This beautiful Earth craft is a lot of fun to make! Use it for Earth Day, or change the paint colors to create a solar system craft.
I love the swirly colors and magical process of making this paper plate earth craft. I love the smell of tempera paint too – which is a good thing because that’s what my kitchen smells like today!
Earth Craft Instructions
If you want to make this craft more earth-friendly, this is a good opportunity to re-use clean-ish paper plates and plastic cups. Or, use washable cups and stirring spoons.
- Heavy duty paper plate
- 8 small plastic cups
- White, Green & Blue paint (I used washable tempera)
- Wooden skewers, plastic spoons, or Popsicle sticks for mixing
- Tray to collect the drips (any that’s bigger than the paper plate)
Prepare the Plate
Cut the rim off the paper plate. The back of the plate is being painted, so the rounded edge is good, but the paint will get trapped on the rim.
Looking for something quicker? You may also like our Earth Day suncatchers:
Prepare the Paint
This process will give you 3 different shades of green and blue paint. Keep in mind, lighter coloring will show better than dark, and the more contrast the better.
Also note – since the earth is more water than land, you’ll need more blue paint than green.
- Set out 6 cups. We’ll label these: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
- Fill cups 1,2, and 3 with green paint. Then, fill cups 4,5, and 6 with blue. (Remember, use more blue than green)
- Now, add a little white paint to cups 1-green and 4-blue.
- Then, add a little more white than you did the first time to cups 2-green and 5-blue. Mix well.
- Finally, fill a new cup with a small amount of white.
- Once you have your colors created, you may need to dilute each cup with a little water so it pours well. With tempera paint, you’ll only need a tiny amount. You want the paint to pour easily but not be watery. The consistency will be between a milkshake and syrup.
Make the “Dirty Cup”
Here’s where the fun really starts! We’ll be combining all the paint into a single cup, but not stirring.
To keep the kids from stirring anyway, you may want to collect their stirring sticks or spoons before you proceed.
Ready?! Here’s what you do:
- Add some (but not all) of the darkest shade of blue, then top with lighter blue and lightest blue.
Then add a little of each shade of green.
- Add a couple drops of white, but only very little.
- Keep going back and forth with all your colors. The order doesn’t really matter, as long as there’s more blue than green, and the shades of each color are being layered.
- Continue until the cup is filled all the way to the top, or near the top if you run out of paint sooner.
Now your paint is ready! Don’t stir or mix it.
The Grand Finale!
Get ready for some messy magic!
To give you a sense of what to expect, I found a video for you. The technique to get there was a little different, but it’s similar at the point I set it to start for you (13:55).
For our Earth craft, we’re putting the cup on a sturdy paper plate rather than a canvas, but the paint releases in the same way. Here’s what you do:
- Set the plate up on top of a cup so that the paint can drip off the edges.
- Next, put the back side of the paper plate onto your paint cup, centered as best as possible.
- Hold the cup to the plate tightly as you quickly turn the plate and cup over.
- Place the plate onto the cup that is on the tray. A little paint might seep out, but suction will hold it on.
- Now the grand finale! Lift the paint cup up and watch the pour! The cup might be a little suctioned to the plate, just give it a little squeeze to un-stick it. If the paint doesn’t flow to the edge, simply tip the plate to cover all the edges.
- Let the plate sit for 24 hours. There’s a lot of paint on the plate, so it does take a significant time to dry.
Enjoy your out-of-this-world art!