The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids

My kiddos love experimenting with art inspired by our favorite picture books. Today I’m sharing our most recent of these projects: Very Lonely Firefly art. It was inspired by Eric Carle’s The Very Lonely Firefly and it was easy and fun. You’re going to love it!

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids

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Eric Carle’s The Very Lonely Firefly is about a firefly who goes searching for other fireflies. It encounters lots of lights, some small, some big, and some spectacular, but it takes a while to find the right lights. It takes time to find the other fireflies, but the journey to them pays off with a lovely ending.


In addition to the lovely story, this picture book is full of the colorful and captivating illustrations Eric Carle is known for. That’s why it makes great inspiration for an art project.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project

Here are the supplies needed for this Very Lonely Firefly art project:

  • Mixed media paper or canvas panel
  • Acrylic paints – Colors needed will be different if you choose a different page from the book for inspiration, but we used black, navy, medium blue, and aqua for the background. We used red, pumpkin, green, brown, yellow, and blue for the firefly.
  • Palette or paper plate.
  • Water
  • Assorted paintbrushes – larger brushes work best for the background, but we used smaller round tips for the firefly.
  • A fine-tip Sharpie – navy, black, or brown work best.

Once you gather your supplies, grab your kiddo and get started!

Step 1 – Paint Background

The first step in this Very Lonely Firefly art project is to paint the background. My little one chose pages near the end of the book for her inspiration. These pages are darker on top and become lighter near the bottom to show the leftovers of a dusky sky.

She painted the top half of her paper with black acrylic paint. She also added another stripe of black about an inch or two from the bottom of her paper.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids
When she finished with the black, she added the bright blue in between the black portions of her page and the aqua below the black.

Don’t worry if paint colors overlap a bit in this step. Blending the colors is a good thing! In fact, she blended the colors with horizontal strokes and added a few drops of navy into the black to create some variation in the night sky.

One thing to note here is that the cover reverses the order of these colors. It doesn’t matter in this step, but you’ll want to rotate your paper before moving on to the second step.

Step 2 – Draw Body Outline

We took a quick lunch break — around 30 minutes — and allowed the background to dry completely. I also used this break to clean our palette and brushes.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids
When our background was dry, I used a Sharpie to draw a basic outline of the firefly’s body. This was simply to give my little one a guide to use as she painted.

Step 3 – Paint Body

When I finished my outline, I prepared the palette by adding colors similar to those used in the illustration: brown, green, orange, yellow, blue, and red.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids
Once I prepared the paints, she got to work and painted her firefly using the illustrations and my outline for guidance.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids
Instead of allowing her firefly to air dry, she thought it would be faster (and more fun) to take her painting to the bathroom and blow dry it before adding the final touches. 😉

Step 4 – Add Final Touches & Enjoy

After she dried her firefly with our blow dryer she added the final touches to her Very Lonely Firefly art: his face, legs, and antennae.

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids

She also added some lines in the wings and abdomen using her Sharpie, but other than that, she was finished. This adorable project was ready for display!

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids

There you have it: an easy paint project for kids inspired by Eric Carle’s beloved book, The Very Lonely Firefly. Enjoy!


Looking for more summer learning ideas inspired by picture books? Stop by iHomeschool Network’s Book and a Big Idea linkup and take a look!

The Very Lonely Firefly Art Project for Kids - a Book & a Big Idea

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