Make: Deconstructed Rainbow Collages

Their unofficial theme of 2018 seems to be rainbows, and since it’s been cold and grey here, I was so excited to fill the walls with a little sunshine and color! Their 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.

This bold modern art project for kids deconstructs rainbows to create bright & colorful collages inspired by Frank Stella

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 learn about color.  

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

Although I used pre-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 a huge hit here, and if you try this, I’d love to hear how it went for you! Bonus: these collages look AH-MA-ZING when finished – especially if you make a whole group – they also worked perfectly with our magical unicorn scratch art!

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

To make Frank Stella deconstructed rainbow collages you’ll need:


  • Paper
  • Markers, Crayons, Paints & Brushes or other drawing supplies
  • Scissors
  • Glue


Deconstructed Rainbow Collage Instructions:

  1. Draw a set of rainbows or print our templates

    Color or paint your own set of rainbows – or use our rainbow art printable (in classic Frank Stella colors!). I recommend making at least 4-6 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.

If you have gone rainbow crazy and love making these, you can make a bunch and put them all in one big frame – they look fantastic as one big group! Or try making rainbows in a new medium with these DIY chalk pastel rainbow pillows!

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

My über-creative friends at Oh Creative Day and Little Button Diaries host a fantastic and inspiring Instagram account (@get.creative.with) challenging followers to get creative with a new theme and new guest host every week, and this week their theme was rainbows.

If you’re having a day when you just can’t come up with one thing for your kids to do, make this your first stop. Seriously – follow it, bookmark it and save it in your repertoire forever and ever. The collection of ideas for playing, learning, and art you’ll find there is going to absolutely blow you away, and it is a great way to get your own creative engine revved.

This bold modern art project for kids uses deconstructed rainbows to create bright & colorful collages inspired by Frank Stella! | from barley & birch


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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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