Art-Making Activity: Spider Prints

You won’t be able to resist this fun activity that involves recycling, resist painting, and printmaking! Involve the whole family and boost your fall decorations! 


Louise Bourgeois (American, 1911–2010), Spider, 1996, Bronze, ed. 5/6, Museum purchase, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Foundation Fund, 98.112

Louise Bourgeois came from a family of weavers. She often created sculptures with a spider theme—the weavers of the animal world! Her large scale Spider in the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden is the inspiration for this project.


    • Toilet paper cardboard tube
    • Scissors
    • Watercolor paper or thicker white paper
    • Crayon(s)
    • Watercolor set + brush
    • Paper plate
    • Black paint (acrylic or tempera) + brush
    • Water
    • Glue 
    • Googly Eyes



First you’ll want to create the spider’s web using a wax-resist painting technique. Draw your web in crayon on a sheet of watercolor paper.

Then paint the web with watercolors and set the web aside to dry while you make your spider.

You will use a recycled toilet paper cardboard tube to create the spider. Cut the 8 legs from one end of the cardboard by cutting 1.5 – 2 inch slits in one end of the tube. Cut slits across from each other to make sure that your legs are of equal size. 

Put some black paint on the paper plate and use the paint brush to spread it around so that it is large enough to dip your spider in. Set the spider in the paint with legs spread and use a finger to press down. Lift the spider out of the paint and use the paint brush to even out the black paint.
When your web painting is dry, print the spider on the web by placing the cardboard tube on the painting and pressing down on the legs. You can then use the paintbrush to fill in the spider’s body with black paint.

Set your print aside to dry, then, when it is dry you can glue  googly eyes to the spider body.

Not only does the cardboard tube work as a printmaking device, but you can also turn it into a sculpture! Paint the rest of the cardboard and add eyes and you’ll have a spider sculpture, too!

Access a wide range of art-making activities presented by NOMA’s Learning and Engagement Department at this link

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.