Kwanzaa Candle Art

  • History & Social Studies
  • Young Adult
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 1-3

Celebrate the candle lighting activity of Kwanzaa and make your own art with Acrylic Paint and Glitter Glue!


  • EZ Grip Paint Brushes, 5 pack
  • Acrylic Paint Jars, 24 Assorted colors
  • 2 pieces White Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler


Step 1. Gather your supplies.



Step 2.


You will first need to make (2) candle templates. Use your pencil and ruler to create a 5 x 1 inch and 6 x 1 inch rectangle. Use your scissors to cut your templates.


Step 3.


Lay down your second piece of cardstock in the landscape position. This will be the base of your artwork. Trace your 6 x 1 inch template to draw your tallest candle in the middle of your paper.


Step 4.


Trace your 5 x 1 inch template 6 more times on the page, making 3 candles on each side of your center tall candle. The candles should be approximately a finger’s width apart.


Step 5.


Draw a flame on each candle. A flame looks like a tear drop shape. Once the flame is drawn, draw a circle around each flame. Tip: It is ok if the circles overlap or touch slightly!


Step 6.


Draw multiple straight lines that lead from the candles off the paper as shown. The lines can be random.


Step 7.


Trace your pencil lines with Glitter Glue. We used gold Glitter Glue for the flames, white Glitter Glue for the candle shapes and silver Glitter Glue for the lines above. Set paper aside to dry.


Step 8.


Once the glue dries, paint the candles red, black, and green Acrylic Paint, the colors often used for Kwanzaa.


Step 9.


Paint the background sections as shown, with blues and purples at the bottom and yellows and oranges at the top. Paint the flames gold. Once dry, hang on the fridge to celebrate for the seven day celebration of Kwanzaa!


Celebrate Kwanzaa by coloring your own kinara in red, black, and green candles — learn the special meaning behind each one!  

  • Seven Principles: Each of the seven candles on the kinara represent a principle! The red candles symbolize unity, self-determination, and collective work & responsibility. The black candle represents cooperative economics, and the green candles signify purpose, creativity, and faith! How do these principles fit into your students’ lives?
  • A Whole New Light: Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 by a community who wanted to celebrate their heritage — they were inspired by ancient African harvest festivals! Today, this holiday is carried from generation to generation — see how it all came to be in this video!

When your students finish coloring their kinaras, take a trip to Sesame Street and learn about the seven nights of the Kwanzaa! What kinds of celebrations do your students have for the holidays? Do they enjoy big family dinners, singing songs, and exchanging gifts?