Drawing with Scissors - Collage Art Lesson for Kids

Drawing with Scissors Collage

A collage art lesson inspired by Henri Matisse.

"From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands, I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.”

– Henri Matisse 1869-1954

Grade Level: 3rd – 5th grade

Time Required: 2 45-min. class periods


Students will learn about the life and art of Henri Matisse, and create a cut out collage inspired by his work.


Compose Organic Stylized Geometric Tints/Shades Complimentary Balance

National Core Arts Standards:

Creating: #1, 2, 3
Presenting/Producing: #5, 6
Responding: #8, 9
Connecting: #11


Faber-Castell Construction Paper

Other colored paper




Drawing with Scissors Book

Drawing with Scissors

by Keesia Johnson and Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Jessie Hartland


Drawing With Scissors is an interesting and creatively written story of the life of one of the art world’s greatest masters, Henri Matisse, and his wonderful artistic contribution that had made our culture rich.

After sharing and discussing several examples of Matisse’s famous cut-out collages, students learn his process of “drawing with scissors,” and create their own playful cut-out collage in the same manner.

Colored construction paper

1. Begin by having students decide on a theme for their project. They can create a simple scene, (this artwork inspired by Matisse’s Garden) or an abstract piece of art. Have them choose a background color and palette of 4 colors along their with tints and shades.

Construction paper shapes

2. Next, demonstrate how Matisse would cut directly into the paper using his “scissors as his pencil.” Show how to cut simple fluid, curvy shapes and spirals, as well as geo- metric and stylized shapes. Remember, no pencils allowed!

Overlapping shapes on construction paper

3. Students then arrange their cut pieces onto their background. Demonstrate how to loosely compose their art, overlapping shapes, and being mindful of complimentary color choices. Show how to create an overall visual balance.

Cut out shapes on paper

4. When compositions are final, glue pieces in place. Show students how to apply glue to the back of the pieces rather than the background. Finally, students trim excess pieces from the edges and give a creative title to their artwork.

Download the complete lesson here!


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