St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock Art

St. Patrick’s Day always gives me a slight case of Spring Fever no matter what the weather’s like, and it’s often still winter in the Heartland. Because I’m a teacher, many of my St. Patrick’s Day memories are tied to craft projects I’ve made in the classroom. Invariably, some pretty little fairy or mischievous little elf’s parents have forgotten what day it is on the school calendar, and some unfortunate child is getting pinched black and blue before it’s even time for school breakfast. Always prepare ahead with some green construction paper shamrocks and a handful of safety pins.

One of my favorite activities is one I’ve done with 4th, 5th, 6th grade students called an extended line drawing. Using a white piece of 12 x 18 inch paper, randomly glue an odd number of green shamrocks across the paper. (I recommend 5, but 3, 5 or 7 works fine.) Overlapping is fine for this project.

This requires some teacher demonstration but begin tracing around one of the shamrocks with a pencil without touching anything already on the paper. When pencil line arrives at another object on the paper, simply turn a corner and continue to extend the line. Remind students they are going to need room to color with a crayon or marker around their shamrock pattern so they shouldn’t draw too close to the original shape.

Demonstrate how the line will extend right off the edge of the paper. Continue outlining the shamrock with consecutive parallel lines that do not touch. Then trace over the lines made with a black fine-line marker. (Optional – When lines are done, either with green or a complimentary color, color in every other space on the paper.) If the finished art work is laminated it can be used for a spring placemat or wall hanging. These look great.

Or make a shamrock man. Use your original shamrock pattern for a body. Use a heart shape for the head. Give your face two eyes, two eyebrows, one nose and one mouth. (Ears are optional, and so is hair. Keep the project simple.) Draw a collar and buttons on your shamrock body. You’ll also need a pattern for hands, and shoes or feet. We made elf shoes for the feet, and used two small hearts for hands.

Glue the head and body together, using the shamrock stem for the neck.

Cut narrow two strips of green paper, about ¾ inch wide and 10 – 12 inches long for legs, fastest with a paper cutter, but can do it with a ruler and scissors. Cut a third one and then fold it in half and cut it in two pieces for the arms. Fold the paper strips into accordion folds and then glue heart-shaped hands and elf shoes to them. Then glue arms and legs to the shamrock body.

The extended line drawing project can take up to a couple of hours depending on the care taken with it. The shamrock man can be done in about 30 minutes with some good prep work.

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