DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint

Children create a 3-dimensional 'Under the Sea' scene using different mediums, textures and types of paper.  

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 1


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


colour mixing coral reef fish lake ocean ocean life primary colours sea seaweed secondary colours starfish texture


Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil Cardstock 8.5 x 11 Sheets Table Salt Watercolour Paints Oil Pastels Scissors Foam Core Glitter Glue Masking Tape Paint Brush Crayola Construction Paper Crayons Water Container

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DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step One

Step One

Wrap heavy duty aluminum foil around a piece of 21.6 cm x 27.9 cm (8.5" x 11") card stock. Use masking tape to fasten it on the back.

DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Two

Step Two

Draw an underwater scene that includes things such as seaweed, coral, and fish on the aluminum foil using Crayola construction paper crayons and oil pastels.

DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Three

Step Three

Paint different shades of blue over the whole piece of aluminum foil using watercolour paints.  The crayon and oil pastels will resist the paint.



DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Four

Step Four

Sprinkle salt on the picture while the watercolours are still wet. Salt will disperse and create a texture and bubble effect.



DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Five

Step Five

Draw a few shapes of underwater life, such as fish, starfish, a seahorse, and seaweed on a piece of cardstock paper.


DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Six

Step Six

Cut out the shapes.



DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Seven

Step Seven

Colour the shapes using construction paper crayons and/or oil pastels and then paint over them with watercolour paints.


DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Eight

Step Eight

Glue some small pieces of foam core board onto the back of the fish. (Or use foam adhesive circles.) These will raise the shape and make it feel more 3-dimensional on the picture. Be sure to place the small foam pieces all over the back of the fish.


DEEP BLUE SEA – Exploring Papers, Textures and Paint - Step Nine

Step Nine

Add some finishing touches with glitter glue. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Work independently and self-regulate;
  2. Share their ideas with peers; and
  3. Explore different elements of design (colour, shape and texture).


  1. Dramatic Play Centre - Set your dramatic play centre up as an ocean. Hang up blue shower curtains to create the look of water. Hang green streamers from the ceiling to create seaweed. Encourage the children to help you create this centre. They might draw fish and other ocean life pictures to hang up. Ask the children if anyone has collected seashells on a trip to the beach. Maybe they can bring them in.
  2. Science Centre - Set out a variety of seashells in sand along with magnifying glasses.
  3. Social Studies - Set out maps and pictures for children to use to see where different large bodies of water are, for example, oceans, seas and the Great Lakes. Talk about related things such as where different fish live, and the differences between an ocean and a lake.
  4. Reading Centre - Set out a variety of books about fish and ocean life. 


  1. Prepare for this activity by collecting all the materials listed under supplies. 
  2. Prepare the foil wrapped cardstock for younger children.
  3. Set up some other centres in the classroom suggested under extensions.
  4. Gather images of fish, seaweed, seashells and other marine life and mount them on chart paper with space for writing students' words. For example, these images from wikimedia commons:
    Flora of the Mediterranean
    Flora of the Black Sea
    Zebra Sea Bream
    Anthias Fish
    Parablennius Fish
    Glaucum Shells
    Spiny Seahorse


  1. Read Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister during your read aloud.
  2. Talk about the pictures in the book. 
  3. Ask children:
    What do you see in the pictures?
    What do you think it looks like under the ocean? 
    What ocean life other than fish live in the ocean? 
  4. Talk about all the beautiful colours in the ocean. 
  5. Refer to books pulled from the library about oceans, seas and lakes.
  6. Discuss the differences between oceans, seas and lakes.
  7. Talk about creating a picture of the ocean. 
  8. Ask children:
    What would you include in your picture?
    - What colours would you use?
    What ocean life would you draw?
  9. As children talk about what they will put in their pictures print their words in the appropriate space on the chart paper.​


The Challenge

  1. Children challenge themselves to use their imagination and problem-solving skills as they explore ideas in this activity.

The Process

  1. Demonstrate how to wrap aluminum foil around the cardstock and tape it on the back, or prepare this paper ahead of time for younger students. 
  2. Demonstarte the process of making the picture by thinking out loud as you work through the steps.
  3. Encourage students to use their imagination and try lots if different ideas.
  4. Observe students as they work. From time to time ask them to stop and view their work from a bit of a distance so they can see it with 'fresh eyes'.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.



  1. Allow children to share their artworks. 
  2. Have classmates ask their peers questions about their artwork. 
  3. Look at the artwork together as a class.
  4. Talk about the effects of different techniques, for example, the watercolour paint and how it resisted the crayon and oil pastel, and how the salt created a texture.