Let’s Explore Shadow Art


Let’s Explore Shadow Art

May 27, 2021

Share This
Share This

Use your creativity to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

Combining collage techniques and the science of light and shadow is a fun way to explore the world.

Exploring light and shadow naturally invites children to learn about the world around them. By manipulating different objects and lights, children can create shadows of their own.

Not only are they learning, but they are using their creativity as well. Let’s explore what happens when you combine the art of collage and science of light and shadows!

In this activity, children will explore how different colors of construction paper react to light.  We will also learn how to layer paper to create a shadow.

The Science of Light

White paper is translucent, meaning that some light can shine through it. On the other hand, black paper is opaque, meaning light cannot pass through it. Like a shadow puppet theater, the white paper is a translucent screen, while the black shape they glue on the back will form shadow only visible when light shines on it.

Shadow art is an excellent way to explore the differences between transparent, translucent, and opaque objects. Furthermore, it offers a hands-on way to explore the relationship between light and shadow.

Ready to explore shadow art?


Here’s an Example!

For example, in this project, you can explore both habitats and the animals that live in them while discovering the science of light and shadow.

White paper with colorful construction paper coral and rock formations.
Before: Look at the beautiful coral and rocks on the bottom of the ocean. No light is shining through the paper.
White paper with colorful construction paper coral and rock formations with a shadow of a shark in the foreground.
After: Light is shone through the paper and the outline of a shark appears!


Gather Your Materials

Construction paper (A variety of colors, including black and white)

  • A pair of scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Flashlight (optional)

Now, Let’s Get Started!

  1. Using a pencil, sketch the shape of your shadow onto the black paper.
  2. Then carefully cut it out and glue it onto a piece of white construction paper.
  3. Turn the paper over, and cut and glue different pieces of paper to create the environment or scene that your shadow resides in.
  4. Lastly, hold your artwork against a wall or in a dark space, the shadow cannot be seen. But when you shine a light behind it, your shadow instantly appears!

Though this artistic process may seem like a magic trick, it is simply the fascinating science of light and shadows. Art and science frequently complement each other.

Use Your Imagination

If you are having trouble thinking about the type of environment to showcase in your art, use your imagination! We love thinking about animals and where they live. But maybe places you work could be fun, too! A chef in a kitchen. A conductor in a train. An airplane in the sky! The sky is the limit!

We’d love to see what you come up with. Find us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter and share your creations with us using #playalongsd.