DIY Fresco Art For Kids • An Activity in Ancient Art

You don't need to be Michelangelo to create this DIY Fresco art for kids! 

Fresco paintings are a huge part of the artifacts recovered from the fallen city of Pompeii, Italy in 79 AD. Fresco art is defined by combining wet plaster with pigments such as paint or pastels. In this DIY Fresco art activity, we will be doing a modified version that kids of all ages can do at home!


Materials you will need:

  • Plaster of Paris (BLICK Art materials)
  • Natural Burlap
  • Cardboard
  • Soft Pastels (any that are not oil based)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Spray bottle
  • Clear washable glue
  • Wisk or mixing tool
  • Spatula
  • Box cutter (for adult use only)
materials for DIY Fresco Art For Kids


Step 1:

Prepare your supplies! Cut your cardboard down to approximately a 1ft by 1ft square. Next, you should cut the burlap down to about a 10” by 10” square so that there is at least an inch of cardboard sticking out on all sides when you lay the burlap on top of the cardboard. 


square of burlap on cardboard

Step 2:

Fresco-plaster mixture: Use the ratio of 2-parts plaster: 1-part water. For this activity, we used 2 cups of plaster with 1 cup of water. Pour the ingredients into a bowl and begin to stir with your mixing tool. You will notice that the plaster will instantly combine with the water and become a thicker mixture.


make plaster for diy fresco art

Step 3:

Preparing your base: Pour some of your mixture onto your burlap-cardboard base and begin to smear into a circle like the image shown. Feel free to keep the plaster base relatively thick, this will give you a better effect in a later step. Let plaster dry for 2 hours.


prepare the base for DIY Fresco Art by spreading plaster on burlap

Step 4:

Time to make your DIY Fresco Art! Mist your plaster base with a spray bottle so that it is slightly damp. Use the soft pastels as desired to blend colors and create your own Fresco art masterpiece! Have fun with the plaster base, use your fingers to smudge the colors and see how they blend.


two hands decorating Fresco Art with a flower

Step 5:

Now for the fun part! Use your hands or a tool to gently break apart your plaster base. This will create “stress fractures” and make your Fresco art look like it has just been found from long ago or just like the artifacts recovered from Pompeii.


two hands creating stress fractures to fresco

Step 6:

Preserve your creation: Using clear washable glue, pour a generous amount onto the middle of your plaster base. Using a scrap piece of cardboard, gently spread the glue around to create an even layer over your base. This will seal in the pigment and the fractures you have added to your fresco.


Step 7:

Finish your Fresco! Once the glue is fully dried, gently remove the burlap-plaster base from the cardboard. Now you will be able to trim the excess burlap away from your plaster base. You have now completed your ownDIY Fresco Art!


completed fresco art projects


Funding for this project was provided by the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation.

Thanks to the support from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs, Orlando Science Center is excited to host the blockbuster exhibit, Pompeii: The Immortal City in the Fall of 2020.

Orlando Science Center is excited to support partnership programs and collaborations leading up to and coinciding with the run of the exhibition.

Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation

If you enjoyed this project, you're going to lava these other Pompeii-inspired activities! 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!


Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!


Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!

$93,000 Awarded Today to Local Arts Partners, Bringing Pompeii to Life!

Amidst actors portraying Roman gods and living statues, Orlando Science Center in partnership with the Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs Office announced today the eight local arts recipients of $93,000 in grant funding to support the new blockbuster exhibit, Pompeii: The Immortal City.


More than two dozen arts groups and individuals submitted proposals, ranging from music to film to theater to food, to provide complementary programming for the blockbuster exhibit. An advisory panel of community leaders reviewed the proposals and hand-picked a select number of eclectic opportunities.


These arts programs will raise awareness, generate buzz and enhance the experience of the upcoming blockbuster exhibit, Pompeii: The Immortal City. Orlando Science Center is one of only four locations in the United States to host the exhibit, thanks to the generous support of Orange County Government’s Blockbuster Fund.


Please help us in congratulating these award recipients and keep checking this space for emerging details on Pompeii: The Immortal City premiering at Orlando Science Center on June 6, 2020. The selected arts projects include the following:

  • Creative City Project: A highly visible, exciting installation that will debut for the 70,000 guests to IMMERSE 2019.
  • Downtown Arts District: The entire CityArts venue will host themes from Pompeii: The Immortal City exhibition with six new exhibits.
  • Enzian: The theater will screen a series of classic, educational, and family-friendly films to inspire interest in the culture and times of Ancient Rome and Pompeii.
  • Joseph Hayes – The Company of Eccentric Beggars: As a food writer and researcher of more than 20 years, and a frequent traveler to Southern Italy, Joseph Hayes will use his experience to create a series of discussions, demonstrations and pop-up kitchens exploring the unique foods of the Pompeian kitchen.
  • Mad Cow Theatre: The theatre company will develop and perform a series of interactive monologues highlighting the women of Pompeii. Characters will be inspired by the tiles, paintings, and written research featuring residents, Romans, slaves, courtesans, etc.
  • Snap! Orlando: This group will incorporate the Pompeii experience in its ongoing Augmented Reality public art project, CITY unseen. CITY unseen is designed to push the artistic boundaries of this new medium to connect Orlando to a global conversation about how to use emerging technology to create higher forms of art and educational experiences.
  • UCF: Faculty from Rollins and UCF will host a symposium that will provide the visitor with an overview of what it was like to live in Pompeii before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and aspects of the aftermath.
  • UCF CREATE (UCF Board of Trustees): This group will develop an art program to involve students from Lake Eola Charter School where they will learn the science of how frescos are created and work collaboratively to create fresco paintings.


Conceived by the Galileo Museum of Florence and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Pompeii: The Immortal City will plunge the visitor into the heart of the drama and ruins of Pompeii. Spectacular immersive moments will allow the visitor to experience the destruction of the city and to identify with the inhabitants of that time, immobilized by the volcano’s ashes.


The exhibition features over 100 archeological items from the city, some on display for the very first time. Orlando Science Center is using the story of Pompeii to not only bring attention to Central Florida but also to unite all of Central Florida in an exploration of art, science, and community.


Our mission at Orlando Science Center is to inspire science learning for life. We can think of no better way to inspire and engage curious minds of all ages than with this thoughtful and immersive exhibition supported by a series of dynamic offerings by a collection of our arts and culture peers.

Pompeii Awardees Luncheon