The classic dried bean mosaic is a craft project that will grow with your child. Toddlers enjoy the process of choosing just the right beans to stick on the paper. Older children like to make patterns or simple objects like rainbows. Teens really get into the project and design more intricate patterns or scenes.
Traditional dried bean mosaics involve gluing beans onto a background. This is difficult for young children to do without a lot of help (or a lot of mess). Recently, I made bean mosaics with my children using sticky contact paper as the background. The result was an easy project that even the two year old could do independently. Best of all, there was very little mess to clean up afterward.
For this project you will need clear contact paper, cardboard, construction paper, glue, and a package of dried beans. You can find mixed bags of dried beans at your grocery store.
If you wish, draw a simple design on your sheet of cardboard before you begin. Cut a piece of contact paper to fit on top of the cardboard. Lay the contact paper on the cardboard with the sticky side up. Use glue (or a hot glue gun) to attach the non-sticky part of the contact paper to the cardboard. Trim any overhanging edges. Carefully pull the backing off of the contact paper to reveal the sticky side. This will be your background for the mosaic.
Place the dried bean mix in bowls for easy sorting. Press the beans onto the background to make your design. This project can be completed over several days if a more intricate design is desired. When the mosaics are done, kids can make a frame for their art by laying strips of construction paper along the edges of the background. This will also help cover up any glue visible along the edges.
If you wish to make this project even easier, pick up some inexpensive photo mats. Cut the contact paper to fit between the front of the mat and the cardboard backing. Kids will have a ready-made framed area to work in. You could even slip the finished result into a frame, after you remove the glass.
We found that some of the larger beans on our mosaics slipped out of position after a couple of days. I used a hot glue gun to give these runaways some extra adhesion. Enjoy!