Crafts Around the World Series Indigenous Art: Aboriginal Dot Painting

Craft Around the World Series Indigenous Art: Aboriginal Dot Painting


December 21, 2020 - Author:

Enjoy learning how to make simple crafts from seven continents: Africa, Antarctica, Europe, Asia, Australia, North America & South America.


Introduce youth to some simple cultural traditional crafts from around the world.  Journey around seven continents, learning how to make simple crafts and having fun creating.


  • Learn the cultural history and origins of the craft.
  • Find the country on a map and/or globe.
  • Develop fine motor skills in painting.
  • Increase cultural awareness and creativity.

 Education Standards:

  • Understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture.
  • Apply geometric methods to solve design problems.

Experiential Learning:

  • Create a design with dots of paint.
  • Use these phrases:

What happened? What’s important? Now What?


Australia/Oceania is the smallest of the world’s continents.  There are 14 countries within Oceania, and they range in size from the very large, such as Australia (which is both a continent and a country), to the very small, like Nauru.



Papunya Tula Art Dot paintings are now internationally recognized as unique and integral to Australian Aboriginal Art. The simple dot style as well as cross hatching maybe beautifully aesthetic to the eye but has a far more hidden meaning and deeper purpose; to disguise the sacred meanings behind the stories in the paintings.  Originally, colors were restricted to variations of red, yellow, black and white produced from ochre, charcoal and pipe clay. Later acrylic mediums were introduced allowing for more vivid colorful paintings.


Developed by MSU Extension Educator, Janis Brinn with History and instruction sheets from NAE4-HYDP Communication & Expressive Arts Work Group contact


30-45 minutes or multiple days depending upon the interest to learn more.


  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint trays
  • Cups for water
  • Wipes or paper towel for potential messes
  • Watercolor paper, cardstock, canvas, wood or cardboard for surface to paint
  • Dot painting tools – paintbrushes, dowels of various sizes, chop sticks, circle sponge tools, etc. anything for making the dots.
  • Pencils
  • Plastic table cover for potential messes
  • Optional: Samples and instructions



  • Find a pattern or draw your own on the surface to be painted upon.
  • Be inspired by the Aboriginal dot painting culture using the sacred colors of Black, Red, Yellow and White while painting your design.
  • Do some cultural research– many Aboriginal dot paintings use animals, mountains, rivers and other components of nature, research the significance of each. 
  • Try different types of dot size tools.
  • Try layering techniques by layering colors over other colors.
  • Be encouraged by the Dot Painting story designs inspired by nature or creation. Choose any theme that motivates you.
  • Practice on a piece of scrap paper making dots dipped in paint with your chosen dot painting tools.
  • Aboriginal dot paintings are a combination of brush strokes and various sizes of dots.
  • After you are satisfied with practicing its time to enjoy creating your dot painting.


  • What surprised you and why?
  • When were you the most creative, and why do you think that is?
  • What made you curious today? 
  • What can you do with what you learned today?


Tags: 4-h, 4-h global & cultural education, 4-h visual arts, homeschool 3-5 arts, homeschool 3-5 global, homeschool 3-5 social studies, homeschool 6-8 arts, homeschool 6-8 global, homeschool 6-8 social studies, homeschool 6-8 stem, homeschool 9-12 arts, homeschool 9-12 global, homeschool 9-12 social studies, homeschool 9-12 stem, msu extension, parent 6-8, parents 3-5 arts, parents 3-5 global, parents 3-5 stem, parents 6-8 arts, parents 6-8 global, parents 6-8 social studies, parents 6-8 stem, parents 9-12 arts, parents 9-12 global, parents 9-12 social studies, parents 9-12 stem, teachers 3-5 global, teachers 3-5 social studies, teachers k-2 social studies

Related Topic Areas

4-H Global & Cultural Education, 4-H Visual Arts


Janis Brinn

Janis Brinn

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