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Make a DIY Crown Inspired by Basquiat

Basquiat shook up the art world with his bold style — and the crown symbol was one of his signature flourishes. Introduce kids to Basquiat's life and career with this easy crown craft!

Nathalie Regnault


Jean-Michel Basquiat was a visual artist whose unique style brought together subway-wall graffiti and world renowned art galleries. The New York City streets were his canvas!

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Basquiat was the son of Puerto Rican and Haitian immigrants and was fluent in English, French, and Spanish. His parents encouraged his creativity, and Basquiat started painting as a young kid in the 1970s. 

He had no formal training, but the way he used color, words, and bold black lines was like nothing art collectors had ever seen before. Basquiat was inspired by cartoons and children’s drawings, and he often used simple forms to make powerful statements about society, racism, and politics. His paintings were a mix of words, color, and symbols he would repeat in many of his works. Jean-Michel Basquiat died young, but will always be remembered for his fearless style, originality, and brilliance.

The crown was one of Basquiat's favorite symbols. It’s thought to have many meanings, like authority, power, ambition, and having respect for oneself as an artist. 

And if you or your child make art, then guess what? You’re artists! Basquiat loved kids' artwork, so honor your family's creativity with a crown fit for artistic royalty.


What You'll Need:

  • Thick cardstock paper

  • Scissors

  • Markers or paint and paint brush

  • Two ribbon pieces, about 15 inches long each

  • Stapler with staples

How to Make It:

  1. 1.

    Use scissors to cut the cardstock into a crown — it doesn't have to be perfect, and in fact it's even better if it looks original and a bit messy! Make sure the crown you cut is big enough to fit around your child's head. Cut two small holes in the cardstock on both ends.

  2. 2.

    Have kids paint or color a bold, bright, abstract design on their crowns. Encourage them not to worry about making it look perfect — the idea is to tap into colors and shapes to express their feelings and creativity. Then let it dry.

  3. 3.

    Insert the ends of the two ribbons into the holes and secure them with a knot.

  4. 4.

    Use staples to secure the ends of the cardstock and form the crown.

  5. 5.

    Wear that crown with pride as the next international art icon!

Download an Activity Sheet All About Jean-Michel Basquiat

Learn more about this fearless Black artist with trivia and activities.

Learn More About Black Artists, Inventors, Writers, and Leaders Who Changed the World


Heeral Chibber/CAMP