Art · Teaching

Native American Buffalo Hide Art Project

With only two days of school this week because of Thanksgiving break, my regular lesson plans with our curriculum were not an option. I planned on filling language arts time with writing lessons and reading groups, but as the day went on, I realized that my students needed a fun activity to break up the instructional time.

One of my teaching partners, Alie Evans, showed me this amazing art project that even went along with Thanksgiving, talking about the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims.

Alie had given me a sheet of Native American writing, and I began the mini-lesson by having the students try and decipher what I was writing on the board, and then had them figure it out by giving them their own sheet.


After this, I jumped right into our project.

What You’ll Need: 

I started by giving each of my students a brown paper bag, along with the symbol paper. Using their scissors, they cut off the bottom of the bag, and then up the sides, so the bag opens up flat.

They picked symbols to make up their own story, using their crayons to write on the bag. It is important that the crayon is layered, so it’s really dark. 

After the drawing is done, crumple up the bag and smooth it out again.

These are how some of my class’s drawings turned out! 



Next, you’ll need to spray the bags with the spray bottle of water. It will need to be really saturated – – with more water than you would think!

This is the messy part! 

I squirted a little bit of brown paint on a paper plate for each of my students. Using their hands, they rubbed paint all over the wet paper bags. If the brown paint is covering the crayon and seems to thick, it can be dabbed at with a tissue, and it will still work perfectly!

I put these to dry on pieces of newspaper, and they were ready to take home by the end of the school day.


Here are the finished products! My students thought that this was the coolest art project EVER!


2 thoughts on “Native American Buffalo Hide Art Project

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