I have done the basic markers on the coffee filter and then spritzed it with water to make the colors run and it is beautiful. I have also taken each child's picture and mounted it to the circle, cut stems and leaves and attached it all together to make a flower for mother's day.
Alternative: While looking through a magazine, I found a craft you could order that looked like we could make it in the classroom. I tried it and it worked.
Use the same basic concept with the coffee filters except: When you finish the drying process, take the filter and stuff it with shredded newspaper, pulling the filter up around the paper. Secure the filter with yarn, staple, tape, whatever. Then allow the children to decorate with wiggle eyes, sequins, etc. These make the cutest little fish you've ever seen. Just be sure that when you do these you use the bigger coffee filters, not the little ones you get at the dollar tree. We used the little ones, but it made it harder to do, and with the big ones the kids can be more hands on and work on their fine motor skills.