Gray Owls

Great Gray Owls are one of the tallest owls, and have broad wings and a long tail. They are big headed owls with a large facial disk. They dwarf most other owls in size but not by weight; their bulk is mostly made of feathers. Females are larger than males.

Great Gray Owls are silvery gray overall—patterned with fine white, gray, and brown streaking and faint barring. Their eyes shine through the fine gray-and-brown concentric circles of the facial disk. Two pale arcs form an “X” between the eyes. Across the neck sits a white “bow tie” marking with a black center. Their bill, if visible, is yellow. Males and females look similar.

Supplies Needed:


Create painted paper for Owl body. I use ROYLCO Floppy Foam Brushes to create painted paper and have been using these for several years. Children LOVE the process of creating painted paper.

Check out the video below for simple directions.

Use a 12″ x 12″ piece of gray construction paper as a background. Next, create a branch from a strip of black construction paper. Discuss cutting the strip in half the long way, creating 2 long thinner strips. Glue one down to form the main branch and then cut the other strip into smaller pieces to form small branching twigs.

Create the owl body from dry painted paper, cut out and glued down the owl on a branch. I have various templates of owls to get started. Children feel confident starting with a template and then jumping into the creating. It’s funny.  It builds their confidence, especially art the for a younger child.

Next, add big symmetrical circle eyes using white paper, I suggest circle templates or buttons to help create the white circles. After the circles are created, glue down all the shapes.

Add smaller symmetrical circles for the inner part of the eye to create the pupils. Use gray, white and black paints and apply the paint around the eyes and on the body. Some students added black construction paper beaks and claws while other painted on their beaks. Since Owls are nocturnal suggest painting a moon and stars in the background.

Have students add feathers to the owl’s body. We used these awesome color diffusing paper feathers from Roylco, that once painted with watercolors, creates a beautiful texture. Just glue them down on the edge of the owls. You can purchase the feathers HERE at Roylco.

Receive 10% off when you use the coupon code PAINTED PAPER.

OPTION:  Stamp various leaves on branches. I purchased fun leaf sponges from Roylco a few years ago. We used lots of different materials for this project. I loved seeing little artists making a connection to their owls, naming them and saying sweet things about the creatures they created. 


Have fun creating!!!


  • Marcie

    December 31, 2023 at 12:11 pm

    Love this project. I have a budget for art at my school and floppy foam brushes would be a bit expensive. Do you know if these could be handmade out of craft store supplies?

    1. Laura

      January 2, 2024 at 8:39 am

      I have used dish scrubbers from the kitchen dept at a dollar store. Check there. 🙂 Laura

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