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This activity invites kids and their grownups to unite over the meditative and ancient art of weaving. Reflect and create together while weaving your family narrative of life during quarantine.

This activity is appropriate for children ages 5 and up with the help of an adult.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of thick cardboard, at least 8.5” x 11”
  • Ruler
  • Paper and writing utensil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Long consecutive piece of yarn, string, twine, or thin rope
  • Found objects to weave with: yarn; cut strips of cardboard, fabric, or paper bags; sticks, flowers, feathers, bendy straws, etc.
  • Optional: Thin stick, pencil, or dowel to hang weaving from

1. Writing Reflection Exercise:

  • Using paper and a writing utensil, reflect on you and your family’s personal experiences during quarantine. This text can later be cut or ripped and used directly in your weaving.
  • What are you sharing during quarantine that you didn’t have to share before?
  • What are you and your family doing during quarantine to feel happy or relaxed?

2. Make a loom:

Mark 5 equidistant lines from the center of the top and bottom edges of your cardboard. Cut into each line to create equal-sized notches. Now you have a loom to create many weavings with!

A piece of brown cardboard, with the top and bottom edges marked, and being cut on the middle-bottom edge.

3. String your loom:

Tape the end of a long piece of string to one side of the cardboard. Stretch and pull the string into the top, left notch. Stretch down the backside of the cardboard and pull into the bottom left notch. Repeat until the string is pulled snugly into each notch. Tape down end, leaving a 4” tail of string, then cut. Congrats, you’ve strung, or ‘warped’ your loom!

ART LAB_Woven-Wonders_Step-3.png

4. Weave!

Weave materials horizontally over and under the vertical strings. Alternate the over/under pattern on the next line. Try to maintain consistent tension while weaving, without pulling too hard. To incorporate your personal story into your weaving, written reflections could be cut or ripped into strips and woven in.

Learn the basics of weaving in these videos:


5. Remove Weaving from Loom:

On the back of the loom, cut the vertical strings across the center. Tie the end of the first string to the second, then second to third, and continue across the top. Repeat by tying your strings across the bottom. Trim ends. Tuck the ends of your weaving into the back. If you’d like, incorporate a stick or dowel and hanging string at the top.


Pro Tip!

You can use your loom to make many more weavings! Add more notches to create a wider weaving. To create different size weavings, change the size of your loom.

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This project is designed for kids and adults, ages 6 +

Explore your identity and create a collage that is as unique as you! Cut and collect images from magazines that represent your identity and use an image transfer technique to create a collage with see-through images.

This activity was facilitated as a virtual workshop during the June 2020 virtual Play Date: Creating for Care.

You will need:

Art materials including clear packing tape, scissors, glossy magazine, white sheet of paper, and a black plastic bowl.

  • Old magazines: Glossy magazine images work best (paper printouts or newspapers will not work with this technique).  
  • Clear packing tape
  • Scissors
  • A bowl of water or spray bottle filled with water
  • (Optional) A piece of paper or other surface to be your background for your collage
  • (Optional) glue stick or tape 
  • (Optional) Extra 2D collage materials 
  • (Optional) Coloring/drawing tools
  • An art making space that can get a little wet (have a towel handy!)


1. Cut and collect images from magazines that represent you. Think about your culture, heritage, family, friends, community, personality, hobbies – All the things that make up who you are. Find and cut out images from magazines that represent these things.

A pair of scissors with magazine cut-outs of photographs of oranges, an autumn park, a gourmet dish, an outdoor deck, and illustrations of a sparrow and leaves.

2. Cover your image side with packing tape. Make sure your tape is sticking to the side with the image.

A photograph of an autumn park from a magazine cut-out is covered with clear tape on both sides.

3. Once your image is covered, soak it in the bowl of water or spray the paper side with water. Repeat with all your images.

Newspaper and magazine cut-outs soaked in a bowl of water.

4. Peel/rub the paper off of your images. Play around with the soak times. The longer you leave your images in the water, the easier it will be to peel the paper off. Soaking for a shorter period of time will leave more of the paper on your image.

A series of four images showing step-by-step a hand peeling off the magazine-cut out paper from the tape to reveal the transferred image.

5. Once you have all your image transfers and they’ve dried, use them to create a collage.  The transparency of the images let you play around with layering. You can collage just with your image transfers, on top of another piece of paper, or even on your window. You can also pair them with photographs, other magazine images, or drawings.

Various images and illustrations on clear tape, still slightly wet, after having been soaked in a bowl of water.

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This activity is recommended for ages 8+. Please note that the project involves scissors to cut materials. Great for individuals, and virtual collaboration.

Make your own 8-page mini-zine! Essentially miniature magazines, zines often display images and texts and are typically self-published by an individual or small group. Zines are really easy and inexpensive to make and are popularly photocopied to be shared within a community. Investigate artist Ellen Gallagher’s method of altering advertisements and popular cultural texts to create your own visual statement.

You will need:

  • Letter sized (8.5” x11”) paper
  • Drawing materials
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Mixed 2D materials (Coupon books, magazines, newspapers, books, yearbooks, etc.)


1. Fold your paper in half, then half again, and then half again. When you open your paper, you should have eight equal sections.

2. With the paper completely open, fold it in half with short ends touching. Using scissors, cut halfway across the middle from the fold. When you reopen your paper, there will be a slit in the middle of the sheet.

Two images: on the left is a blank piece of white paper folded into eight equal sections; on the right is the same paper with a slit in the middle of the sheet.

3. Fold the paper lengthwise (long ends touching), hold the paper at either end, and fold the sheet into itself to form an 8-page booklet.

Three images stacked, each showing hands folding paper in various ways.

4. Using newspapers, magazines, or other similar materials, explore cutting out images, textures, and text. Subtract from images by cutting away elements. Play with the composition by reassembling pieces on a background; overlap or leave space between cutouts. Glue them into place. Add layers to the collage by drawing and painting over images, adorning with stickers, or writing poetry!

Scraps of cut-out newspapers and a pair of scissors on a surface.

5. Share, collaborate, teach— The mini-zine can be unfolded and photocopied. Zines can be donated to community centers, libraries, and independent bookstores. Zines are notable for being used in community organization and political movements because they can be easily shared. Who will you share your zine with?

Three images stacked showing different angles of a miniature magazine made from collaged newspaper cut-out.

This activity was created by Kelly Chen, Visitor Assistant.

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This activity was designed for ages 8 and older but can be adapted for beginners to experts and for younger kids with adult assistance. Please note that this project involves using scissors to cut paper.

Many artists use everyday materials found around them to create art that conveys different things about the personal and the profound. Sara VanDerBeek’s Continuum Blue is a photograph of a collage, an artwork made by combining different materials (often through cutting and pasting), and shows that it is a great way to create something visually and spatially intriguing. In Continuum Blue, it looks as though you’re looking through a kaleidoscope! We invite you to create your own kaleidoscopic collage and discover how color, texture, pattern, and paper size can create a dazzling effect.

You will need:

  • Printed template (download)
  • 2D Collage materials – this can be anything you want
  • Paper for backing, color is your choice (this is what your finished product will be glued to!)
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick, glue, clear tape or rubber cement
  • Pencil and ruler (optional)


1. Print and cut out the template of your choosing, cutting out each section into smaller triangle sections. One side of each triangle will have numbers and arrows and the other side will be blank. (The numbers help to keep track of your triangles and the arrows will help you assemble your triangles at the end.)


2. Collect your 2D collage materials.

Keep in mind that you will need pieces that are long enough to cover the width of each triangle section. Some examples of things that you can use are newspapers, old photos, magazines, and flyers — Experiment with a range of 2D materials! Perhaps choose a theme for your piece and collect materials based on a color or idea that unites everything.

TIP: If you do not have collaging materials available, you can create your own by drawing on plain or colorful paper and cutting that up to use as collage material.

Art Lab_[KCollage]_Step[2].jpeg

3. Cut your collage materials into long strips so that they will fit across the width of your triangle sections. Your strips can be narrow or wide but if you want to make them all equal for a more uniform look, a ruler may be useful.

4. Glue your collage strips onto the blank sides of your triangle sections. (The side with the number and arrow should be on the back.) Glue your first strip along the edge of the longest side of the triangle and work your way to the opposite corner. Don’t worry if the strips hang over the edge (we will trim later). You can create a uniform design by repeating the same pattern of collage strips on each of your triangles, or experiment by creating a new pattern for each.

5. Once you have covered each of your triangle sections with your collage strips, carefully cut along the edge of each triangle to trim off any overhang.

Art Lab_[KCollage]_Step[4+5].jpeg

6. Connect your triangles and assemble them with the arrows pointing toward the center. You can either tape them together or glue them onto a background of your choosing.


This activity was developed by Hallie Selinger, Visitor Experience Manager.

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Explore and celebrate the layers of Motherhood through this portrait-making activity. This activity is adaptable for beginners to experts, and involves tracing and cutting. This could be a gift for a Mother-figure, a fun activity to work on together, or a reflective art-making activity for anyone who wants to celebrate Motherhood.

Art making supplies including scissors, an assortment of scrap paper and a brown plastic bag.

You will need:

  • 2 pieces of white paper
  • Pencil
  • Black marker or sharpie
  • A digital or printed photograph of a Mother-figure or a device to take a photo
  • Found paper and materials to collage with
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape

1. Choose or take a photo of your Mother-figure. (Can be a digital or printed image.)

2.   Write + reflect.

On a piece of paper, spend some time writing and reflecting on your Mother-figure using these prompts.

  • Describe a memory of a time spent together.
  • How have they helped you, and what are you most grateful for?
  • What is unique about your relationship with them?
  • If this person is no longer with you, what message do you want to share with them?

A pencil in hand with the words

3. Trace + cut.

Trace facial features in your photo: the outline of the face, eyes, nose, mouth, hair/ head accessory. Use a sunlit window or device screen to carefully trace onto a piece of paper. Be gentle here and use a dull pencil! Next, go over all lines with a thick black marker, and cut along the outside edge of the people. This will become your template.

A hand with a sharpie marker over a line drawing of two smiling figures.

A hand holding up a cut-out silhouette of a line drawing of two smiling figures.

4. Using your template.

Cut out face shapes to create individual templates, then trace onto collage materials to make textured and colorful portrait elements. For example, trace your hair template onto purple paper to make purple hair.

Cutouts of shapes that makes one smiling figure when put together.

Cut-out shape of a hat over a lattice patterned background.

5.  Collage!

Collect materials that represent your Mother-figure, like fabric scraps, or paper maps! Using these materials, your handwritten reflection, and face templates, cut pieces and play around with interesting compositions. Create your own background! Tape or glue your pieces onto your background. Sign and date your artwork.

Four images presenting cut-out shapes of two smiling figures in various prints, pattern, and colored outfits.

This lesson was developed by Brooke Scibelli, Family and Art Lab Programs Coordinator

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This activity was designed for kids and adults, ages 6 and up, but can be modified for younger kids with some adult assistance. Great for groups to work on together.

Inspired by the many portraits in the ICA’s collection, this activity asks you to create a set of dice that will invite a range of storytelling possibilities.

Art materials on brown kraft paper

You will need:

  • 3 printouts of the dice template or plain paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tool
  • Colored pencils, markers, or crayons
  • Pencil
  • Tape

1. Print out 3 copies of the dice template or use a pencil and ruler to draw your own.

2. Using scissors, cut along the solid lines of the 3 templates. If you made your own template, use scissors to cut it out. Using a pencil, trace your template onto 2 pieces of paper. Use scissors to cut along the traced lines.

A grip of four images displaying step-by-step a die template that is traced over two sheets of paper and cut out.

3. Make folds along the dotted lines. Unfold, and flip your papers so the dotted lines are facing down.

Dice cut-outs with folded flaps.


A die cut-out with colored pencil drawings of charcters.

4. Your first die (singular for “dice”) will be the CHARACTER die. Using the ICA’s collection or your imagination, choose 6 different characters. On one of your papers, use colored pencils, markers, or crayons to draw a different character in each square. We recommend using Julian Opie’s Suzanne Walking in Leather Skirt, Sanya Kantarovsky’s Violet, and Laylah Ali’s Untitled. Other ideas can be found here.

5. Your next die will be the SETTING die. Brainstorm six different settings (where a story takes place), and write one per square on one of your papers using a marker or other writing tool. Here are some possible settings: forest, mountain, beach, museum, school, farm. Instead of writing out the word, you might choose to draw the setting in each square.

Two cut-out dice with writings of genres and settings on each side.

6. Your final die will be the GENRE die. Brainstorm six different genres (type of story), and write one per square on one of your papers using a marker or other writing tool. Here are some possible genres: adventure, sci-fi, fairy tale, mystery, historical fiction, comedy. Instead of writing out the word, you might choose to draw a symbol for the genre in each square (for example, a magnifying glass to represent “mystery”).

7. Fold each paper into a cube, using tape to connect each side.

8. Roll the dice and tell a story! With family or friends, take turns rolling the dice and use your imagination to tell a story that:

  • is about the character the CHARACTER die lands on
  • takes place in the setting where the SETTING die lands on
  • is in the style of story that the GENRE die lands on

You might choose to tell the stories aloud to one another, to write or type your stories, and/or illustrate your stories.

Three dice: one with drawings of characters, and two with writing, on each side.

This activity was created by Amy Briggs Kemeza, Tour Programs Manager.

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Designed for kids and grown-ups to do together. Experiment with measuring, cooking, and color to create a vibrant result.

This activity involves the use of a hot stovetop.

We’re excited to welcome artist Merill Comeau as a guest contributor for this week’s Art Lab at Home! Merill is the mixed-media fiber artist behind the current Bank of America Art Lab installation Threads of Connection. We welcome you to try eco-dyeing: The process of adding color to fabrics using plant matter. This is a fun way to reuse and recycle supplies you have on hand, like old fabrics, leftover veggies and fruit, and even coffee grounds!

You will need:

A white button-shirt, light-colored fabric, and a white pillowcase.

  • Newspaper or plastic to protect your work surface from stains
  • Salt or white vinegar (which will be added to water to create your mordant)
  • A non-reactive pan such as an aluminum saucepan (If possible, dedicate a pan just for dyeing to be sure no substances are crossing over into your food preparation later. Merill used an old metal dog bowl!)
  • Tongs or wooden spoon
  •  Soaking bucket and/or bowls (you can also soak directly in your pan)
  • Plant sources for color: Old berries, yellow vegetable peelings, onion skins, turmeric, beets, purple cabbage, tea, or coffee — Experiment!
  • Pre-washed white or light-colored cotton fabric cut into squares approximately 8×8 inches. Possible sources include recycling old pillowcases, blouses or men’s shirts, hankies or napkins.


1. Prepare your fabric. You will need to treat your fabric with a mordant to help the dye to adhere to your fabric. To create and use your mordant:

  • If you are using berries, combine ¼ cup of salt with four cups cold water.
  • For other plant materials, Combine 1 cup vinegar with four cups cold water.
  • Soak your fabric in mordant for one hour.
  • Remove and rinse your fabric with cold water. You don’t need to dry it as you can dye it damp!

2. Prepare your dye. Generally, you’ll want to add 1 cup of plant material to 2 cups of water in your non-reactive pan. Feel free to experiment depending on what you have on hand! Bring your concoction to a slow simmer on your stove top. If your kitchen has a vent fan, use it to remove steam. You will see the water becoming colorful in just 20-30 minutes.

Plants and fruits in a saucepan filled with water.

3. Add the fabric to the dye. You can either strain and discard the plant materials and then add your fabric to the remaining dye solution or add your fabric directly to the simmering pot (Merill likes to add her fabric to the pot believing the heat helps set the stain).

Three panels of images depicting a step-by-step guide of dyeing fabric from a plant-based solution.

Two pieces of beautifully-colored fabric in yellow and purple.

4. Soak your fabric. Remove your fabric after one hour or keep it soaking overnight as the dye sets and cools. Experiment with soaking times and see if your results differ!

5. Rinse your fabric with cold water and let it air dry. If you’d like, you may iron your fabric on the cotton heat setting. 

6. Are you ready to make something with your unique eco-dyed fabric? Check out this site for simple hand sewing instructions and ideas for things to make can be found here.  Or create a fabric collage for the Threads of Connections digital quilt!

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This activity is ideal for ages 6+ and great for children and adults to work on together.

Inspired by Roni Horn’s artwork, Key and Cue, No. 288, we’re celebrating National Poetry Month and are inviting you to write an ode to someone you care about! An ode is a poem that praises someone and is one of the oldest types of poems that exist. Reflect on the person you choose, answer the questions, fill in the blanks, and deliver your completed poem to make your special person smile!

You will need:

  • A writing utensil
  • Paper or print out a copy of our template



Decide who you will write your ode to. Choose someone you love or care about, someone to cheer up today!


Icon of frame with question mark in it


Answer the questions below. Add your answers into the template to complete your ode.


Share your ode with your special person!  Take a photo to share it or read it aloud. You’re bound to make them smile!

Smiley face icon


Questions to help write your ode:

  1. What is the name of the person you have chosen to write your ode about? (Nicknames are okay too!)
  2. What makes this person stand out in a crowd? Be specific.
  3. What is a phrase they always say?
  4. Write down a favorite moment shared with this person. “A time when we…”
  5. What is this person’s best quality? Think beyond physical traits, and focus on personality qualities. This should be a noun, like “kindness”, “excitement”, or “patience”.
  6. If you could go anywhere together, where would you go? Be specific.
  7. If you could do anything together, what would you do? This should be a verb, like “sunbathe” or “walk”.

Fill out your ode


This activity was created by Flolynda Jean, Education Assistant, and Brooke Scibelli, Family and Art Lab Programs Coordinator.

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Great for individuals, groups, and families of all ages to work on together at home!

The average museum visitor spends less than twenty seconds looking at any given work of art. Now in its tenth year, Slow Art Day asks museum and gallery visitors around the world to take a pause and spend more time engaging with art. While social distancing keeps us from celebrating Slow Art Day together in the ICA galleries, we invite you to try Slow Art Day from home. 

You’ll need an artwork to focus on, some paper, a writing utensil, and a time keeping device. 



Choose an artwork that you’d like to spend some time with. Choose from the walls or shelves in your home, illustrations or photographs in books, or artwork from the ICA collection.

Stuck on choosing an artwork? We recommend Caitlin Keogh’s Blank Melody, Old Wall (2018) for its vivid symbolism. Scroll down for other suggested artwork.


Text reading


Icon of two closed eyelids with lashes fanned downward



Close your eyes and take a deep, slow breath.
Open your eyes. 


Set your timer for thirty seconds. Spend this time looking closely at the artwork. Start in one corner and slowly move your eyes from side to side, up and down, and back and forth. 

Circle icon of a timer reading 30 seconds.



After thirty seconds, look away from the artwork. Write down ten details you remember.


Repeat steps 3 and 4, this time writing down ten new details.

Icon of circular motion


Icon of open eyes


Return your attention to the artwork. Write down any additional details or observations that you might have missed. 


Set your timer for three minutes. On a fresh sheet of paper, try drawing what you see. If you’d like an extra challenge, try drawing while you keep your eyes on the artwork without looking down at your paper or lifting your writing utensil. 





Consider your personal interpretations of the artwork’s meaning. What’s it all about? Write your thoughts in stream of consciousness style. 



What questions do you have about the artwork? Make a list. 

Icon of frame with question mark in it


Icon of two closed eyelids with lashes fanned downward



Close your eyes again. Imagine you are viewing the artwork in an alternative setting: a museum gallery, a vast field, or any other setting your imagination conjures up.  


Take a deep, slow breath and open your eyes.  


Icon of open eyes


Icon of frame with exclamation point in it


Conclude by reflecting on the slow looking process. How did it feel to look slowly? What did you like best about slow looking? What was challenging about this experience for you? How might slow looking translate to other areas of your life? 


Share your Slow Art Day reflections with us on social media by using the hashtag #ICAartlab.

This activity was created by Amy Briggs Kemeza, Tour Programs Manager, in conjunction with the global Slow Art Day initiative.