Simple Negative Space Project for Kids
Save your FreshCut Crafts shape “skeletons” for an important exercise in negative space.
If you’re looking for a fun, creative challenge for the kids—ask them to make something creative out of their empty FreshCut Crafts shape sheets!
All of our punch-out shapes and letters are set in efficient patterns on sheets of brightly colored card stock. As the kids punch out all of the shapes on the sheets, a “skeleton” is exposed—but don’t throw out those skeletons! Instead, set them aside and let them accumulate for an important exercise in playing with negative space.
Tip: If you don’t have our shape skeletons, you can always use a punch to cut shapes into the sheet, or cut shapes into the sheet using scissors (much like an old-school snowflake project where you fold the paper down and cut out shapes and unfold to reveal)
From Positive to Negative and Back
Kids work in positive space most of the time, building with wooden blocks, paper shapes, plastic bricks, and drawing on solid sheets of paper. However, there is much to learn in looking for inspiration in what isn’t there.
When you look at one of our empty shape sheets, you see the outline of hearts or stars or circles, and you see through those empty spaces.
If you lay one skeleton on a sheet of colored paper, you’ll get colored positive shapes. Now try it on white or on a patterned sheet.
Layer a similar or different skeleton on top of that one and see what happens.
Shift the placement of the layered skeleton to see how the shapes and colors can interact.
Next, try folding a skeleton and then layering it. What is hidden, and what is revealed?
If you have loose shapes left over, try popping different colored shapes back into the skeletons.
Tear images and words out of old magazines and place them into the shapes, or print out your favorite digital photos and see what happens when they’re placed behind the shapes. You can also use the shapes as stencils with crayon or marker. What else can you do with negative space?
Turning Scraps Into Art
This project also drives home the message: “Think before you throw away.” If your child has ever cut a little circle into the corner of a piece of paper and mindlessly thrown the rest of the sheet out, you know what I’m talking about. When kids are creating, scraps and mishaps can be discarded without much thought.
By saving the empty shape sheets and making something exciting out of those sheets, the kids learn to think more consciously about saving materials that they could use for other projects, so be sure to have the discussion about the empty shape sheets that were almost thrown away!
Lessons Learned in This Activity:
- Think before you throw away. Can you use this for another project?
- Negative space can be used to create images and patterns.
- Layering colors, shapes, and materials can produce exciting and unpredictable results.
Get the Shapes
For this activity, we used shape sheets from Basic Shapes 1 and Basic Shapes 2 shape packs. However, all of our products have punch-out elements and you can use skeletons from our Alphabet Letters, ARTshapes, and Character kits, too!