Art-Making Activity: Paper Flowers Inspired by Clementine Hunter


A painting by Clementine Hunter shows a brown vase with red, white, and yellow flowers.

Clementine Hunter (American, 1886 or 1887-1988), Zinnias on Blue Background, circa early 1960s – 1988, Oil on board, 36 x 22 in., Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Robert F. Ryan in memory of Sally F. and William W. Arnoult, 74.331

Watercolor resist paintings are a fun way to bring in pattern and color! Mix and match solid flowers with decorative interiors and tie it all together with a twist of a pipe cleaner! Take inspiration from this bright bunch of zinnias painted by self-taught artist Clementine Hunter.



  • White watercolor paper
  • Crayons
  • Pencil
  • Watercolor set with brush and water
  • Thick colored paper or card stock
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Plastic beads

1 – Choose a solid color sheet of paper (construction paper or card stock work best). Draw a “flat flower” with five petals about six by 8 inches shaped something like a hand, but flatter and wider at the bottom. Then cut it out.

2 – Using a pencil and with your “flat flower” as a template, trace lightly, outlining the flower shape on top of the white watercolor paper.
3 – Draw another line inside the “flat flower” that you just traced. This will give you the shape for the painted, patterned center of your flower.
4 – Use crayons and watercolors to create a design. Draw simple shapes like circles, triangles, or swirls with crayons (hint: white crayon is fun because it will show up after paint is applied!). Paint over these shapes using 2 – 3 colors of watercolor paint. Fill most of the page, then set it aside to dry.


5 – When the paint is dry, cut out the smaller center and glue it to the “flat flower.” Let the glue dry, then roll the flower in a conical shape and tape the sides. 
6 – Use a pencil to curl the petals by rolling each petal away from the flower center.
7 – Select a pipe cleaner and two plastic beads. Fold the pipe cleaner in half, then thread a bead on each end of the pipe cleaner and twist to secure it.  Insert the folded middle into the cone of the paper flower so that the beads serve as the stamen.


8 – OPTIONAL: Create a whole bouquet of flowers and place them in a vase or flower pot!

Once you’ve finished, browse the NOMA website for more family-friendly art-making activities.


NOMA is committed to uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures through the arts — now more than ever. Your gift will make a direct and immediate impact as NOMA welcomes our community back to the museum and sculpture garden, plans new exhibitions, and develops virtual and at-home arts education resources for school partners.