Positive and Negative Art

  • Young Adult
  • Grades 1-3

Learn about positive and negatives shapes while creating a fun craft!


  • 25 Pack Assorted Paint Brushes
  • Acrylic Paint Jars, 24 Assorted colors
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Cardstock
  • Foam Stamps
printDownload Template


Step 1. Gather your supplies.

Step 2.

Begin with (2) 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 pieces of card stock. Pick 2 colors that look good together and paint each card stock square a different color. In our example, we chose complementary colors, red and green. To learn about complementary colors, click here

Step 3.

Using Glitter Glue and Foam Stamps, create patterns of your choice on the painted squares. Allow squares to dry.

Step 4.

Now it is time to create the separate positive and negative shapes. Once your art is completely dry, lightly fold your square in half with the artwork folded in.

Step 5.

Draw half of a shape, such as a diamond, heart or circle on the folded edge of the card stock square. Make sure you do not go all the way to the edges on the folded side.

Step 6.

Using your scissors, cut out your shape. Tip: cut this shape out carefully, both the shape that you are cutting and the larger square will be used in your final piece of art.

Step 7.

Unfold both your square and your folded half shape. You will see that you now have created a frame, or a negative shape, and a full icon, or a positive shape. 

Step 8.

Repeat Steps 5-7 with the other decorated square. Tip -try cutting out a different shape! In our example, we made a heart shape.

Step 9.

Use your glue stick to apply glue around the negative frame of one of your square shapes.

Step 10.

Glue this negative frame on the upper left hand corner of your 11 x 11 inch piece of card stock, your artwork base.

Step 11.

Glue the negative frame shape of square 2 to the lower right hand corner.

Step 12.

Glue the positive shape of square 1 to the upper right hand corner and the positive shape of square 2 to the lower left hand corner. You have now created and demonstrated positive and negative art!