This project was compiled
using material from
lessons by artists Laura Ni
Fhlaibhín and Clare Breen.
Project aim: to learn about materials and mark making. Children will be challenged
to create their own original drawing tool, using a range of natural and discarded
materials. Students will be reminded of the creative possibilities in making their
own tools, rather than buying drawing tools and contributing to consumption of
plastics etc. Children will then experiment with drawing with their tool, using inks
or deleted paint. The fun and inventive potential in developing a sustainable outlook will be developed in this project.
Duration: 2 lessons, 60 mins each Suitability: suitable for all class levels Materials:
-Masking tape and or/duct tapes in a range of bright fun
colours (one roll for every 4 students)
- Tree Branches and twigs of many sizes- (at least one for
- A range of natural materials-leaves, feathers, sponges,
- Discarded materials-old tea towels, milk carton lids, old
toothbrushes, old cutlery, plastic food packaging, polystyrene etc.
- Ink or classroom poster paints mixed with water,
- A selection of paper-old wallpaper, wrapping paper, cereal
boxes, non-texture cardboard etc.
- Old, clean yoghurt pots as containers.
- Literacy: children can write the procedural steps involved
in the creation of their drawing tool.
- History: Stone Age: students can gain inspiration from
Stone Age tools and making processes.
- Green Schools: collection reusable materials, plastic waste
Students and the wider school community can be asked
to gather a range of natural and discarded materials for the
weeks leading up to this project. A large cardboard box is
useful to collect the materials.
- Lay out the materials on a spare table or two, or on the
floor. Explain the expectations for the lesson; students are
welcome to explore the materials but must keep them tidy
for others to enjoy.
- Large plastic water bottles can be used to store the tools in
between lessons- carefully cut the bottle in two, mindful of
any sharp plastic.
- You can make up your own story line for the warm-up exercise in lesson 1. Just make sure to include lots of changes
in pace. (Encourage them to create texture with their pencil/
pastel to mimic the energy of the story.)
- For lesson 2 old wallpaper is really useful for large scale
drawings and can also often be found in charity shops. Roll
out a large section (2-3 metres) of the plain reverse side of
the wallpaper and generously secure with lots of masking
tape. I ask students to help me in preparing the rolls on the
ground. Masking tape can just be torn off by hand rather
than using scissors.
- Black drawing ink can be used but regular classroom poster paint, diluted with a little water is perfect too.
- This activity is wonderful for outdoors weather permitting,
with the wallpaper rolls taped to the ground.
- An unusual and eye-catching classroom display can be
created by hanging the drawing tools with strings.
Foundations: Drawing Tools: Lesson 1
Making an experimental
Foundations: Drawing Tools: Lesson 2
Drawing with their tool