Friday, September 24, 2010

to 3-D or not to 3-D? that is the question!

My fifth graders had a wonderful time making these optical illusions!This is one of those "3 Ingredient Art" projects that require minimal supplies with great results! Here is what you need:
A Ruler
A Sharpie
2 colored markers
Colored Pencils

First start off by drawing 6 intersecting lines on your paper (with the ruler) to create the "spokes" on the paper. It is important that you keep your lines intersecting at the same exact middle point on the paper. I had some alligator tears from kids who kept "messing up". Sigh. I found that six lines fit nicely onto the paper.

Inside every other "pie piece" I had the kids draw four "smiley faces". Then I had them use one colored marker to color those pie pieces in (every other one) to make a white/color/white/color pattern. It is important to leave the other pie pieces BLANK! This only confuses the kids and trust me for your own sanity's sake, making this simple on them won't make you pull your hair out!!!

After we had that done, I had them fill in the blank spaces with "sad faces". This will create the crumpled effect on the final product. Have students choose a second color to color those new patterned pieces they just made. One time I had students choose the compliment to the first color. This time I had them choose whatever they liked. Of course they had more fun that way!

Lastly, use colored pencils to shade the edges of the white areas. This creates the 3-dimensional effect where it looks like the pieces are popping out or folding down. These projects look really impressive hanging on a bulletin board; and most adults can't figure out "how'd they DO that"?! But my students know that it's all about breaking artwork down into pieces to create that impressive final product. It's our little secret.
Happy creating!


  1. Excellent art lesson in teaching optical illusion.
    Thanks for posting

  2. This is a wonderful lesson! My fifth graders loved doing it as much as everyone else enjoys looking at them in the hall. Thank you for the step-by-step directions, it was a success.

  3. Great art lesson. I'm putting this in my favorites for next year. I appreciate what you share!

  4. I realize this is a really old post, but one of my friends forwarded the link to me and I thought it was awesome!

    My age range in the after school program is so broad that I went ahead and made a black line master to copy for them to color.

    They'll love it.

  5. Can't wait to do this with my fifth grader. Thanks for sharing. I'm now following!

  6. That does look like 3-D and reall talented. It shows a lot of effort into the project and really nice job on the art project.

  7. How about the one when you draw curvy lines and eight u connect them together and end up with worm like shapes

  8. These look amazing. Roughly how long did they take?

  9. Gonna try these tomoro with my Grade 6-8. They look neat.

  10. Thank you for sharing this great lesson in such great detail. I'm going to try it with 5th and 6th graders this year.

  11. Nous avons beaucoup aimé cette activité. Merci d'avoir partagé! La classe de 5e année (Manitoba, Canada)

  12. I absolutely love this and I'm going to use it in a few weeks. Thanks so much for sharing.
    I love your blog.

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  14. it makes no since it goes from six lines to twelve

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  18. try to make a titanic please thank you.

  19. fat walrus wants you to make a walrus art thank you.

  20. uuuhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Don't the sad lines need to connect to the happy lines?


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