Egyptian Chalk Art: Glue Optional

Michael's scarab

Here are some fine examples of our annual sixth grade Ancient Egyptian chalk art project. Click here to see more examples from last year.


ancient egypt 3


ancient egypt portraits 2

Day 1-2

Our sixth grade students study ancient Egypt as part of their ancient civilizations social studies unit. They have a lot of pre-existing knowledge of Egypt. I build on this by showing photos of treasures from King Tut’s tomb, such as scarab jewelry and Tut’s golden sarcophagus. They had heard of the Book of the Dead – now they had the opportunity to look at all the figures in it draw one. We noticed all the figures were stylized: the head drawn in profile, with the eye looking straight ahead.

Students had the option of drawing ancient god/goddess, tomb artifact, or portrait. They (lightly) drew an image using pencil on black paper. Some kids found it easier to use white chalk for the sketch. Then they went over their lines with black oil pastel.

Day 2-3

The students colored in with chalk pastels, and tried to avoid coloring over the black oil pastel lines.

Minimize the mess: encourage kids to tap excess chalk onto newspaper instead of blowing it around.

Day 3

After coloring with chalk pastels, students went over the black lines one more time with oil pastel.


I used to teach this as a white glue/chalk pastel project, and had lots of old examples for students to see and touch. A number of kids really liked the glue lines. After completing the project, some students asked if they could add glue lines OVER their artwork as a final step. Surprise! We found out their glue lines dried fairly dark even if they were applied over chalk.

ancient egypt faces

White glue hieroglyphics and outlines.

In the above portraits, one girl added white glue hieroglyphics as a final step. The other outlined her portrait in white glue.

I sprayed the completed chalk art with hairspray to keep the pastels from smearing.

If you do use white glue, don’t make the same mistake I did years ago….

Don’t let them dry on the tables! I tried this once. Some glue blogs seeped through the paper overnight. The next morning I found several artworks glued firmly to the table. I had to pry them off, and repair the rips 🙁  Live and learn!


Parts of this lesson were adapted from the excellent Arts Attack curriculum.

Art of Education Online Conference June 25

I’m excited about the upcoming Art of Ed Online Conference for art educators. It’s on June 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. CST. Click here for the conference schedule.


I’m especially interested in STEM to STEAM, iPads in the art room, technology integration, and the adaptations for students with autism. There’s a lot more on the schedule – check it out!

The presentations are very focused – 10-20 minutes long. You can live chat with presenters during their presentation, and there will be a forum as well. I’m the kind of person who loves to ask questions and interact – I’m really happy the online conference has those features. I don’t even have to take notes:  enrollment includes access to  printables and videos for two months after the conference ends.

I plan on grabbing my laptop, settling in on the couch with an iced tea and LEARNING.

DEADLINE FOR SIGN UP IS JUNE 23, 2013. Click here for more info.

Block Printing with Art Club

This is the first year I offered art club. It was so much fun! Small group. Motivated kids – sixth grade only. Friday afternoon. Ahh…

We did block printing and the kids who learned this skill were enthralled. They kept popping by the art room every day, hoping to carve a little more. They skipped recess to carve. They hung around Friday after the bell rang.

eraser carving materials



  • Magic Rub Erasers
  • Soft-Kut Starter Kit (includes Speedball cutters, handles, carving blocks and printer’s ink)
  • copy paper and tracing paper
  • pencils
  • Crayola markers
  • Ink pads
  • Brayer and flat surface for rolling ink

Eraser carving:

Students started by sketching a variety of simple designs using pencil and copy paper. They traced their favorite design onto tracing paper, then transferred the design to the eraser. Then they carved out the white parts of the design using a lino cutter. CLICK HERE to see an excellent carving video. I did this project with sixth grade last year – read more in this post.

carving erasers

Once students had a little carving experience, they moved on to more complex designs on the back of their erasers.

all the eraser collage

Soft-Kut Blocks

Students used the same techniques to transfer their designs onto the larger blocks. Some students used Crayola markers to ink their blocks (I think the inked blocks are beautiful on their own!).

sophia's block


alexita's block

Others used block print ink applied with a brayer.

big blocks

iPad in the art room:

We used iPads two different ways for this project.

  1. Looked at images of linoleum carvings on Google images
  2. Had fun testing out the carving process using the free Ukiyoe app (available on the app store).

ukiyoe app


Art club was a hit. Carving was a hit. I will definitely offer it to my sixth graders next year.

Do you offer art club at your school? What sort of projects do you do?

Map Collage Self Portraits

Looking for a fresh self-portrait project? Check out these map collage self portraits shared by PJ, art teacher extraordinaire at Carmel Creek school.

Map Collage self portrait 2

PJ got free maps from the used book sale at her local library  – most were old National Geographic maps. Students just picked an interesting portion of the map to cut up. They did not use a template, so the whole thing took 5 or 6 40-minute classes.  PJ provided painted paper and wallpaper for facial features. Some students braided the yarn, used more sequins etc.

PJs Map Collage Self Portrait

A little more about PJ: she teaches art grades K-4, and is a veteran art teacher in our district. PJ’s school has unique challenges: she has the district’s largest school and has the most multi-cultural student mix. Over a dozen languages are spoken by the students at her school! In addition to teaching art classes and doing recess duty, she teaches reading in the morning. She is absolutely unflappable, a real jewel in our district. Her students ARE SO LUCKY to have her as an art teacher: she brings creativity and enthusiasm to school with her every day. I am SO lucky to have her as a colleague.


San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts: Call for Entries

MOPA collage

The Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park has a Call for Entries for their 8th Annual juried Youth Exhibition. This year’s theme deals with community in My City, Your City. They are now accepting submissions from San Diego students K-12 who have used photography or video to document their community, neighborhood, or home from a personal or cultural point of view.

What does it mean to call a place home? 

What story would you tell about your community?

Where do you come from and what do you call home?

My City, Your City will showcase the creative and artistic voices of San Diego’s youth while offering visitors the opportunity to view the world through their eyes. Encourage your students to submit their artwork today! Open to all of San Diego County K-12 students!

The deadline is June 15, 2013.

Visit for more information or to download a submission packet. You can also watch their call for entries video here.

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