Art Nouveau for Kids: Pattern Stamping Inspired by Gustav Klimt


Today we’re going to explore art nouveau for kids with a project inspired by Gustav Klimt.  Gustav Klimt was an Austrian painter noted for his paintings, murals, sketches and other art objects during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

pattern-definitionThe time period of his life that he is most known for is called his “golden phase”.

Many of Klimt’s paintings during this time period are decorated with patterns and gold.

In today’s art project, we are going create repeating patterns with homemade foam stamps.

Some of his finest decorative work was created when he contributed three large mosaics to the Palais Stoclet (Stoclet Palace) in Brussels.


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This palace was the home a wealthy Belgian businessman and was one of the grandest pieces of art during the Art Nouveau movement.

The Art Nouveau movement was popular during the late 1800 and early 1900’s.



The panels created for the palace included a swirling Tree of Life, a standing figure and a couple in an embrace.


Tree of Life, Stoclet Frieze. Image courtesy of Wiki Art.

To prepare for such a large piece of art, Gustav created several different paintings before deciding on his final artwork design.

The inspiration piece for today’s art project is a design he created for the Tree of Life.

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The supplies needed for this project are:

  • Canvas or Canvas Board
  • Palette or plate to mix paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pencil
  • Red Pen
  • Wine Corks (about 7)
  • Acrylic Paint (red/blue/yellow/white/gold)
  • Rubber Band
  • Adhesive Foam Sheet
  • Scissors or X-Acto Knife


First, we need to paint the background on which we will apply our stamps.

Using only your red, yellow, blue and white paint you can make a peach/tan color.  Begin by mixing orange and add only the smallest amount of blue to make it less bright – then add white to lighten it.


Set aside the canvas to dry and create your foam stamps.


The design elements used to create our patterns in this project are; a large swirl, several triangles, a circle, a butterfly, and a small flower.

Steps for creating foam stamps:

  • Sketch the shape in pencil on your foam adhesive sheet.
  • Cut each shape out using your scissors or an X-Acto knife (adults only).
  • Peel off the sticker backing and press a cork on the back of the shape – you made a stamp!
  • For the larger more detailed swirl shape, apply a square piece of foam as a backing.  Use a group of 4 corks (held together by a rubber band) to press into the back of the square.

Next, it’s time to create our first layer of stamps.

First, draw a line across the bottom of your canvas to create the ground.  You can draw a few shapes on the ground to fill in with gold paint.


Paint the gold areas of the ground first.  Next, spread out some gold paint and press your swirl stamp into it.  Carefully stamp your swirl onto your canvas.  Repeat the swirls to fill the background.  You can use a smaller brush to add some smaller swirl details.


Next, using your gold paint, add some red and a very small amount of blue to make brown.

Use a small brush to paint your tree branches.

Once that dries, mix your other colors and use your other foam stamps to create the designs in your tree.   Start with the white circles and then fill in with the triangles as your leaves.  Try to use various shades of green, blue, etc. to add variation to your tree.



Once you’re finished with your stamps, allow it to dry.

The final step is to use your red pen to create the small flower details.

Our finished project with our inspiration piece!


I really love how this project turned out and I think it might be the inspiration for a holiday card this year!


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About the author

Crystal has worked in the arts and taught drawing and painting for over 25 years in Los Angeles. She loves creating art, gardening, planning fun art projects, and enjoying creative adventures with her family. Find out more at

View all articles by Crystal Foth

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