As far as school fundraisers go, an art auction is one of the most fun—and most profitable—events out there. Parents love to invest in memorabilia that reminds them of their child’s school experience and showcases their talents. Whether you are looking for an elaborate collaborative project or something smaller that can be bundled, there are tons of ideas out there. Here are 30 simple but beautiful school auction art projects to help get you started.
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1. Ceramic Wind Chimes
Remember your child’s school for years to come every time you hear this lovely ceramic wind chime singing in the breeze. Students use a Sharpie-and-rubbing-alcohol paint technique to create their own unique design on store-bought ceramic medallions. Then the discs are connected to a branch with fishing wire and metal eyelets.
Learn more: Lifestyle for Real Life
2. Personalized Pillow
Who wouldn’t want to cuddle up with this adorable memento? Students cut graduated circles out of felt squares, then tack them together using an X-stitch with embroidery floss. Next, they cut out an oval leaf shape, embroider their name (or use a Sharpie), and attach it to the flower. Lastly, recruit a volunteer to either sew or hot-glue the flowers to a plain white pillow.
Learn more: Popsugar
3. Vibrant Wall Hangings
These beautiful one-of-a-kind wall hangings are sure to bring in some serious coin. Make them as elaborate as the ones shown above, using canvas fabric, tempera paint, permanent markers, yarn, and dowels.
Learn more: Handmakery
4. Custom Tote Bags
These simple canvas bags are a perfect school auction art project to make for every errand-running parent. This blogger created these models using natural materials, such as leaves, apple halves, and potatoes. Other materials needed include textile paint, brushes, newspapers, and plain cotton bags.
Learn more: LuLovesHandmade
5. Colorful Fabric Weavings
These gorgeous wall hangings are simple for kids to create together. All you need is plastic garden fencing (it usually comes in a roll and can be cut into different sizes) and strips of fabric or ribbons. Ask parents for donations of any leftover fabric they may have, or check out websites like NAIER for free materials.
Learn more: Art Is Basic
6. Driftwood Wall Hangings
This project can start with a fun session of gathering sticks outside. Then, to decorate the sticks, each student can get creative with paint, markers, and washi tape. Finally, using screw eyes and suede cord, the sticks can be strung together for a beautiful wall hanging.
Learn more: Twelve O Eight
7. Van Gogh Reproduction
Create an original mural using a large Van Gogh poster or print as a model. Cut the print into paper-sized rectangles. Then give each student a piece plus a piece of white art paper. Have each student re-create their piece of the poster using paint and oil pastels. Finally, put the pieces together for a beautiful, slightly imperfect mural.
Learn more: Elementary Art Fun
8. Colorful Story Quilt
You will need a talented volunteer who can sew to help stitch this project together! For the squares of the quilt, each student will draw their own picture using fabric markers. The teacher who assembled the quilt shown above asked students to create a picture inspired by the theme of friendship. Choose a theme that is meaningful for your particular group of students.
Learn more: The Savvy Age
9. Painted Adirondack Chair
Who wouldn’t love to kick back in a deliciously colorful chair like this? Every student in the class can paint or decorate a different section, which will come together into a memorable piece of yard art. If you do not have an Adirondack, use a bench or table or any other kind of wooden furniture made of slats.
Learn more: KHS Advancement
10. Recycled CD/DVD Coasters
Bring new life to old CDs and DVDs with these school auction art projects for kids. Ask parents to donate fabric, then allow each student to choose the one they like best. Simply cut the fabric to fit and glue to the surface. Finally, apply Modge Podge matte to seal the coaster. Package all the coasters together with a ribbon for a full set, or give parents the opportunity to purchase their child’s individually.
Learn more: Crafts by Amanda
11. Collaborative Circle Tapestry
Using a 3-inch circle of cardboard, yarn, and a needle, students will first create a loom structure and then weave yarn in a circular pattern to create a unique and beautiful circle (see detailed directions here.) String individual circle weavings together using twine attached to a dowel or an interesting tree branch.
Learn more: Experiments in Art Education
12. “Chihuly” Sculptures
There are two different ways to create these beautiful sculptures. The first one is constructed with coffee filter papers, water-based markers, paper cups, and a squirt bottle of water. The second one is constructed with plastic disposable cups, Sharpie pens, and a toaster oven.
Learn more: Method #1 Spot of Color, Method #2 Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes
13. Hand Hearts Photograph
You will need a good camera for this project. Demonstrate for your students how to create the shape of a heart with their hands. Provide a colorful piece of paper as a background for each student to create their hand heart, then snap a photo. Mount all of the students’ heart photos together with a crisp white matte border surrounding them, then frame.
Learn more: Popsugar
14. Woven Watercolor Strips
Determine the width and length you want each strip of watercolor paper for the weaving to be. Give each student one strip and let them apply different watercolor paint techniques in the color palette of their choosing to their individual strip. Weave the strips tightly together and glue down onto a piece of black background to form this beautiful piece of art!
Learn more: New Zealand Artwork
15. Reach for the Stars Collage
Have each student trace from their hand up to their elbow onto plain card stock (or pair them up to do it with a partner). Color and decorate using crayons, markers, paint or pastels, then cut out the tracing. Assemble all of the hands onto a dark blue poster board, overlapping from the bottom, with each hand pointing up, as if it is reaching toward the sky. Glue different sizes of shimmering gold stars at the top of the board.
Learn more: Artsonia
16. Boho Flower Wall Hanging
Who knew egg cartons could be so beautiful? Cut into different shapes then painted, the individual “flowers” are strung together using twine and attached to a dowel or stick. The directions below recommend spray paint, but for younger children, tempera or watercolor paint would work better.
Learn more: Craftaholics
17. The Hand Tree
Celebrate the uniqueness of every single student in your class with this colorful, whimsical tree project. Click here for detailed directions.
Learn more: Candice Ashment Art
18. Personalized Ceramic Bowl
There are many variations of this craft out there. We like this version, found on Pinterest, that creates a fun scene using students’ fingerprints. If you want your piece to be professionally fired, you or a parent volunteer can arrange to borrow the proper paints and markers, as well as buy your pottery piece, from a Pots ‘n Paints–type of business. After your students add their contribution to the piece, you can return it to the shop to be fired.
Learn more: Pottery Piazza
19. Wall of Hearts
Using heavy-duty craft paper, have students paint their own design on a common theme (for example, hearts, as shown in the image). Other theme ideas: trees, shapes, first letters of each student’s first or last name, stars, emojis.
Learn more: Art Teacherin’ 101
20. Tile Squares Table
This one requires a little legwork to find and prepare just the right table base—a perfect job for a parent volunteer like this blogger. Click below for details.
Learn more: Mom With a Glue Gun
21. Serving Tray
Something practical like a beautiful, one-of-a-kind serving tray could be a hot ticket item for your school auction art project. Using color diffusing paper and watercolor paints, each student creates their own design. Then the pieces are adhered to the surface of the tray and sealed.
Learn more: Art Camp Studio
22. Vase of Flowers
Another Van Gogh–inspired art project, this one allows each student to create their own individual flower to add to the vase. A colorful collection any parent would love to display.
Learn more: Art at Becker Middle School
23. Custom Plates
School auction art projects that will also get good use? Yes, please! These whimsical plates would be a cheery addition to any kitchen. The example above shows simple line drawings of fruit. But you could pick any theme you like—self-portraits, animals, flowers. Here are step-by-step directions for decorating china with Sharpies.
Learn more: Popsugar
24. Clay Mosaic Mirror
How pretty would this look in an entryway? Clay discs, created by each individual student, are artfully arranged inside a frame. Once they are glued down, a mirror is added in the middle.
Learn more: Art Is Basic
25. Peace Dove
Working together, the students in this class used their fingertips, dipped in paint, to create this colorful dove. At the bottom, each student identified their fingerprint with their signature.
Learn more: Beverly Cleary School Foundation
26. Under the Sea
This project would be perfect for a class that’s studying ocean life. The teacher can paint the background of blues for the seawater and beige at the bottom for the sand. Then, each student could contribute their favorite sea creature. Finally, each student can sign their name in the space at the bottom.
Learn more: Joy in the Works
27. Craft Stick Collage
Give each student four to six large wooden craft sticks to color in completely with color Sharpie pens or tempera paint. Encourage students to decorate each stick uniquely. After you have collected all of the sticks, lay them out on a large foam board in a checkerboard manner, experimenting with what you think looks best. When you are satisfied with your design, glue it down. Attach a hanger to the back of the foam board.
Learn more: Teaching Middle Level
28. Decoupage Glass Magnets
This quick and easy project is perfect for little ones. You’ll need glass magnets, glue, Modge Podge, and original artwork made by your students (made with paint, markers, or crayons on paper). Have each student make a few, then gather them together in small gift bags and sell as a bundle. Full directions below.
Learn more: Modge Podge Rocks
29. Wall Hanging
This gorgeous wall hanging is sure to add color to any space. Have a large selection of yarn in different colors, sizes, and weights for students to choose from. Let students choose if they’d like to braid their strands, finger-knit them into a chain, or simply let them hang straight. Attach each student’s strand to a dowel and then add a hanging cord.
Learn more: Studio DIY
30. Group Puzzle
Buy or have someone donate a puzzle with relatively large pieces. Usually a preschool puzzle with 25–30 pieces works well for this. Have students decorate the plain backside of each piece with permanent markers. Encourage them to add lots of details. When they are all colored in, spray all of the pieces with a shiny clear topcoat of spray paint. Assemble the puzzle and mount it to a piece of cardboard or plywood. Attach hangers to the back or prop it up on a tabletop easel.
Learn more: Art Is Basic
Does your school put on an auction? What are your favorite school auction art projects? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Plus, check out our big list of restaurants that do school fundraisers.