6 Matisse Art Projects To Get Stuck Into

Collage Art Projects Inspired by Henri Matisse

Ages 5 -11 | Year 1-6 | 3 Sessions

This week I introduced my Primary school students to the creative mind of Henri Matisse. I actually really enjoyed going over his work, life, and story in preparation for teaching this week. I needed a good brush up and this was a great way to follow last weeks lessons on positive and negative shapes. Year groups 1 to 6 made artwork inspired by his famous pieces.

I made a PowerPoint specifically for each Year group where I pulled Matisse art examples that were related to their art activity. I told them his story and fed them useful information about him that they could use while creating. I was so unbelievably happy about how much they remembered about him and his work in the following week when I asked them. So happy! Is there anything greater than seeing how much someone has learned from your teaching? I don’t think there is.

Anyway, above is the Matisse Presentation I started with, and here’s what we made:

Year 1 | 5-6 yrs

Inspired by “The Snail”

What You’ll Need:

  • Snail Connect The Dots Activity

  • Year 1 Matisse PowerPoint

  • Large A3 Paper Cut into a square

  • Coloured Paper / Gummed paper

  • Glue Sticks

I presented this PowerPoint about Matisse and his work. I told them his story and introduced them to “The Snail’ collage by Matisse. Then I showed them the video of the story book “When Pigasso Met Mootisse” on Youtube. While they watched this I prepared their tables with poster paper and coloured squares. They were to recreate their own snail, including a snail head and face. Once finished, they completed a Connect The Dots of a Snail that they could then name and colour. Connect The Dots are great way for young children to practice their numbers and fine motor skills in


YEAR 2 | 6-7 yrs

Abstract Collage Panels

What You’ll Need:

  • Black card stock cut into 5″x 12″ strips

  • Coloured paper

  • Tissue paper

  • Scissors

  • Glue Sticks

  • Matisse Activity Sheet

Year 2 and 3 also got to watch “When Pigasso Met Mootisse” but they where to recreate their own Matisse picture using his signature shapes of coloured paper. Most of them just made their own shapes that had nothing to do Matisse... But I guess that’s ok too, at least they explored their creativity while still learning about a new artist.

YEAR 3 | 7-8 yrs

Abstract Collage Pictures

What You’ll Need:

After the video, they made their own “Triangle Art” with coloured squares and black triangles. Most of them did whatever they wanted with the shapes. After this project was completed I gave them my Matisse Colour By Numbers activity sheet for the remaining minutes of class. My students really love these sheets! Sometimes they ask for art homework! (I know, I can’t believe it either)

YEAR 4 | 8-9 yrs

Inspired by“Creole Dancers”

What You’ll Need:

They made Creole Dancers from construction paper. First we laid and glued our background in blocks. Next week we’ll make our dancer out of black paper and add details and clothes. It took them a while to understand that the background comes first.

YEAR 5 | 9-10 yrs

Notan Designs

What You’ll Need: 

  • Coloured paper

  • Black Paper - TIP: the paper you’re making the designs from should be cut into a square

  • Glue Sticks

  • Scissors

  • Pencils

We played around with positive and negative again this week, but used paper to cut shapes and mirror the positive shape with the negative shape. Some could not grasp the concept of not cutting up the negative part of the paper. I guess they are so used to cutting out a shape and throwing out the rest. But when they got it. They got it!

YEAR 6 | 10-11 yrs

Name Posters

What You’ll Need:

  • A5 paper

  • Colour paper

  • Glue sticks

  • Scissors

They made name posters using signature Matisse shapes, plus their names in block letters. We kept the negative space from the cut outs to reuse them in the collage. Makes a really cool looking piece of artwork that they can put up on their lockers throughout the year!

And that’s it!

I can’t say all these projects ended up being successful, but the kids seem to have great fun getting stuck into collage projects. And I’m so proud that they learned a new artist and actually were able to remember his story! One thing I need to drill into their heads though, and these projects help with this, is the idea that a background always comes first, especially when collaging. They always seem to cut all their front pieces first before they’ve even laid a background despite my clear and repeated instruction.

 Free Printable! 

Download this Free Matisse Colour By Numbers Printable to perfectly compliment any of these lessons. Printables like this one are great for when kids finish early while still keeping them on topic. Check out the store, to view more colouring activities just like this.

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