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Easy Optical Illusion Art Activity for Kids With Instructions

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Photo of Holly (Teach Starter)
Updated | 2 min read

Looking for a fun and easy activity for your students to do as a fast finisher activity? Try optical illusion art with your kids! Not only are these pieces of art simple to create, but you don’t need fancy materials for your students!

What Is an Optical Illusion in Art?

Maybe you remember those Magic Eye calendars that were popular in the 1990s (way before your students were born!)? They were a form of optical illusion — using the way the human eye perceives things to essentially trick the brain. Optical illusion art is sometimes called op art, and it does exactly this — using shapes, colors, and patterns in special ways, the artist is able to create an image that looks like it’s moving. 

And believe it or not, kids can make optical illusion art too!

Optical Illusion Art for Kids

To make their own optical illusions, we put together a list of materials and simple instructions for your students.

Materials needed:

  • Square piece of paper
  • Pencil
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Bowl or round container


  1. Draw a circle in the middle of the page. To get the exact middle, use a ruler to draw a horizontal and vertical line to find the exact middle of your page.
  2. Then, use a container to draw around the edge to get an exact circle.
  3. Next, draw 6 curved lines horizontally and 6 curved lines vertically. We measured 1.5 cm from the edge of the circle. This gave it more of the rounded look.
  4. Then, draw straight vertical and horizontal lines evenly in the background.
  5. Once you are happy with the look, go over the lines with a permanent marker.
  6. Color the squares in a checkered sort of pattern both inside and outside the circle. We started from the middle of the circle to make sure we made no mistakes!
  7. Finally, use a lead pencil to shade around one side of the circle to give the appearance of a shadow.

Your students will love creating this optical illusion activity.

Check out this video for further details…

Love this art activity? Check out some more art activities for kids!

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Thanks to @missgirlingsclassroom for her classroom display of this awesome craft activity!


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