France Unit Study: Marie Antoinette Cotton Ball Craft

I love activities that combine art and learning. My girls love to create art with different materials and as I was prepping for our France unit study, I thought an activity to study Marie Antoinette would be interesting.

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was married at the age of only 14 to Louis XVI. During her reign, she was accused of lavish spending and being out of touch. She is infamously remembered as replying to her subjects starving and not having bread with, “let them eat cake!” Her life was cut short when she was accused of high treason and executed in 1793.

My hubby and I visited Versailles in 2014, and toured the palace and grounds as well as Marie Antoinette’s personal residence and hamlet. It was amazing to walk back in time and imagine how life was only a couple hundred years ago.

I sketched a bust based on paintings of Marie Antoinette and printed it out on thick paper. You can download your copy HERE. I assembled markers (you could use paints, crayons, colored pencils), cotton balls, feathers, antique buttons or gems, beaded string and glue.

I first had my kiddos color their photos. The goal would be to color the face part, as the hair will eventually be covered with cotton balls, but they’re babies, so they colored wherever, haha.

I then had my girl’s cut out their busts. My oldest was able to do that without help, but my youngest needed a little assistance.

The next step was to glue cotton balls on the hair part. I let them spread glue in the open area and arrange the cotton balls.

My poor baby got cotton balls stuck to her little hands, haha.

Mama made a bust too!

We then added feathers to the cotton ball “hair” in royal plumes. I just used white feathers from the craft store, but you could used colored feathers too.

Next we added our vintage buttons to the base of the feathers and glued them on. We then added our gold beading to complete the royal headdress.

How fun are these? My girl’s had a blast making them and we talked about how people did their hair differently during different parts of history. We also compared our busts to paintings of Marie Antoinette. Learning through art is fun! 🙂

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