Make: Process Art Play Tiles

Move over awards season, better luck next year March Madness, St. Patrick’s Day what?…this month’s hottest event is Womens’ Week Collective and it’s happening NOW!

Every year my friend Arielle hosts a fabulous celebration of noteworthy women in art SHARED by women in art. Throughout this entire week, an inspirational group of female artists and designers will be featured, with specially-designed projects to help celebrate them.

Women's Week Collective Preview

You can follow along as Arielle reveals each artist’s work over on the ART CAMP website.

This year, Arielle invited me to share artist and designer extraordinaire Ray Eames, and she couldn’t have picked an influence closer to my heart. Ray was an absolute POWERHOUSE of talent, and though there are SO many ways I could have taken my project, I wanted to pay homage to her abstract expressionist beginnings and the principles that guided her life’s work…

What are Process Art Play Tiles?

Like a collage you never have to finish, our DIY process art play tiles encourage exploration of EVERY possibility. Created on simple squares of transparency sheets, the ability to build see-through layers allows for a collage-like effect with tiles you can arrange and re-arrange for multitudes of artistic discoveries.

The creation starts with a process art invitation and then…never really ends…in fact, the hardest part of this project is putting the set down! The fact that you can mix mediums without committing to permanence is amazingly liberating and allows for some truly imagination-expanding risk-taking.


You only have to get out the paint, glue stick, and paper for these tiles ONCE, so they’re perfect for occasions when getting out ALL the art supplies feels a bit overwhelming, when you’re out & about, or whenever you need a quick activity. And when you feel like you’ve explored the world of 2D, take them into the 3rd dimension by stacking with paper, or taping them into a cube. 

A month after making these, I’m still finding new ways to use them every day and have already expanded the set. My 40-ish play tiles are on a hinged binder ring now, hanging next to my Pantone swatches so I can quickly grab a handful and play around when I’m creatively stuck. Take note adults…these are NOT just for kids. 

To Make Your Own Process Art Play Tiles You’ll Need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains a few Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • Transparency sheets
  • Mark-making supplies (paints, a brayer, stamps or permanent markers, etc.)
  • Collaging supplies (Scrap paper, office supply stickers, etc.)
  • Scissors
  • A glue stick


Make a set of process art play tiles for composition, color and design exploration! A fun reusable invitation to create that helps kids explore art concepts through play. | via barley & birch

Head over to our post on ART CAMP to see how I turned these into an Eames-esque house of tiles, find more supply ideas, read the full instructions, and discover loads of ideas to help artists of all ages find their design rhythm and make the most of this project.

Learn More About Ray Eames

In addition to the material list and simple instructions, you’ll also find more background information on the artist herself with links to her incredible body of work (toys! textiles! furniture!).

Keep your eyes peeled for little callbacks to Ray as you explore the pictures of this project and learn more about her. Specific typography, floral “arrangements” – there are a few special references to her life and work hidden in our tiles. The more you research Ray on your own, the more you’ll find!

Our Eames-inspired process art play tiles in use for collage-making. | via barley & birch

One of my favorite things about these play tiles is that you can create a cool collage anytime, anywhere – perfect for those times when getting out ALL the supplies isn’t realistic or feels overwhelming. When you feel like you’ve explored the world of 2D, you can take these into the 3rd dimension by stacking them with paper or taping them into a cube.

Flower collages made with our process art play tiles. | via barley & birch

For more creations inspired by fabulous female artists, visit our kinetic paper shape art or stacking cardboard castles. Or find more projects like this one – our wood-scrap process art sculptures, rainbow roads or scrap stamp shape collages are three all-time favorites.

And for those of you digging the combination of form & function, don’t sleep on our collection of over 40 functional art projects for kids!

Our process art play tiles stacked as sculpture! | via 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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