National Gallery at Home: Shades on!

John Lavery's painting Her First Communion beside a collage version of the painting
John Lavery's Her First Communion; National Gallery of Ireland At Home collage versionCredit

Follow these simple steps to create your own textured collage inspired by John Lavery's painting Her First Communion.

You'll find all the materials and instructions listed below. Let's get started!

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Shades On!

National Gallery at Home


The activity


  • Scraps of paper gathered from printer paper, news papers, magazines etc.
  • Glue stick
  • Scissors 
  • Pencil
  • Bag from a box of cereal
  • Brown paper bag


  1. Gather all your materials together. 
  2. When you are finding scraps of paper to tear or cut up, look carefully at the painting and try to match the colours used, if you can! Use strips of blue and grey for the dress, for example, and yellow and brown for her sleeves. 
  3. Sort the scraps into different colours 
  4. Open out your brown paper bag, and cut it to roughly the size that you would like your picture to be.
  5. Draw an outline of Eileen on the brown paper (this can be a rough sketch).
  6. Now, using your glue, start to stick down your strips of paper on your drawing of Eileen to create your collage! 
  7. When you're happy with how she looks, cut along the seam of the cereal bag, and cut off the excess plastic - this will make the veil.
  8. Glue the veil.
  9. As a final, finishing touch, crumple up some white paper and glue it in place around her head to make her headpiece!

Share your artwork!

Would you like to see your artwork featured on the Gallery's website? Take a photo of your artwork and send it to us by email ([email protected]) or using this online form to upload your picture. We'll feature a selection of pictures in the Creative Challenge Gallery, so check back to see if yours is included!

Upload a picture of your artwork using this form


Inspired by ...

Portrait of a young girl wearing a white communion dress, headdress and veil.
John Lavery (1856-1941), Her First Communion (detail), 1901-1902. Photo © National Gallery of Ireland.Credit

This activity is inspired by this painting by Sir John Lavery. It is a full-length portrait of the artist's daughter Eileen, aged nine, in her Communion dress. Eileen's white dress was actually painted with lots of different colours - can you see which colours he used? 



Activity devised by Kate Drinane, National Gallery of Ireland.

About our Gallery at Home videos:

Inspired by works in our collection and exhibitions, our creative activities encourage families to work together to create their own artworks. They are specially produced videos for babies, older children and for those who require sensory input. You can find all the workshops in this series here. Enjoy!

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