Holiday Collage For Kids: Inspired By Henri Matisse


Today’s art project is inspired by Henri Matisse.  Matisse was born in a small town in France in 1869.  Raised in an industrial family in the grain business, as a young man, he worked as a legal clerk.

Matisse was interested in drawing so he took a drawing class in the mornings before he went to work.  When he was 21, he fell ill and while he was recovering he began painting.

During this break from work, Matisse’s career as an artist was born!

As an artist Henri Matisse worked in a variety of mediums and explored different styles of art.  Matisse was most well-known for his use of brilliant colors and exaggerated shapes.

He liked to simplify and repeat forms using simple shapes.

Matisse found his own style as an artist and enjoyed success.  He traveled to places such as Italy, Germany, Spain and North Africa for artistic inspiration.

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tapa-clothWhile traveling to Tahiti, Matisse was inspired by the Polynesian tapestry made from bark called tapa.

The bark is processed by soaking and beating and then decorated with designs applied with paint and vegetable dye.

Here is an example of tapa cloth.

The inspiration pieces for today’s project are Polynesia, the sky and Polynesia, La Mer both from 1946.




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Can you see the design elements that remind you of the tapa cloth in Matisse’s artwork?

We are going to create a holiday collage using some of these elements.

Supplies needed for this project are:

  • Construction or Colored Paper (Two Colors)
  • Coffee Filters
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • White Glue
  • Small Paint Brush


For the first step, fold one of your pieces of paper into 8 sections.  Next, cut it in half and separate 4 pieces.

Using your glue stick, attach those 4 pieces in an alternating pattern on another piece of colored paper.


Now it’s time to make our design elements.

First, create a border from coffee filter snowflakes.

Using the steps below, fold your coffee filter into 5 sections or as small as you can.  I used clothes pins to hold the folded filter together.

Once folded several times, cut the filter into three pieces.

Using scissors, trim the outer edges and cut shapes into the sides of the pieces to create snowflake

Next, unfold the pieces to see the patterns you have created.  You can cut your snowflakes into pieces and lay them around the edges of your paper to make sure you have enough.

It’s best to cut the small snowflake from the center in half.

Set the pieces off to the side.


Now it’s time to create some shapes for the center of our artwork.

I was inspired by the birds in Matisse’s artwork to create dove shapes to mix with our holiday snowflakes.

I think the dove and snowflake combination fit perfectly together this holiday season.

You can easily search Google images for dove artwork to see the variety of shapes you can use to create your birds.

Doves come in all shapes and sizes!  They don’t have to be perfect.


Once you cut out some birds for the center, it’s time to glue the pieces into place.

Mix some water into the white glue to make it easier to apply with a brush.

Using your glue mixture and brush, attach your snowflake pieces to your border and your bird shapes to the center.  Don’t worry if your snowflakes go beyond the edges of your paper, we’ll trim those off later.

You can also add smaller star shapes to fill in any empty spaces you would like.


Set your collage aside and allow the glue to dry completely.



Note:  Sometimes with art projects, things happen that we do not plan for.  Notice the glue reacted to the dark blue sections of paper but not the lighter blue. 

These pieces of coffee filter turned a slight shade of pink.  Not to worry!  I used a white colored pencil to layer over the areas that had turned pink. 

I like the contrast in texture the colored pencil added.  I left the other areas of white more transparent for a bit of contrast.

There is never a mistake in art! 😉


You can trim any extra pieces of the coffee filter from the edges of your artwork for the final step.


Here’s our artwork alongside our Matisse inspiration pieces.


Spread a little peace this holiday season with Matisse-inspired holiday cards.

Have fun and be creative!


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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

1 comment

  1. Pingback: Woo! Jr.: Matisse-Inspired Holiday Collage | Fine Art Mom

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