Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Craft for First Grade: Salt Art Flowerpots

Many years ago my friend Nancy taught me how to make these fabulous Mother's Day crafts for the kids to bring home to their moms.  I don't do it every year.  The  projects change from year to year, but this is always a big hit and one of my favorites.
It does require a lot of organization on your part, if you are doing it with the whole class.  I split the kids into two groups and I only do it with 12 or fewer kids at a time. 
I include a picture tutorial on how to make the flowers after I explain how to make the pots. 
This is what you need to make the flower pots (plus sharpies for them to write their names on the bottom of the cups).

First, hand out the plastic cups and have them write their names with sharpies on the bottoms of the cups. I spread lots of paper plates out on the long table and put a piece of colored chalk on each. I pour salt on each of the plates.

The kids can choose a color and take a plate. At my signal, the kids rub the chalk around in the salt
and the salt changes color. 
When I signal them to stop, the kids fold their paper plates and pour the colored chalk into the cup (remind them to keep the cups on the table). 

 The kids do this process with three different colors. (Discourage them from handling the cups during the process).  
Then they take a pencil or chopstick and make indentations down the sides of the cup (I tell them to count 8, so they don't overdo it). (Do I sound a little bit like a micromanager?? Maybe I am. I could just say that I'm very "structured".  Hmmm.)

Then I pour Elmer's glue on top of their salt.  This will dry in a day or two and the salt will set and not come out of the cup.

Add green tissue paper to the top of the glue
while the glue is wet.

I used paper, not tissue, in the above photo. 
Use tissue, because it has a better look.
When the glue dries after a day or two, you can poke two holes (for two stems) in the top and they can insert their flowers.  (The glue is very hard and it's difficult for the kids to poke holes into it themselves).

Making the Flowers

To make the flowers I use a multitude of colors.  I cut long strips, approximately 5" wide by 12" long. 

I lay the tissue strips by color and let the students pick four strips for each flower.  They also choose a pipe cleaner for each flower.

First, place all four strips in a nice neat pile.

Next, fold the strips of tissue into an accordion.  I demonstrate this part several times, then do it with my students.

Then, place the pipe cleaner behind the middle of the folded tissue paper strips.   Make sure the pipe cleaner is in the middle.  If one end is too short, it is very difficult to separate the layers. I tell them to make a 't" with the pipe cleaner. 

Next, twist the pipe cleaner tightly, but not too tightly so as to crumple the paper. 
The fun part is last.  Carefully spread the accordion folds and then gently start to separate the layers, beginning with the bottom layer. 

You may want to make the flowers with small groups of students.  The folding, separating and twisting are not easy for little hands.  The children may get frustrated and need a little bit of your help. 

They came out great and the kids were so proud of their creations.  I'm sure the moms loved them, too. 
 Happy Mothers Day!!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I am looking to do this project and would love for you to share how you make your tissue paper flowers.

  3. Hi Ellen! I would love to share how to make the flowers. I'll find my pictures and post something in a few days.

  4. Thanks so much! I did the salt art pots with them today and will do the tissue flowers next Friday (5/8). If you could post before then that would be great!! I searched online and none look as nice as yours ;) The class had a blast and they turned out looking great!

  5. Awesome! I took some pictures and I will post the how to by Sunday. Thank you, Ellen.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I cannot wait to show the class. They were so proud of their pots. The cutest craft ever....

  7. Ellen, I'm thrilled that you and your kids enjoyed the pots! I love them, too! Happy Mothers Day!

  8. I can't wait to do this for Mother's day with my students! Thanks for sharing this awesome art project and gift idea!

    1. I will be starting this awesome gift idea this week. One question, what do you poke the sand with when the glue has set? Thank you!

    2. Nina, I remember poking into the dried glue with something sharp, like a metal skewer (or the sharp pointed end of a compass). I poked the holes for the kids, because the dried glue gets rather tough to poke through. The kids made two or three flowers, so I separated where I poked the holes.



Pin It button on image hover