Has your class been commissioned to create an art project for the school auction? These collaborative efforts often go for top dollar on the night of the auction—but an elaborate art project may be the last thing you want to add to your list. That’s why we love these simple but beautiful school auction art projects.
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1. Ceramic Wind Chimes
Source: Lifestyle for Real Life
Remember your child’s school for years to come every time you hear this lovely ceramic wind chime singing in the breeze. Students use a Sharpie/rubbing alcohol paint technique to create their own unique design on store-bought ceramic medallions. Then the discs are connected to a branch with fishing wire and metal eyelets. For complete instructions, click here.
2. Personalized Pillow
Who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with this adorable memento? Students cut graduated circles out of felt squares then tack them together with an X-stitch with embroidery floss. Next, they cut out an oval leaf shape, embroider their name (or use a Sharpie), and attach it to the flower. Lastly, recruit a volunteer to either sew or hot glue the flowers to a plain white pillow.
3. Vibrant Wall Hangings
These beautiful one-of-a-kind wall hangings are sure to bring in some serious coin. Make them as elaborate as the ones shown above, using canvas fabric, tempera paint, permanent markers, yarn, and clay. For full details, click here.
4. Custom Tote Bags
These simple canvas bags are perfect for every errand-running parent. This blogger created these models using natural materials, such as leaves, apple halves, and potatoes. Other materials needed include textile paint, brushes, newspapers, and plain cotton bags.
5. Colorful Fabric Weavings
Source:Art is Basic
These gorgeous wall hangings are simple for kids to create together. All you need is plastic garden fencing (it usually comes in a roll and can be cut into different sizes) and strips of fabric or ribbons. Ask parents for donations of any leftover fabric they may have and check out websites like Naier for free materials.
6. Custom Plates
These whimsical plates would be a cheery addition to any kitchen. The example above shows simple line drawings of fruit. But you could pick any theme you like—self-portraits, animals, flowers. Here are step-by-step directions for decorating plates with Sharpies.
7. Birds of a Feather
Source: Bonny Slope Community Organization
Using a wet on wet watercolor technique, have students paint small rectangles of watercolor paper. Next, using a template, cut out the feather shape and have students use scissors to cut “fringes” into the edges of their feather. Finally, mount the feathers together in a circular shape on a foam backboard.
8. Colorful Story Quilt
You will need a talented volunteer who can sew to help stitch this project together! For the squares of the quilt, each student will draw their own picture using fabric markers. The teacher who assembled the quilt shown above asked students to create a picture inspired by the theme of friendship. Choose a theme that is meaningful for your particular group of students.
9. Painted Adirondack Chair
Source: KHS Advancement
Who wouldn’t love to kick back in a deliciously colorful chair like this? Every student in the class can paint or decorate a different section, which will come together into a memorable piece of yard art. If you do not have an Adirondack, use a bench or table or any other kind of wooden furniture made of slats.
10. Craft Stick Collage
Source: Teaching Middle Level
Give each student four to six large wooden craft sticks to color in completely with color Sharpie pens or tempera paint. Encourage students to decorate each stick uniquely. After you have collected all of the sticks, lay them out on a large foam board in a checkerboard manner, experimenting with what you think looks best. When you are satisfied with your design, glue it down. Attach a hanger to the back of the foam board.
11. Collaborative Circle Tapestry
Source: Experiments in Art Education
Using a three-inch circle of cardboard, yarn, and a needle, students will first create a loom structure and then weave yarn in a circular pattern to create a unique and beautiful circle (see detailed directions here.) String individual circle weavings together, using twine attached to a dowel or an interesting tree branch.
12. “Chihuly” Sculptures
Source: Spot of Color
There are two different ways to create these beautiful sculptures. The first one (directions here) is constructed with coffee filter papers, water-based markers, paper cups, and a squirt bottle of water. The second one (directions here) is constructed with plastic disposable cups, Sharpie pens, and a toaster oven.
Source: Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes
13. Hand Hearts Photograph
You will need a good camera for this project. Demonstrate for your students how to create the shape of a heart with their hands. Provide a colorful piece of paper as a background for each student to create their hand heart, then snap a photo. Mount all of the students’ heart photos together with a crisp white matte border surrounding them, then frame.
14. Woven Watercolor Strips
Determine the width and length you want each strip of watercolor paper for the weaving to be. Give each student one strip and let them apply different watercolor techniques in the color palette of their choosing to their individual strip. Weave the strips tightly together and glue down onto a piece of black background to form this beautiful piece of art!
15. Reach for the Stars Collage
Have each student trace from their hand up to their elbow onto plain card stock (or pair them up to do it with a partner). Color and decorate, then cut out the tracing. Assemble all of the hands onto a dark blue poster board, overlapping from the bottom, with each hand pointing up, as if it is reaching toward the sky. Glue different sizes of shimmering gold stars at the top of the board.
16. Puzzle Pieces
Buy or have someone donate a puzzle with relatively large pieces. Usually a preschool puzzle with 25–30 pieces works well for this. Have students decorate the plain backside of each piece with permanent markers. Encourage them to add lots of details. When they are all colored in, spray all of the pieces with a shiny clear topcoat of spray paint. Assemble the puzzle and mount to a piece of cardboard or plywood. Attach hangers to the back or prop up on a tabletop easel.
17. The Hand Tree
Source: Candice Ashment Art
Celebrate the uniqueness of every single student in your class with this colorful, whimsical tree project. Click here for detailed directions.
18. Personalized Ceramic Bowl
There are many variations of this craft out there. We like this version, found on Pinterest, that creates a fun scene using students’ fingerprints. If you want your piece to be professionally fired, you or a parent volunteer can arrange to borrow the proper paints and markers, as well as buy your pottery piece, from a Pots ‘n Paints–type of business. After your students add their contribution to the piece, you can return it to the shop to be fired.
19. Wall of Hearts
Using small stretched canvases, or blocks of wood cut into uniform height and width but varying depths, students can paint their own design on a common theme (for example, hearts as shown in the image). Other theme ideas: trees, shapes, first letters of each student’s first or last name, stars, emojis.
20. Tile Squares Table
Source: Teach Kids Art
This one requires a little legwork to find and prepare just the right table base—a perfect job for a parent volunteer. For project details, see step-by-step directions here.
Does your school put on an auction? What are your favorite school auction art projects? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, our big list of restaurants that do school fundraisers.