oftentimes, crayons will melt in the laminating machine and smear the picture–we can’t have that! For the presidents, I used the American colors (red, white, and blue), so you don’t need many supplies to create these posters, especially since white is simply the color of the paper. You’ll only need to provide students with red and blue in the coloring material of your choice.
Here is my Thomas Jefferson Poster.
OPTION #2: Collaborative Poster Grid Drawing (Grades 6-12)
Each set of my collaboration posters also comes with a set of “blank” sheets where I provide the grid drawing in the upper left-hand corner (small), and students are to draw the piece of the poster in the empty square provided. This is an excellent variation for any art teacher, middle school teacher, or high school teacher that wants to challenge their students. When I taught middle school art, I would have loved something like this for when I taught grid portraits.
Bonus Activities: Unscramble the Presidents (all grades)
My collaborative portrait posters come with extra bonus activities for when students finish early or to use at other times. Also included are unscramble activities for all age ranges where kids can draw the scrambled picture unscrambled like this…
Or cut and paste like this…
For many kids, this might be their first attempt at a grid drawing. After they finish this drawing, I have them cut out the final drawing and paste it onto construction paper. See what we did with our Rosa Parks grid pictures – turning them into Pop Art!
Thank you for all you do and for providing art for your students!