Summer Honors Academy- Lots of Lesson Ideas!


I was aked once again to teach Honors Academy this summer for one week. The Academy consists of students who have been nominated by their teachers to attend. They are then given several choices of classes to take for the week. My class was entitled "Fearless Art" and I had about 15 students. Here are some of the projects we created during that week.

Gel Glue Batik (as seen above)

* Cotton cloth (we used bandanas that are sold in packs of 10 from Wal-Mart), but t-shirts would work also.
* Elmer's blue gel glue- MUST be gel glue or it won't rinse out
* pencil
* acrylic paints
* paint brushes

Step 1:
Draw a design on the bandana using pencil. This will wash out later, so don't worry about leaving lines. Add patterns to any wide open spaces to make it more interesting.

Step 2:
Trace over all pencil lines using the gel glue. Allow to completely dry.


Step 3:
Paint the entire piece of cloth, covering right over the top of the glue. ALLOW TO DRY OVERNIGHT. I made the mistake of trying to rinse my first batik out too early and the paint really faded.


Step 4:
Submerge the cloth completely in water to soften up the glue- it will get gummy.

Step 5:
Rinse the batik under running water, rubbing the cloth together or with your fingers.

Step 6: Allow to dry and display for all to see!

(I so wish I had a better photo of this one because it turned out AMAZING!)

 Here is an apron (found at Hobby Lobby) that I created during last year's Academy.

 Mod-Podge Collage Canvas

* Canvas panel (or heavy cardboard)
* Acrylic paints
* Paint brushes
* Various tools for creating texture (combs, stamps, stencils, etc.)
* Mod-Podge
* Foam brushes
* Scrapbook papers/ decorative paper
* Permanent markers
* Embellishments (buttons, paper letters, stamps, foam shapes, etc.)
* Tacky glue or glue gun for older students/adults

Step 1:
Squeeze two colors of acrylic on the canvas. Be sure to choose colors that work well together.
Use a paintbrush to cover the canvas with the paint. The object is to leave the colors as unmixed as possible.

Step 2:
Using the various tools, create designs in the paint while it is still wet. Also, use other colors to stamp on top. We used wooden thread spools, tape register plastic rolls, small yogurt cups to make circles, and any found objects that can be used to make an interesting mark. Really encourage students to be fearless in their choices. We also used stencils to add more patterns on top. Allow to dry.

Step 3:
Begin cutting shapes from scrapbook paper to create a design to be decoupaged on top. Some successful ideas included birds, owls, fruit bowls, and trees. Details will be added later.

Step 4:
Using the foam brush and Mod-Podge, decoupage the pieces to the canvas. Remind students to brush glue both under and OVER the paper scraps. I encouraged them to use their fingers to smooth out the paper so there were no bubbles.




Step 5:
Embellish the design with buttons, outlining, words, etc. Be creative!






Block Out Canvas

(I used old sheet music in this piece. The tail feathers and leaves are the decoupaged background showing through.) 

* Canvas panels
* Mod-Podge
* Foam Brushes
* Scraps of paper- we used scrapbook paper scraps
* Acrylic Paint
* Embellishments
* Tacky glue
* Permanent marker or paint pens

This project is just the opposite of the one posted above.

Step 1:
Completely cover the canvas with scraps of paper using Mod-Podge (decoupage).
Allow to dry.

Step 2:
Using acrylic, paint a design leaving parts of the decoupaged canvas to show through.

Step 3:
Add embellishments and draw patterns in the background using permanent marker or paint pen.


Paul Klee Watercolor Towers
I've seen these floating around the internet and we had some extra time, so we tried them. I love the results!

* Watercolors (we used liquid)
* Paint brushes
* Permanent markers
* Old book pages or sheet music

Step 1:
Review the art of Paul Klee and point out the geometric shapes he used in his work.

Step 2: Draw geometric shapes on an old book page to create towers. They look like children's blocks all stacked up!

Step 3: Fill in using watercolor so the lettering shows through.

Easy peasy!

We also used some wood strips left over from my recent kitchen remodel to make signs for thier rooms and decorated wooden frames to put thier photos in.

A good time was had by all!


  1. My 4.5 yr old son has been very interested in houses and buildings lately. He has been drawing a lot and I know he will really enjoy your Paul Klee-inspired activity. It's really beautiful.

  2. The final pieces are amazing. I feel more children should be involved in the arts. It is not only educational but fun as well.

  3. I teach middle school and high school. We did the batik project (before I saw your post) and used regular white washable glue and it rinsed out fine. Also, I ironed the pieces after the paint was dry to heat set the acrylic and it didn't wash out at all!
    Great ideas! Thanks for sharing:)


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