Pattern Play Collage- A lesson plan

Wayne Thiebaud (American, 1920–2021)
Oil on canvas, 20 x 30 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of Philip L. Ehlert in memory of Dorothy Evelyn Ehlert, 1974.12. © Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.


  • Students will be able to recognize line, shape (organic/geometric), color (elements of art), and pattern
  • Students will be able to identify these elements in artworks (visual aids)
  • Students will be able to utilize the elements of art to create a mixed media collage


  • David Huffman, Belly Button Window, 2006 (mixed media collage, color, shape, etc.)
  • Claire Falkenstein, Body Centered Cubic, 1960 (intersecting lines create shapes)
  • Claire Falkenstein, Untitled Surrealist Painting, 1945 (intersecting lines create shapes)
  • Paul Jenkins, Phenomena Intervening Mantle, 2006 (sections of color create shapes)
  • Wayne Thiebaud, Pies, Pies, Pies, 1961 (line, color, shape, pattern)
  • Wayne Thiebaud, River Intersection, 2010 (lines, colors create shapes, patterns)


Line: a point moving in space. It can vary in width, length, curvature, color, or direction
Shape: a two-dimensional area or plane that may be open or closed, free form or geometric, symmetrical or asymmetrical
Color: an element consisting of hues, of which there are three properties: hue, chroma or intensity, and value. Color is present when light strikes an object and it is reflected back into the eye, a reaction to a hue arising in the optic nerve.


Opening Discussion 

Today we’re going to make a collage. What is a collage? Show materials. Demo stencils. Demo glue sticks. Demo colored tape – it’s not for sticking, it’s for decoration. Encourage tearing of tape and paper.
On the board, write “Goals”
1. Make at least one pattern,
2. Fill all of your paper
3. Use shapes, lines, and colors and patterns.
Ask for questions, check for understanding

Explain that every piece of art is made of the elements of art.

Write “Elements of Art” on the board.

Analogy: Making a sandwich. Ask them what ingredients make a sandwich. All of the ingredients come together to make the sandwich.

When we are creating art, we use all of the elements of art. They come together to make our creation.

Write line, shape and color as headings beneath “Elements of Art” on the board.

Show Pies, Pies, Pies.  What do the students see? Ask students to identify shapes, lines, colors.
Ask if they see pattern in any other work.  Ask if they see any patterns in the room.
Ask them to name a pattern that can be made from the drawings on the board.

Draw a few patterns. Emphasize that pattern requires repetition


Ask for five helpers to pass out materials.

While the helpers are passing out supplies, ask remaining students to raise their hand and name a pattern. When they have it correct give them their tag board and allow them to choose their collage paper.
Collage paper should be on a supply table; on the table and/or in the box. Colored tape will also be on table.



  • Draw a continuous (swirly) line from one side of the cardstock paper to the other (make sure it loops and intersects itself in various areas and takes up the entire paper) to create your first line 
  • To make your second line, attach strips of tape (at least 3) that reach from one side of the paper to the other side (or adjacent side), overlapping the continuous line and intersecting to create new shapes/sections.
  • Fill/decorate the shapes/sections with various papers (cut and ripped) and drawn designs, focusing on creating patterns.


  1. Clean up. Ask students to clean up and return all materials. Their artwork should remain at their desk for the “gallery walk” to conclude the lesson.
  2. Class and/or table group discussion. What did we learn? What was challenging? What felt familiar? Shoutouts to helpful neighbors?
  3. “Gallery walk”. Students will leave their artwork at their desk to be previewed by their classmates. (If they do not want to share, offer to turn over work). Invite students to line up behind you with their arms behind their backs. Discuss museum manners (hands to self, positive remarks). Slowly “snake” around the table groups so students may view the work of their peers.




  • Identify, sort, and classify objects that do not belong to a particular group (K, Algebra and Functions, 1.1)
  • Identify and describe common geometric objects (e.g., circle, triangle, square, rectangle, cube, sphere, cone) (K – 2, Measurement and Geometry, 2.1)

History – Social Science

  • Follow rules, such as sharing and taking turns (K, 1.1)


  • Students know objects can be described in terms of the materials they are made of (e.g., clay, cloth, paper) and their physical properties (e.g., color, size, shape, texture)(K, 1.a)
  • Students know the position of an object can be described by locating it in relation to another object or to the background (2, 1.a)
  • Describe the properties of common objects; describe the relative position of objects by using one reference (e.g., above or below); compare and sort common objects by one physical attribute (e.g., color, shape, texture, size); communicate observations orally and through drawings (K, 4.b-e)



Creating (VA:Cr1.1; VA:Cr1.2; VA:Cr2.1; VA:Cr2.2; VA:Cr2.3; VA:Cr3); Presenting (VA:Pr4; VA:Pr5; VA:Pr6); Responding (VA:Re7.1; VA:Re7.2; VA:Re8; VA:Re9); Connecting (VA:Cn10; VA:Cn11)

Responding- Anchor Standard 9: Apply Criteria to Evaluate Artistic Work

2.VA:Re9 Use learned art vocabulary to express preferences about artwork


Creating- Anchor Standard 2: Organize and Develop Artistic Ideas and Work

PK.VA:Cr2.1 Use a variety of art-making tools

K.VA:Cr2.1 Through experimentation, build skills in various media and approaches to artmaking

1.VA:Cr2.1 Explore uses of materials and tools to create works of art or design

2.VA:Cr2.1 Experiment with various materials and tools to explore personal interests in a work of art or design

3.VA:Cr2.1 Create personally satisfying artwork using a variety of artistic processes and materials

4.VA:Cr2.1 Explore and invent art-making techniques and approaches

5.VA:Cr2.1 Experiment and develop skills in multiple art-making techniques and approaches through practice

Creating – Anchor Standard 3: Refine and Complete Artistic Work

PK.VA:Cr3 Share and talk about personal artwork

K.VA:Cr3 Explain the process of making art while creating

1.VA:Cr3 Use art vocabulary to describe choices while creating art.

2.VA:Cr3 Discuss and reflect with peers about choices made in creating artwork

3.VA:Cr3 Discuss, reflect, and add details to enhance an artwork’s emerging meaning

4.VA:Cr3 Revise artwork in progress on the basis of insights gained through peer discussion

5.VA:Cr3 Use art vocabulary to describe personal choices in artmaking and in creating artist statements.

Wayne Thiebaud (American, 1920–2021)
Oil on board, 48 x 36 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Thiebaud Family, 2010.10. © Wayne Thiebaud / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.

Claire Falkenstein (American, 1908–1997)
Oil on canvas, 46 x 36 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of The Falkenstein Foundation, 2009.34.3.

David Huffman (American, born 1963)
Mixed media on canvas, 72 x 60 in. Crocker Art Museum purchase with contributions from The Anorcase Foundation and Patricia Sweetow Gallery, 2006.80.


  • Thick paper (cardstock)
  • construction paper (various colors)
  • tissue paper squares (various colors)
  • patterned/textured paper
  • glue sticks
  • colored masking tape (cut into strips)
  • markers and/or pastels
  • scissors
  • Pencils


90 minutes

Grade Level



  • Visual Arts


  • Color


  • Collage