Coffee filters & paint – a dynamite combo

March 27, 2011

Lauren, Uncategorized

Each year all the classes at St. John take turns decorating the cafeteria with art, and each year I remember to save art to put up for this purpose. Usually it’s not a big deal because our turn comes after our big Potato Bake dinner and we just move all the Mr. Potato Head decorations from the fellowship hall to the cafeteria – done and done.

Not this year. This year we got a different time slot and I totally forgot until we only had two days left to make something.


I scavenged some paintings the children had done, and then we went into full-on elf mode. Crank out the art, children! (Well, actually a craft.)

We made some 3-D coffee filter flowers (not my invention). They have maximum impact for minimum effort. You staple 7-8 coffee filters together then paint them. We used liquid watercolors – a marvel of modern paint technology. (In a preschool room, regular in-the-pan watercolors exist for exactly one minute as separate colors, then they are all muddy.)

After they dry you crinkle and crimp (crimple?) the filters, starting with the top one and working your way down.

Pinch the bottom, not the top.

Keep going…..

Keep pinching! Pinch like there's not tomorrow!


Staple to the top of a construction paper stem, add some leaves, and we. are. golden.

Magic moving picture ahead:
Coffee filter flowers

About Lauren

Lauren Sommerer is a preschool teacher who likes to build prototypes, grow cats, cook things once, save money, reduce, reuse and recycle.

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13 Responses to “Coffee filters & paint – a dynamite combo”

  1. Brad Said on:

    I like those! I wonder if I can invent a lesson where seventh graders would make those… Do you think seventh graders could keep the in-the-pan watercolors separate? I don’t know if I want to lay out $42 for the sake of one project.


    • Lauren Said on:

      Sure! 7th graders are much more skilled than preschoolers. You could also try food coloring, but I’d water it down to make it last.


  2. Peggy Said on:

    Those are AWESOME! I can’t stop rolling over the picture! So pretty!

    When I worked in kindergarten, we made butterflys out of coffee filters & we used food coloring. We did mix it with water. And we used eye droppers to apply the color. I bet Debbie could lend you a bunch of eye droppers Brad, if you decide to do the project.


  3. Annette Said on:

    Did you move your dining room table to the Center, or the preschoolers to your dining room?


  4. John and Kate Brady Said on:

    We would have commented sooner except we haven’t had internet for 7 days. Kate made me comment on the flowers…they’re nice. Now BACK TO THE FIRE! The reason Lloyd did not receive the customary $30 per hour is well…his help is simply priceless. Yes Lauren, you can help next time. You can even operate the torch. I’m trying to hold off till next year but the gov’t wants us to burn the rest this spring. If we do that, the birds have no where to go so I’m saying no. Damn government workers! Nice pictures Lloyd, thanks.


  5. Kris Said on:

    OK, Lauren, today the Rensner children are attempting both the flowers and the rainbow cake. I’ll let you know how it goes!


    • Kristi Said on:

      My mom has done the rainbow cake for birthday parties It’s always a huge hit.

      The flowers are fun, and you can turn those same coffee filters into butterflies by adding a pipe cleaner for the body and antennae.


    • Lauren Said on:

      It is gonna be a par-tay at your house!! I wish I could be there! πŸ™‚


  6. Jill Said on:

    Lauren, how long do these take to dry? I meant to do these for centerpieces for tomorrow’s dinner…and I just remembered. Help!


    • Lauren Said on:

      Two words: Hair. Dryer. They’ll be dry before you know it. πŸ™‚


      • Jill Said on:

        Awesome. You rock. Also, do you stick the pipe cleaners through the filters, or…attach them some other way?


        • Lauren Said on:

          Oops. I’m responding very late. I stabbed them through the filters just off-center, made a shepherd-staff-like hook, then stabbed it back through and twisted it. (I pre-poked the holes with a big pin beforehand.)

          The pipe cleaner isn’t strong enough to hold them up, so then I stuck the pipe cleaner in a drinking straw.


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