Glue-Resist Sunflower (Or, Look for the Light)

My ultimate goal for my US Travel resource is to feature my recommendations for hotels, restaurants, and attractions for family-friendly travel (along with craft projects, recipes, etc.) for each of the 50 states. It's a big goal and I'm really happy with how it's coming along. I recently updated the Pennsylvania page along with the other states from our October trip

I decided to make a glue-resist sunflower that will go on the Kansas page. Not only was it fun to make, but I learned an important photography lesson in the process!

Some background information: Whenever possible, I scan my finished projects. I'm not a great photographer and the limited daylight and rainy days of November do not help one bit. Unless the object is dimensional, it is so much easier to use the scanner and the results are almost always better. However, I'm careful not to scan things that might dirty, scratch, or otherwise harm my expensive scanner. I didn't want to risk getting chalk dust all over my scanner bed, so I decided to photograph the sunflower instead. 

I took a few photos, picked one, added a watermark, and uploaded it here. I hated the way it looked compared to the real-life version, but I couldn't figure out why. Compare the image below to the one at the top of the post. Can you spot the reason why this one was bugging me so much? 

Hint: Look for the light. 

After staring at it for a few minutes to figure out why it looked so weird, I realized that I'd photographed the sunflower with the light source on the left... the opposite side from where I added the chalk pastel highlights to the artwork. Here is the same image, before I cropped it. 

I learned an important photography lesson. If the artwork has highlights, make sure to photograph it in an orientation that matches where the actual highlights will fall!


Glue-Resist Sunflower


  • black construction paper
  • tacky glue
  • chalk pastels


Use the glue to create a design on the construction paper. You can draw it lightly in pencil first or just freehand it like I did. While you can use ordinary white glue, a thicker tacky glue is going to stay in place instead of spreading. Let the glue dry overnight. 

Color in the petals with a yellow chalk pastel. Add red lines at the base of each petal.   

Blend the colors together with your finger. Color the center of the sunflower with browns. Use white to add highlights to the sunflower. (Interesting that I started with the highlights in the lower left... where the actual light was coming into the room... and ended up turning the paper 180°.)

Finally, color the background blue. 

And there you have it, the state flower of Kansas!


  1. Hah! That's amazing about the lighting issue! Glad you worked it out! This is a great project - thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Light is definitely friend and foe in photography! LOL!! I loveeeeeeeee this!! Sooooooooo cool!!!!!!!!!


I moderate comments, so you will not see yours appear right away. Please check back if you had a question; I promise to answer it as soon as I see it. Thank you for taking the time to comment!