2nd grade Wayne Thiebaud Layered Cake Paintings (Lines and Shapes Can Bake a Cake 2.0)

***Warning – teaching this art project will make you and your art students hungry for 4-6 class periods every time they come to art.***

Wayne Thiebaud is a super pop artist, and he inspired this art project.  My very talented, technology art leader and mentor teacher Kathleen Zeigler came up with this project.  It’s also a no-fail project – who doesn’t love that?!


I ask the students what their favorite desserts are.  We talk about then and all get very hungry for some delicious empty calories when we’re done (sorry Coach.)  I ask them if they ever thought about painting their favorite dessert.  Then I show them the thick luscious cake and dessert paintings of Wayne Thiebaud.

After we establish a background of knowledge for his cake and dessert paintings and drawings, we look at modern masters of layered cake design on the SmartBoard together.  (We also discuss how becoming a cake artist is an art career.)  There are some amazing cakes out there made by phenomenally creative and skilled cake artists.

We also brainstorm about how different cake stands can look.  I tell them that I don’t want any writing on their cake paintings, but we think together how to come up with symbols that mean what they want to write (if they wanted to write something).  We discussed what symbols represented a birthday (balloons, presents, streamers and confetti.)FullSizeRender(69)

We talked about how this cake can represent them and become a personal cake.  We brainstorm what symbol might represent them (a football, soccer ball, ballet shoes, their favorite book, a magnifying glass, a globe, etc.)

I demo how to draw the layered cake, the cake stand, the borders, and the designs in each layer.  Then I pass out the drawing paper.  They draw their cakes, their borders, something wonderful in those beautiful borders, their cake stands, and their different decorations for each layer.

Once all that is creatively drawn, they go over all their drawn pencil lines with a Sharpie.  Then they erase any stray marks that somehow didn’t get covered in Sharpie.  After that, I demo how to paint with watercolor.  Then I pass out their watercolors and they paint away!

FullSizeRender(56)I show them an art magic trick.  I sprinkle a tiny bit of salt onto freshly painted watercolor and it absorbs the paint in the coolest pattern.  There are usually oohs and ahhs about this.  I show them what happens when you add too much (it eats a hole in the paper and won’t come off in the parts that didn’t get holey), and we demonstrate with pretend salt in our hands how to add just the right amount.  (Using Dollar Store salt shakers would solve this problem and 2 years in a row I have meant to buy them.  Maybe next year’s the charm?)

The students have gorgeous watercolor paintings when they’re done.  Have fun!


One thought on “2nd grade Wayne Thiebaud Layered Cake Paintings (Lines and Shapes Can Bake a Cake 2.0)

  1. Pingback: 4th grade Paper Maché Donuts | Wow Art Project

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