‘Collecting Colour’ – art inspired by the Aboriginal Australian picture book

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‘Collecting Colour’ by Kylie Dunstan is a beautiful award winning Australian picture book about one aspect of Indigenous Australian culture from the Top End, Northern Territory, Australia.

The publisher describes it as:  A young girl, Rose, living in the Top End of the Northern Territory, tells the story of a day spent collecting colour from the local plants and making them into beautiful baskets. Collecting Colour, featuring stunning acrylic illustrations on Nepalese paper, is a feast for the senses and is also a fascinating insight into the way of life of fibre artists, who produce beautiful, original work in sometimes difficult conditions (link below).



This art experience is best done with children 4-8 years old.

This activity resembles the beautiful Pandanus weaving that the characters in the book do to make baskets.

You will need:

  • Cardboard to cut out the circles (or have them pre-cut if you feel that is needed)
  • PVA glue
  • A range of different coloured crepe paper
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Cup or small bowl for tracing the circle onto the cardboard. Choose whichever based on the size of circle you want

How to make it:

  • Mark out circles on cardboard using your marker (trace around cup or bowl)
  • Using scissors, cut out the circle
  • Cut thin strips of crepe paper, roughly 20-30cm long in all of the colours you want to use..
  • Holding each end of the crepe paper pieces, twist them around many times until the whole piece is twisted and curly.
  • Place some PVA glue in the centre of your cardboard circle.
  • Place one end of the crepe paper in the centre of the cardboard and start twirling it around and around itself to slowly make your circle of crepe paper grow.
  • Using different colours, continue this process (putting glue down first, then twirling the crepe paper around and around).
  • You are finished when your cardboard is completely covered by crepe paper as pictured.

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Have fun!

Amy xx

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