Little New-Yorkers Step by Step: The Little Red Lighthouse


This is the first of a series of posts that will allow you to recreate projects made at Little New-Yorkers, the Museum’s interactive story-time program for children ages 3-5. Every week, we read a different New York-themed story and then make an artwork inspired by the story. The program takes place every Tuesday and Friday at 3:30.

The week’s step by step project is a lighthouse landscape scene for the book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.

This project recreates a scene from the classic children’s book. It depicts the Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse underneath the massive George Washington Bridge. While the real lighthouse flashes light no more, the image depicts the lighthouse shining rays of light to warn boats of the approaching rocky shoreline.

The book’s cover

Pete Jeliife, Little Red Lighthouse, November 23 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution

This is the lighthouse today.

Materials (The dimensions listed are what we had at the museum. Feel free to experiment with different sizes!):

-grey  paper (9.5 X 13”)

-blue tissue paper (9.5X10.5”)

-black paper rectangle (10X3”)

-red paper rectangle (3X5”)

-black paper pentagon (base is 2”)

-4 long and skinny yellow and orange paper triangles (5-6” long)

-child safety scissors

-glue stick

-crayons or colored pencils (optional)


1)      With your scissors, cut out all of the shapes listed above. Make sure a grown-up helps with this first part! When you’re done cutting out your shapes, everything should look like this:

2)      Use your glue stick to glue your tissue paper onto the top part of the grey paper. The tissue paper is meant to look like the water of the Hudson River and the sky. You may spread the glue either on the grey paper where the tissue will be or onto the tissue paper itself. I did it the second way, like this:

After you stick the tissue paper on, it should look like this:

3)      Next, glue the black rectangle on. This part is meant to look like the giant George Washington Bridge above the lighthouse.  It should look something like this:


4)      Now it’s time to start making the lighthouse. The red rectangle will be the lighthouse’s body. Glue this on first.

5)      Now, glue the black pentagon to sit atop the lighthouse. It’ll look like this:

6)      The last part is gluing on the yellow and orange triangles. These are the rays of light the lighthouse flashes out to warn ships that they are close to land. I glued the pointy part of the triangle close to the top of the lighthouse so it looks like light spreading out into the sky.  Glue them on like this:

7)      If you have glued all the triangles on and are feeling extra artistic, you may use crayons or colored pencils to add more into the picture. Do you want people in your scene? Trees? Boats? Use your imagination and have fun!  (This artist chose not to add more.)

8)      You’re all done with your own little red lighthouse! Great work, artist!


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