DESIGN A GIFT BOX – Form, Colour, Emphasis

Students use Model Magic, acrylic paint and glitter glue to design a gift box for someone who is important to them. 

Required Time

180 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 7 to Grade 9


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


balance colour emphasis form proportion


Crayola Model Magic - Assorted Colours Crayola Glitter Glue Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paintbrushes - 5 Count Small Recycled Gift Box Embellishments and Found Objects Water Containers Paper Towels Toothpicks

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DESIGN A GIFT BOX – Form, Colour, Emphasis - Step One

Step One

  1. Build a short sculpture out of Model Magic.
  2. Make sure the sculpture is in proportion to the size of the box, not too big and not too small.
DESIGN A GIFT BOX – Form, Colour, Emphasis - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Paint your box with acrylic paint.
  2. Make sure your design connects with the sculpture and something that is importamt to you.
  3. Add accents with Crayola Glitter Glue.
DESIGN A GIFT BOX – Form, Colour, Emphasis - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Glue your sculpture onto the lid of the painted box with Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue. 
  2. Add details and embellishments to make the gift box special and unique.
  3. View the finished box with fresh eyes.
    - How does it reflect something that is important to you?
    - What do you like best about the box? Why?
    - What will the person you are giving it to like best about it? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a mixed media gift box that reflects something important to them;
  • create a small sculpture using Model Magic;
  • use placement of objects to create an area of emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity: 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  1. create freestanding sculptures using an armature and Model Magic, e.g., using the Mythological Me lesson plan available on this website;
  2. share their work with others.


  1. Prior to the lesson have students brainstorm occasions for and rituals associated with gift giving.
  2. Download images of sculptures from the Internet, e.g.,
    Food Sculpture
  3. Gather and make available a variety of picture books about celebrations such as, I'm in Charge of Celebrations, by Byrd Baylor; Twelve Days of Christmas, by Lesley Sims; The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco; Some Birthday! by Patricia Polacco; and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors, by Hena Khan.
  4. Download and display the Balance and Proportion posters available on this website.
  5. Teach the concepts of 
    Balance - the arrangement of elements so they seem of equal importance
    Proportion - the relationship of one object to another, e.g., not too big or too small
    Emphasis - highlighting part of an artwork to draw attention to it


  1. Discuss special occasions/celebrations with students such as winter holidays, birthdays, summer holidays, graduation, and religious holidays.
  2. View and discuss a variety of images of sculptures that could be related to celebrations and gift giving.
  3. Ask students to think of someone close to them who might like to receive a special gift.
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a mixed media gift box that reflects something important to you.
  2. Create a small sculpture using Model Magic.
  3. Use placement of objects to create an area of emphasis.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Have students plan 3 sketches of possible designs for their gift box.
  2. Ask them to choose the design they like best.
  3. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  4. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a gift box that communicates something that is important to me
    - created a small sculpture out of Model Magic
    - painted a design that connects with the sculpture
    - added details and embellishments that make my design unique
    - used placement of objects to make parts of my design stand out

    - kept the box in good condition
  5. Encourage students to use their plan drawings as they create their 3-dimensional sculptures.
  6. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  7. Remind students they will need to use both the additive and subtractive clay techniques.
  8. Observe students as they work. 
  9. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the boxes are complete ask students to share them with a partner or in small groups.
    ​Ask students to choose one box that appeals to them:
    - What do you like best about the box?
    - How does the box communicate what is important to the person who made it?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
  2. Place the boxes on display so other students may view them over the next few weeks.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their gift boxes – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas on the box, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - GiftBox_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - GiftBox_self-assessment.pdf)