Art Projects for Building Self-Esteem

Written by sylvia branch
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Art Projects for Building Self-Esteem
Stacks of old magazines can be used to build self-esteem by making collages. (surf magaxines image by Charles Taylor from

All art projects that encourage using your imagination can help to build self-esteem. Open-ended projects that require personalisation are more beneficial to building self-esteem than projects that are directed step by step. Art projects that highlight the things that go into making an individual can open a person's eyes to their uniqueness and importance.

All About Me Book

"All About Me" books can be created by young children with folded white paper, a construction paper cover and crayons. Direct questions that show their unique character. They can draw pictures of their favourites; food, book, colour, past time and memories. Consider having the child cut pictures out of magazines or included family photos to complete their personalised book.

Adults also benefit from making a version of an "All About Me" book. Dedicate an art journal to feelings, thoughts and favourite items in their life. Use a variety of methods to convey their personality including; watercolours, collage, markers and poetry.

Consider documenting clothing style, hairstyles, music, what you have been through and where would like to go. Include the house you live in and your passions and beliefs. Document your friends and family, things that make you smile and things that scare you. Add images of the people you admire and would like emulate. The ongoing nature of a book at this scale builds self esteem as it forces you to look within.

Self Portraits

Create self portraits by using photo editing tools on the computer to manipulate digital photos into simple line drawings. Size the image to 5 inch x 7 inch and print out. Cover the print with a piece of clear vinyl, such as a piece of clear shower curtain. Use a black permanent marker to trace the portrait and a border around the outside edge. Fill in with markers for a pop art self portrait.

Another self portrait idea involves drawing a picture of the back of your head and shoulders with one arm extended. The extended arm is drawn holding a hand mirror shape. The inside of hand mirror can be filled in with a piece of shiny silver paper. Add a photograph of the artist inside this mirror for a different self portrait. Children and adults can successfully create a self portrait using these techniques.

Silhouette Collage

Have someone help draw a silhouette the students head. Cut it out of card stock. Fill with collaged images; words and pictures of what is going on inside their heads. Set a chair in front of a wall and instruct the person to sit still. Tape a piece of paper to the wall, capturing their shadow. Trace the outline that appears.

Use a large piece of paper to trace your body. Fill with words, affirmations, scripture verses and song lyrics that tell a story about your life and who you are.


Photography is an art form that can build self esteem especially with the immediacy of digital cameras and their ability to produce the exact image they are looking for to express themselves. Instruct the students to take photos of themselves, the places they go, the people in their lives and items that represent future plans. Create a Power Point presentation about themselves with this collection of images. Take turns sharing the presentations in a group setting.

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