Group Art Activities for Your Next Gathering
When you host a gathering of friends and family, group art activities create fine memories and a lot of giggles.
You don’t have to corral every attendee into the fun, but being prepared with props and a few inexpensive supplies might help lure the timid to the dinner/art table.
Below you’ll find 3 art activities for a gathering of friends and family that won’t break the bank, or require seasoned art-making-skills.
Dinner Table Caricature Portraits
Drawing cartoons of each other at the dinner table – after the dishes are cleared – while everyone is visiting and digesting – will make you all laugh.
While dessert pies are warming in the oven, pull out simple supplies to draw caricatures of each other. A box of pencils, erasers, regular printer paper, a few props, and some cheerful encouragement are all you’ll need.
If you adorn your family and friend models with sunglasses, hats, wigs and beards, the challenging parts of drawing a face are simplified into flat shapes. The “I can’t draw” members of the party might be encouraged with this simplification trick.
Use your own props, or order a pack of flat paper props (below) based on the preferences of your tribe. Feel free to add speech bubbles, or fun eyes, noses and mouth stickers like these.
Ask each participant to label their cartoon with the sitter’s name, and a “drawn by _________” and the date. In 50 years, the younger kids in attendance will recall the particulars of the activity with those added details.
Art Supplies for Dinner Table Caricature Portraits
- Paper – you can use printer paper, or lined notebook paper, or a pad of blank paper. If you have enough sketch paper to share a few sheets with everyone, that’ll work too. It doesn’t have to be artist quality, since this is about fun, and not a focus on masterpiece art-making.
- Pencils & Erasers – novice sketchers will want the option to erase and alter their caricature drawings, so an assortment of (glitter) pencils and a pile of eraser caps in fun colors will show your guests that the tools in art making don’t have to be fancy.
- A good pencil sharpener – For folks with dexterity enough to hold a pencil level while twisting – this Alvin sharpener is great (and you can replace the blades👍🏼). If your guests need something fast and full proof, this is my favorite little work-horse of an electric pencil sharpener in my studio.
- Props – This 29 piece paper cut-out prop set for photo booth fun (or selfies) adds costume options to your guests’ portraits. These colorful hats, glasses and beards are especially helpful for folks who are unsure of their drawing skills. The flat paper cut-outs simplify facial features into less challenging, drawable shapes and outlines. If you don’t want to buy a prop set, pull out all your hats, sunglasses, and wigs in a pile on the table.
Group Art Activities: Potato Print Stationery, Envelopes and Wrapping Paper
With a few potatoes carved into fun shapes, ink pads (or a little acrylic paint spread on paper plates), and paper, your guests can make beautiful stationery, or wrapping paper.
A stack of plain white envelopes, or 8. x 11 paper can be stamped around the margins to create unique, hand embellished stationery.
If the younger folks in your party plan to write thank you cards for the presents they’ve been gifted, this project will supply their stationery and envelopes.
A roll of kraft paper stamped in colorful stars or hearts will result in beautiful, handmade wrapping paper.
Art Supplies for Potato Print Stationery and Wrapping Paper
- Potatoes make great stamps, and they carve easily. Use russet potatoes, or sweet potatoes.
- Carving tools (for the grownups) can be as simple as a paring knife, or an x-acto knife for more details. If you have small cookie or vegetable cutters like these, they can be used to push into the sliced end of a potato half as a template for stars, trees and flowers, etc. You can even pre-cut the shapes into the potatoes a few hours in advance of your project to avoid the mess and carving-time for your guests.
- Paper – this acid free, bleedproof marker paper is 8.5×11 so it will fold into a standard envelope after the stamping art dries, and notes are written to loved ones.
- Paint – this set of 24 colors of acrylic paint will wash up with water, and dry on the paper permanently. Mix the colors on paper plates, and spread the colors thinly and evenly with a brush onto a separate, clean plate for stamping the potato into the pigment. Collect color and then press the paint coated surface of the potato against your paper in repeated and overlapping colors and designs. You can also use inked stamp pads in a variety of colors.
Group Art Activities: Life Sized Trace Portraits on Kraft Paper
With a roll of kraft paper and a pencil, you can create the equivalent of drawn snow angles. Trace life sized outlines or shadows of each of your guests.
Smaller folk can lay down on the paper to be traced by an adult. Larger guests can stand in funny positions in front of a flashlight. Another guest can trace their shadow onto kraft paper taped to a door or wall.
The tracing can be loose and gestural. Your guests should be encouraged to strike a pose that will be interesting to embellish.
Hand out crayons, stickers and water-washable markers. Guests can add the details of clothing, jewelry and make-believe adornments like crowns, speech bubbles, wings, tails and hats, etc.
Be sure to snap photos of the trace portraits and their subjects. The youngest attendees can smile and reminisce over your fun party when they’re older.
Art Supplies for Life Sized Trace Portraits
- Kraft Paper for life sized tracing of all your dinner guests
- Masking Tape to attach sheets to a door or wall for flashlight projections of shadows. This works for the folks who may find laying on the paper challenging.
- A Good Flashlight
- Crayons, Water-Washable Markers and Colored Pencils for embellishing the portraits
- Scissors to cut the kraft paper to match the height of the subject
- Stickers to match the interests of the younger (and older) attendees
- Shape Stencil Templates if little hands need help making circles, ovals and curved lines on their portraits
Art Activities Connect People
Parties are fun, and holiday gatherings often bring people together after long periods of “too busy to visit”. Bridging that gap in time can be facilitated with a smidgeon of supply-gathering and skosh of encouragement.
You don’t have to be the Martha Stewart of hostessing. Especially if there are kids attending your gathering.
Put a box of art supplies on a table, speak a few lines of direction, and watch the fun begin.
Adults should take some queues from children on being creative. It’s about the fun during the making, and not so much about the results or the accolades, right?
I hope you inject a little art-fun at your next gathering of friends and family. If you’re not hosting, ask your host/hostess if you can bring supplies needed to arrange one of these fun group-art activities. Or, forward this post to them.
Either way, I’m sending hearty wishes for sputtered giggles, and art-infused memory making at your next, festive gathering of friends and family.
Thanks for stopping in, and I’ll see you in the next post –
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