We’ve all heard the phrase, “Go big or go home!” Giant art supplies are not only great for adding color to your classroom, but they also make for memorable learning experiences for your students. This is because novelty, physical sensation, and high personal relevance get the brain to pay attention best. The size of giant art supplies can intrigue your artists, which will prepare them mentally for instruction. When you bring out a jumbo material, you introduce just enough playfulness to get students excited to be at school.
Nothing quite says, “Pay attention!” like gigantic art materials! Compile and construct a collection of giant art supplies to make art class extra memorable.
1. Show an oversized ruler to introduce rules and expectations.
Make setting rules and expectations more exciting by incorporating a giant ruler. Challenge the whole class to put one hand on the ruler and repeat after you the rules, values, and expectations of the studio. To involve students in the process even more, separate them into groups. Each group will devise their own rules and expectations. Then, have each group hold the ruler while they present to the class.
Here’s how to make your own giant ruler:
- 1”x 12” x 96” wood board of your choice
- Laminated giant ruler templates
- Wood stain
- Oil-based black marker
- Cut out the giant ruler template pieces.
- Lay the first template on the wood board and trace the lines with a pencil.
- Repeat tracing with all the template pieces.
- Stain the board.
- Trace over your pencil marks with a black oil-based marker.
2. Bring out giant scissors to talk about safety procedures.
Demonstrate scissor safety with maximum impact. Your students’ eyes are bound to widen when they see you holding these! After you teach proper scissor safety, have a student practice in front of the class. Select wisely because this student volunteer will likely go on to become your “scissors police!” Purchase giant scissors from an online retailer or search local thrift shops.
3. Use extra jumbo crayons as a classroom reward system.
Implement a crayon reward system in your art room where students work together to meet and surpass expectations. Each class earns a set number of points for every period each month. Track the points and give out giant gold, silver, and bronze crayons as prizes for first, second, and third place. They get to keep their crayon trophies all month! Purchase your giant crayons from an online retailer or consider the DIY options below.
Here are three options to DIY a custom giant crayon:
- Follow this guide to make crayons with pool noodles.
- Use a 3D printer with this guide and crayon wraps.
- Experiment with sewing to construct your crayons.
4. Provide easy access to daily supplies with a large pencil.
Set up your tables with giant hollow pencils to house frequently used supplies like… normal-sized pencils and erasers. Now your students have access to what they need when they sit down. They will enjoy dropping their supplies back in the big pencil at the end of class. Students can take turns being the pencil keeper, ensuring supplies are organized and put away properly. Make your giant pencils with pre-fab cardboard tubes like chip cans, paper towel rolls, wrapping paper tubes, or pool noodles.
5. Display a gigantic eraser to remember a growth mindset.
Encourage a growth mindset in your art room by using a giant eraser. The eraser is a visual reminder that it’s okay to make mistakes. Integrate a call and response cued by holding up the oversized eraser. You can say, “Big mistakes,” and your students can reply, “Makes big growth!” Follow this sequence whenever someone tries to tell you they can’t do something. Purchase your giant rainbow or big mistakes erasers from an online retailer or find them in your local craft store.
6. Demonstrate with a colossal watercolor palette to visualize color theory.
The nature of color theory is visual but you can also make it interactive with a jumbo watercolor palette. Stick your giant palette to a prominent classroom surface and use hook-and-loop fasteners to attach the color wells. Students can easily move them around to make different color combinations, such as warm or cool schemes.
Here’s how to make your giant watercolor palette and brush:
- White trifold posterboard, foam core, or paper
- 1 pack of self-adhesive hook-and-loop fasteners
- 6-9 heavy paper plates
- Acrylic paint
- Plaster or paper mache paste
- Cut the foam core or paper into a large rectangular shape for the palette. Alternately, splice the trifold together with duct tape and cover it with plaster.
- Paint each plate with one color of acrylic paint and let dry.
- Separate your hook-and-loop fasteners and place one on the back of each plate and one in each well.
- 1 cheap mop
- Plaster or paper mache paste
- Aluminum foil or silver tape
- 1 paper or plastic cup
- 1 pool noodle
- 1 can of black spray paint
- Remove the mop head, cover it with plaster or paper mache, and shape it.
- Set aside the mop to dry on a plastic surface.
- When the mop is dry, spray paint it black.
- Optional: Dip the “brush” tip in a paint color.
- Cover the cup with aluminum foil or silver tape and push it down the mop stick for the ferrule.
- Slide the mop stick into a pool noodle for the handle.
7. Upgrade your color wheel with massive paintbrushes.
A giant paintbrush wheel puts a fun twist on the traditional 2D color wheel. This makes for eye-catching decor and plays on novelty to work its way into students’ long-term memory. You can permanently display your jumbo paintbrushes or store them as props to segway into visualizing color in 3D. Follow this video tutorial to make alternative giant paint brushes from wooden oars.
8. Exhibit work with enormous rainbow paper clips for an art show parade.
Organize a quick and easy celebration of your artists with an art parade. Distribute these giant colorful paper clips to your students and have them select one artwork to fasten to their clip. Assemble the students in a line and parade past a pre-determined group of spectators. Purchase giant rainbow paper clips at this online retailer.
9. Highlight giant colored pencils for engineering connections.
Bring together the revolutionary fields of art, technology, and engineering with these giant colored pencils. Ask students what materials were involved and what they think the process was. Before you reveal the steps, issue a design challenge where students devise a plan to make an enormous art supply of their own.
Here’s how to make giant colored pencils:
- 3D printer
- Oversized colored pencil guide
- 3” x 36”x.08” mailing tubes (2 per pencil)
- Acrylic paint
- Rolls of paper
- Epoxy glue
- Clear packing tape
- Follow the instructions in the oversized colored pencil guide to print the top and bottom of the colored pencil.
- Dip the pencil point in paint and use the same color to paint a small circle centered on the bottom for the colored lead.
- Set your 4” support 2” inside each mailing tube and secure it with epoxy glue.
- Cut rectangles from the paper rolls to measure 6” x 80” and laminate them.
- Wrap the laminated paper around each pencil and secure it with clear packing tape.
- Pop the top and bottom on the pencil and adhere with epoxy glue, if needed.
Take it one step further and turn giant art supplies into your art show theme.
Keep the novelty of jumbo materials going all year and choose giant art supplies as your art show theme. Experiment with different mediums throughout the year in structured and unstructured projects. Scaffold your guidance to match each grade level but leave plenty of room for your students to take ownership. Finish the year with a huge display of oversized art items that not only scream, “We love art!” but showcase valuable artistic skills, mediums, and techniques.
Giant art supplies help you win big in the art room. Taking an everyday item and making it extraordinary through a simple shift in scale can really engage your artists in their learning. Fashion a ruler to start your year with rules and expectations, set up a reward system with gigantic crayon prizes, or invest in a big eraser as a visual reminder to promote a growth mindset. Whether you purchase or make your giant art supplies, rest assured you will supersize both your students’ learning and their materials!
Which giant art supply will you add to your art room first?
Do you use novel and fun props when you teach art?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.