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*Leatherwork. Use car vinyl instead of leather.
*Leatherwork. Use car vinyl instead of leather.
===How to . . .===
===How to make . . .===
[[media:batik.pdf|How to make batik]]
[[media:batik.pdf|How to make batik]]

Revision as of 13:12, 10 April 2011


Visual and Creative Arts

Lesson Plans

Topic: Elements of Design
Materials: sketchbook, pencil
Time: 1 period
Objective: To introduce students to the elements of design using the dot.
Procedure: Give definition: A dot is a round point or small round spot.
Have students show all the dots in the room, large and small, on themselves, their belongings, the wall, etc. Then, take them outside and have them point out all the dots they find in nature. Have them collect three dots (rocks, eraser on pencil, etc.) and trace them in their drawing books. Some can be coloured in and some left alone.
In addition to this class lesson, a good assignment is to have students look for dots outside of school, on their walk to town, in their chores, in nature, at home ... and ask them to draw each one they see and explain why they are considered dots.
Topic: Elements of Design
Materials: drawing book and pencil
Time: 1 period
Objective: Become familiar with lines everywhere, continue with the elements of design, and build art vocabulary.
Procedure: Define. A path made by a moving dot. Have students give examples of lines in the room and then take them outside to observe lines in the world. Collect three lines (stick, stem, grass, etc.) outside and trace them. Shade some but leave others alone to show variety in line. Students should come up to the board and draw the lines they learned from the textbook and label them.
A few activities:
1. Tell the students to arrange themselves in a particular type of line. For example, tell them to show you undulating and they are to stretch themselves across the room or space outside in a waving pattern.
2. Draw a line on the board and have your students give it two names, e.g., thin and horizontal. Draw 10 or so on the board and instruct the students to use two names to describe each line as an in-class assignment or for homework.
Topic: Elements of Design, space as shape
Materials: paper, pencil, crayon, scissors, tape
Time: 2 periods
Objective: To understand that space, both positive and negative, when drawn on paper, is shape.
Procedure: On a sheet of paper, draw at least three large shapes, making sure that each shape is touching the edge of the paper in two places. These are your positive spaces. Once the paper is filled, redraw the shapes, darkening the lines. Pick one negative space and stare at it for a long minute until you see it as a shape. Do this for all the shapes on your paper. Then, with one colour crayon, shade in the negative space to intensify the fact that they are shapes. Cut out the negative areas and reconstruct them on the desk or a piece of coloured paper to fully observe these shaded negative spaces as shapes. Tape on backside and hang up.
Be careful not to get the students confused about positive and negative space. Concentrate on the negative space being just as much shapes as the positive. Make sure when you ask them to stare at the negative spaces that they know what stare means and they know which is the negative. Tape the pieces together that day or else they will get lost or stepped on or ripped.

Topic: Mobile Making
Materials: leaves, paint, scissors, paper (newspaper or scraps), glue, needle and thread, sticks, string, hammer, nails
Time: 3 periods
Objective: For the students to work together to make one project.
Day 1 Objective: To understand the function of a mobile (a balanced result of many elements of design) and to produce two identical leaf rubbings. Have students look up mobile in the dictionary. Afterwards, talk about what they think it will look like (maybe have them draw up their expectations on the board) and what it will show them (the clarification of a design). Go outside and collect a variety of leaves, on the large side. Using any available paint or local dyes mixed in water, paint the leaves using fingers or brushes. Be sure there is plenty of paint on the leaf. Take a piece of paper larger than the leaf, fold it in half, open it up again place the leaf inside face up. Fold the paper over the painted leaf and rub on the backside of the paper. Quickly, so the paint has no time to dry, open the paper, remove the leaf and fold again and rub, making a duplicate print. Let dry.
Day 2 Objective: Accomplish 3-D paper leaves. Cut out leaves leaving one half inch around figure, roll scraps of newspaper or scraps of paper into balls and put between identical leaves to form a sandwich. Glue down edges to form 3-D leaves. Dry.
Day 3 Objective: Finally construct a hanging. Find two good-sized sticks to hang the leaves from and maybe some smaller ones, depending on how many leaves you have. Design the mobile before hanging, discuss the relationships between colours, sizes, and shapes. Attach the two main sticks by crossing them and tying tightly with string. Thread needle and hang leaves from sticks in pre-tensed order. To make an more in-depth mobile, hang more sticks from the main sticks. Hang. And for extra imagination, give the mobile a human name.
Students found it exciting to make something together that helps them see what they learned through chapter 4. In this, they realised they were putting to use some of the elements of design learned in class such as texture, balance, colour, and shape. It also exposes them to the uses of paint, brushes, and materials and ideas found in nature.
Be careful not to put the wrong side of the print down when stuffing with scraps. Keep hands clean so the paint doesn’t smudge. Do not let students put chair on desk or other unsafe practice when hanging.
Topic: Picture Making
Materials: glue, scissors, magazines, rulers
Time: 5-6 periods
Objective: Build self concept. Emphasize design and locally available products. Encourage English usage and finding adjectives or words to describe themselves. Students will also practice collage.
1. Ask students, “Who are you?” Encourage them to use creative words, to use their imaginations. Discuss adjectives.
2. Review or introduce collage.
3. Discuss self identity and how students can choose both words and images they like from magazines. Emphasize that the colours and images they choose will tell the viewer something about them.
Evaluation: Have the students write one paragraph about themselves explaining how the collage describes them. Look at the composition of the collage.
Students will want to use scissors to cut everything. Encourage them to carefully tear edges.
Topic: Terms in art
Materials: Students will locate their own materials.
Time: 1 term
Objective: Students will become knowledgeable about one art form and be able to share their understanding with the class.
1. Students will work in groups of four or five people. Each group will be assigned one of the following topics: basketry, textiles, graphics, picture making, pottery, performing arts.
2. Each group should meet an artist, e.g., the textiles group could meet with a kente weaver, the graphics group could meet with a sign maker, and the performing arts group could meet a dancer or drummer. Have the artist show the group how to make the art and explain the terms from chapter 5. The group should practice the art and make examples to show the class.
3. Half way through the term, the groups should meet with the teacher to discuss the work being done.
4. Write a paper to explain the art form and ten of the terms from chapter
5. Write in your own words. DO NOT COPY from the book.
6. Class presentations: During the last week of term, the groups will present their information to the class. The group must define and explain the terms, demonstrate the art form and show examples, and be able to answer questions.
Schedule the presentations and collect papers. Can be used as a substitute for a final exam. Don’t try to do this during the first term. Work can be done outside of class.
Topic: Terms in Art
Materials: paper and pen
Time: 1 period
Objective: To introduce students to the variety and vast amount of terms used to describe techniques in all the art forms. It familiarises students with terms that could be asked on the WAEC.
Procedure: Students should have read and studied chapter 5. Divide the students into teams and have them gather closely. Have each team choose a name.
One person from each team should be designated with a piece of paper and pen to record the ideas and act as spokesperson for the whole group. The teacher will act as the game host by writing the team names on the board and recording the points the team earns beneath the appropriate name. Students should understand that this is a group effort so no books. The teacher announces a topic and the group has a full minute to think of and write down as many terms on the topic as it can. For example, if the teacher chooses the topic of Picture Making, the teams discuss and write down terms such as collage, foreground, fixative, etc. The team representative can read off the answers as the teacher puts one point on the board for each correct term. The other teams do not get points for a term that has already been mentioned. The same team should not go first each round.
Students learn to brainstorm with their peers. Emphasise that this is just a game and should be fun. No prizes.
Topic: GKIA
Materials: paper, works of art
Time: 4 periods
Objective: To set up a work of art and define it in four different areas.
Procedure: Place art in the middle of paper. On the top, label “Purpose”; on the left side label “Style”; on the right side, label “Iconography”; and on the bottom, label “Historical Position.” Give each student a piece of paper and define the work as follows:
1. Purpose: for doing? Work, money, politics, religion, self?
2. Style: What style was used? Cubism, realism, etc. Why was it used?
3. Historical position: Is there historical significance?
4. Iconography: Does it relate to an icon? Was it drawn, painted, etc., because of religious reasons?
Topic: GKIA
Materials: paper, pencils
Time: 1 period
Objective: Students will be able to identify ways of organising information and apply this to 2-dimensional forms.
1. Check previous knowledge. Assume familiarity with dot, shape, line, proportion.
2. Motivation: Composition is used to organise drawings and to emphasise certain points, e.g., an arrow and the words “football field” on a sign. The arrow must point in a particular direction. It should have a certain size, relative to the words. Another example, given the words “God’s Way is Great”, how can they be arranged? Does the arrangement or size change the meaning of the message?
3. Information: Elements can be organised according to certain principles and progressions. Principles are variety, rhythm, balance, contrast, repetition, and dominance. Some progressions are light to dark, simple to complex, many to few, thick to thin.
4. Practice: Have each row of students draw a different principle—regular rhythm, irregular rhythm, contrast, repetition.
5. Have students draw a composition which employs two progressions or their antitheses.
6. Review drawings together to identify progressions.
Topic: GKIA
Materials: two different colours of paper
Objective: to practice applying the principles of design in 2D composition.
Procedure: This is not a away to teach the principles of design per se but is a way for the class to practice using the principles in simple composition and a way for you to see just where they need help. You start by taking several sheets of one colour of coloured paper and cutting them randomly into odd shapes of different sizes. Put them in a pile on a spare desk. Divide the class into small groups (2 or 3) and give each group a blank sheet of any coloured paper.
Choose one of the principles of design, e.g., balance. Each group will work together to make a composition sheet of paper using whatever cut up shapes they need. No glue is used so the design can be changed until they are satisfied. When all the groups are finished, the class walks around to each group’s composition and talks informally about what works and doesn’t work. Encourage them to talk about the work and offer advice and further explanation if you sense that they just don’t understand how to use a particular principle (it’s a lot easier to memorise a definition than it is to really understand its use). Find a way to reward those groups that use originality.
Now they can go back to the small groups and choose another principle to work with, using the same or different pieces of cut paper. The students will really be teaching each other as they work in each small group and in the larger class discussions they learn from each other by seeing others’ mistakes and accomplishments.
A game to play ... have each group make a composition illustrating one of the principles, and then the other groups have to guess which principle is used.
Topic: Colour
Materials: sketchbook or paper, pencil, crayons or paint
Objective: We use certain words to describe certain groups of colours.
COOL COLOURS contain blue or green.
WARM COLOURS contain yellow or red.
ANALOGOUS COLOURS contain a common colour and appear next to each other on the colour wheel.
COMPLEMENTARY COLOURS are directly opposite on the colour wheel.
SHADE is a colour mixed with black.
TINT is a colour mixed with white.
Procedure: On a clean page in your sketchbook draw several (at least 10) double boxes at least a total of 1-1/2 inches wide and one inch tall. Colour each box with different colour combinations and see which colours look good together. Each person sees colour differently. Do you like warm colours together? Cool colours? What do complementary colours look like together?
Topic: Printmaking
Materials: pieces of glass, paint brushes, sticks, paint (you can also use printing ink or try making a mixture of flour, food colouring, and water)
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Students will understand how to make and be able to produce a monoprint.
Notes: Monoprinting comes from the Latin word “mono” meaning one. In other kinds of printing, the printing block can be used more than once and the same design can be reproduced multiple times. In monoprinting no two prints can be made exactly the same. The design can be used only once. More than one colour can be used, however.
1. Use paint to make a design or image on a piece of glass with a brush. Several colours can be used, and colours can be mixed and blended directly on the glass.
2. Use a stick to remove some of the paint. This will create white lines on the finished print. Different width sticks will make different kinds of lines.
3. Put a clean piece of paper on top of the glass. Try to center the paper.
4. Rub top of paper with your hands so the paint will transfer.
5. Lift paper and your print will appear.
When using water-based paints (gouache, tempera, or watercolour), too much water will make the colours blur. Too little water will cause the paint to dry before you have time to print.
Topic: Stencils
Materials: paper, blade, printing paste or paint, sponge or foam, piece of posterboard
Time: 4 periods
Objective: Learn the process of stencil printing and the purpose of greeting cards.
1. Discuss what greeting cards are for. Success cards?
2. Discuss what a stencil is. How is it useful in the printing of cards?
3. Demonstrate making a symmetrical stencil:
a. Measure paper 15 cm width x 7.5 cm height.
b. Fold paper in half and crease it.
c. Open it and on both sides draw a 2 cm margin all the way around.
d. Fold again.
e. On the side with the crease identify the three margins.
f. Within the borders draw any open shape. Check that they know what an open shape is.
g. Cut along the shape being careful not to cut the top or the bottom or into any margins.
h. Unfold. You should have a symmetrical shape.
4. Printing:
a. Cut pieces of paper 30 cm wide and 7.5 cm height.
b. On a piece of wood or cardboard, use masking tape to make corners for registering the stencil and the paper.
c. Dip the sponge into the printing paste.
d. Sponge stenciled image onto the paper.
e. Fold paper. Voila. Greeting card or success card.
It may take two or three attempts to cut a stencil properly. Be careful not to use too much paint, which will move under the stencil and ruin the print.
Topic: 3D Composition
Materials: any small box (biscuits, tea, etc.) or envelopes, scissors, large decorated paper, pen, ruler, sticks, thread, needle
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Finding locally available objects such as packages or envelopes and figuring out how to reproduce them.
1. Discuss function, where to find packages or envelopes, benefits for being able to make your own (gifts, decoration, sculpture-type mobiles)
2. Carefully unglue package or envelope.
3. Choose paper large enough for unfolded package or envelope.
4. Trace the package or envelope on the back of the paper. At the places where it folds, fold back the flap and draw a dotted line.
5. Cut out the 2D design. Line up a ruler with the dotted lines and use the edge to make a crease in the paper.
6. Referring to the original package or envelope, glue the design in the appropriate places.
7. Use sticks, needle, and thread to make a mobile of boxes or envelopes.
Topic: Elements and Principles of Design
Materials: paper, pencils
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Getting students to relax their grip on the pencil. Get students to understand how line relates to rhythm, how lines create a variety or a repetition of shapes, and how texture added to one shape creates dominance.
Procedure: Using whole arm, students should be able to place their pencil onto the paper moving the line in any flowing direction without picking up the pencil from the paper. Overlapping the lines will form shapes. Emphasise the importance of varying degrees of pressure to get lighter and darker lines. Demonstrate the desired effects on a large piece of paper.
1. Place pencil on paper. Do not lift pencil from paper.
2. Move pencil around the paper overlapping the lines. Do not stop once you have started (10-15 min.).
3. Select areas to shade in order to add a sense of volume.
4. Students stand up in front of their desks. Each person moves to the left to view their neighbour’s work.
5. After they have viewed everyone’s work, ask one student which drawing he liked best. Why? Are there a variety of shapes? Repeated shapes?
6. Teacher demonstrates again. Choose one area to become the focal point either by adding texture or shading differently in order to create a dominant area.
7. Display works and ask students to identify line, shape, rhythm, variety, repetition, or dominance in particular drawings.
Topic: Drawing
Materials: a variety of textured objects, paper, pencils
Time: 4 periods
Objective: Establishing a relationship between observation and drawing.
1. Find a variety of objects with different textures, e.g., shells, leaves.
2. Students study objects. Teacher asks questions. How does it feel? Smell? Sound? Taste? Look?
3. Have two similar looking people stand up in front of the class and have the rest of the students compare and contrast the appearance of them. Shape of head, ears, nose, mouth, length of arms, width of shoulders.
4. Do the same for two shells or two leaves.
5. Students do two or three 10-minute contour drawings. Rules:
a. Do not remove pencil from the paper.
b. Do not erase.
c. Go slowly.
d. Keep your eyes on the object. You are recording information.
e. Vary the pressure of your pencil.
f. Do not stop and start. Move the pencil in a continuous line.
6. Display. Verbally reward those who have followed the rules.
Exercise must be repeated before the students figure out what is expected of them. With repeated exercises and critiques, the students will gain confidence slowly. If they cannot stop erasing, make them use pens or markers. If the class is large and cannot follow the rules, put them in pairs and while one is drawing their partner should check off the rules they’ve broken.
Topic: Drawing
Materials: objects for still life, pencils, paper
Time: 2 periods
Objective': Practice contour drawing with a variety of arranged objects.
a. Identify the starting point with a red dot on one of the objects. This is where they will begin drawing.
b. Exaggerate following the rules.
c. Explain hand and eye coordination as their eyes inch along the contour at the same speed as the hand is moving. Imagine the red dot moving along the contour slowly.
a. Depending on the size of the class, students work in groups.
b. Identify those who understand contour drawing as the group leaders.
c. Set up a still life for each group.
d. Start them on 10-15 minute drawings.
e. Do a final 20-25 minute drawing for a grade.
f. Display. Verbally reward. If they can handle it, offer criticism.
Try to get them to look at the still life as one object first of all. If necessary, use a piece of white tape to outline the perimeter of the still life. Concentration is a big problem. Eliminate all talking. Although each student will have a different perspective on the still life and therefore a different drawing, some will copy their neighbour’s work, especially if you have given praise to the neighbour. Wait until the display to make any comments.
Topic: Drawing/Proportion
Materials: paper (sketchbooks), 2H and 2B pencils
Time: 4 periods
Handout: photocopies of the skeletons and the muscles
Objective: Find proportion and form in drawing the human body. The human body can be broken into a grid for measuring accuracy.
1. Making the first line. With 2H pencil draw a line down the paper where you plan to draw. This should be aligned with the spine and extend throughout the length of the imagined figure. The body is symmetrical (for the most part) so this line should divide the body neatly down the middle.
2. Draw a rectangle where the first line dissects the rectangle evenly. The rectangle shouldn’t be much wider than you anticipate the figure to be.
3. Break up space. Divide the rectangle into important parts. In teaching I have the students draw lines at the chin, shoulders, waist, hips, knees, and ankles rather than go by the seven-head method in General Knowledge in Art.
4. Have students feel under their skin for bones, joints, and muscles.
5. Break up the parts of the body into geometrical shapes using the 2H pencil, e.g., head = a square.
6. Mark off where the body bends.
7. Sketch the basic muscles as seen in the handout that stretch across the bones. Neck muscles, shoulder muscles, hips, thighs, and calves.
8. Use the 2B pencil to draw over the shapes to clearly mark the outline of the body.
Homework: practice, practice, practice.
Using both pencils is important because if initial lines are too dark they will dominate the drawing. At first the drawings look cartoon-like but proportion is the key.
Materials: cardboard boxes, knife or razor blades, scissors, rulers, glue, tempera paint
Time: 2-3 weeks
Objective: Students will put into practice the lettering techniques they have previously learned by designing a logo for a product as well as construct a 3D container for that product.
1. Students will pick names of products from a hat (toothpaste, oats, soap, hair dye, etc.). Discuss the general shape of the object. Homework: find out the exact size of that object in height, length, and width.
2. Discuss how to make a box. Do an example. Have the students use the measurements of their product to design a box best suited for it. It should be measured and drawn directly onto the cardboard.
3. The cardboard shape should then be cut out, scored where necessary, and the sides glued into place so that it becomes a box.
4. Students should create their own product name and do a coloured drawing of it, including a style of lettering. This should be drawn on the box and painted in tempera paint.
The finished package design should be suitable for the product and creativity should be evident in the logo design and box construction. Lettering should be done correctly.
Topic: Indigenous African Art
Materials: Maps of West Africa showing the locations of the ethnic groups, photographs, and small cards with the names of the ethnic groups on them. Tape or glue.
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Identify various ethnic groups and their arts. Understand the concept that art is the mouthpiece of the cultures producing it.
1. Make a list of the countries of West Africa and their ethnic groups. Discuss with students.
2. Use the map to demonstrate the locations of the groups.
3. Draw a second map on the board and call students to pick and paste the small cards of ethnic groups on the map. Repeat several times.
4. Show sample photos.
5. Discuss their philosophy, influence, materials used, style, and aesthetic values. Use the Akuaba or the Chi-wara mask to explain.
Topic: GKIA
Materials: textbook and photographs
Time: 1 period
Objective: To understand the uses of art in society and to value the subject they are studying.
1. Let students mention the areas that art plays a role in.
2. Take each role and let the students come out with examples and their functions.
3. Use the text and discuss with students according to groupings.
4. Assign students to compile a table indicating art forms and artefacts in specific areas.
Field trips are a good way to familiarize students with artefacts such as linguist staffs, stools, and fertility dolls. Procedure 4 could be done after a field trip. Students may not be able to discuss the roles easily so guide them into discussions on hair styles as art, weaving, etc.
Topic: Bookmaking
Materials: cartridge paper, posterboard, needle and thread, pencils, rulers, felt pens
Time: 6-8 periods
Objective: Learn how to make books for children.
1. Why is it important for people to be able to read? Examples of children’s stories. Students share some stories. Homework: students write down their stories.
2. Practicing for the dummy.
a. Fold pieces of paper into leaves.
b. Measure the entire page space.
c. In sketchbook draw rectangles with the same measurement to practice writing the story.
d. Make 2 cm margins and rule lines across the paper.
e. Neatly print the story.
f. Homework: Practice drawing illustrations to complement the text.
3. Putting the books together. There should be enough pages for the written text, illustrations, a title page, and a blank page between the title page and the first page of the story. Also fold and cut a piece of cartridge paper for the cover. Lightly pencil what each page is for, e.g., write “title page,” “blank page,” “illustration” on the pages of the book.
a. Draw margins on the dummy.
b. Rule lines for the text.
c. Write out the story and title page.
d. Punch an odd number of holes, evenly spaced, in the spine.
e. Thread needle and come in through the middle hole.
f. Leave an inch or two after the knot.
g. Move up through the holes in an “S” motion.
h. Move down coming through the holes on the opposite side moving in a figure 8.
i. Move down and come up again.
j. Tie off.
Topic: group cooperation, drawing, composition
Materials: 1 sheet of paper per person, drawing materials
Time: 1-2 periods
Objective: Students will learn to collaborate and understand the evolution of creating a piece of artwork. They may also learn about composition and colour.
1. Give each student and yourself a piece of paper and drawing utensil. Each student should put his name on the back side.
2. Make a drawing of anything at all. Restrict the drawings to shapes and lines, no words. Work for 3-5 minutes (time them).
3. Pass the paper to the person on your left.
4. Draw on the new paper, adding to the drawing that someone else began. Work 3-5 minutes.
5. Continue with this procedure until the drawing with your name on it comes back to you. Each student will contribute to all the other drawings.
Topic: layout, design, lettering, composition, cooperation
Materials: 1 sheet of paper per person, drawing materials
Time: 4-10 periods
Objective: Students will practice writing, drawing, composition, and layout design. Students will see the benefit of creative collaboration, see the evolution of a book, and see a completed storybook.
1. Begin by telling a story. The teacher can begin by saying “Once upon a time...”
2. Each student must continue the story by adding a few sentences. Go around the room until every student has told a part of a story.
3. In exercise books each student should write down his part of the story and make a preliminary sketch of it.
4. Each student should make two or three small layout sketches to show where the words will appear on the page and where the image will appear.
5. Students will choose one layout design to produce on a finished scale.
6. Give each student paper and fold into three parts: two parts will be the same size and the third part will be one-inch wide (right edge of paper). Students will use the two big parts to make their illustrations.
7. When students finish their drawings and writing, collect all pages. Check spelling and grammar.
8. Show students how to assemble the pages using an accordion format. Glue the one-inch strip to the back of the next page until all the pages are connected.
9. Students who finish early can work in a group to make a title page. Be sure to include the names of all the authors and artists.
10. Make hard covers for an accordion book.
11. Glue the first and last pages of your book onto the hard covers. You can use a ribbon to tie it closed.
Topic: Drawing
Materials: chalk and chalkboard
Time: 1 week per group
Objective: Students will work collaboratively and learn how to work on a large scale.
1. Divide the class into groups.
2. Each group is assigned one week in the term to make a drawing. You can either allow the students complete freedom to create directly on the board or you can teach them how to use a grid to transfer a small drawing to a larger scale. You can combine the project with any topic in the syllabus that you are studying (landscape drawing, figure drawing, perspective, design, abstract art, African art, etc.)
3. Give the group coloured chalk at the beginning of the week.
4. For that week students will draw a mural on the chalkboard. They can do this before or after school or during a free period.
5. Work should remain on the board for the duration of the week for the class to see and critique.
Topic: Drawing
Materials: chalk, brushes, emulsion paint (indoors), oil-based paint (outdoors)
Time: 1 term
Objective: Students will learn to create a realistic copy of a work of art (their own or someone else’s) and scale it up or down in the correct proportions.
1. Discuss creating a grid and how to scale it up or down in size. Teacher should create a grid over a magazine photo and cut up grid squares, giving each student a square to illustrate for homework. Once finished, collect and tape squares in the correct order on the blackboard for students to see picture as a whole. Give definitions related to mural painting (grid, scale, fresco, underpainting, etc.) and a brief history with various reasons for doing murals (prehistoric cave paintings = record daily life, Michelangelo = forced to do it, Diego Rivera = political commentary).
2. Students should do three sketches based on a theme you have chosen (adinkra, animals, festivals). They should choose the best sketch and then do a final drawing in colour. Have a class critique and vote on the most appropriate one.
3. This drawing should be divided into a grid.
4. Students should clean the surface of a wall and draw a grid with chalk to the desired size.
5. Students can begin filling in grid blocks with the drawing. Assign each student a section of the mural (1, 2, or 3 blocks). When finished, the teacher should check it for accuracy and painting. Can be used as a final exam.
Topic: Composition
Materials: paper or posterboard, enamel paint, petrol, mosquito spray pump and three canisters, various 3-D objects
Time: 1-2 periods
Objective: Experiment with a variety of objects to create an abstract composition.
1. Discuss what is art? Representational art vs. abstract art?
2. Place objects on paper.
3. Take a mosquito spray pump and two or three screw-on canisters. Use petrol to dilute the paint. Put different colours into different canisters and add the petrol to each canister so you can just screw one on, spray, and then change canisters to spray another colour. If the paint is too thick, it won’t spray. Add more petrol.
4. Take the pump and spray the first colour onto the paper.
5. Rearrange the objects and spray the second colour.
6. Rearrange and spray the third colour.
Topic: Bookmaking
Materials: cassava starch, cardboard, fabric scraps, paper
Objective: Books are a good project to do with any level class because it combines manual skills, analytical thought, and creativity. And each student can take home a finished product which can be used throughout the term.
Procedure: For beginning students try making a single section sewn book. Then use it for homework and class assignments on drawing, design, and composition lessons. Have them fill the book with drawings for the end of the term..
For intermediate and advanced students try making hardbound sketchbooks at the beginning of the term. Then use it for all classwork and homework assignments. Or just assign that they fill the book by the end of the term. If art supplies are scarce, use local materials. Each student can bring cassava starch for glue, cardboard from old boxes, and scrap fabric for book cloth. If paper is a problem, get memos from the Peace Corps office and the students can draw on the blank side of the paper and collage or paint over the typed side.
Here are some ideas for filling sketchbooks.
Drawings: design elements (line, shape, and texture), places/landscape, perspective, imaginary place, animals, self-portrait (now, at age 5, and at age 80), family members, abstract, moving objects, still life
Collage/Mixed Media: magazines, newspapers, fabric, drawings, found objects (leaves, flowers, candy wrappers, etc.), cutting into paper, sewing onto paper
Make Your Own Materials: colours from food colouring, spices, etc.; sticks to apply ink
Topic: Bookmaking
Objective: For advanced students, making books with writing and illustration is a good way to teach about layout design, lettering, drawing, and colour. You can also collaborate with teachers from other subjects. For example, English students writing poetry could illustrate them. Home Economics students could make a book showing different food groups and their importance. Biology students could make a book showing how the digestive system works. History students could make a book to illustrate an important historical event.
Beginning students, flutter books that use only one piece of paper is a simple way to make a storybook. For advanced students, try making a hardbound accordion book. This is a good format because you don’t need to pre-determine the page layout. With sewn books you have to know the number of pages before you sew the book together.
Some ideas for storybooks: illustrate a Ghanaian fable or story, write a story about an animal, write a story about growing up; illustrate your daily activities, make a book of different places or different countries, choose a historic event to explain and illustrate, show the stages of growth (of a plant, animal, person, etc.), create a book of symbols, choose an object and explain the different types (kinds of flowers, foods, cars, animals, houses, etc.), write an imaginary story about someone your age in another place, a progressive story (go around the room to create a story)
Title: Making a Portfolio
Topic: Construction and Assemblage
Materials: large manila card, ruler, scissors/blade, glue
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Provide students with a large envelope to keep their work together and to keep their work from getting dirty.
1. With a ruler, divide the manila card into three parts: two equal parts and one part measuring half of one of the other parts, e.g., 30 cm, 30 cm, 15 cm. Exact measurement is very important.
2. Draw dotted lines where the portfolio will fold.
3. Draw dotted lines where the portfolio should be glued together.
4. Cut out along the outline.
5. Glue together at sides and let dry.
Topic: Bookmaking
Materials: old magazines/newspaper, glue, paper, needle, thread, scissors/blade, stapler
Time: 2 periods
Objective: Students will make a reference which can be used for any art project to enhance creativity.
1. Discuss the importance of making a scrapbook.
2. Cut large paper into sheets for making pages in a book.
3. Sew the sheets of paper together at the side using stab binding.
4. Cut interesting pictures out of magazines which will show examples of lettering styles, shapes, design, or colour arrangements.
5. Glue the pictures onto the pages with an explanation of each one.
Topic: Papermaking
Materials: recycled paper torn into small pieces, fufu pounder, bucket, large plastic tub or metal bowl, 2 yds interfacing (ask a seamstress)/towel/calico, sponges/foam, rectangular wooden frame or 4 pieces of wood, mosquito screening, hammer, nails, glue
Time: 4-10 periods
Objective: Students will understand how to make paper and be able to produce paper to use for other class projects.
Making the frame:
1. Nail and glue four strips of wood together to make a simple rectangular frame. Your finished paper will be the size of this frame.
2. Cover the frame with mosquito screening. Pull the screen tight and staple or nail it to the sides of the frame. This is just like stretching a canvas. You can try reinforcing this with glue or duct tape.
Preparing the paper pulp:
1. Tear scrap paper into small pieces.
2. Place paper in a bucket, pour boiling water over it, and allow it to soak overnight.
3. Put a handful of paper into the fufu pounder with a little water and pound into a pasty pulp. Bits of paper should be very small.
4. Pour this pulp into the tub and add water.
5. Continue this process until tub is 1/2 full with water and 1 inch thick with pulp.
Making the sheet of paper:
1. Cut the interfacing into sheets slightly larger than the frame.
2. Stir the paper pulp with your hand so it is evenly dispersed in water.
3. Dip frame deep into tub with the screen remaining horizontal and facing the sky.
4. Lift the frame up. Paper pulp will settle on the screen. Allow excess water to drip off.
5. Turn the frame over onto a piece of interfacing so the pulp transfers to the interfacing. Use a sponge to press the back of the screen, removing excess water from the paper pulp. Squeeze sponge dry and continue until most of the water is removed.
6. Remove screen. Paper pulp will stick to the interfacing and be very flat and thin like a wet piece of paper.
7. Continue this whole process to make several sheets of paper. You can stack pieces of interfacing onto one another and allow the paper to dry partially. Then place the paper under a stack of books or a cement block so they will dry flat.
Lots of things can be added to the paper pulp to change its look and feel. Any organic material (leaves, grasses, flowers, onion skins, spices, etc.) can be added to the paper pulp, either in the tub or on the frame. You can also add threads, small fabric scraps, coloured paper, newspaper, food wrappers, etc., to make decorative paper. If you want to make coloured paper, experiment by adding paint, food colouring, or using only coloured paper for the pulp.
This project can get messy, wet, and chaotic. Have students work together in pairs or groups. One group can be pounding paper pulp while another group forms sheets of paper.
Topic: Sculpture/Using Moulds
Materials: newspaper or cement bag paper, masking tape, cassava starch, pot and heat source, plastic bowls for moulds, tempera paint, strips of cloth, hair, feathers, sticks, etc.
Objective: The student will learn a type of sculpture using papier mâché as a means of self expression through masks.
1. Boil cassava and water in a pot over heat source (coal pot, gas fire, etc.) until thick. When cooled, add water to thin it out into a paste.
2. Tear newspaper/cement bags into strips.
3. Dip strips into paste and lay over plastic bowl until it is completely covered. Do three or four layers. Let dry completely and then remove from mould.
4. Now “building” can begin. This is when students begin to wad up paper and tape it to the surface to create protrusions such as brow, lips, ears, horns, etc. Layers of wet paper should be wrapped around the protrusions, inserting hair, feathers, etc., at this time. The masks should creatively convey a feeling or emotion (evil, happy, sad, etc.). Paint when dry.
5. Tie strips of cloth onto the sides of the mask so that the students may tie on his/her head.
Materials: paper, colours, thread, twigs
Time: 5-6 periods
Objective: Students will learn how to fold origami balls and will learn balance, how to follow directions, and how to work as a class.
1. Discuss adjectives and have the class give a few examples. Then have them write 10 each to describe themselves.
2. Introduce mobiles and origami.
3. Teach them to fold origami balls. Practice.
4. Have each student fold a ball. They should write their adjective list on the ball.
5. Affix balls to mobile and hang.
Materials: scraps of cloth, backing (flour sacks), thread, buttons, needles, straight pins, paper
Time: 1 term
Objective: Students will learn to use drawings and appliqué as a form of communication. Students will also learn about appliqué and its uses in local cultures and improve English comprehension skills.
1. For the first two months of the term, discuss narrative art and storytelling with pictures. Do word association drawings. Have students pick words from a hat (dance, farming, Christmas, Ramadan, etc.) and then ask them to illustrate that word. Have the students create a story as a class (you begin the story and each student adds to it until the last student creates the ending) and illustrate the part he/she created. Have the students illustrate a local folktale, such as “Anansi,” which you can read to them or invite an elder in to tell them. Discuss appliqué and how it’s used in local cultures (Fante Asafo flags, Benin’s Abomey Kingdom). There is a photo of appliqué cloth on page 30 of GKIA.
2. For the last month of the term and as a final exam, read a local folktale.
3. Students are asked to break down the story into its most significant parts while noting details (such as “Anansi was wearing a hat and carrying a cane.”) as you write them on the board. Then eliminate or add from those parts so that the story has been broken into parts that correspond to the number of students. Assign each student a part of the story.
4. Students should do three sketches of their part of the story for homework and choose the one that they feel best illustrates the story.
5. Discuss stencils and have students cut their stencils from paper and pin to the cloth of their choice. Then they will cut out the actual shapes from the cloth.
6. Begin sewing cut-out cloth to cloth squares (cut from flour sacks). When finished, the squares can be sewn together as one full piece.
Materials: cement, heavy paper, tesserae (broken tile, shells, stones, broken coloured glass)
Time: 2-3 weeks
Objective: The student will learn a form of art which might later be used as a means of income when finishing school.
1. Students should do three sketches of designs which are appropriate for the place in which the mosaic will be located. In my case, it was a step leading into the doorway of the artroom so the designs were related to art, learning, and change.
2. The class has a critique where they choose the best design(s) and then divide into groups that will work on developing each design.
3. The students cut a negative stencil of their design from heavy paper and lay it on a flat board. Their choices in tesserae are made and then laid into the stencil to see if the design will work.
4. The cement is mixed and poured and, if necessary, allowed to dry until soft (not mushy) to the touch. If your school has students who do practicals in this, it helps a lot. Otherwise, you will need to get an instructor or volunteer in town who can help the students mix the cement properly.
5. Students lay their stencils onto the wet cement and begin packing their pre-arranged tesserae into it. Students must work quickly! If the cement begins to grow too hard, sprinkling extra water on the cement helps (and has to be done anyway to help it set properly). Don’t do this in the rainy season.
Topic: Lettering
Materials: plywood pieces (20 cm x 30 cm), white enamel paint, brushes, pencils, paint
Objective: Students will learn practical skills.
1. Have students coat both sides of plywood with white enamel paint.
2. Brainstorm various sayings such as “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Students should choose a saying.
3. Students should design their plywood panels in their sketchbooks. Draw 10 cm x 15 cm rectangles in sketchbook, dividing the space into how many lines their saying will take. The simpler the design, the better.
4. Choose an appropriate image to design along the panel’s perimeter or open areas, e.g., a set of footprints or flowers. Cut out a stencil to trace the design easily onto the plywood.
5. With a pencil, sketch the lettering onto the plywood (cursive is easy). Trace stencils.
6. Mix colours, if necessary, and paint.

Art Project Ideas


The following is a list to give to students at the beginning of each term to help them find ways to develop their sketches and drawings.

Try it larger.

Try it smaller.

Repeat it.

Make it black and white.

Shadow it.

Put it away and look at it later.

Look at it in a mirror.

Make it pretty.

Make it bold and tough.

Fill it up.

Empty it.

Use more white space.

Use some lines.

Use a border.

Go over the edge.

Reverse it.

Emphasize it.

Condense it.

Use a drawing.

Use a photo.

Use a symbol.

Make the type bigger.

Make the type smaller.

Cut it up and rearrange it.

Add a texture.

Do it freehand.

Try something you like.

Try something you dislike.

Be conservative.

Be formal.

Be wild.

Be funny.

Be silly.

Make it gray.

Connect the elements.

Add a background.

Tack it up on the wall.

Look at it upside down.

Add more colour.

Add variety.

Make it off balance.

Give it rhythm.

Picture Making

Cutting and Pasting

Weaving and Stitchery

Construction and Assemblage

Fabric and Leather Decoration

How to make . . .

How to make batik

How to make beads

How to make paper

How to make tie and die

Improvising Materials

Substitute Art Materials


Powder paint for everyday use
5 tablespoons powder paint
5 tbsp water
Put powder paint and water in an empty container with lid and shake until the paint is thoroughly mixed. To make the paint keep better or go on more smoothly, add enough liquid starch or detergent to make it the consistency of cream.
Powder paint for larger quantities
8 tbsp powder paint
1 tsp white library paste
2 tbsp liquid starch
Add enough water to give the mixture a consistency of cream. To prevent a sour smell, add a little oil of cloves, wintergreen, or peppermint.
Using powder paint as a watercolour
For transparent watercolour, add sufficient water to the powder paint to obtain a runny consistency. For an opaque watercolour, add enough water or liquid starch to the powder paint to make a creamy consistency.
Using powder paint as coloured ink
Mix enough water with the powder paint to allow it to flow easily from a lettering pen or mechanical drawing tool.
Using powder paint as oil paint
1. Add a few drops of glycerine and powder paint to raw linseed oil to make a thick cream consistency. Use zinc oxide with linseed oil for a while oil paint.
2. Add boiled linseed oil to powder paint and stir well.
3. Add powder paint to liquid paste. Use stiff brush.
Using powder paint as enamel
Add clear shellac, lacquer, or varnish to the powder paint until a desired brushing consistency is reached.
Using powder paint as woodstain
Mix powder paint with linseed oil or turpentine until a brushing consistency is reached. To make a waterproof lacquer, mix powder paint with a gloss oil. Or, rub crayons with the grain of the wood. Then rub the wood vigorously with a cloth saturated in linseed oil.
Cornstarch Finger Paint
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 quart boiling water
Dissolve the starch in a small amount of cold water and gradually add the hot water. Cook until clear. To keep all recipes from drying, add 2 tbsp of glycerine. Add oil of cloves or wintergreen to keep from souring. For colour, use poster paint, India ink, or powdered tempera mixed with water to a smooth paste.
Liquid Starch Finger Paint
Pour a tbsp of liquid starch in the center of a sheet of dampened paper. Add a small amount of powder paint. Shaker cans or saltcellars are convenient to use. Work the colour and the starch together. Spread it over the paper by hand.
Laundry Starch Finger Paint
2 quarts boiling water
1 cup soap flakes
1 cup laundry starch
1/2 cup talcum powder
Dilute starch in a cupful of cold water. Add the remaining water slowly, stirring starch constantly to avoid lumping. Stir in the soap flakes and talcum powder. This will make about five pints. The soap flakes act as a binder. This recipe can be used to finger paint on glass or over a heavy coat of crayons.
Flour Finger Paint
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup of cornstarch
Mix ingredients to a thick heavy paste in cold water. Pour on enough boiling water to make a thick heavy starch, stirring constantly until clear.
Chalk Finger Paint
coloured chalk
school paste
oil of cloves
Use finely ground coloured chalk mixed with water, school paste, and 2 drops oil of cloves. The result will be a paint with an interesting texture.


Fixatives are used to give chalk, charcoal, or dry powder paint drawings a permanency so they will not rub off. Apply with a spray gun or old perfume atomizer. Pin drawings to a backing of newspapers or to the back of a large carton to protect walls from spray.

1. 1 part shellac and 2 parts alcohol
2. Wallpaper lacquer (use several coats)
3. Gum arabic dissolved in water to the consistency of thin mucilage. Spray lightly two or three times.
4. Mix 1 tsp of paste in 1/2 cup of water. Lay paper flat to spray. Do not let it become wet.
5. 1 gallon of alcohol and 1/2 pint of paste. Excellent for scenic effects or murals.
6. Inexpensive hairspray

Cleaners and Thinners

Glue: Sponge with lukewarm water.
Grease/oil: Spot remover, cornmeal, or salt at least 1” deep.
Gum/tar: Carbon tetrachloride.
Oil paint: Turpentine acts as both cleaner and thinner, linseed oil as a thinner, soap or detergent as a cleaner.
Printer’s ink: Carbon tetrachloride is the cleaner to use and printer’s varnish for thinning.
Rubber cement: Use an eraser for cleaning and benzene for thinning.
Shellac/varnish/lacquer: Use alcohol for cleaning and thinning.
Water-base paints: Water is best for both cleaner and thinner.
Wax/paraffin: Carbon tetrachloride

Printing Inks

Oil-Base Printing Ink
2 parts powder paint
1 part linseed oil
1 part varnish
Will not dry quickly. Good for paper with a rough texture.
Varnish-Base Printing Ink
3 parts powder paint
1 part varnish
Mix with a palette knife on glass. Use a brayer or printing roller, rolling it back and forth until the mixture is tacky before applying it to the printing block. This will dry faster than the oil-base ink and is suitable to use on nonabsorbent, smooth paper. Can be thinned with denatured alcohol.


Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 1
chloride of lime
5% sulfuric acid
carbonate of soda
Make a strong solution of water and chloride of lime (bleaching powder). Allow it to settle and draw off the clear liquid. Rinse the sacks in clean water with 5% sulfuric acid and then pull them slowly through the bleaching solution. Rinse well with water containing a little carbonate of soda. If colour remains, allow the fabric to stay a short time in the sulfuric acid solution. Be sure to rinse well.
Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 2
Dampen sacks in tepid water. Wash well with naphtha soap. Roll tightly and dampen with kerosene. Allow them to stand overnight, wash out, and boil with a bleaching powder or naphtha soap. If the colour remains, the process should be repeated.
Bleaching Flour and Sugar Sacks 3
Use a commercial bleach, following instructions carefully.
Making Natural Dyes
Collect plants, moss, herbs, roots, nuts, and so on. Chop a quantity of one of these materials and put it through a meat grinder. Cover it with water and allow it to stand overnight. Drain off the water the next morning and save it. Add a little more water to the pulp and simmer for 30 minutes. After allowing the pulp to simmer for 30 minutes, drain off the water and add it to the first water. Add enough water to cover the fabric.
Dyeing the Material
Rinse the fabric or wool in hot water, wring it well, and then place it in the dye, making sure it is well covered. Bring the dye to a simmering stage and cook until the fabric is coloured as deeply as you wish. Rinse the material in lukewarm water. Squeeze lightly but do not wring. Avoid direct rays of sunlight while drying.

Screen Printing

Tempera Paint Silk Screen Ink
tempera paint
soap flakes
Add a small quantity of soap flakes to the tempera to give it viscosity and to deter drying. Add water only if necessary. If paint is too thick, it will clog the screen. If too thin, it will run. Finger paint of a creamy consistency can also be used.
Liquid Starch Silk Screen Paint
liquid starch
powder paint
Add liquid starch to powder paint until it is the consistency of light paste.


Cassava Paste
cassava starch
Sieve the cassava starch to remove all lumps. Mix with water and stir to smooth consistency. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. It will thicken quickly and turn transparent. Add more water if paste is too thick. Cool and keep in covered jar. Lasts from one to three days. Excellent for paper mâché.
Flour Paste
1/2 c flour
Add enough water to make a thin paste. Boil 5 minutes over a slow fire, stirring constantly. Cool and thin with water. Add a few drops of wintergreen or peppermint to keep it from spoiling. Keep in a covered jar. Use in any projects requiring large quantities of paste.
Cornstarch Paste
2 tbsp cornstarch
Add enough cold water to make a smooth paste. Add boiling water until the mixture turns clear. Cook until it thickens and remove from fire. This paste becomes thicker as it cools. It may be thinned with water. Use it on tissue paper or thin cloth as it is less likely to show than flour paste.
Bookmaker’s Paste
1 tsp flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp powdered alum
Mix ingredients together. Add 6 tbsp of water slowly, stirring until smooth. Cook over a low flame, preferably in a double boiler. Stir constantly until the paste is thickened. Keep in air-tight jars and thin with water when necessary. Use to make notebooks and in bookmaking projects.

Modelling Material

Crepe Clay
1 fold of crepe paper, any colour
1 tbsp of salt mixed with 1 cup of flour
Cut the crepe paper into tiny pieces (confetti size). Place in a large bowl and add only enough water to cover the paper. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes and pour off the excess water. Add enough of the flour-salt mixture to make a stiff dough. Knead well until it is blended with the crepe paper.
Flour Clay
1 cup flour
1 cup salt
1 rounded tsp powdered alum
Add water slowly and knead until a claylike consistency is reached. Wrap in a wet cloth to keep a few days. This substitute may be handled exactly like clay. When dry, it can be painted. It retains its shape without crumbling. For a coloured mixture, add powder paint to the water when mixing it.
Cornstarch Clay
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 cup salt
1 cup boiling water
Boil to a soft-ball stage and knead on wax paper until malleable. Wrap in a wet cloth to keep a few days. This substitute may be handled exactly like clay. When dry, it can be painted. It retains its shape without crumbling. For a coloured mixture, add powder paint to the water when mixing it.
Papier Mâché Pulp
Tear newspapers, paper plates, or egg cartons into fine bits. Cover with water and soak for 24 hours in a non rusting container. Put mixture in a cloth bag and squeeze to get rid of excess water. Work on a wax paper surface so water will not damage the table or the desk. Add ONE of the following for each quart of pulp:
6 tbsp flour
6 tbsp dry laundry starch
1 cup liquid starch
1 cup thin library paste
1 cup wheat paste mixed to consistency of cream
1 cup boiled flour paste
A few drops of wintergreen oil or oil of cloves will help keep the pulp from souring. A little salt added to the mixture will prevent fermentation. Knead to the consistency of soft modelling clay. Drying may take as long as a week.
Quick-Drying Pulp
4 cups papier mâché pulp
1 cup plaster of Paris
1/2 tsp commercial glue
Knead to the consistency of heavy dough. It will dry in three to six hours.
Sawdust 1
2 cups sawdust
1 cup flour
1 tbsp glue
hot water or liquid starch
Moisten with water or starch until you reach a modeling consistency. If being used for ornaments, strings or wires should be put in place while they are being modelled. May be painted when dry.
Sawdust 2
wallpaper paste
Mix equal parts. If the mixture is sticky, add more sawdust.
Sawdust 3
3 cups sawdust
1 cup wheat paste
Add enough water to mix the ingredients. Do not make it too stiff.
Sawdust 4
1 cup sawdust
1 cup plaster of Paris
thin glue
Mix together. Add enough glue to hold it together.
Sawdust 5
2 cups sawdust
1 cup plaster of Paris
1/2 cup wheat or wallpaper paste
2 cups water
Mix ingredients. Add water gradually until a modeling consistency is reached. Excellent for puppet heads, fruits, vegetables, masks, figures, animals.
Sawdust 6
1/2 pint flour
1 quart water
1 tsp alum
1 tsp oil of cloves
Cook flour and water until a creamy stage is reached. Add alum. Remove from the stove and add oil of cloves. Stir in enough sawdust to make a modeling consistency. May be painted with powder paints or other colouring media when dry.
Texture Sawdust
powder paint
Mix the powder paint with water to a thin cream consistency. Spread it over sawdust and stir well. Spread on a newspaper to dry. Use it to sprinkle on a glued surface for a textured effect.
Sawdust Mix for Relief Maps
Add a teaspoon of commercial glue to any of the above recipes to increase the adhesive quality of the sawdust mix when applying it to a wooden surface.
Dough 1
2 cups flour
2 cups salt
Mix. Add enough water to make a creamy consistency. Powder paint or other colouring may be added or it may be painted after it is dry. Excellent for relief maps. Build elevations in layers, allowing each to dry before adding another.
Dough 2
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp powdered alum
beaten egg white
Mix all ingredients together and colour with powder paint or water colours.
Dough 3
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
3 tsp powdered alum
Add enough water to make proper consistency.
Dough 4
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup salt
1 cup cold water
Mix ingredients thoroughly and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture stiffens into a lump. Cool and allow to set until it does not stick to the fingers. A few drops of food colouring or powder paint may be added to the mixture for colour. For Christmas ornaments, this dough may be cut with cookie cutters or pressed into a mold. Holes for hanging may be punched with a toothpick before the ornament is dry. Glitter, sequins, feathers may be pressed into the damp ornaments.
Play Dough
500 ml flour
75 ml salt
2 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp food colouring
1 liter water
Mix dry ingredients separately. Boil water in a large pot. Add oil and food colouring to boiling water. Turn heat low. Mix for two or three minutes until mixture forms a ball and doesn’t stick to pot. Let it cool. Turn it out and knead. Store in airtight container, preferably in refrigerator or cool spot.

Plaster and Paraffin Modeling

Plaster of Paris
1 quart water
4 cups plaster of Paris
Add plaster of Paris to water until a small mound stays on the surface of the water and then stir until it thickens. Be sure to remove small lumps. Powder paint can be added to the dry plaster to tint it. Pour into a mould, form, or box of heavy paper the size desired for carving. The mould should be a little larger than the size of the finished carving. Do not use aluminum ware or a sink (the plaster will lodge in the drain pipes). After plaster has set it can be removed from the form. Even though still wet, it is ready for carving. It will stay damp for several days or can be resoaked in water and then carved or shaped with tools.
Melt paraffin in a double boiler or a pan placed in boiling water, never directly over the fire. Pour it into another container. When it has solidified but is still soft, model it as you would any other plastic material. The warmth of the hands will keep it soft, especially if you dip your hands in warm water. If colour is wanted, shave a little wax crayon into the paraffin while it is melting. A marbleised effect is brought about by adding the wax crayon after the paraffin is melted. Crushed coloured chalk may also be added. When the object is moulded, dip it in cold water to harden. Polish the paraffin by rubbing over it with a cotton cloth.


Gesso 1
10 tsp whiting (precipitated chalk)
6 tsp glue
4 tsp boiled linseed oil
1 tsp varnish
water to make a thick cream
Whiting can be purchased at most hardware stores. Boil the ingredients for 10 minutes in a double boiler. Colour by adding powder paint.
Gesso 2
3 envelopes Knox gelatin
3 or more handfuls whiting
16 oz cold water
Combine water and gelatin in the top of a double boiler. Soak for 10 minutes. Heat until it becomes liquid. Add whiting. Mix with a brush and strain through cheesecloth. Gesso is especially good for making relief designs. Powder paint or metallic powder will colour it. Gesso can also be molded and, when dry, carved with a fingernail or a pencil.

Sources of Materials

809 11th Lane
P.O. Box 3474
0302 777399
Acrylic paint for painting, screening, fabric, glass; brushes; general art supplies; decoupage material; paper

Deaf Art

Living and Working at a Deaf School in Ghana!

Okay, so, you are a PCV at a deaf school in Ghana! Your job is one of the most special assignments in all of Peace Corps and one of the most fun. The nature of the job does, however, present unique challenges and provides unique rewards. What follows is a collection of musings about living and working in a Ghanaian deaf school, advice about how to successfully live with and teach deaf students, and some project ideas that have been especially successful in the past. This information comes from some of the deaf art teachers from the 2009-11 Education group – Joy, Carol, Nancy, and Katharyn.



Creative Arts Primary 1 - 3 Syllabus

Creative Arts Primary 4 - 6 Syllabus

Sign Language

Sign Language Dictionary with video by American Sign Language Pro
Sign Language Browser with video by Michigan State University

How to Teach Deaf Students

Classroom Management

Art Project Ideas

The projects that are italicized have samples in the photo section.

Making Pictures, Drawing, and Colour Work

Pattern Making, Printmaking, and Lettering


Weaving and Stitching

Modeling and Casting

Construction/Assemblage and Paperwork

How to Display Art

Good Resources for Art Projects

In addition to the official Creative Arts textbooks and student workbooks, good resources include:

Prince, Art is Fundamental
Watt, The Usborne Book of Art Projects (crafty, U.K.)
Nancy Beal, The Art of Teaching Art to Children (U.S.)
Evans, How to Teach Art to Children (elements of art, Evan-Moor, U.S.)
Jane Bull, Make It! (recycling, U.K.)
Susan Milord, Adventures in Art (crafty projects, U.S.)
Dick Blick lesson plans
Crayola lesson plans
Google “art teacher blogs” for many, many ideas.
You will do some workshops on Ghanaian arts and crafts during training. You can also take workshops on your own all over Ghana, e.g., kente weaving, batik, pottery, woodcarving, basketry, house painting designs, adinkra stamping, bead making, calabash, and screen printing. Some of these things are included on the syllabus, and you’ll be expected to teach them. Or you may just get really interested and want to make a personal study of one. One volunteer, who recently left, became a master kente weaver.

Other Projects


Unless you are very lucky, don’t expect your school to supply you with materials for teaching art. Sometimes you will be reimbursed and sometimes you won’t. You will have to be very creative. You can have your students make things to sell (e.g., jewelry) to pay for supplies.

General Advice


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Art Vocabulary/How to Explain and Describe Art Things in ASL

ASL is a fantastic language for some things (telling stories, displaying obvious emotions, joking around) and not so fantastic for other things (describing particular emotions or abstract things). While English can be a very specific language, with individual words for everything, ASL is more limited in its vocabulary. Because of this, because there aren’t signs for specific art words, it’s sometimes difficult to explain an artistic idea to your students. This is one Volunteer’s (Nancy’s) experience with it: “It took me a long time to figure out that there are no art signs for teaching other than cut, paste, etc. It wasn’t until I was trying to explain the resist technique in batik that I realised that you have to approach the language in a whole different way. I worked with one of the better teachers and we came up with ‘enter colour can’t.’” And this is the best way to do it; if there is not a sign for what you are trying to teach, describe it in a different way. The following is a list of some art vocabulary words and ways that you can explain them in Sign. Just do the signs in the order that they appear.


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