Ingredients:  A roll of wallpaper; pens / paints / crayons etc…

The Big Sell: Let’s make a Secret Hideout door!

Strategy:  It’s been growing on me for a while how useful it is to have a roll of wallpaper in your art tool kit. I often see them in charity shops for pennies, because they have old patterns that no one wants, and they are such incredible good value for money. A cheap roll of thick high quality paper is priceless and very versatile. Here are some of the many uses:

1)      For Halloween we drew around my son’s body outline, coloured him in as Dracula in a coffin and pinned it to his bedroom door.

2)     In group work with children or young people, create a Wallpaper Walk evaluation by noting down the reflections of student each week as they undertake a project, then rolling it out to re-step the journey for group discussion at the end.

3)     For younger children, draw out a road or railway and let it roll down a hallway or garden path for them to play on with toy cars.

4)     Or roll it out with markings / puzzles leading to hidden treasure (they must work out clues along the way).

5)     Use it for large scale print-making – use foam stamps, potato stamps, broccoli stamps (!) anything that takes your fancy.

6)     Bring it out for birthday parties for a group doodling session. Can they work as a team to draw the most colourful multi-layered birthday cake ever?

7)     Easy peasy set design – pin it to a wall and devise the background set of a play written by your children to perform for everyone.

8)     Or my son’s choice this week (as he had watched the hilarious Young Frankenstein for the first time and was hankering after a secret bookcase revolving doorway) was to draw the image of a boarded-up room with ‘Caution’ and ‘Keep out’ signs and then pin it to their play room door so that only those who know the password are allowed entry!

The verdict:

Arts materials with BIG impact are always popular. A long roll of wallpaper carries an inherent property of unknown possibility which is a firelighter for the imagination.

Catchphrase: Rolling, rolling, rolling… keep those ideas rolling!

Left wanting more?

  • If your children love The Wizard of Oz, why not make your wallpaper roll into the yellow brick road to add value to their play?
  • Glue string lines down the length of the wallpaper to make tracks and create a marble race game.
  • Create a landscape to feature your child’s latest lego creations.