Make: Deconstructed Rainbow Collage Art for Kids

It’s been cold and grey here this season, and in an attempt to fill the walls with a little sunshine and color, I came up with this rainbow collage project, and WOW, what a hit! A once blah white wall has become a gallery of eye-catching paper rainbow art. The shapes and colors remind me of a series of paintings by one of my very favorite artists – Frank Stella. The curving arcs and glowing color combinations in Frank’s Protractor Series are stunning to see in person – and a quick google image search will help you understand why rainbows and Stellas go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Nine of our colorful deconstructed rainbow collages sitting on a white background

I often find the best way to get creative is to take something familiar, rip it apart, and start building it back up in a way that’s different. So that’s EXACTLY what we did for our deconstructed rainbow collages. Starting with something fun and familiar (like a rainbow) can introduce kids to abstract art ideas or approaches in a way that’s more appealing. It can also provide an opportunity to experiment with different mediums and explore color and composition.

Paper rainbows cut apart and rearranged sitting on a white background with a pair of scissors.

Although I designed and used printed rainbows, you can draw, paint or print your own with different art materials. You can also experiment with making cool or warm-hued rainbows. Mixing and matching rainbows was an ENORMOUS hit here, and if you try this, I’d love to hear how it went for you!

Watch the quick video below to get a peek at our rainbow art-making process!

Visit our latest variation on this project with our new rainbow road abstract art for kids tutorial!

To make your own deconstructed rainbow collage art you’ll need:


  • Paper
  • Markers, crayons, paints & brushes, or other drawing supplies
  • Scissors
  • Glue


How to Make Kids’ Deconstructed Rainbow Collage Art – DIY Instructions:

  1. Print our rainbow templates or draw a set of your own

    Color or paint your own set of rainbows – or use our printable rainbow templates (in classic Frank Stella colors!). I recommend making or printing at least 3-4 different rainbows with different color combinations – this will give you a great variety of size & color combinations to choose from!
    This bold modern art project for kids deconstructs rainbows to create bright & colorful collages inspired by Frank Stella

  2. Cut your rainbows apart

    Cut each of your rainbows apart by color so they create a series of different-colored arcs in all sizes.
    Cut each of your rainbows apart by color so they create a series of different-colored arcs in all sizes.

  3. Experiment with creating compositions from the rainbow arcs

    Start playing with your arcs – you can mix & match the colors to create new rainbows, overlapping them, turning them at angles, or joining them to create circles, squiggles, or swirls.
    Experiment with creating collaged compositions from the deconstructed rainbow arcs

  4. Glue down and trim edges

    Once you’ve made an arrangement you like, use a glue stick to glue it all down to a piece of paper. Trim off any edges, and ta-da – ready for framing!
    Use a glue stick to glue down your rainbow collages.

Here’s the VERY BEST part of this collage activity: these pieces look AH-MA-ZING when finished. Every. Single. Time. Especially for kids who may feel a little less confident exploring art concepts, this is a project that proves there is no wrong way to create. It is a process that’s guaranteed to encourage and entertain kids of all ages and interest levels.

Two of our final Frank Stella inspired deconstructed rainbow collages sitting side by side

Using Rainbow Collages for Learning and Play

Over the years this project has been tried by so many kids of all ages, and I’ve so enjoyed seeing the way they’ve made this art activity their own! Here are some more ideas and variations to help your children or students explore and enjoy this idea…

  • BUILD GIANT RAINBOW COLLAGE ART. Using this paper collage art project in a classroom or with quite a few kids? Group your collages together to form one BIG rainbow collage wall – a seriously stunning bulletin board decoration or classroom wall display.
  • EXPLORE COLOR THEORY. Use the colors in your rainbows to discuss primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, then try making collages from the different color groups. Make monochromatic rainbow collages using tints and shades of just one color, or investigate color values.
  • HOST A RAINBOW-MAKING PARTY. These paper collages make a creative birthday party activity that’s quick and easy to throw together. Simply print out a page of rainbows for every party guest, lay out with construction paper, scissors, and glue sticks, then let them go to town building their own rainbow collage.
  • MAKE CARDBOARD RAINBOW ART. Glue our rainbow templates onto scrap cardboard and cut apart for dimensional rainbow collage pieces that can be rearranged over and over again. For younger kids, these can also double as a simple but captivating handmade puzzle (perfect for practicing color recognition and fine motor skills!).
A selection of our colorful paper rainbow arcs sitting on a white background with scissors

For another rainbow craft that packs a colorful punch, try making rainbows using a different medium with our DIY chalk pastel rainbow pillows or dazzling rainbow unicorn scratch art.


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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.


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