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ʻĀINA Garden Club Art

May 25, 2018
By: Stephanie Loui

This year, fifteen ‘ĀINA Schools are participating in weekly ʻĀINA Garden Club activities with dedicated Garden Club Advisors from their school communities. Students plant gardens, create art, write, and eat healthy snacks with peers and mentors. Garden Clubs fuel students’ appreciation for and examination of nature which is why it’s no surprise that this month, some of our very favorite activities are all about using the garden to inspire art.

Upcycled Bird Feeders from Tiffany at ʻAikahi Elementary

This great ʻĀINA Garden Club activity comes from Tiffany, a mom, PTA member, and ʻĀINA team coordinator. ʻAikahi's ʻĀINA Garden Club looked at how they could upcycle household waste like plastic bottles to create fun and fantastical bird feeders. Students also learned about the ʻamakihi, ʻiʻiwi, and ʻapapane, a few of Hawaiʻi’s beautiful native honeycreepers.


  • Reused plastic bottles
  • Reused plastic plates or shallow bowls
  • Hot glue or fast drying glue
  • Scissors
  • Chopsticks
  • Yarn
  • Paint, paint brushes
  • Bird seed


  1. Lay down newspaper or butcher paper to keep your work area clean.
  2. Invert the bottle and have an adult cut a square opening into the side.
  3. A few inches below, cut a small hole that runs all the way through the bottle.
  4. Thread the chopstick through the hole to create a bird “perch”.
  5. Make an additional pair of holes at the top of the bottle and run string or yarn through for a hanger.
  6. Glue the bottle top to the plate/bowl.
  7. Once paint is dry, paint the exterior.

‘Olena Paints and Prints from Malia at Hauʻula Elementary

To celebrate the bounty of ‘olena (turmeric) season, FoodCorps Service Member Malia mixed up some natural paints for the Hauʻula Elementary ʻĀINA Garden Club to create beautiful tie-dyes. Using fabric squares and ‘olena juice, students created whimsical prints and learned about the value of ʻolena and its health benefits.


  • Powdered or juiced fresh turmeric
  • Reusable cups for paint
  • Fabric squares
  • Fine-tipped brushes


  1. Lay down newspaper or butcher paper to prevent staining.
  2. Tape down squares of fabric to keep them taut.
  3. If using powdered turmeric, add a little water until the turmeric reaches a thin paste.
  4. Using fine-tipped brushes, paint away! If ʻolena is unavailable, try other plant-based paints like beet or purple cabbage juice.

Mala Stamps from Lily at Blanche Pope Elementary

At Blanche Pope, fourth grade teacher and Mala Expert leader Lily used the natural patterns of plants to create beautiful handmade cards for friends and helpers of the Mala Experts. Students used banana stump cut into rounds to stamp beautiful prints onto cardstock.


  • Banana stump or other sturdy plant parts
  • Firm cardstock
  • Paint, paint brushes


  1. Cut banana stump into rounds. *If banana stumps are unavailable, look to nature for inspiration! Have an excess of okra? Why not slice and use the pattern of the seed pod for a fun stamp. Firm leaves can also make beautiful prints.
  2. Paint rounds and stamp onto cards.

Check out the ʻĀINA In Schools “How to Start a Garden Club” resource sheet for more ideas on ways you can engage students with the garden through art, games, and eating activities!