A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity

Students create a simple gift for someone special. They paint a coil pot (made in a previous lesson) and then select a few dried flowers and grasses to use in an arrangement.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 6


Art Techniques
Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


balance colour composition contrast movement negative space shape texture unity


Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Paintbrushes Dry coil pot made from a previous lesson Water Containers Paper Towels Small Yogurt Containers Floral Foam Dried Flowers and Grasses Ribbon Yarn Other Embellishments (optional)

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A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step One

Step One

Apply washable paint in smooth, even strokes.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Two

Step Two

You may have to give it a second coat of paint because the clay absorbs the paint.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Three

Step Three

Place the pot on an upside down yogurt container so you can move it around without touching it.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Four

Step Four

Allow the paint to dry.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Five

Step Five

You may want to seal the pot with an acrylic varnish. Paint the varnish directly onto the pot.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Six

Step Six

Be careful not to touch it while it is wet.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Seven

Step Seven

Allow it to dry thoroughly.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Eight

Step Eight

Use the edge of a scissors to cut the floral foam.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Nine

Step Nine

Place the foam into the pot.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Ten

Step Ten

And push firmly it into place.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

Start adding your grasses and dried flowers.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Twelve

Step Twelve

Make sure the composition is balanced and looks good from all directions.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Thirteen

Step Thirteen

You may want to tie a ribbon around the pot or add other embellishments.

A SPECIAL GIFT – Texture, Balance, Unity - Step Fourteen

Step Fourteen

Your gift is ready for giving.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Paint and varnish a previously created coil pot;
  2. Create a floral arrangement using dried flowers and grasses;
  3. Use colour and texture to create balance and unity in a floral design; and
  4. Support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


  1. Students create a gift card using a printmaking technique.
  2. They write a note explaining how the person receiving the gift is special to them.
  3. Next they create a gift bag using the same technique.
  4. They give their gift to someone special. 


  1. Prior to this lesson have students create a coil pot and be sure it is completely dry. (See AIR DRY CLAY –  How to Make a Coil Pot Lesson Plan)
    Coil Pot
  2. If possible take students on a nature walk and collect dried grasses and flowers. Otherwise purchase a small selection.


  1. Discuss gift giving in general. Why and when do we give gifts? How do we choose the gifts we give? What are some of their favourite gifts? (Read a gift-giving story such as Rabbit’s Gift, by George Shannon or Random Acts of Kindness, by the Editors of Conari Press to connect with the idea of generosity.)
  2. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Paint the coil pot and varnish it with acrylic varnish.
  2. Create a pleasing, balanced dried flower arrangement.
  3. Use contrasting colour and texture to move the eye in and around the composition.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.

The Process

  1. Demonstrate how to apply paint in even strokes and explain that they may have to give it two coats because the dry clay will absorb the paint.
  2. When some students have finished painting their pots demonstrate how to apply the varnish to seal the paint and make it shiny.
  3. Allow the varnish to dry before continuing.
  4. Demonstrate how to cut the floral foam and place it into the pot. Sometimes you have to wedge smaller bits into the sides to fill it completely.
  5. Tell students to choose a variety of textures and colours when selecting their dried flowers and grasses.
  6. Show them how to place the flowers into the foam. Draw attention to the placement of objects. It needs to look good from all sides. Have some pieces higher than others and pay attention to the negative spaces.
  7. Encourage students to arrange their flowers and grasses and add any embellishments to the final piece.
  8. Observe students as they work. 
  9. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Have students work in groups.  Provide a piece of coloured fabric for each group to place on their tables.
  2. Ask groups to work together to make a pleasing arrangement of their finished gifts.
  3. Ask students to gather in front of the displays and to look at the works thoughtfully.
  4. Ask them to find an interesting thing about any 3 of them.
  5. Move from display to display discussing the work at each spot.
  6. During the discussion include references to:
    contrast – how it has been used to balance the arrangement
    movement – how colour and textures get the eye to travel through the whole space creating unity
    feelings the works evoke and how someone might feel to receive such a special, hand made gift


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - A_GIFT_tracking.pdf)
  3. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - A_GIFT_self-assessment.pdf)