This is such an amazing art lesson for children. They will love creating a unique mandala and learning about radial balance.
Use cardboard circles to help create a fun mandala art idea with upper elementary-aged students and beyond. Designs that have radial symmetry can be fun for all to create and can help you enjoy the present moment. Adding in your own symbols and ideas is a wonderful way to create a unique mandala design that represents you.
What is a mandala?
According to Adobe, “In ancient Sanskrit language of Hinduism and Buddhism mandala means “circle.” Traditionally, a mandala is a geometric design or pattern that represents the cosmos or deities in various heavenly worlds.”
There is a meditative quality when drawing a mandala. Even our simple experience of creating repetitive lines and shapes had a calming effect during this fun art project.
Mandalas are a great inspiration for beginners and children because there really is no wrong way to make your own mandala. You can create nature mandalas or use bright colors with geometric patterns. This art lesson allows you to gain a better understanding of different cultures while making a final artwork that represents you.
Great Video Resource About How Real Sand Mandalas Are Made
In this video (that is awesome to show children), they talk about how nothing is permanent and that the process is just as important as the end results. You can see how Buddhist monks create beautiful designs out of colored sand. Young artists will be amazed at the patience and different designs demonstrated in the video.
This video opens up a fun discussion about process art. You can prompt with questions such as:
- Why would people erase all their art?
- What does that symbolize?
Kids can give really insightful ideas about the purpose of art and the spiritual practices shown during a mandala project.
*Make sure that cardboard circles are uncoated. If they are glossy they are harder to add paint to them. You will see some brown examples where we accidentally ordered those. They still worked, but the colors will not be as bright.
Why use tempera cakes?
In a larger classroom setting or even just at home, tempera cakes are a great way to have a little less mess while providing color options for kids. I have painted these on white cardboard circles and on brown.
The tempera cakes when used properly can show up on both colored cardboards, but you will get brighter colors on the white base.
If you don’t have cardboard, you could always create paper plate mandalas instead.
What are the best tempera cakes for kids?
We have used these Jack Richeson ones before. The basic colors work really well especially if you show students how to add white colors to make tints when painting on brown cardboard. However, recently I purchased the extra colors from this pack and am excited to see what might happen.
There are also fluorescent tempera cakes and this project would look amazing under black lights!
How To Create A Mandala Inspired Art Project For Kids
There are so many ways to create fun mandala artworks and it can be an excellent way for children to understand the art principle of balance.
For the purpose of this drawing, make sure your mandala makers understand that they are going to create a mostly symmetrical drawing. Their circular design won’t be 100% accurate. Process art is just as important as the final product.
How To Draw A Mandala For Beginners
Before you begin you should teach kids about symmetry. Show examples of items in nature that may have symmetry or even just everyday objects. We also have used this drawing idea to create a fun black and white radial design for our easy food sculptures.
Step 1: Put a dot in the center of the circle.
Step 2: Divide the circle in half so that your line is touching the center of their mandalas.
Step 3: Rotate the circle to draw in half again to make fourth
Step 4: Rotate the circle again and draw in line.
Step 5: Rotate one more time to make 1/8 or 8 equal pieces of the pie.
Bonus Math Lesson
You can have kids talk about equal and unequal fractions when drawing these designs. There is always a way to tie in Math and Art together!
Step 6: Start in the center of the mandala with one piece of the pie. Draw a shape in one part of the pie (or pizza slice) and then repeat the shapes in all of the pieces in the same spot on all pieces.
For each circular layer, use simple lines and shapes to create a fun radial design. Keep adding different mandala patterns and simple shapes until your circular pattern is completed.
This is a great opportunity to encourage kids to be unique and take their time.
Optional: have kids outline designs in sharpies. This will help them see their designs better when using tempera paint.
How To Use Tempera Cake Paints On Cardboard Circles
- Show how to activate the tempera cakes by adding water.
- If kids have too much water show them how to scrape extra paint on the edge of the water container or paint pallet.
- You can choose to say kids should paint these in a symmetrical way or allow creative freedom. We have done it both ways and kids like the results of this easy mandala art.
- Some children may need to add a second coat on top of dry tempera paint to get a pop of color. Use a small brush to add extra details and designs.
Optional: Use a paint marker, black sharpie, or colored sharpies to add more designs on top of the dried tempera paint.
Options For Hanging
- Use fishing line and hang a mobile
- Prop on small easels.
- Pin to a board.
- Add to a large doll rod to display multiple in a row.
- Water container
- Put a dot in the center of the circle.
- Divide the circle in half so your line touches the center of your mandala.
- Rotate the circle to draw in half again to make four equal parts.
- Rotate the circle again and draw in line.
- Rotate one more time to make 8 equal parts all touching the center dot.
- Draw a shape in one part of the pie (or pizza slice) and then repeat the shapes in all of the pieces in the same spot on all pieces.
- Repeat lines and shapes in the same spot on each piece until you have finished your design. Optional: You can outline with a black permanent marker,
- Use tempera cakes to paint your cardboard circle.
- Once dry, use makers to add extra details and designs.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Related Projects: Easy Food Sculptures with Radial Symmetry on the plates.