Lesson Plans by Discipline - Painting


My Daruma
click to collapse

Grades K – 4

 

Grade Level

NEW! Matisse Prints du Soleil

Henri Matisse survived cancer to find a renewed energy and expressionism in artworks he called “scissor paintings.” Inspired by his cut-paper shapes, students can use sunlight or an artificial source to create color-saturated prints on fabric or paper.

K – 12
Special Education

NEW! “Selfies” (exactly where I want to be)

Creating self portraits is a snap with this easy technique! Facial proportions and features are traced onto clear film, then layered over a background of a student’s own choosing — a location where she or he would most like to take a “selfie.”

K – 8

NEW! Beastly Bobblehead

Create a whimsical patterned Bobble Head! The “body” is a clay slab that students texturize by pressing interesting pasta shapes into it. Top with a pinch-pot head — and learn a lesson in balance.

3 – 12

NEW! Black Velvet Mystery Painting

Applying oil pastels to black rayon fabric makes a striking composition, but when students add UV paint and a black light, the finished paintings really glow.

K – 12

NEW! Shibori Kimono

Experiment with Japanese paper-dyeing techniques using traditional rice papers, then share papers to create simple origami kimonos. The result is a stunning combination of art and culture.

3 – 12

NEW! Shoe Shrine

Make a sculptural shrine from an outgrown or second-hand shoe! Primed with modeling paste, covered with ornate embellishments, and then aligned vertically, an everyday shoe can become a dramatic backdrop for relics that represent a student’s favorite thing, place, idea, or event.

3 – 12

NEW! Creative Quill Pens

For over 1000 years, the quill was the principle writing tool in the Western world. Imagine the stories, poems and sketches that can be made with a hybrid quill and dip pen designed to be a work of art in itself!

3 – 12

Artist’s Challenge Coins (ACC’s)

Challenge Coins are specially designed and minted for service personnel to recognize an achievement, enhance morale, or to signify membership in (or experience on) a particular mission. Create a personal Artist's Challenge Coin (ACC) by making a small print, collage, stamp, or photo appliqué one side of a coin-shaped wooden disk, and a challenge or message on the reverse.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Block-Print Koinobori

In Japan, Children's Day on May 5th is heralded by the appearance of flying fish: carp-shaped windsocks known as “Koinobori”. In this lesson, students design a “scale”-shaped block from soft block printing material and apply it repetitively to outdoor-safe fabric that has been cut in the shape of a fish. Add details like eyes, fins, and a tail using metallic and sparkle paint, and the Koinobori is ready to hang and “swim” through the breeze!

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Butterfield Horse

Construct a high-relief horse using Activa Fast Mache and found objects. Combine a painted and collaged background with a horse made of quick mache, sticks, pine needles, leaves, and shredded papers in the style of Debra Butterfield.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Convertible “Canned” Sculpture

Composition — the way the elements of a piece of art are arranged and relate to each other — can be difficult to grasp. This lesson plan presents an easy, forgiving way to see the effects of composition while using the dimensional works of Frank Stella as an example. The sculpture is assembled with magnets on a metal can so it can be taken apart and rearranged to see how the composition is affected — what works and what doesn’t.

3 – 12

Flower Garden Tiles

Easily make flower tiles by carving clay, filling with plaster, and finishing with liquid watercolors.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Dancing Houses

Part cartoonist and part Picasso, the art of Brooklyn-born James Rizzi is highly recognizable. His playful, brilliant images created a style he described as “Urban Primitive.” Students will enjoy making a classroom cityscape of fun and fabulous construction paper buildings. A simple wire armature beneath allows the structure to be playfully positioned -— almost as if it were dancing. This project provides a lesson in movement as design principle.

Watch the Video

K – 9

Easy-Outline Botanical Illustration Prints

Although photography and modern printing processes have replaced the need for cataloguing plant life with detailed drawn and painted illustrations, botanical illustration is still a beloved art. To make an accurate rendering of a plant, students can create an impression in plaster, then trace the shape and details with colored pencil, ink, or watercolor. Mixing and shading for color accuracy and identifying the plant are some of the skills that will be learned in this exercise.

Watch the Video

K – 12

My Daruma

A traditional Japanese weighted toy, Daruma always return to an upright position. This project reveals how to weight the bottom of a plastic egg and cover with instant maché to make these symbols of success, determination, and overcoming adversity.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Sound Sculpture Inspired by Jean Tinguely

Swiss artist Jean Tinguely created whimsical machine-like contraptions of found metal parts, known as “metamechanics”. In this lesson plan, students create a kinetic sculpture with repurposed metal hardware, found objects, and wire placed so that they deliberately move against one another. Much like Tinguely’s machines, some of the noises may be pleasant — others may not— but each will have a very unique metallic, mechanical “voice.”

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Color Field Sketchbook

Stain painting was a successful technique employed by Color Field artists Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. They poured diluted acrylic color over large canvases to form “veils” of brilliant color. In this lesson, students will first learn a simple process for creating their own drawing pad, then stain and design a canvas cover for it.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Recycled Jellies

Learn the anatomy of one of nature’s most fascinating creatures and make a model from some of the very materials that threaten their habitat — plastic bags and fast food containers. These colorful, sparkling jellies are even water-resistant!

Watch the Video

K – 5

Sumi-e Resist Painting

NOTE! The liquid wax used in this lesson plan is now tinted green. Artwork produced using this process will not look like the examples shown. Practice the ancient art of sumi-e painting with a modern twist! Paint with diluted wax resist, then reveal your masterpiece by applying black sumi-e ink over the top. The addition of watercolor gives the painting even more interest.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Have a Ball! with distorted self-portraits

Observing and reproducing the distortion caused by a concave reflection is the topic of this lesson plan, as students make self-portraits inspired by M.C. Escher's “Hand with Reflecting Globe.” The canvas is a vinyl bouncing ball. Elementary ages can be challenged to create a continuous painting — with no beginning or end — then “Have a Ball!” playing with their own artwork.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Sole Pendants

In this project, students explore the beauty of texture found in a surprising place... on the soles of their shoes! Texture is all around us, and oftentimes exists right under our noses.

Watch the Video

K – 3

Tibetan Wishing Banner

Tibetan wish or prayer flags traditionally are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Tibetans do not believe that the flags carry prayers to the gods, but rather that their messages and wishes will be blown by the wind to spread goodwill and compassion into all-pervading space. In this project, students will use a liquid wax resist that will be painted onto silk rectangles and need not be removed. Vibrant color and a final gold embellishment finish the piece.

2 – 12

WonderFoam Collagraph Prints

WonderFoam is familiar to almost everyone who has ever presented a craft project to children — but, if you'd like to move beyond the "foamies" to a real art technique, incorporate WonderFoam into printmaking! “Collagraph” is a process in which materials are arranged collage-style on a rigid surface, coated with tempera paint and then transferred to paper. Students learn to make repeating patterns with shapes.

K – 6
Special Education

Impressionistic Marker Painting

You won't believe what these markers can do! The juicy, alcohol-based ink reacts with itself or with hand-sanitizer to make painterly drawings on clear plastic film.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Acrylic “Skins”

This project utilizes acrylic paint, but in a totally unique way...dried! Acrylic paint "skins" are easily created just by brushing paint on a non-stick palette or baker's parchment and letting it dry. You can use this plastic, flexible paint in a number of ways to create mosaics, mixed media collage, stained glass-like effects, jewelry, book covers and more!

Watch the Video

K – 12

Monotype Hoop-La

Functioning as both a painting and a print, a Monotype is unique and irreproducible. The “hoop-la” over Monotype can be experienced in your classroom with this simplified, safely water-based process using acrylic paint, printing foam and fabric. The technique builds the print a layer at a time and tools are used to remove or “subtract” color between layers. Stretch the finished print ona gold macramé ring for an instant frame.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Fauvism is for the Birds!

Les Fauves (translation: “The Wild Beasts”) were a group of artists whose work was characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors. The colors the Fauves used are also favored by wild birds. Hummingbirds like red, orange and pink. Songbirds prefer colors that mimic trees and bushes. To see which species of birds are attracted to these “beastly” colors, students create a painted, hanging birdfeeder from a stretched canvas or “upcycled” wooden frame.

K – 12
Special Education

Illuminated Initials

The practice of illumination — decoration of pages with ornate lettering, luminous color and precious metals, was developed during the middle ages when literacy was rare and books were even more so. With this process, students design one of their own initials on reflective board and add transparent color — it appears to glow with reflective light from within.

3 – 8

Egg-stra Easy Watercolor “Crunch”

Traditionally, eggshell mosaics are made by first dying then positioning each shard individually — a time-consuming and delicate process. This project introduces a new way to crush and color eggshells, creating intricate veining and texture all at once without pre-dying or arranging each fragment. The simple glue-and-paint process and satisfying “crunch!” of breaking eggshells will delight children of all ages and skill levels.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Peace Windows: in the style of Marc Chagall’s stained glass

Late in his career, artist Marc Chagall produced a number of paintings in glass with colorful, dream-like images symbolizing peace, love, tolerance and faith. In reality, Marc Chagall’s life was filled with tragic events and the world he lived in was anything but peaceful. In light of this fact, students can begin to understand an artist’s ability to share healing, inspiration and encouragement, using “peace” as a theme.

Watch the Video

K – 8
Special Education

“Print & Go” T-Shirts

Printing creative T-shirts and fabrics doesn’t always require stencils and screens — students can easily design their own giant stamps and paint them any way they want. Even if each shirt displays the same message, each will be a completely unique work of art! This process is perfect for group settings — schools, camps, daycare centers, clubs, family reunions and special events — but it is also ideal for countless home decorating and craft projects.

K – 8
Special Education

Stencil a Painting

Stencils and repeated patterns have been used in painting as long ago as 9,000 years, when early humans placed their hands against cave walls and outlined them in charcoal or paint. In this lesson, even a stencil made of basic shapes can be effective. Each stencil can be used repeatedly, and by changing oil pastel color, overlapping images, or using only a part of an image, the result is a cohesive composition that has depth and color fusion.

4 – 12

Watercolor Texture Casts

Molding, casting, sculpting, painting and monoprinting — this simple project pulls all of these together into one low-relief sculpture that demonstrates the elements of texture and color. Texture is defined in clay by pressing objects in or sculpting with tools. Next, the clay is painted with watercolor and covered with papier mâché, which lifts the color as it dries, absorbing it directly into the casting.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Itajime Decorative Paper

Itajime Shibori is a technique for folding, clamping and dyeing paper or fabric resulting in beautiful designs – very similar to tie-dye. The folds and clamps keep the dye or ink from penetrating fully in certain areas making patterns and giving a dimensional appearance on a flat surface. This project is a great way to teach students the scientific concept of diffusion and color mixing.

3 – 12

Festival Flowers

The easiest way to make colorful, three-dimensional paper flowers! Even young children will enjoy painting carnation-like blooms and creating full bouquets for Mother’s Day gifts, May Day celebrations, a Cinco de Mayo fiesta or a Hawaiian Luau. Each flower costs just pennies to make. Because the watercolors blend together and form new hues, painting each bloom is a good way to illustrate color mixing.

K – 8

No-Fire Nouveau Tiles

Beginning in the early 1880s, the “Art Nouveau” style flourished in all forms of art. Beautiful pottery was mass-produced during this era, especially in the form of decorative tiles. Tube lining — a technique in which a design outline was created first and then filled in with color — is the definitive look of Art Nouveau. If kiln-glazed ceramics are not an option for your environment, this project is a way to produce glossy, hand-painted tiles that look like the real thing.

Watch the Video

K – 8
10 – 12
Special Education

Painted “Silk” Shapes

The production and commerce of decorated silk fabrics began thousands of years ago in China. This project introduces fine-mesh polyester as a silk-like fabric for painting. Form a wire shape as a support and paint with transparent liquid acrylic color. Finished pieces are flexible and may be heat-set for outdoor display.

3 – 12

Altered Penny Carpet

In the 1800s, many homes were decorated with “Penny Carpets”, made from miss-matched fabric cut into circles by tracing around a penny. Patches were then layered and stitched together to make a large piece. Students create a Penny Carpet with fabric that they design themselves using monoprinting techniques and fabric paint. Each section is sewed to felt swatches, then joined to make a larger piece of art.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Art 2 Infinity: Two projects incorporating Mirror Board

Artists through the ages have used reflective surfaces to define and alter perspective, create symmetry and "bend" reality. Mirrors have been a tool for creating art, the subject matter and the art itself. Here are two project ideas for using metallic film to capture light and create intriguing illusions: “Kaleidoscope Paintings” and “Infinity Boxes”.

K – 12

EZ Grout Mosaics

Students of all ages can mimic mosaic artisans throughout history with these easy tile-making and “grouting” techniques. Clay tiles are glued to a firm backboard and grouted with acrylic paint. This project is safe and simple enough for younger students and those with special needs.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Painted Story Quilt

Quilt-making spans multiple centuries and cultures. It can teach math skills, record history, recycle cast-off materials and encourage cooperative efforts within a group...just for a few ideas! This lesson looks at the story quilts of Faith Ringgold. She surrounds her narrative paintings with a quilted border, creating stories in color, texture, and pattern. Students select their own story to illustrate, then paint fabric using watersoluble pastels and watercolor.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

"Diaper Wipe" Diffusion

This project demonstrates the physical process of osmosis. Water-based markers are diluted by filtering water through an ordinary wet wipe. The flow of the color is slowed and channeled by the presence of oil and alchohol in the wipe, creating random and interesting tie-dye-type patterns. Educational...and really fun to watch!

K – 5
Special Education

Persian and Navajo Rug Bookmarks

This lesson plan explains two diverse and beautiful style of textiles: Persian carpets and Navajo rugs. Similar colors and geometric shapes are two common elements of both.

4 – 8

Burlap Pastel Painting

This easily constructed project offers an exploration of texture, line and color – key elements of design. Younger children may take a more abstract approach with emphasis on texture and color. Older students will find the burlap easy to pull and the weave easy to manipulate, creating holes and lines. Subject matter such as buildings, landscapes and abstract designs are adaptable to varying grade levels.

K – 6

Color Twist Game

This game puts a new "twist" on an old favorite, and provides an enjoyable way for students to learn color-mixing.

K – 4

Paper Clay Leaves

Learn leaf anatomy by recreating the patterns and structure of the original. Because the clay is paper-based, it accepts watercolors, which may be reworked and blended on the surface. Watercolors enhance the veining in the leaves, pulling out their natural characteristics.

K – 12

Reverse Pastel Painting

Where standard painting builds an image from the background forward, a reverse painting is created in a backward fashion — foreground first — with each phase applied so the background finishes the painting. A backing of metallic foil reflects light through the pastel in the same manner as gilding.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Insoluble Paintings

Based on the scientific concepts of insolubility and density, this technique seals water-based paint and mineral oil inside a laminating pouch. The different densities cause the liquids to repel one another in an ever-changing and interactive piece that continually flows and responds to touch.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Filipino Parol

In the Philippines, during the Festival of Lights, parol (puh-roll), or star-shaped lanterns, symbolize the victory of light over darkness as well as hope and goodwill. These simple parol are created with natural reed, translucent rice paper and liquid watercolor. Displayed in a window or hanging from a light fixture, they make colorful, festive decorations for any season.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Simple Perspective with the Artist’s Grid Canvas

For a first lesson in one-point linear perspective, a grid is a perfect tool for beginning painters. It eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try.

4 – 12

Textile Painting with Mayco Colors

"Students use unconventional “tools” such as lace and yarn to create new textures and designs."

2 – 8

Artist’s Canvas Shoes

Students will research the painting style of a famous artist of their choice, then design a pair of painted shoes reminiscent of that artist’s design sense and choices of subjects and colors.

K – 6

Huichol Clay Painting

This lesson plan uses intensely colorful, easy-to-use Model Magic air-dry clay in place of yarn to create paintings similar to the art of the Huichol tribe. Students create “strings” of clay and press them together on a rigid surface. to create symbolic images and designs.

3 – 8

On a Starry Night...

Art history is an excellent discipline to accompany this lesson plan, as students become familiar with masterpieces by various artists. Students will choose an artwork that inspires them from a specifictime, genre or culture, and paint their own version on a cardboard frame.

3 – 8

Stained Glass Flowers

Wonderful, colorful flowers are created with a transparent, flexible paint called “Arti’Stick”. To link with botanical studies, have students study the anatomy of a flower, create and identify its parts.

3 – 8

Three Prisms

Math and science create visual forms and establish structure.“Three Prisms” uses equilateral triangles and parallelograms. The shapes are combined and repeated for a sculpture that makes additional equilateral triangles.

K – 8

Towers and Turrets

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about the concept of architecture, particularly towers and turrets.Using watercolor painting techniques and tracing, cutting, and gluing skills,students create lines, patterns and textures while understanding the concept of near being larger, far being smaller.

3 – 6

Transparent Banner Paintings

Painting on a transparent medium not only allows the interaction of light within the painted surface, it also projects colorful cast light and shadow onto walls, floors and surrounding objects.

3 – 12

Water-Based Monotype

Students will learn basic drawing and painting skills through monotype using Akua inks and a variety of brushes, sponges or even fingers to apply and modify their drawings — it’s safe and easy to clean up.

3 – 8

Gouache and Wood-Burned Designs

Discover wood burning craft techniques and the traditional paint medium of gouache.

3 – 12

Bling Bling Mosaics

The new metallic paints are beautiful. Mix with different types of paints and "Glitter It" mediums to make paper tiles.

K – 6

Braille Paintings

Explore the beauty of Braille

3 – 8

Easy Fabric Batik with Glue

Explore the beauty of fabric batik without the danger of hot wax or dyes. Simply trace a design onto muslin with washable glue and add brilliant color.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Mean Green

In painting, color can be used to describe emotions, feelings and ideas. Students select a color and paint a monochromatic theme of their choosing.

K – 12

Painted Locket

Over the centuries and across many cultures, lockets have been worn as tiny, portable treasure chests. Students paint the front of a mini canvas and use the back to display a small photo or something with meaning and value.

K – 12
Special Education

Pastel Fresco Secco

"Secco" is the term used for applying color to dry plaster, the manner Da Vinci used in his famed "The Last Supper." Using Plaster of Paris, students create drawings then purposefully add stress fractures.

Watch the Video

1 – 12

Ribbon Weave

"Paper, paint and ribbon are used to develop a pattern with contrasting textures and colors."

K – 6

Simple Perspective

"A beginning lesson in one-point linear perspective. Grid Canvas eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try."

4 – 12

Arti'Stick Mobile

Students will study works of stained glass as a one dimensional art form and adapt what they learn to a three dimensional sculpture — a brilliantly-colored transparent mobile.

2 – 6

A.T.C. Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards are a fascinating pastime for a great number of professional artists. The cards are always 2½" × 3½", a size that fits into standard baseball card storage sleeves

K – 7
Special Education

Bones

A full skeleton illustrates movement during a wide range of activities. The addition of a background turns this project into a more complete artwork.

3 – 6

Ceramic Tile Painting

Oven baked water-based acrylic paint on glazed tile looks like kiln fired glazed tile. The paint is available in a wide range of colors and can be layered and blended to make other colors.

K – 12

Classroom Chihuly

Give students an opportunity to enjoy creating random organic forms with color and transparency similar to actual glass.

Watch the Video

2 – 12

Crazy Quilt Texture Boards

Students will enjoy exploring the wide variety of textures they can create with acrylic modeling paste on a rigid surface.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Drawing with Thread

"Drawing with Thread" is an interpretation of work by Wassily Kandinski in 1913. Kandinski is called the first totally abstract artist. Free flowing water color and line suggests but does not define images.

K – 8

Buffalo Hides

The Native American tribes of the plains tanned and prepared buffalo hides, then painted them with symbols and story-telling pictures that told their tribal history and honored the spirits.

K – 4

Aboriginal Hand Prints

The stenciled hand print and aboriginal style drawings help children to relate to the man from the Australian Aboriginal Culture, while helping them to understand the use of line in art.

K – 4

click to collapse

Grades 5 – 8

 

Grade Level

NEW! Matisse Prints du Soleil

Henri Matisse survived cancer to find a renewed energy and expressionism in artworks he called “scissor paintings.” Inspired by his cut-paper shapes, students can use sunlight or an artificial source to create color-saturated prints on fabric or paper.

K – 12
Special Education

NEW! “Selfies” (exactly where I want to be)

Creating self portraits is a snap with this easy technique! Facial proportions and features are traced onto clear film, then layered over a background of a student’s own choosing — a location where she or he would most like to take a “selfie.”

K – 8

NEW! Beastly Bobblehead

Create a whimsical patterned Bobble Head! The “body” is a clay slab that students texturize by pressing interesting pasta shapes into it. Top with a pinch-pot head — and learn a lesson in balance.

3 – 12

NEW! Black Velvet Mystery Painting

Applying oil pastels to black rayon fabric makes a striking composition, but when students add UV paint and a black light, the finished paintings really glow.

K – 12

NEW! Shibori Kimono

Experiment with Japanese paper-dyeing techniques using traditional rice papers, then share papers to create simple origami kimonos. The result is a stunning combination of art and culture.

3 – 12

NEW! Shoe Shrine

Make a sculptural shrine from an outgrown or second-hand shoe! Primed with modeling paste, covered with ornate embellishments, and then aligned vertically, an everyday shoe can become a dramatic backdrop for relics that represent a student’s favorite thing, place, idea, or event.

3 – 12

NEW! Creative Quill Pens

For over 1000 years, the quill was the principle writing tool in the Western world. Imagine the stories, poems and sketches that can be made with a hybrid quill and dip pen designed to be a work of art in itself!

3 – 12

Artist’s Challenge Coins (ACC’s)

Challenge Coins are specially designed and minted for service personnel to recognize an achievement, enhance morale, or to signify membership in (or experience on) a particular mission. Create a personal Artist's Challenge Coin (ACC) by making a small print, collage, stamp, or photo appliqué one side of a coin-shaped wooden disk, and a challenge or message on the reverse.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Block-Print Koinobori

In Japan, Children's Day on May 5th is heralded by the appearance of flying fish: carp-shaped windsocks known as “Koinobori”. In this lesson, students design a “scale”-shaped block from soft block printing material and apply it repetitively to outdoor-safe fabric that has been cut in the shape of a fish. Add details like eyes, fins, and a tail using metallic and sparkle paint, and the Koinobori is ready to hang and “swim” through the breeze!

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Butterfield Horse

Construct a high-relief horse using Activa Fast Mache and found objects. Combine a painted and collaged background with a horse made of quick mache, sticks, pine needles, leaves, and shredded papers in the style of Debra Butterfield.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Convertible “Canned” Sculpture

Composition — the way the elements of a piece of art are arranged and relate to each other — can be difficult to grasp. This lesson plan presents an easy, forgiving way to see the effects of composition while using the dimensional works of Frank Stella as an example. The sculpture is assembled with magnets on a metal can so it can be taken apart and rearranged to see how the composition is affected — what works and what doesn’t.

3 – 12

Flower Garden Tiles

Easily make flower tiles by carving clay, filling with plaster, and finishing with liquid watercolors.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Dancing Houses

Part cartoonist and part Picasso, the art of Brooklyn-born James Rizzi is highly recognizable. His playful, brilliant images created a style he described as “Urban Primitive.” Students will enjoy making a classroom cityscape of fun and fabulous construction paper buildings. A simple wire armature beneath allows the structure to be playfully positioned -— almost as if it were dancing. This project provides a lesson in movement as design principle.

Watch the Video

K – 9

Easy-Outline Botanical Illustration Prints

Although photography and modern printing processes have replaced the need for cataloguing plant life with detailed drawn and painted illustrations, botanical illustration is still a beloved art. To make an accurate rendering of a plant, students can create an impression in plaster, then trace the shape and details with colored pencil, ink, or watercolor. Mixing and shading for color accuracy and identifying the plant are some of the skills that will be learned in this exercise.

Watch the Video

K – 12

My Daruma

A traditional Japanese weighted toy, Daruma always return to an upright position. This project reveals how to weight the bottom of a plastic egg and cover with instant maché to make these symbols of success, determination, and overcoming adversity.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Sound Sculpture Inspired by Jean Tinguely

Swiss artist Jean Tinguely created whimsical machine-like contraptions of found metal parts, known as “metamechanics”. In this lesson plan, students create a kinetic sculpture with repurposed metal hardware, found objects, and wire placed so that they deliberately move against one another. Much like Tinguely’s machines, some of the noises may be pleasant — others may not— but each will have a very unique metallic, mechanical “voice.”

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Color Field Sketchbook

Stain painting was a successful technique employed by Color Field artists Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. They poured diluted acrylic color over large canvases to form “veils” of brilliant color. In this lesson, students will first learn a simple process for creating their own drawing pad, then stain and design a canvas cover for it.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Recycled Jellies

Learn the anatomy of one of nature’s most fascinating creatures and make a model from some of the very materials that threaten their habitat — plastic bags and fast food containers. These colorful, sparkling jellies are even water-resistant!

Watch the Video

K – 5

Sumi-e Resist Painting

NOTE! The liquid wax used in this lesson plan is now tinted green. Artwork produced using this process will not look like the examples shown. Practice the ancient art of sumi-e painting with a modern twist! Paint with diluted wax resist, then reveal your masterpiece by applying black sumi-e ink over the top. The addition of watercolor gives the painting even more interest.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Have a Ball! with distorted self-portraits

Observing and reproducing the distortion caused by a concave reflection is the topic of this lesson plan, as students make self-portraits inspired by M.C. Escher's “Hand with Reflecting Globe.” The canvas is a vinyl bouncing ball. Elementary ages can be challenged to create a continuous painting — with no beginning or end — then “Have a Ball!” playing with their own artwork.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Tibetan Wishing Banner

Tibetan wish or prayer flags traditionally are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Tibetans do not believe that the flags carry prayers to the gods, but rather that their messages and wishes will be blown by the wind to spread goodwill and compassion into all-pervading space. In this project, students will use a liquid wax resist that will be painted onto silk rectangles and need not be removed. Vibrant color and a final gold embellishment finish the piece.

2 – 12

WonderFoam Collagraph Prints

WonderFoam is familiar to almost everyone who has ever presented a craft project to children — but, if you'd like to move beyond the "foamies" to a real art technique, incorporate WonderFoam into printmaking! “Collagraph” is a process in which materials are arranged collage-style on a rigid surface, coated with tempera paint and then transferred to paper. Students learn to make repeating patterns with shapes.

K – 6
Special Education

Impressionistic Marker Painting

You won't believe what these markers can do! The juicy, alcohol-based ink reacts with itself or with hand-sanitizer to make painterly drawings on clear plastic film.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Acrylic “Skins”

This project utilizes acrylic paint, but in a totally unique way...dried! Acrylic paint "skins" are easily created just by brushing paint on a non-stick palette or baker's parchment and letting it dry. You can use this plastic, flexible paint in a number of ways to create mosaics, mixed media collage, stained glass-like effects, jewelry, book covers and more!

Watch the Video

K – 12

Embossed Metal Encaustics

Considered a lost art for many centuries, encaustic painting is enjoying a resurgence because of modern techniques, tools and materials. While encaustic painting requires moving molten wax from a heating element to a surface, the technique used in this lesson plan creates textured “reservoirs” in metal foil that channel and cradle sprinkled wax chips as they melt. Interesting dimensions and contrasts between the metal and translucent wax occur when cooled.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

Monotype Hoop-La

Functioning as both a painting and a print, a Monotype is unique and irreproducible. The “hoop-la” over Monotype can be experienced in your classroom with this simplified, safely water-based process using acrylic paint, printing foam and fabric. The technique builds the print a layer at a time and tools are used to remove or “subtract” color between layers. Stretch the finished print ona gold macramé ring for an instant frame.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Fauvism is for the Birds!

Les Fauves (translation: “The Wild Beasts”) were a group of artists whose work was characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors. The colors the Fauves used are also favored by wild birds. Hummingbirds like red, orange and pink. Songbirds prefer colors that mimic trees and bushes. To see which species of birds are attracted to these “beastly” colors, students create a painted, hanging birdfeeder from a stretched canvas or “upcycled” wooden frame.

K – 12
Special Education

Illuminated Initials

The practice of illumination — decoration of pages with ornate lettering, luminous color and precious metals, was developed during the middle ages when literacy was rare and books were even more so. With this process, students design one of their own initials on reflective board and add transparent color — it appears to glow with reflective light from within.

3 – 8

Egg-stra Easy Watercolor “Crunch”

Traditionally, eggshell mosaics are made by first dying then positioning each shard individually — a time-consuming and delicate process. This project introduces a new way to crush and color eggshells, creating intricate veining and texture all at once without pre-dying or arranging each fragment. The simple glue-and-paint process and satisfying “crunch!” of breaking eggshells will delight children of all ages and skill levels.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Peace Windows: in the style of Marc Chagall’s stained glass

Late in his career, artist Marc Chagall produced a number of paintings in glass with colorful, dream-like images symbolizing peace, love, tolerance and faith. In reality, Marc Chagall’s life was filled with tragic events and the world he lived in was anything but peaceful. In light of this fact, students can begin to understand an artist’s ability to share healing, inspiration and encouragement, using “peace” as a theme.

Watch the Video

K – 8
Special Education

“Print & Go” T-Shirts

Printing creative T-shirts and fabrics doesn’t always require stencils and screens — students can easily design their own giant stamps and paint them any way they want. Even if each shirt displays the same message, each will be a completely unique work of art! This process is perfect for group settings — schools, camps, daycare centers, clubs, family reunions and special events — but it is also ideal for countless home decorating and craft projects.

K – 8
Special Education

Stencil a Painting

Stencils and repeated patterns have been used in painting as long ago as 9,000 years, when early humans placed their hands against cave walls and outlined them in charcoal or paint. In this lesson, even a stencil made of basic shapes can be effective. Each stencil can be used repeatedly, and by changing oil pastel color, overlapping images, or using only a part of an image, the result is a cohesive composition that has depth and color fusion.

4 – 12

Watercolor Texture Casts

Molding, casting, sculpting, painting and monoprinting — this simple project pulls all of these together into one low-relief sculpture that demonstrates the elements of texture and color. Texture is defined in clay by pressing objects in or sculpting with tools. Next, the clay is painted with watercolor and covered with papier mâché, which lifts the color as it dries, absorbing it directly into the casting.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Itajime Decorative Paper

Itajime Shibori is a technique for folding, clamping and dyeing paper or fabric resulting in beautiful designs – very similar to tie-dye. The folds and clamps keep the dye or ink from penetrating fully in certain areas making patterns and giving a dimensional appearance on a flat surface. This project is a great way to teach students the scientific concept of diffusion and color mixing.

3 – 12

Festival Flowers

The easiest way to make colorful, three-dimensional paper flowers! Even young children will enjoy painting carnation-like blooms and creating full bouquets for Mother’s Day gifts, May Day celebrations, a Cinco de Mayo fiesta or a Hawaiian Luau. Each flower costs just pennies to make. Because the watercolors blend together and form new hues, painting each bloom is a good way to illustrate color mixing.

K – 8

No-Fire Nouveau Tiles

Beginning in the early 1880s, the “Art Nouveau” style flourished in all forms of art. Beautiful pottery was mass-produced during this era, especially in the form of decorative tiles. Tube lining — a technique in which a design outline was created first and then filled in with color — is the definitive look of Art Nouveau. If kiln-glazed ceramics are not an option for your environment, this project is a way to produce glossy, hand-painted tiles that look like the real thing.

Watch the Video

K – 8
10 – 12
Special Education

Painted “Silk” Shapes

The production and commerce of decorated silk fabrics began thousands of years ago in China. This project introduces fine-mesh polyester as a silk-like fabric for painting. Form a wire shape as a support and paint with transparent liquid acrylic color. Finished pieces are flexible and may be heat-set for outdoor display.

3 – 12

Altered Penny Carpet

In the 1800s, many homes were decorated with “Penny Carpets”, made from miss-matched fabric cut into circles by tracing around a penny. Patches were then layered and stitched together to make a large piece. Students create a Penny Carpet with fabric that they design themselves using monoprinting techniques and fabric paint. Each section is sewed to felt swatches, then joined to make a larger piece of art.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Art 2 Infinity: Two projects incorporating Mirror Board

Artists through the ages have used reflective surfaces to define and alter perspective, create symmetry and "bend" reality. Mirrors have been a tool for creating art, the subject matter and the art itself. Here are two project ideas for using metallic film to capture light and create intriguing illusions: “Kaleidoscope Paintings” and “Infinity Boxes”.

K – 12

Canvas Dinnerware

A whimsical makeover for discarded dishes! Inexpensive, diverse and unmatched pieces from thrift stores, garage sales, etc. are recycled into contemporary sculptures in this project. Pieces of unprimed canvas are layered and glued to the surface, then painted with Blick Matte Acrylic color. Center the design around a theme, as Judy Chicago did in the 1970’s with “The Dinner Party” or design a place setting for a particular artist.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

EZ Grout Mosaics

Students of all ages can mimic mosaic artisans throughout history with these easy tile-making and “grouting” techniques. Clay tiles are glued to a firm backboard and grouted with acrylic paint. This project is safe and simple enough for younger students and those with special needs.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Painted Story Quilt

Quilt-making spans multiple centuries and cultures. It can teach math skills, record history, recycle cast-off materials and encourage cooperative efforts within a group...just for a few ideas! This lesson looks at the story quilts of Faith Ringgold. She surrounds her narrative paintings with a quilted border, creating stories in color, texture, and pattern. Students select their own story to illustrate, then paint fabric using watersoluble pastels and watercolor.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

"Diaper Wipe" Diffusion

This project demonstrates the physical process of osmosis. Water-based markers are diluted by filtering water through an ordinary wet wipe. The flow of the color is slowed and channeled by the presence of oil and alchohol in the wipe, creating random and interesting tie-dye-type patterns. Educational...and really fun to watch!

K – 5
Special Education

Persian and Navajo Rug Bookmarks

This lesson plan explains two diverse and beautiful style of textiles: Persian carpets and Navajo rugs. Similar colors and geometric shapes are two common elements of both.

4 – 8

Burlap Pastel Painting

This easily constructed project offers an exploration of texture, line and color – key elements of design. Younger children may take a more abstract approach with emphasis on texture and color. Older students will find the burlap easy to pull and the weave easy to manipulate, creating holes and lines. Subject matter such as buildings, landscapes and abstract designs are adaptable to varying grade levels.

K – 6

EZ Encaustics

EZ Encaustic uses only small amounts of soft decorating wax that may be softened by hand or by using low temperature heat. Also included are instructions for a Painterly Encaustic process, using melted wax.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

Fabric Beads

Fine craft artists today are exploring texture and color in all mediums. The fabric beads in this project encourage experimental use of materials to enhance and enrich traditional techniques.

5 – 12

Paper Clay Leaves

Learn leaf anatomy by recreating the patterns and structure of the original. Because the clay is paper-based, it accepts watercolors, which may be reworked and blended on the surface. Watercolors enhance the veining in the leaves, pulling out their natural characteristics.

K – 12

Reverse Pastel Painting

Where standard painting builds an image from the background forward, a reverse painting is created in a backward fashion — foreground first — with each phase applied so the background finishes the painting. A backing of metallic foil reflects light through the pastel in the same manner as gilding.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Insoluble Paintings

Based on the scientific concepts of insolubility and density, this technique seals water-based paint and mineral oil inside a laminating pouch. The different densities cause the liquids to repel one another in an ever-changing and interactive piece that continually flows and responds to touch.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Filipino Parol

In the Philippines, during the Festival of Lights, parol (puh-roll), or star-shaped lanterns, symbolize the victory of light over darkness as well as hope and goodwill. These simple parol are created with natural reed, translucent rice paper and liquid watercolor. Displayed in a window or hanging from a light fixture, they make colorful, festive decorations for any season.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Linoleum Art Press Tools

Create simple tools that can be pressed into clay, used for embossing, texture rubbing or printmaking. Wonder-Cut Linoleum is 1/4" deep — providing plenty of depth for carving a variety of textures and dimensions and making incredibly detailed impressions.

5 – 12

Simple Perspective with the Artist’s Grid Canvas

For a first lesson in one-point linear perspective, a grid is a perfect tool for beginning painters. It eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try.

4 – 12

Textile Painting with Mayco Colors

"Students use unconventional “tools” such as lace and yarn to create new textures and designs."

2 – 8

Artist’s Canvas Shoes

Students will research the painting style of a famous artist of their choice, then design a pair of painted shoes reminiscent of that artist’s design sense and choices of subjects and colors.

K – 6

Junkanoo Headress

Junkanoo is a festival that takes place in the Bahamas. It is a tradition that traces its roots back to the 16th century. Music, dancing and elaborate costumes are all part of Junkanoo. This lesson introduces students to a fun and whimsical cultural event by allowing them to design their own headress - an important part of the festivities!

6 – 12

Huichol Clay Painting

This lesson plan uses intensely colorful, easy-to-use Model Magic air-dry clay in place of yarn to create paintings similar to the art of the Huichol tribe. Students create “strings” of clay and press them together on a rigid surface. to create symbolic images and designs.

3 – 8

Little Black Poetry Book

The molten-metal texture on the cover provides a rich presentation for the personal treasures that will be written inside. The black pages are a dramatic background for words rendered in metallic marker, gel pen, opaque colored pencils or opaque ink.

5 – 12

On a Starry Night...

Art history is an excellent discipline to accompany this lesson plan, as students become familiar with masterpieces by various artists. Students will choose an artwork that inspires them from a specifictime, genre or culture, and paint their own version on a cardboard frame.

3 – 8

Shoe Shine

The use of a very unconventional medium as a classroom exercise in oil painting.

5 – 12

Silk Suncatchers

The natural translucent quality of silk paired with transparent paints rivals the glow of stained glass when held up to the sun. This is an easy way to teach introductory silk paintin.

7 – 12

Stained Glass Flowers

Wonderful, colorful flowers are created with a transparent, flexible paint called “Arti’Stick”. To link with botanical studies, have students study the anatomy of a flower, create and identify its parts.

3 – 8

Three Prisms

Math and science create visual forms and establish structure.“Three Prisms” uses equilateral triangles and parallelograms. The shapes are combined and repeated for a sculpture that makes additional equilateral triangles.

K – 8

Tie-Dye Shibori Vessel

The ancient Japanese tradition of textile painting known as Shibori entails many techniques and processes including the gathering, wrapping and binding methods that we call "tie-dye" today. This 2-part lesson involves painting and draping stiffened fabric to create a sculptural piece.

7 – 12

Towers and Turrets

This lesson plan gives students the opportunity to learn about the concept of architecture, particularly towers and turrets.Using watercolor painting techniques and tracing, cutting, and gluing skills,students create lines, patterns and textures while understanding the concept of near being larger, far being smaller.

3 – 6

Transparent Banner Paintings

Painting on a transparent medium not only allows the interaction of light within the painted surface, it also projects colorful cast light and shadow onto walls, floors and surrounding objects.

3 – 12

Water-Based Monotype

Students will learn basic drawing and painting skills through monotype using Akua inks and a variety of brushes, sponges or even fingers to apply and modify their drawings — it’s safe and easy to clean up.

3 – 8

Letters + Numbers = ART

A painted book in the style of Robert Indiana. This lesson plan challenges students to choose eight ideas that can be stated with one simple word, then assemble them into a painted book.

5 – 12

Melted Paintings

Part Salvidor Dali and part "Shrinky Dinks," this project compels students to reach beyond a traditional, flat painting and feeds their natural hunger for artistic experimentation.

7 – 12

Impressionist-Style Painted Tile

Through the study of Impressionist painters and their works students will select their own color palette and design an impressionistic scene reminiscent of those painted in the mid 1800s.

5 – 12

Gouache and Wood-Burned Designs

Discover wood burning craft techniques and the traditional paint medium of gouache.

3 – 12

Curiosity Collage

Found objects, cutouts, photos and a variety of materials are assembled in a sculptural, three-dimensional collage centered around a personal theme.

5 – 12

Bling Bling Mosaics

The new metallic paints are beautiful. Mix with different types of paints and "Glitter It" mediums to make paper tiles.

K – 6

Braille Paintings

Explore the beauty of Braille

3 – 8

Easy Fabric Batik with Glue

Explore the beauty of fabric batik without the danger of hot wax or dyes. Simply trace a design onto muslin with washable glue and add brilliant color.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Flip Flop Drawing

A drawing becomes a painting, then flips back to a drawing again as students use variety to explore surfaces, media and techniques.

5 – 12

Gelly Bowls

Dimensional collage using wire mesh and acrylic gel medium. Develop color, texture and design with paint, photocopies, images, music, text, colorful papers and many different objects inside the transaprent gel. Once dry, the form can be easily manipulated into a bowl.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

Mean Green

In painting, color can be used to describe emotions, feelings and ideas. Students select a color and paint a monochromatic theme of their choosing.

K – 12

Painted Locket

Over the centuries and across many cultures, lockets have been worn as tiny, portable treasure chests. Students paint the front of a mini canvas and use the back to display a small photo or something with meaning and value.

K – 12
Special Education

Paper Maki-e

Maki-e translates "sprinkle pictures" – the beautiful art of Japanese lacquerware. To achieve a similar look, cut and glue painted papers to a surface and sprinkle with metallic powdered pigments.

5 – 12

Pastel Fresco Secco

"Secco" is the term used for applying color to dry plaster, the manner Da Vinci used in his famed "The Last Supper." Using Plaster of Paris, students create drawings then purposefully add stress fractures.

Watch the Video

1 – 12

Perfect Proportion

"The “grid method” has been used for centuries to create accurate proportions when painting. Blick Exclusive Artist Grid Canvas makes it easier to place objects from a photograph and plot landscapes, still lifes and portraits."

5 – 12

Ribbon Weave

"Paper, paint and ribbon are used to develop a pattern with contrasting textures and colors."

K – 6

Simple Perspective

"A beginning lesson in one-point linear perspective. Grid Canvas eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try."

4 – 12

Aloha Shirts

Create Hawaiian-inspired shirts with brightly-colored flowers, leaves, and fish by printing them using fabric paints. "Gyotaku" - the Japanese word for "fish print"- is a fun and exciting way to give shirts an island beach look.

5 – 8

Arti'Stick Mobile

Students will study works of stained glass as a one dimensional art form and adapt what they learn to a three dimensional sculpture — a brilliantly-colored transparent mobile.

2 – 6

A.T.C. Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards are a fascinating pastime for a great number of professional artists. The cards are always 2½" × 3½", a size that fits into standard baseball card storage sleeves

K – 7
Special Education

Bones

A full skeleton illustrates movement during a wide range of activities. The addition of a background turns this project into a more complete artwork.

3 – 6

Ceramic Tile Painting

Oven baked water-based acrylic paint on glazed tile looks like kiln fired glazed tile. The paint is available in a wide range of colors and can be layered and blended to make other colors.

K – 12

Chinese Ink Painting

The right tools are essential to a Chinese brush painter. Students will create their own brush holders and ink pots from glazed and fired clay, then learn the basic brush strokes for branches, bamboo leaves.

5 – 12

Classroom Chihuly

Give students an opportunity to enjoy creating random organic forms with color and transparency similar to actual glass.

Watch the Video

2 – 12

Crazy Quilt Texture Boards

Students will enjoy exploring the wide variety of textures they can create with acrylic modeling paste on a rigid surface.

Watch the Video

3 – 8

Drawing with Thread

"Drawing with Thread" is an interpretation of work by Wassily Kandinski in 1913. Kandinski is called the first totally abstract artist. Free flowing water color and line suggests but does not define images.

K – 8

Kinetic Dura-Lar Sculpture

This lesson will attract students to the abstract as they create their own hanging kinetic sculptures from lightweight polyester material.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

click to collapse

Grades 9 – 12

 

Grade Level

NEW! Matisse Prints du Soleil

Henri Matisse survived cancer to find a renewed energy and expressionism in artworks he called “scissor paintings.” Inspired by his cut-paper shapes, students can use sunlight or an artificial source to create color-saturated prints on fabric or paper.

K – 12
Special Education

NEW! Beastly Bobblehead

Create a whimsical patterned Bobble Head! The “body” is a clay slab that students texturize by pressing interesting pasta shapes into it. Top with a pinch-pot head — and learn a lesson in balance.

3 – 12

NEW! Black Velvet Mystery Painting

Applying oil pastels to black rayon fabric makes a striking composition, but when students add UV paint and a black light, the finished paintings really glow.

K – 12

NEW! Shibori Kimono

Experiment with Japanese paper-dyeing techniques using traditional rice papers, then share papers to create simple origami kimonos. The result is a stunning combination of art and culture.

3 – 12

NEW! Shoe Shrine

Make a sculptural shrine from an outgrown or second-hand shoe! Primed with modeling paste, covered with ornate embellishments, and then aligned vertically, an everyday shoe can become a dramatic backdrop for relics that represent a student’s favorite thing, place, idea, or event.

3 – 12

NEW! Creative Quill Pens

For over 1000 years, the quill was the principle writing tool in the Western world. Imagine the stories, poems and sketches that can be made with a hybrid quill and dip pen designed to be a work of art in itself!

3 – 12

Artist’s Challenge Coins (ACC’s)

Challenge Coins are specially designed and minted for service personnel to recognize an achievement, enhance morale, or to signify membership in (or experience on) a particular mission. Create a personal Artist's Challenge Coin (ACC) by making a small print, collage, stamp, or photo appliqué one side of a coin-shaped wooden disk, and a challenge or message on the reverse.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Block-Print Koinobori

In Japan, Children's Day on May 5th is heralded by the appearance of flying fish: carp-shaped windsocks known as “Koinobori”. In this lesson, students design a “scale”-shaped block from soft block printing material and apply it repetitively to outdoor-safe fabric that has been cut in the shape of a fish. Add details like eyes, fins, and a tail using metallic and sparkle paint, and the Koinobori is ready to hang and “swim” through the breeze!

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Butterfield Horse

Construct a high-relief horse using Activa Fast Mache and found objects. Combine a painted and collaged background with a horse made of quick mache, sticks, pine needles, leaves, and shredded papers in the style of Debra Butterfield.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Convertible “Canned” Sculpture

Composition — the way the elements of a piece of art are arranged and relate to each other — can be difficult to grasp. This lesson plan presents an easy, forgiving way to see the effects of composition while using the dimensional works of Frank Stella as an example. The sculpture is assembled with magnets on a metal can so it can be taken apart and rearranged to see how the composition is affected — what works and what doesn’t.

3 – 12

Flower Garden Tiles

Easily make flower tiles by carving clay, filling with plaster, and finishing with liquid watercolors.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Dancing Houses

Part cartoonist and part Picasso, the art of Brooklyn-born James Rizzi is highly recognizable. His playful, brilliant images created a style he described as “Urban Primitive.” Students will enjoy making a classroom cityscape of fun and fabulous construction paper buildings. A simple wire armature beneath allows the structure to be playfully positioned -— almost as if it were dancing. This project provides a lesson in movement as design principle.

Watch the Video

K – 9

Easy-Outline Botanical Illustration Prints

Although photography and modern printing processes have replaced the need for cataloguing plant life with detailed drawn and painted illustrations, botanical illustration is still a beloved art. To make an accurate rendering of a plant, students can create an impression in plaster, then trace the shape and details with colored pencil, ink, or watercolor. Mixing and shading for color accuracy and identifying the plant are some of the skills that will be learned in this exercise.

Watch the Video

K – 12

My Daruma

A traditional Japanese weighted toy, Daruma always return to an upright position. This project reveals how to weight the bottom of a plastic egg and cover with instant maché to make these symbols of success, determination, and overcoming adversity.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Sound Sculpture Inspired by Jean Tinguely

Swiss artist Jean Tinguely created whimsical machine-like contraptions of found metal parts, known as “metamechanics”. In this lesson plan, students create a kinetic sculpture with repurposed metal hardware, found objects, and wire placed so that they deliberately move against one another. Much like Tinguely’s machines, some of the noises may be pleasant — others may not— but each will have a very unique metallic, mechanical “voice.”

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Color Field Sketchbook

Stain painting was a successful technique employed by Color Field artists Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis. They poured diluted acrylic color over large canvases to form “veils” of brilliant color. In this lesson, students will first learn a simple process for creating their own drawing pad, then stain and design a canvas cover for it.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Sumi-e Resist Painting

NOTE! The liquid wax used in this lesson plan is now tinted green. Artwork produced using this process will not look like the examples shown. Practice the ancient art of sumi-e painting with a modern twist! Paint with diluted wax resist, then reveal your masterpiece by applying black sumi-e ink over the top. The addition of watercolor gives the painting even more interest.

Watch the Video

K – 12

Have a Ball! with distorted self-portraits

Observing and reproducing the distortion caused by a concave reflection is the topic of this lesson plan, as students make self-portraits inspired by M.C. Escher's “Hand with Reflecting Globe.” The canvas is a vinyl bouncing ball. Elementary ages can be challenged to create a continuous painting — with no beginning or end — then “Have a Ball!” playing with their own artwork.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Tibetan Wishing Banner

Tibetan wish or prayer flags traditionally are used to promote peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. Tibetans do not believe that the flags carry prayers to the gods, but rather that their messages and wishes will be blown by the wind to spread goodwill and compassion into all-pervading space. In this project, students will use a liquid wax resist that will be painted onto silk rectangles and need not be removed. Vibrant color and a final gold embellishment finish the piece.

2 – 12

Impressionistic Marker Painting

You won't believe what these markers can do! The juicy, alcohol-based ink reacts with itself or with hand-sanitizer to make painterly drawings on clear plastic film.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Acrylic “Skins”

This project utilizes acrylic paint, but in a totally unique way...dried! Acrylic paint "skins" are easily created just by brushing paint on a non-stick palette or baker's parchment and letting it dry. You can use this plastic, flexible paint in a number of ways to create mosaics, mixed media collage, stained glass-like effects, jewelry, book covers and more!

Watch the Video

K – 12

Embossed Metal Encaustics

Considered a lost art for many centuries, encaustic painting is enjoying a resurgence because of modern techniques, tools and materials. While encaustic painting requires moving molten wax from a heating element to a surface, the technique used in this lesson plan creates textured “reservoirs” in metal foil that channel and cradle sprinkled wax chips as they melt. Interesting dimensions and contrasts between the metal and translucent wax occur when cooled.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

Monotype Hoop-La

Functioning as both a painting and a print, a Monotype is unique and irreproducible. The “hoop-la” over Monotype can be experienced in your classroom with this simplified, safely water-based process using acrylic paint, printing foam and fabric. The technique builds the print a layer at a time and tools are used to remove or “subtract” color between layers. Stretch the finished print ona gold macramé ring for an instant frame.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Fauvism is for the Birds!

Les Fauves (translation: “The Wild Beasts”) were a group of artists whose work was characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors. The colors the Fauves used are also favored by wild birds. Hummingbirds like red, orange and pink. Songbirds prefer colors that mimic trees and bushes. To see which species of birds are attracted to these “beastly” colors, students create a painted, hanging birdfeeder from a stretched canvas or “upcycled” wooden frame.

K – 12
Special Education

Egg-stra Easy Watercolor “Crunch”

Traditionally, eggshell mosaics are made by first dying then positioning each shard individually — a time-consuming and delicate process. This project introduces a new way to crush and color eggshells, creating intricate veining and texture all at once without pre-dying or arranging each fragment. The simple glue-and-paint process and satisfying “crunch!” of breaking eggshells will delight children of all ages and skill levels.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Stencil a Painting

Stencils and repeated patterns have been used in painting as long ago as 9,000 years, when early humans placed their hands against cave walls and outlined them in charcoal or paint. In this lesson, even a stencil made of basic shapes can be effective. Each stencil can be used repeatedly, and by changing oil pastel color, overlapping images, or using only a part of an image, the result is a cohesive composition that has depth and color fusion.

4 – 12

Watercolor Texture Casts

Molding, casting, sculpting, painting and monoprinting — this simple project pulls all of these together into one low-relief sculpture that demonstrates the elements of texture and color. Texture is defined in clay by pressing objects in or sculpting with tools. Next, the clay is painted with watercolor and covered with papier mâché, which lifts the color as it dries, absorbing it directly into the casting.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Itajime Decorative Paper

Itajime Shibori is a technique for folding, clamping and dyeing paper or fabric resulting in beautiful designs – very similar to tie-dye. The folds and clamps keep the dye or ink from penetrating fully in certain areas making patterns and giving a dimensional appearance on a flat surface. This project is a great way to teach students the scientific concept of diffusion and color mixing.

3 – 12

No-Fire Nouveau Tiles

Beginning in the early 1880s, the “Art Nouveau” style flourished in all forms of art. Beautiful pottery was mass-produced during this era, especially in the form of decorative tiles. Tube lining — a technique in which a design outline was created first and then filled in with color — is the definitive look of Art Nouveau. If kiln-glazed ceramics are not an option for your environment, this project is a way to produce glossy, hand-painted tiles that look like the real thing.

Watch the Video

K – 8
10 – 12
Special Education

Painted “Silk” Shapes

The production and commerce of decorated silk fabrics began thousands of years ago in China. This project introduces fine-mesh polyester as a silk-like fabric for painting. Form a wire shape as a support and paint with transparent liquid acrylic color. Finished pieces are flexible and may be heat-set for outdoor display.

3 – 12

Altered Penny Carpet

In the 1800s, many homes were decorated with “Penny Carpets”, made from miss-matched fabric cut into circles by tracing around a penny. Patches were then layered and stitched together to make a large piece. Students create a Penny Carpet with fabric that they design themselves using monoprinting techniques and fabric paint. Each section is sewed to felt swatches, then joined to make a larger piece of art.

Watch the Video

3 – 12

Art 2 Infinity: Two projects incorporating Mirror Board

Artists through the ages have used reflective surfaces to define and alter perspective, create symmetry and "bend" reality. Mirrors have been a tool for creating art, the subject matter and the art itself. Here are two project ideas for using metallic film to capture light and create intriguing illusions: “Kaleidoscope Paintings” and “Infinity Boxes”.

K – 12

Canvas Dinnerware

A whimsical makeover for discarded dishes! Inexpensive, diverse and unmatched pieces from thrift stores, garage sales, etc. are recycled into contemporary sculptures in this project. Pieces of unprimed canvas are layered and glued to the surface, then painted with Blick Matte Acrylic color. Center the design around a theme, as Judy Chicago did in the 1970’s with “The Dinner Party” or design a place setting for a particular artist.

Watch the Video

5 – 12

EZ Grout Mosaics

Students of all ages can mimic mosaic artisans throughout history with these easy tile-making and “grouting” techniques. Clay tiles are glued to a firm backboard and grouted with acrylic paint. This project is safe and simple enough for younger students and those with special needs.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Painted Story Quilt

Quilt-making spans multiple centuries and cultures. It can teach math skills, record history, recycle cast-off materials and encourage cooperative efforts within a group...just for a few ideas! This lesson looks at the story quilts of Faith Ringgold. She surrounds her narrative paintings with a quilted border, creating stories in color, texture, and pattern. Students select their own story to illustrate, then paint fabric using watersoluble pastels and watercolor.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

EZ Encaustics

EZ Encaustic uses only small amounts of soft decorating wax that may be softened by hand or by using low temperature heat. Also included are instructions for a Painterly Encaustic process, using melted wax.

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5 – 12

Fabric Beads

Fine craft artists today are exploring texture and color in all mediums. The fabric beads in this project encourage experimental use of materials to enhance and enrich traditional techniques.

5 – 12

Paper Clay Leaves

Learn leaf anatomy by recreating the patterns and structure of the original. Because the clay is paper-based, it accepts watercolors, which may be reworked and blended on the surface. Watercolors enhance the veining in the leaves, pulling out their natural characteristics.

K – 12

Reverse Pastel Painting

Where standard painting builds an image from the background forward, a reverse painting is created in a backward fashion — foreground first — with each phase applied so the background finishes the painting. A backing of metallic foil reflects light through the pastel in the same manner as gilding.

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3 – 12

Papier Collé Printmaking

In this lesson students will make a piece that is basically a printmaking “sandwich” — part painting, part lithograph, and part monoprint — incorporating Z*Acryl D2P Polyester Lithographic plates

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9 – 12

Insoluble Paintings

Based on the scientific concepts of insolubility and density, this technique seals water-based paint and mineral oil inside a laminating pouch. The different densities cause the liquids to repel one another in an ever-changing and interactive piece that continually flows and responds to touch.

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K – 12
Special Education

Linoleum Art Press Tools

Create simple tools that can be pressed into clay, used for embossing, texture rubbing or printmaking. Wonder-Cut Linoleum is 1/4" deep — providing plenty of depth for carving a variety of textures and dimensions and making incredibly detailed impressions.

5 – 12

Simple Perspective with the Artist’s Grid Canvas

For a first lesson in one-point linear perspective, a grid is a perfect tool for beginning painters. It eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try.

4 – 12

Junkanoo Headress

Junkanoo is a festival that takes place in the Bahamas. It is a tradition that traces its roots back to the 16th century. Music, dancing and elaborate costumes are all part of Junkanoo. This lesson introduces students to a fun and whimsical cultural event by allowing them to design their own headress - an important part of the festivities!

6 – 12

Little Black Poetry Book

The molten-metal texture on the cover provides a rich presentation for the personal treasures that will be written inside. The black pages are a dramatic background for words rendered in metallic marker, gel pen, opaque colored pencils or opaque ink.

5 – 12

Shoe Shine

The use of a very unconventional medium as a classroom exercise in oil painting.

5 – 12

Silk Suncatchers

The natural translucent quality of silk paired with transparent paints rivals the glow of stained glass when held up to the sun. This is an easy way to teach introductory silk paintin.

7 – 12

Tie-Dye Shibori Vessel

The ancient Japanese tradition of textile painting known as Shibori entails many techniques and processes including the gathering, wrapping and binding methods that we call "tie-dye" today. This 2-part lesson involves painting and draping stiffened fabric to create a sculptural piece.

7 – 12

Torn Paper Portraits

In this lesson, students “paint” with torn paper using a limited number of values found in a grayscale image. Using torn paper instead of direct painting requires them to visually divide the gray areas into separate shapes and define each shape individually.

9 – 12

Transparent Banner Paintings

Painting on a transparent medium not only allows the interaction of light within the painted surface, it also projects colorful cast light and shadow onto walls, floors and surrounding objects.

3 – 12

Watercolor Self-Portraits

This project will allow for exploring facial proportion, practice working in transparent watercolors and produce a self-expressive portrait.

9 – 12

Letters + Numbers = ART

A painted book in the style of Robert Indiana. This lesson plan challenges students to choose eight ideas that can be stated with one simple word, then assemble them into a painted book.

5 – 12

Melted Paintings

Part Salvidor Dali and part "Shrinky Dinks," this project compels students to reach beyond a traditional, flat painting and feeds their natural hunger for artistic experimentation.

7 – 12

Impressionist-Style Painted Tile

Through the study of Impressionist painters and their works students will select their own color palette and design an impressionistic scene reminiscent of those painted in the mid 1800s.

5 – 12

Glass Painting with Pebeo

Brightly colored paintings look like stained glass.

9 – 12

Gouache and Wood-Burned Designs

Discover wood burning craft techniques and the traditional paint medium of gouache.

3 – 12

Fan Club for Artists

This project is a unique, fun lesson in establishing a hero and developing an Artists' Hall of Fame.

9 – 12

Curiosity Collage

Found objects, cutouts, photos and a variety of materials are assembled in a sculptural, three-dimensional collage centered around a personal theme.

5 – 12

Flip Flop Drawing

A drawing becomes a painting, then flips back to a drawing again as students use variety to explore surfaces, media and techniques.

5 – 12

Gelly Bowls

Dimensional collage using wire mesh and acrylic gel medium. Develop color, texture and design with paint, photocopies, images, music, text, colorful papers and many different objects inside the transaprent gel. Once dry, the form can be easily manipulated into a bowl.

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5 – 12

Mean Green

In painting, color can be used to describe emotions, feelings and ideas. Students select a color and paint a monochromatic theme of their choosing.

K – 12

Painted Locket

Over the centuries and across many cultures, lockets have been worn as tiny, portable treasure chests. Students paint the front of a mini canvas and use the back to display a small photo or something with meaning and value.

K – 12
Special Education

Paper Maki-e

Maki-e translates "sprinkle pictures" – the beautiful art of Japanese lacquerware. To achieve a similar look, cut and glue painted papers to a surface and sprinkle with metallic powdered pigments.

5 – 12

Pastel Fresco Secco

"Secco" is the term used for applying color to dry plaster, the manner Da Vinci used in his famed "The Last Supper." Using Plaster of Paris, students create drawings then purposefully add stress fractures.

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1 – 12

Perfect Proportion

"The “grid method” has been used for centuries to create accurate proportions when painting. Blick Exclusive Artist Grid Canvas makes it easier to place objects from a photograph and plot landscapes, still lifes and portraits."

5 – 12

Simple Perspective

"A beginning lesson in one-point linear perspective. Grid Canvas eliminates time spent measuring and marking, allowing students to achieve perfect accuracy on their first try."

4 – 12

Airbrushing on Silk

Simple beginners' project using 5 colors of paint and 2 types of stencils: positive and negative.

9 – 12

Ceramic Tile Painting

Oven baked water-based acrylic paint on glazed tile looks like kiln fired glazed tile. The paint is available in a wide range of colors and can be layered and blended to make other colors.

K – 12

Chinese Ink Painting

The right tools are essential to a Chinese brush painter. Students will create their own brush holders and ink pots from glazed and fired clay, then learn the basic brush strokes for branches, bamboo leaves.

5 – 12

Classroom Chihuly

Give students an opportunity to enjoy creating random organic forms with color and transparency similar to actual glass.

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2 – 12

Kinetic Dura-Lar Sculpture

This lesson will attract students to the abstract as they create their own hanging kinetic sculptures from lightweight polyester material.

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5 – 12

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Special Education

 

Grade Level

NEW! Matisse Prints du Soleil

Henri Matisse survived cancer to find a renewed energy and expressionism in artworks he called “scissor paintings.” Inspired by his cut-paper shapes, students can use sunlight or an artificial source to create color-saturated prints on fabric or paper.

K – 12
Special Education

Artist’s Challenge Coins (ACC’s)

Challenge Coins are specially designed and minted for service personnel to recognize an achievement, enhance morale, or to signify membership in (or experience on) a particular mission. Create a personal Artist's Challenge Coin (ACC) by making a small print, collage, stamp, or photo appliqué one side of a coin-shaped wooden disk, and a challenge or message on the reverse.

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K – 12
Special Education

Have a Ball! with distorted self-portraits

Observing and reproducing the distortion caused by a concave reflection is the topic of this lesson plan, as students make self-portraits inspired by M.C. Escher's “Hand with Reflecting Globe.” The canvas is a vinyl bouncing ball. Elementary ages can be challenged to create a continuous painting — with no beginning or end — then “Have a Ball!” playing with their own artwork.

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K – 12
Special Education

WonderFoam Collagraph Prints

WonderFoam is familiar to almost everyone who has ever presented a craft project to children — but, if you'd like to move beyond the "foamies" to a real art technique, incorporate WonderFoam into printmaking! “Collagraph” is a process in which materials are arranged collage-style on a rigid surface, coated with tempera paint and then transferred to paper. Students learn to make repeating patterns with shapes.

K – 6
Special Education

Fauvism is for the Birds!

Les Fauves (translation: “The Wild Beasts”) were a group of artists whose work was characterized by seemingly wild brush work and strident colors. The colors the Fauves used are also favored by wild birds. Hummingbirds like red, orange and pink. Songbirds prefer colors that mimic trees and bushes. To see which species of birds are attracted to these “beastly” colors, students create a painted, hanging birdfeeder from a stretched canvas or “upcycled” wooden frame.

K – 12
Special Education

Egg-stra Easy Watercolor “Crunch”

Traditionally, eggshell mosaics are made by first dying then positioning each shard individually — a time-consuming and delicate process. This project introduces a new way to crush and color eggshells, creating intricate veining and texture all at once without pre-dying or arranging each fragment. The simple glue-and-paint process and satisfying “crunch!” of breaking eggshells will delight children of all ages and skill levels.

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K – 12
Special Education

Peace Windows: in the style of Marc Chagall’s stained glass

Late in his career, artist Marc Chagall produced a number of paintings in glass with colorful, dream-like images symbolizing peace, love, tolerance and faith. In reality, Marc Chagall’s life was filled with tragic events and the world he lived in was anything but peaceful. In light of this fact, students can begin to understand an artist’s ability to share healing, inspiration and encouragement, using “peace” as a theme.

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K – 8
Special Education

“Print & Go” T-Shirts

Printing creative T-shirts and fabrics doesn’t always require stencils and screens — students can easily design their own giant stamps and paint them any way they want. Even if each shirt displays the same message, each will be a completely unique work of art! This process is perfect for group settings — schools, camps, daycare centers, clubs, family reunions and special events — but it is also ideal for countless home decorating and craft projects.

K – 8
Special Education

No-Fire Nouveau Tiles

Beginning in the early 1880s, the “Art Nouveau” style flourished in all forms of art. Beautiful pottery was mass-produced during this era, especially in the form of decorative tiles. Tube lining — a technique in which a design outline was created first and then filled in with color — is the definitive look of Art Nouveau. If kiln-glazed ceramics are not an option for your environment, this project is a way to produce glossy, hand-painted tiles that look like the real thing.

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K – 8
10 – 12
Special Education

EZ Grout Mosaics

Students of all ages can mimic mosaic artisans throughout history with these easy tile-making and “grouting” techniques. Clay tiles are glued to a firm backboard and grouted with acrylic paint. This project is safe and simple enough for younger students and those with special needs.

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K – 12
Special Education

Painted Story Quilt

Quilt-making spans multiple centuries and cultures. It can teach math skills, record history, recycle cast-off materials and encourage cooperative efforts within a group...just for a few ideas! This lesson looks at the story quilts of Faith Ringgold. She surrounds her narrative paintings with a quilted border, creating stories in color, texture, and pattern. Students select their own story to illustrate, then paint fabric using watersoluble pastels and watercolor.

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K – 12
Special Education

"Diaper Wipe" Diffusion

This project demonstrates the physical process of osmosis. Water-based markers are diluted by filtering water through an ordinary wet wipe. The flow of the color is slowed and channeled by the presence of oil and alchohol in the wipe, creating random and interesting tie-dye-type patterns. Educational...and really fun to watch!

K – 5
Special Education

Insoluble Paintings

Based on the scientific concepts of insolubility and density, this technique seals water-based paint and mineral oil inside a laminating pouch. The different densities cause the liquids to repel one another in an ever-changing and interactive piece that continually flows and responds to touch.

Watch the Video

K – 12
Special Education

Painted Locket

Over the centuries and across many cultures, lockets have been worn as tiny, portable treasure chests. Students paint the front of a mini canvas and use the back to display a small photo or something with meaning and value.

K – 12
Special Education

A.T.C. Artist Trading Cards

Artist Trading Cards are a fascinating pastime for a great number of professional artists. The cards are always 2½" × 3½", a size that fits into standard baseball card storage sleeves

K – 7
Special Education

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