How to make Newspaper Watercolor Shark Art & “Shark-Mad Stanley”

Newspaper shark art with Shark-Mad Stanley book

A Fun Book & Newspaper Watercolor Shark Art!

After reading Griff’s “Shark-Mad Stanley” we decided to create some shark art! We used newspaper to make the shark and a cool new watercolor technique we weren’t sure was gonna work, but did for the background. I’m excited to walk you through how we made this incredible shark art, so let’s get started…

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Summary of “Shark-Mad Stanley”

Shark-Mad Stanley” by Griff is a fun book about a boy named Stanley who is obsessed with animals. Fun fact: Stanley was a television show on Disney from 2001-2004, when my oldest was little. It was adorable and super informational.

Anyway, in this book Stanley is talking to his pet goldfish Dennis about how cool it would be to have a shark as a pet too. He thinks because he can take care of his goldfish; he could take care of a shark. But the more he compares all the facts he knows about sharks and goldfish; he quickly realizes that its probably not a good idea. Its a fact filled book; but not dull at all, in fact, its quite the opposite actually. The book is filled with exaggerated pictures of shark ownership. The details are great, right down to the end of the book where it shows a shark fin and has the word “fin”. 😉

How We Made Newspaper Watercolor Shark Art…

We tend to keep the activities as simple as possible around here. We’re not interested in complicated or costly. We are also all about fostering independence. For this activity my sister and niece were visiting. We all got into creating these awesome sharks. First we needed a cool watercolor background. I originally thought of using bubble wrap to create a textured look; but my sister is a hairdresser; so I thought it would be fun to use tiny rubber bands meant for hair; to create the circles for the watercolor background instead.

So, we gathered our tiny hair rubber bands and sprinkled them onto the white cardstock paper. We began spraying them with watercolor; which was, in this instance, water + food coloring mixed together. I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit skeptical it was gonna work out once I saw how wet the paper got after spraying the watercolor. 😮 I thought for sure the water was under them. But we placed them out in the sun to dry and hoped for the best.

Did our tiny hair rubber band experiment work?

Once they were dry (its summer so only a few minutes); we brought them back into the house and apprehensively tilted the cardstock paper and anxiously watched the tiny hair rubber bands fall onto the tray. We were SO excited it actually worked! It created this really interesting pattern! I love when something turns out even better than expected.

Next, came time to build our sharks. We cut a shark shape out of newspaper and cut a mouth out of a piece of black construction paper we shared. We each chose a different shape for the mouth which added to their uniqueness. Then, we cut teeth out of another piece of white cardstock paper we shared. TIP: don’t make the teeth too perfect or all cut the same exact size, this way it will look more realistic (as teeth in real life are all different). Lastly, we choose two googly eyes for our shark.

Once we had everything we needed, we glued the shark body onto the watercolored background. TIP: leave space at the bottom for the water (which we made out of streamers). Next, we glued the mouth and all the teeth we desired. Again, it was fun to see how differently we each approached the same steps and really made it our own. Then, we glued layers of streamers to look like water. TIP: bunching the streamers a bit gave it more texture and looked more like water. We used stick glue for all of this. Lastly, we took out the school glue and used it to stick the googly eyes onto our shark. Done!

Wait?!? Am I Supposed To Be Making One Too?

I’m sure you’re noticing that my sister and I weren’t watching our girls do this project; we were doing it too. I highly recommend getting hands on and doing art projects with your child. If you’d rather not, thats okay too, but please do not correct anything they do. If you want the shark to look a certain way – make your own.

Especially if your child is little, its okay if the eyeball is in the wrong place or the tooth is in the “water” lol. Its a process. They are learning. They will learn more through trial and error than if you correct them or do it for them. All they will learn if you “help” is that they didn’t do a good enough job on their own or they can’t do it; not exactly the message you want to give your kid. Am I right?!?

Believe me, I know it can be really challenging to let them make “mistakes”. Try doing the project along side them. It will allow you to focus on your own work, give them appropriate modeling of how to use the materials, and show them that you like art too! A lot of what I talk about in “What about the Sensory Mess?” applies to Art projects as well, you might wanna check it out! I love how each shark has its own identity. I would suggest Newspaper Watercolor Shark Art if you’re looking for a fun, multidimensional, art activity to connect with your child.

Materials We Used

  1. “Shark-Mad Stanley” book (from the library or buy it here)
  2. Trays to keep the table from getting messy
  3. White cardstock (thick) paper
  4. Black construction paper
  5. Spray bottles
  6. food coloring
  7. water
  8. Tiny disposable hair rubber bands
  9. Scissors
  10. Newspaper with words (try not to use photos)
  11. Big googly eyes
  12. School glue for googly eyes
  13. Stick glue for everything else
  14. Streamers
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How to Make Newspaper Watercolor Shark Art?

  1. Lay the white cardstock paper on the tray.
  2. Sprinkle the tiny hair rubber bands onto the white cardstock paper.
  3. Add water to the spray bottle.
  4. Add food coloring to the water in the spray bottle.
  5. Shake the spray bottle.
  6. Spray the white paper and tiny rubber bands with the colored water.
  7. Repeat with another color (we used blue and neon green to represent water).
  8. Try not to move the tiny rubber bands at all.
  9. Set them somewhere to dry.
    While that is drying…
  10. Use your scissors to cut a shark head shape from the newspaper.
  11. Cut a mouth shape from the black construction paper.
  12. Cut some teeth out of another piece of white cardstock paper.
  13. Choose 2 big googly eyes for your shark.
  14. Select which color streamers you will use.
  15. Rip several pieces the width of the white cardstock paper.
    Now that the watercolor sprayed paper is dry…
  16. Tilt the paper so the tiny rubber bands fall off onto the tray.
  17. You should see a cool pattern with some thin white circles where the tiny rubber bands were.
  18. Glue the newspaper shark head onto the center of the watercolored paper using stick glue.
  19. Then Glue googly eyes onto the shark using school glue.
  20. Glue the black construction paper mouth onto the shark with a glue stick.
  21. Then Glue the white cardstock paper teeth onto the mouth with a glue stick.
  22. Glue the streamers onto the bottom of the shark/paper to look like the water, you can bunch the streamer a bit and/or layer it for more texture and depth.
  23. Allow time to dry.
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Wait, There’s More…

Sample of “Communicating & Connecting FREE Bonus Printable.

I believe you can easily strengthen communication skills and foster independence all while playing and connecting with your child. To help you do this; I’ve created a FREE printable for each activity called, “Communicating & Connecting”.

It will give you a list of suggestions I’ve found very helpful as a Mom & as a special education teacher; to help you build lifelong skills. Please don’t feel obligated to do everything on the list (but if you do, you’re a rockstar 😉 ).

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