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Lesson Plan: Cut Paper Design

Teacher: Essex Garner
Unit: Making Art Cut Paper Design/Design Techniques - Geometry integration

Grade Level: Middle School, and High School (7 - 12) - Adaptable to higher grades.

Grades: 7-12+, Ages: 12 and Up

Strand (Know about Art), (Making Art) and Elements of Art and (Art History)


Objective Students will work in techniques of line, color theory, shapes, and symmetry. While using construction paper (Primary, Secondary, Analogous, and Neutrals, create negative and positive space in relationship with nonobjective or representational design related works. Students will make a thumbnail drawing of concepts in relationship with the organizing principles of design of their artistic statement. Use a variety of techniques learned from previous art lessons.

What You Need:
Construction Paper (Assorted color pack) works best, and or Fluorescents, scissors, mate knife, glue, and cutting board

What You Do:

Step One: Have students pick a negative tone background piece of construction paper (8 x 11). From their thumbnail sketch have students explore either an Asymmetrical or symmetrical design concept and color theory they plan to use in their design.. (Black, Grey and White backgrounds work best), but not necessarily if the design works better within color complements.

Ensure the design makes good use of the total area of the paper.






Step Two: Have students start cutting out shapes to glued on background. Do not let students glue pieces until all of shape are cut. This will allow student to alter some initial design features if necessary for esthetic purposes, an practicing design layout.

     a. Try to make them stay close to their concept drawing if it's workable.

     b. Insure the students are not throwing away any smaller cut pieces. Make a  simple paper folder for these pieces, they can be used to fill in spaces and  overlapping.

     c. Encourage sections of design being laid down to go off the edge of the  paper; you can cut them flush to with the edge of the background after the  project dries.

Step Three: Start to glue shapes or forms on negative space. Sometimes simple rectilinear or curvilinear shapes work well (
Piet Mondrain). Ensure students use proper glue techniques; dried glue oozing off paper onto negative space takes away esthetic qualities in student work and reflect bad craftsmanship. In the event can be seen; wait until project is dry, and with a gum eraser try removing these areas then.


Step Four: Let project dry overnight.

Have student write on either the back of their project or the thumbnail sketch pertinent information:

          (1) Asymmetrical or Symmetrical Design
          (2) Nonobjective (Abstract) or Representational format
          (3) Curvilinear or rectilinear lines
          (4) Types of shapes: Organic, etc
          (5) Color combinations, Monochromatic, Triadic Primary or  Secondary, Analogous, etc.
          (6) Relief combinations used if any (Bas, High, etc).
          (7) Repetition, Balance, Unity, Varity, Etc that was used in their design.


Step Five: Have a critique to discuss elements of design, and organizing principles so each student can describe challenges or obstacle they encountered during this project..


Cut Paper Design



Cut Paper Design

Cut Paper Design


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