Eric Carle Tissue Paper Prints

Our first activity for our Eric Carle focused week is beautiful art work made using the exact method that he describes on his own website. He created many of his pictures by simply painting and printing onto tissue paper, then cutting and sticking them to create shapes and pictures.

eric carle tissue paper art technique for kids

First of all we watched this wonderful slideshow from the Eric Carle website which shows how he does it. It’s fascinating to be able to see the creative process and amazing how simple the technique is. We simplified it even more so that it would be suitable for a 2 year old and 1 year old, but it can of course be adapted for all ages quite easily.

 I found some thick, brightly coloured sheets of tissue paper. I think the thicker the better as young children have a tendency to over paint and also to move and scrunch the paper, therefore potentially causing it to rip.

 They painted the sheets of tissue using a range of thick and thin brushes dipped in bright contrasting colours. Their marks were much simpler than Carle’s, of course, but still looked effective.

 Then they added more strokes and marks on top and next to the original ones, using another contrasting colour to make the colours really pop off the page!

 Then we found some Duplo bricks and some corrugated card and they added texture to the paintings by dipping them into paint and printing with them over the top. Again, they had to be careful not to over-do it so that the paper didn’t tear.

 And these were some of the stunning results! Yellow, green and red.

 Turquoise, yellow and green.

 Purple, yellow and white.

 Pink, blue and green.

 Green, red and white.

 Orange, blue and red.

 We left them to dry overnight, then I cut out random shapes, some regular, some irregular to begin the makings of our collage.

 The girls stuck the shapes randomly onto large pieces of A3 white cartridge (drawing) paper.

 I helped with spreading the glue and they loved the sticking part!

 And these are the finished works of art! Absolutely beautiful painted tissue-paper collages in the style of Eric Carle.

 By Little Pop, aged 14 months.

By Cakie, aged 33 months.

By Mummy (aged 32!), Cakie and Pop, a collaborative effort!

For older children I would suggest they cut out their own shapes and also plan what to turn them into, choosing and sticking the shapes to create a pre-conceived design. They could make the iconic caterpillar or butterfly from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of the beautiful coloured animals from Brown Bear Brown Bear or make up their own idea! I think they would also look stunning if cut to make letters to form a child’s name. Perhaps that’s what I will do as my next crafty project.

This activity is part of the birthday celebration being hosted at An Amazing Child this week!


  1. says

    Lovely! I should’ve done some more homework on my end and found out how he made his artwork as well – I love the tissue paper :) We’ve done something a little similar (mainly just the painting like Eric Carle – can’t wait to see more of your ideas this week :)

  2. says

    We did this at library storytime a few months ago…it was a lot of fun. I think of so many ideas for things that I can do…not just my daughter. LOL We actually used the book The Tiny Seed (I think) and made flowers.

  3. says

    I had planned something similar for later in the week – it was a case of 1st buy your tissue paper! Looks stunning – I doubt my 3 year old has the patience of yours for the printing

  4. says

    This is really stunning. Plan to do this at pre school this afternoon and then use the cut outs to make an Eric Carle display. Thank you for the idea!

  5. says

    We painted tissue paper a while ago but my boys refused to make collages with it (they’re older than your kids) because they didn’t like the idea of cutting it up. I love how yours turned out, both the full paintings and the collages!

  6. says

    oh, I love it. We’ve been celebrating Eric Carle this week by relearning his books in American Sign Language. It’s really re-ignited the kids in his works. I’m working on a post to share brown bear in ASL. so much fun. Enjoy the week!

  7. says

    I love all the layers and colors. That a beautiful work of art.

    I would love for you to link in to my weekly children’s book exploring meme called Read.Explore.Learn.

  8. Anonymous says

    We create these in our preschool each year. I love your step by step instructions. Thank you for posting!

  9. says

    I love those books–especially the hungry caterpillar. My daughter is 14 months and I am starting to introduce the books to her.