Updated: Apr 5
Artists of Any Age Can Make This Cool Art!
About the Artist: Takashi Murakami
Takashi Murakami is a famous Japanese contemporary artist. You may have seen his work in collaborations with famous celebrities and brands like Kanye West, Louis Vuitton, Pharrell, Vogue, and more. He's known for his super fun characters, bright colors, and anime-like style. One thing you'll see a lot in his work is flowers that have big, bright smiles on their faces.
Today we're going to recycled supplies. Why would you recycle? To SAVE THE EARTH! Reusing materials is a great way to prevent trash from going to landfills and makes for a great tool to make cool art.
What You'll Need
- Cardboard boxes
- Cereal/snack boxes
- Masking tape
- Two paper plates
- Acrylic paints
- Water jar
- Paper towels
- Cardboard tube (like from a wrapping paper roll!)
Step 1: Plan Your Cutouts
PRO TIP: If you need help, ask a parent! They can use scissors or an exact-o knife to help break down the box into smaller pieces we can cut for our flower. It may be a little hard because cardboard can be thick.
The first thing we're going to do is make our cardboard boxes totally flat. Take one of your paper plates (or anything round, like a lid for a pot) and trace it onto one of your cardboard pieces. This will be the face for your flower!
PRO TIP: To cut the circle, cut a square around it touching the sides. Then, it's much easier to cut the curves off of the square to make the circle.
Now, let's find a new piece of cardboard and measure 4 inches by 6 inches and make one rectangle. Once you've measured it, cut it out.
Step 2: Make The Petals
Take the rectangle we just cut that is 4" by 6". Let's draw a circle at the top on one end of the rectangle. It doesn't have to be perfect. From the middle, draw a line down, like it's a lollipop. Then, we're going to make two marks. Put your finger next to the line you just drew to the left, and make a mark on the left. Then do the same thing to the right. Then draw two diagonal lines connecting the side of the circle to the marks we drew! If that's a little confusing, follow the video and the guide we illustrated for you below.
Ta-da! We just made a stencil. Now let's cut out this petal and trace around it. Voila! We have our first petal! You need to draw and cut out 14 petals this size. Keep tracing and cutting until you have all 14 petals.
Step 3: Cut Out Leaves
Now that we have ALL of our flower petals cut out, let's make a few leaves. You can make as many as you want- we suggest making 3 or 4 leaves, depending on how long your stem is. To make a leaf, we're going to take a piece of cardboard and draw a shape like a lemon. Draw your leaf on a piece of cardboard, and cut around outside the lines. Once all your leaves are cut out, put everything aside.
Step 4: Assemble Your Flower
Okay, now that we have our leaves and petals cut out, let's begin assembling! If you used cardboard snack boxes for your cutting, you'll want to flip everything over so the writing is facing up. First, we're going to make lots of tape loops! Take your masking tape and roll it into a loop so the sticky side is up, and go all the way around your circle with your tape loops. Then, start putting your petals all the way around your face!
If you have too many petals, that's ok - recycle any that won't fit on your face. If you don't have enough petals, cut out a few more to add to your flower! Once your face is all the way filled up with petals, Take LOTS of long pieces of tape around the edges to make sure it's extra strong and that the petals don't come off.
PRO TIP: You don't want your tape to show through your petals, so if it looks like it's going to peek out, just fold it back so that it doesn't show on the front side.
Step 5: Assemble Your Stem
Now you're ready to move onto the next step. Let's do the same thing that we did for your petals, for your leaves. Take one leaf and make one more tape loop. Stick the leaf onto your stem wherever you like. Then, add some extra tape on the back and wrap it around to make sure it's super secure.
PRO TIP: your art is your own, so do whatever feels best. But if you want to make your flower look like Takashi Murakami's style, try alternating the sides that the leaves are on!
Step 6: Make Your Mouth
The mouth you can either paint on, but we prefer to cut out a cardboard shape and tape it on to make it extra 3D. It's in the shape of a lemon, like the leaf but way bigger! Cut out a mouth the size that you want it and secure it with a few tape loops onto your face.
Step 7: Paint Your Flower's Face
Now you've done the hard part, painting is the super fun part! Grab your other paper plate to use as your paint palette. Pick a few different size paintbrushes (small, medium, and large). First, we'll paint the face! You can paint it any color you want. Paint the whole circle except the mouth.
PRO TIP: Smooth out all the wet spots or blobs so that your paint dries quickly and evenly.
Next, choose a smaller brush for the mouth. Pick your color for the mouth and do the same. We chose red, but you can do any color! Now we'll paint our petals. You can pick any color you want. Takashi Murakami likes bright colors, and he loved to alternate colors on his petals. You can do whatever you like!
Step 8: Add Black Details
Grab some black paint and a small brush because now we're going to add some details. Outline every petal, the face, and the mouth. Make sure to paint a skinny black like around the edge of everything. Then it'll have that Murakami style where it'll pop and look like a cartoon!
Once all of your outlines are done, we can paint the eyes. You can do any eye you want, make your art your own! But if you want to learn how to do Takashi Murakami style eyes, this is how to do them. Take some black paint and draw an oval where you want your eye to be. Then, draw a circle touching the top and one touching the bottom. It looks almost like a figure eight (8) inside of a zero! Then, fill in the space between the eight and the zero and you've got a Murakami eye. You can add eyelashes or eyebrows too, if you want! Then, pick what colors you want inside the shines in the eye, and paint them the colors you want.
Step 9: Paint the Stem
While your face is drying, pick the colors you want for your stem. You can do shades of green and yellow. Paint the leaves and the stem with a big brush. Then, we're going to do black outlines like we did on the face, but only to the leaves. Take your small brush and black paint and paint the outlines of your leaves and, if you drew a line in the middle, paint over that, too!
Step 10: Assemble the Flower!
Now all of the parts of your sculpture are done! Now it's time to attach it. Decide which part of your stem is the top, and put some tape loops on the top of your stem to position it, and attach your face. Then, flip it over and secure it. Add lots of long pieces of tape on top to make sure it's extra secure!