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Make some easy kaleidoscope art prints using sponges!

This is a fun process art idea for kids exploring symmetry. It creates a beautiful “kaleidoscope” effect with the finished print.

You might also like butterfly sponge printing

Kaleidoscope printing with sponges

A kaleidoscope works by reflecting a fragment of colour at an angle with multiple mirrors to give us a symmetrical pattern.

Kaleidoscope art prints work in a similar way only there are no mirrors involved. We’ve used a random mix of colours, pressed it into a fragment of sponge and printed it in a circular pattern. It looks similar to what you’d see looking into a traditional mirror kaleidoscope.

We’ve used white paper plates as a surface to print on, but ordinary paper would be fine as a print surface too. The advantage with paper plates is they are easy to spin around as you print.

This sponge printing technique makes a fun STEAM activity for kids. You can talk about pattern and symmetry while you make the prints and it’s suitable for kids of all ages. It’s also really quick and easy and we think the prints turned out very pretty!

How to make kaleidoscope sponge prints

Template for sponge printing

You will need:

  • A kitchen sponge
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paper plates or paper
  • Scissors

How to:

Use this printable kaleidoscope sponge shape template to cut a piece of sponge into a circle fragment shape. If you want to cut out your own shape, divide 360º by the number of shapes you want in your kaleidoscope pattern and create a triangle using that angle. This could be a good exercise for older kids using a protractor. We’ve used a 45º angle which goes into 360º eight times.

  1. Cut out your sponge shape
  2. Squirt some paint in different colours out onto a flat surface big enough to press the sponge into. 
  3. Press the sponge into the paint and then print onto your paper plate. Print again next to it, and continue until you’ve completed the 360º circle.

Sponge and paint for sponge printing

Print into a mandala shape

You can try adding a small dab or two of a different colour or swirling the ones you have slightly to get a different print.

Kaleidoscope mandala printing on paper plates

These are lots of fun to make! You can try experimenting with different colour combinations.

More sponge printing ideas:

Kaleidoscope mandala prints for kids