Hello, my name is Jenna. In this blog, I am going to bring you BIG ideas for every little detail of your event. Need inspiration? Check out my current post. Want a tip on a topic? Browse the categories. There are thousands of people just like you planning fundraising events across the country...we may be apart, but when we share ideas, we will do great things together!

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JennaBW resized 182 Mom, step-mom, wife, daughter, singer, volunteer, writer, marketer, gluten-free baker, MBA, and...
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Classroom Art Fundraising Auction Item that's Stunning, Fun and Easy!


auction item for kidsI want to let you in on a secret. My greatest asset is also the thing that is most likely to trip me up. Here is how it usually goes down. Something out in the world really strikes me in a good way, next thing I know, a child’s voice in my mind convincingly whispers...

“...I can do that.”

It is this voice that throws me into a Lucille Ball-like tizzy—acting swiftly, debunking deterrents, hurdling (or hurtling!) road blocks, and making bold assumptions. I am proud to say, that I have a little better track record than Lucy. (Although, that voice has compelled me to make Paella time and again with the same porridge-like results.)

Today, I am here to report on a project that I can put in the “win” column. It all started as I was meandering around my fabulous new Pinterest account when I came across a Holten Rower video. Have you seen this? Well, you have to. No, really you do. Watch the video below. Go ahead, click play!

I bet you feel groovy, now. Has there ever been more soothing artwork? The rhythm of the tipping coffee cups, the determination of the cascading hues, and the blossoming of the rainbows. Ahhh. Did you hear that??? There she is again…

“...I can do that.”

At my first opportunity, I dove for the basement. I wrested a giant old canvas from the piles, dug out my ancient acrylics, and found a tarp. My 12 year-old and 4 year-old daughters swiftly caught the fever. They threw on their pants with holes and followed me in a procession to the garage. (We also may have put a sign on the door, “Top Secret Project in the Garage—No Boys!”)

sign for painting auction itemAfter a dreamy afternoon of mixing and pouring paints with my girls, I had established a proof-of-concept (as well as a masterpiece that is destined for our living room). The result, I ACTUALLY can do this! Not only that, my kids could too.

"Hmmm…" my little voice said,
"There is something more to this."

I got it! How about the most super-fantastic-fun-whimsical-easy classroom fundraiser art auction item of all time!

Monday morning, I headed to the art store to make this new endeavor official (in my case it was my favorite art store mecca Jerry's Artarama ). Here is what I bought:

One 12”x12” canvas $5.41
One 8”x8” canvas $3.12
One 4”x4” canvas $3.20
Eight 75ml tubes of acrylic paint $1.99/each (make sure one color is white)
Elmer’s Wood Glue $4.24
(I will also use a varnish for this project, but I had it at home)

So, I spent about $32 at the art store (The paint will easily be enough for two canvases). You will also need Dixie cups (no wax), plastic spoons, one paint brush, paper towels and a couple rags.

I will layout the basic steps, below. Of course, being a classroom art project you will want to bring the kids into the process. The older they are, the earlier they can be brought in. Your youngest artists will be delighted just to pour.

Prior to Painting Day

  1. auction item blank canvasPut lines of wood glue on the backs of the frames of the 8”x8” and 4”x4” canvases. Center the 8”x8” in the middle of the 12”x12” and center the 4”x4” in the middle of the 8”x8.” Do this at least the night before so that the glue can set.
  2. Get a sheet of white card stock and create a grid. Each child involved in the project will need their own box in the grid (You may need two sheets). Inside each box put a circle. This sheet will be what you use for the kids to record the paint color they poured. After they pour their paint, the child will swipe the paint brush across the inside of the cup and fill in the circle with their color. Then they write their names below the circles in the box. This will be a great addition to the auction table when you display the art!

Painting Day

Step One:  Squeeze each of the colors of paint into separate Dixie cups. Fill them about ¼ the way up. To create more colors use additional cups with the original colors plus some white. Then go ahead and mix some of the others together too. You should have at least 30 cups of paint (colors can repeat).

auction item cups of paint preparationStep Two:  Most likely the colors are too thick to pour. You can thin them out with water. Thin out the colors a little bit at a time. Mix them with your spoon, when the viscosity of your paint stops plopping off the spoon and starts pouring off the spoon, you are good to go.

Step Three: Get a kid and put a smock on him/her.

Step Four:  Let the child pick a color.  If the kids are young, have them stand on stools over the canvas. Have each child pour the paint into the middle of the top canvas. After the first color is poured, the child will be pouring in the middle of the previous color.

Step Five: Have the child fill in their box on the grid. Remove the smock, and go get another kid. 

Step Six: Repeat until all the kids have poured and all the Dixie cups are gone.

auction item evolution

Here are a few tips

Don’t rush this. Ideally, you can space this project out over at least an hour. Allowing each color to spread a bit before adding the next is a good thing.

Pour in the center. Try to keep the paint pouring in the same spot centered on the top canvas.

Ensure paint spreads evenly. If one side is getting more paint tilt the canvas up a bit to make sure that it disburses evenly across the canvas. I slid spoons under the canvas to tilt it just a bit, as needed.

Leverage the photo opp! Have one parent volunteer dedicated to documenting the creation of the art. These photos will be a great addition to the auction display.

Don’t move the canvas for 48 hours. And, allow canvas to dry at least one week before varnishing.

Try a black or gray canvas! Especially if you have more than one classroom, try painting one of the canvases gray or black before you start. The colors will pop!

This all sounds harder than it really is. Don’t be intimidated! The kids will absolutely love watching the bands of color move down the canvas. They will be so proud!!! And, the format is very forgiving. If a bit of paint drips into another color—don’t worry! It will look great no matter what.

Okay…now go forth and pour paint. Get messy. Get Groovy. And, don’t forget to let me know how it all works out.

Remember, the bliss is in the details!

Jenna  --Please see 4/5/12 update below--

We finally got the art project I did with my girls up this weekend! It is 6 ft x 4 ft and looks amazing! The girls are so proud to have their work so prominently displayed in our living room! :)

Art project for fundraising events

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.



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