Arts & Crafts Explained

Arts and Crafts Explained: Kandinsky Collage, by Apryl

Vasily Kandinsky was a Russian artist who was born in 1866.  He was a pioneer of the abstract style of painting, and his work was an inspiration for the design of the Guggenheim museum.

You can learn more about Kandinsky and see several more of his pieces on the Guggenheim Website.

Kandinsky often painted circles and other geometric designs.  For this edition of Arts and Crafts Explained, we will complete a collage in the style of a Kandinsky painting called “Several Circles”.  This project can be made with children of all ages, although the very young may need assistance with several steps.

Several Circles by Vasily Kandinsky, 1929

For this project you will need:

  • Watercolor paper – 3 sheets
  • Watercolors in assorted colors, including black -I use tube watercolors because of their brightness and ease of mixing.  Pan style, like you find in the school watercolor sets, will work fine for this project.
  • Paper plates or a watercolor palette for mixing paint.
  • Watercolor brushes-the large mop-style brushes will work very will for this project.
  • A compass
  • A pencil
  • Glue – I used a glue stick but applied it heavily.
  • Scissors
  • Water

With your clean brush, wet one of the sheets of watercolor paper.  It doesn’t need to be dripping wet, just fairly moist all over.  Then mix some water with your black paint.  Paint the watercolor paper with the black paint in loose swirly motions.

You will want to cover the entire surface of the paper.  The paper will buckle from the water, but it will flatten out again when it dries.

Set the black paper aside to dry.  Now you will want to use your compass and a pencil to draw circles of varying sizes on the other two sheets of paper.  The number and sizes are up to you, but you will want many circles in many different sizes!

After drawing your circles, use other watercolor paints in different colors to paint the circles.  You will want to use a lot of different colors, and you can play with how dark or light you want to paint the colors.  You can also play with swirls or splatters.

Once the circles are completely dry, cut them out.  Now, arrange the circles on the black paper.  Play around with the layout.  Layer some circles, spread others out.  Do this until you find a placement that you like.

Now, glue the circles onto the black paper.  Make sure to glue them well, and if you use a glue stick you may need to lay something flat and heavy over it while it dries so the edges of the circles will adhere.

After the glue is dry, re-wet your paintbrush with clean water. Use the wet brush to  swirl around your circles on the black parts of the paper.  The water will re-wet the black paint, allowing you to swirl it around the circles you glued down.  You may use more water on your brush as needed, just take care not to overly wet your paper or the glue will come undone.  You can also paint the circles in the colors you chose before.  See how I have painted some of the circles below so that it looks like the circle beneath is showing through?

When you are happy with your art, put it in a safe place to dry.


Apryl–Born and raised in Tennessee, Apryl is a southern girl at heart.  She lives out in the country with her husband and her three daughters. She is an artist, photographer and a homeschooler.  After having an unfulfilling public school education herself, and struggling to find peace with the education her girls were receiving in the public school system, she made the choice to homeschool.  When they began their homeschool journey, the girls were in the third and sixth grades.  Now she is happily coaching three teenaged daughters through their high school years.  You can visit her blog at Following Him Home


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