Tuesday, January 7, 2020

DragonWing Arts Students 'Discover' Treasure!

Our theme for the fall DragonWing Arts session was Discover!  My five students (two 3rd graders, one 4th grader, one 5th grader, and one 6th grader) did three projects - the first was the creation of a treasure map.
And the second was a papier-mache project.  (I'll tell you about the third project later.)  I asked the kids what they'd like to build with papier-mache - perhaps a newly 'discovered' creature, a box of buried treasure, something from outer space, a discovery under the microscope or deep in the sea, etc.  My five students unanimously said "We want to make TREASURE CHESTS!"  So we did.
We began by constructing the boxes and their curved covers, out of cardboard (from shipping cartons).  We covered them with a coat of papier-mache, and when dried, we gave them a base coat of black acrylic.
The students painted their treasure chests and bedazzled them with some jewels.  They used a colorful air-dry clay and made some tentacles and such to be emerging from the their treasure chests, and also added felt and more jewels and strings of beads as desired.  We cut 'hinges' out of sparkly felt and such, and I hot glued them together for the kids.  I think they came out great!

For the treasure maps, I had experimented with dark brews of tea and coffee to stain the paper, but it just didn't 'take' the way I wanted, so we used liquid watercolors.  I mixed brown with green, with orange, with  yellow, and with black, and after they had torn the edges of their paper, they painted them with the watercolors, blotting and wetting as desired to get the effect they wanted. They discovered that dripping water on the papers looked really cool.
 The kids learned how to make a simple 'compass rose', and also how to make a scroll for a key on their maps.  I printed out sheets of typical map symbols and then let them go to work making their maps truly their own inventions. The started with pencil, and then used a combination of fine-tip black markers and India ink with dip pens.  They loved working with the pen and ink!!  Afterward they used tiny amounts of red, white, and gold acrylic ink to embellish.
Somehow I forgot to take pics of the third project, so here's some more views of the treasure chests! 


  1. I've not done maps for so long!?! Thank you for the reminder of how fun they can be. Love these lessons!! Keep sharing friend. You are a blessing to us art ed peeps!!!

  2. When life is back to normal I'm going to do a workshop with kids on making treasure chests and maps. Maybe I will add it to some followup to a book. I'm also a retired teacher (I taught S.T.E.A.M) the last 20 years of my career. Now, I'm working in a creative reuse center doing more art than science but this inspired me! Thanks so much!

  3. This is great. As I was looking at the maps I thought about doing maps for each of my grandchildren at Christmas to lead them to their presents.

    1. What a fun idea! The kids will surely love the adventure!