Materials Exploration : Colored Tissue Paper

Lesson Plan:

Students will learn that small pieces of work can be combined to make larger, more complex compositions, illustrating that each unique individual class member is a part of a larger whole.  Students will also explore new media in the form of colored tissue paper, which can be used as a sophisticated artistic medium.  Tissue paper can be collaged, overlapped, and manipulated to create new colors and texture.  The dye used to color tissue paper also bleeds when exposed to water and thus, can be used as a painting medium or method for stamping and creating repetitious forms. Students will be shown examples of color overlay and color mixing. A demonstration of the many uses for tissue paper will be given and afterward, students will be encouraged to experiment with the medium for themselves. After they have gotten the chance to practice and feel comfortable with the new medium, students will create a final composition utilizing their favorite techniques.

Key Concepts: Color, Shape, Collage, Manipulation of Tissue Paper, Composition.

Essential Understandings:

1.) Similar to the way we make connections on a communal level, art can be used to build relationships. Unique, individual pieces can be combined to create larger, more complex works of art.

2.) It is important to explore and experiment with different mediums to discover their full range of use. Materials have diversity and can do many things, whether previously known to the creator or discovered through exploration. Tissue paper, for example, can be used to create unique compositions through a number of techniques.


  1. Explore Materials: Students will explore the various techniques possible with tissue paper. (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fourth Grade 3.2 Invent and Discover to Create)
  2. Identify Color Mixing: Students will be able to identify secondary and primary colors through painting and mixing with tissue paper or color overlap. (Colorado Visual Arts Standard Fifth Grade 1.1 & 1.3 Observe and Learn to Comprehend)

Skills: Collaboration, self-direction, invention

In today’s class everyone got to know a little bit about one another through our “people puzzle,” project. Every class member and teacher decorated a piece of paper (in the shape of a Tetris piece) with our names and drawings of our favorite foods and favorite places. Following this, we presented our blocks to the rest of the class and then taped them together to form a complete “puzzle.” Next, the teachers demonstrated the various ways to use and manipulate tissue paper. We then let students play with the materials to explore the different ways in which they could be manipulated. Finally, students created a composition using the newly introduced techniques.


“I’m going to make something I can take with me to the game this week. I’m a ‘basketball girl.’ Go Rams!” – Ashley consciously combines yellow and green pieces of tissue paper to create a composition which displays her support of the girl’s basketball team.


Nick had prior knowledge of color theory. He recognized that overlapping the paper would create secondary colors. He spent his time creating new colors. 
Individualized Tetris piece by each student and teacher.
Willow and Jared exploring tissue paper.
Kelsey began this pattern on her Tetris piece, she was focused on intricate patterns. She did the exploration of tissue paper, but decided on creating more patterns for her final piece. 


“I never knew you could do all this with tissue paper! I really like the way the colors mix when you put them next to each other. I can create secondary colors by mixing the primaries together.” – Christopher explores the way the tissue paper interacts with water/glue mixture, enjoying the way the colors bleed and blend.



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