Flag Magazine Mosaics

One of my favorite things about being a fifth grade teacher was teaching United States history. The year started with a study of Native Americans, moved on to Explorers, then Colonial America. We'd study the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the Civil War and Reconstruction. From there, we'd leap ahead and learn about the present-day United States. I used a variety of games, simulations, and projects to immerse the kids in their learning. They loved it and I did too.

I'm a huge fan of integrated curricula, so I was always on the lookout for ways to incorporate history into math, or science into art, or math into reading, etc. Our study of the 50 States usually fell right around the same time as the Measurement unit in math, which gave me the perfect excuse to mix history, math and art into this cool project.

All you need is a piece of white paper (watercolor weight is best, but cardstock or construction paper will work), a ruler, a pencil, some white glue, and an old magazine or catalog. Start by using the ruler to draw a horizontal line, 9" long, at the bottom of the paper. Next, add vertical lines, 6.5" long, at a right angle to the original line. Connect those two lines with a 9" horizontal line.   

Next, mark every half-inch along the vertical lines. Holding the ruler horizontally touching the top two dots, make a mark at the 4" spot. Draw a line from that spot across to the right, creating the top stripe. Repeat this step for the next 6 stripes. Draw a vertical line to make the edge of the blue field. Return the ruler to the horizontal position and continue drawing the stripes. Here are the measurements:

And here is what the pencil lines will look like. Notice that the flag isn't centered. This doesn't matter, as you'll be cutting it out.  
Go through the magazine looking for large area of red, white and blue. Working with one color at a time, tear small pieces and glue them to the appropriate area of the flag. The pieces should overlap and cover the area completely. It is OK if they go over the perimeter lines of the flag, as this area gets cut off.

Excluding the measurement part, it takes about an hour to complete this project. Here's Trevor finishing up the last stripe. (He's wearing a nametag because he'd just gotten home from VBS. We don't normally wear nametags around the house, being that there's just the three of us and we know each other pretty well.)

And here he is with the mosaic part completed.

When the whole thing is filled in, use a paper cutter to trim the excess paper. You can hang your art as is, or extend its life by sealing it in a laminator, using contact paper, or brushing on a coat of Mod Podge. Enjoy!


  1. LOL!! I loveeeeee the name tag comment!! That flag looks awesome!! What a great project to do!!!!

  2. Games and simulations are the ways to learn and retain info. You must have been an awesome teacher! :) Love the mosaic flag project!

  3. You always have the most wonderful posts, Cindy! I love this project!! Your son's take is wonderful!!! Happy July 4th!

  4. oh how darling and creative! I love love it ..


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