Activity: Paper Patterns (Free materials)

Inspired by artworks in our Jimmy Robert exhibition, this activity explores the qualities of paper and ink to make patterns.

We have a FREE activity pack to support this activity that includes, instructions (or you can download here), a roll of crepe paper, jumbo felt tips and pipettes (for water and/or food colouring). All you need to add are additional colours such as food colouring, you might find these at the back of a cupboard somewhere and if you have a water sprayer or a water pistol even better!

If you would like a free materials pack, email ljacques@nottinghamcontemporary.org and we can pop one in the post for you.

If you have these material at home or have received your pack let’s get started!


It could get a bit messy so wear an apron or wear some old clothes. Cover the area where you want to do the activity or use a tray or a container if you have one (a baking tray is perfect!). You will need some water in a small cup to use with the pipettes.

Wearing your old clothes, set up your workspace, and gather all the materials. It might be a good idea to watch the short video above before you begin. You are now ready to start!

The crepe paper should be rolled up and placed in the tray, take the lids off the marker pens and position these so that they are in contact with the paper. Using the pipettes, put a few drops of water in the areas where the tips of marker pens meet the paper. You might find that it’s easier to do this one at a time, you can then try gently mixing colours together by using food colouring in the pipettes.

By experimenting and being patient, let the colours and water seep into the layers of paper. Be mindful not to over wet the paper as it might break.

When your artwork is dry, unroll and unfold, the result will be a surprising discovery!

If you have more materials you could try and make a large piece outside in the sunshine and dry over the washing line. Or maybe try different materials to experiment further, such as fabric.

Do please share on our social media, we are really excited to see what you make! #NCmaking

Tips at home:

• Make a clear open space to work on the table or floor.
• It might be a good idea not to wear your best clothes.
• Some children might need support or supervision.
• Be patient, maybe you could do a couple at a time?

This activity was created by Play and Learn Facilitator, Milee Lee

Getting to know us: Play and Learn Team

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