Positive Negative Symmetry Art

Enjoy this easy symmetry art activity that doubles as a math lesson!

MathArt Connection Lesson | Our Journey Westward

An art lesson that promotes mathematical thinking – oh joy.

With the main focus being on the art concept of positive and negative space, throwing symmetry into the mix gave a nice extra punch to the lesson.

Positive space is the area on a piece of art which the subject occupies, while negative space is the area around the subject.  You can see in this symmetrical example that the positive space is the pink on the left, but changes to yellow on the right.

The method is quite simple.

1. Find two contrasting colors of the same sized paper from your art supply stash.

2. Fold both papers in half to establish the line of symmetry.

3. Set one paper aside.

4. Cut the 2nd piece of paper in half on the fold you just made.  Discard one of the halves.

5. Draw 1/2 of a shape.  (Like you would do if you were making paper hearts and planned to open the paper up once the heart was cut out.  Except, in this case, you’ve already discarded the other half.)

6. Cut out your shape, keeping all pieces.

7. Place the positive space pieces on one side of the line of symmetry on the 2nd sheet of paper.  Place the negative space pieces on the other side.  Situate all the pieces so that they meet the line of symmetry perfectly and match up with one another.

8. Glue.

This symmetry art lesson was inspired by Artignition and is one of the many integrated math and art lessons I’ve pinned on my Living Math Pinterest Page!

(Sorry, not the best photo, but I wanted you to see the possibilities.)


  1. That’s so cool!!! I love the positive negative art!!

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