MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast

Students use corrugated cardboard, washable glue and glitter paint to create a small, textured frame. Then they use shapes and expressive colour to create a miniature self-portrait to place in the frame. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour contrast expressive miniature texture


Crayola Construction Paper Crayola Washable Glue Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Crayola Glitter Paint Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Scissors Masking Tape Rulers Water Containers Paper Towels

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MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Cut 4 strips of corrugated cardboard.
    - 2 strips 3 cm x 20.3 cm
    - 2 strips 3 cm x 11.4 cm
  2. Place the strips to form a rectangular frame with the long strips on the sides and the short strips at the top and bottom.
  3. Line up the edges of the cardboard strips so the outer edges are even.
  4. Make sure the whole frame is flat on the desk.
  5. Place small pieces of masking tape on each corner to hold the frame together.
  6. The outside dimensions should be 17.7 cm x 20.3 cm.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Place the frame tape side down.
  2. Use washable glue to draw patterns on the cardboard.
  3. Make sure to draw glue lines along the cracks where the strips of cardboard join.
  4. Set the frame aside to dry overnight.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Paint several coats of glitter paint on the dry frame.
  2. Allow the paint to dry between coats.
  3. Try painting different colours of glitter paint on top of each other to build up a rich, sparkly colour.
  4. Set the frame aside to dry.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use construction paper to make a miniature self-portrait.
  2. Cut a piece of paper for the background 8 cm x 10 cm.
  3. Use colours and shapes to represent you.
  4. Use a glue stick to glue the pieces down.
  5. Make sure all the pieces of paper are glued flat.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Choose a colour of construction paper that contrasts with your self-portrait.
  2. Cut the paper so it is slightly smaller than your self-portrait.
  3. Use a glue stick to fasten your self-portrait to the centre of the paper.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Remove the masking tape from the back of the frame.
  2. Use a glue stick to put lots of glue on the back of the frame.
  3. Place the frame on top of the self-portrait with the glue side facing down.
  4. Press the paper and the cardboard together firmly.
MINI ME – Colour, Texture, Contrast - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Work with a partner.
  2. Place your self-portraits beside each other.
  3. Compare the two artworks.
    - How are they the same?
    - How are the different?
    - What do the colours and shapes tell you about the person?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • use construction paper to create a miniature self-portrait;
  • use colour and shapes expressively;
  • create a textured frame;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • research a contemporary miniature artist, for example, Michael Chesko; Tatsuya Tanaka; Thomas Doyle; Willard Wigan; Lim Pui Wan; or Brooke Rothshank;
  • create their own miniature artwork to explore a theme of their choice;
  • create a digital presentation of their research and artwork to share with their peers. 


  1. Download and display the Colour, Texture, and Contrast posters available on this website.
    - review or teach the elements of colour and texture – analogous colours, highlights, shadows
    - review or teach the principle of contrast – extreme differences
  2. You may want to have students use the Colour Around the World lesson plan available on this website to explore the symbolism of colour.
  3. Download several images of miniature artworks from the Internet, for example,
  4. Ask students to bring in a corrugated cardboard box, or gather enough corrugated cardboard for the class.


  1. Discuss how and why students share images of themselves on social media.
  2. View the images of miniatures and explain that the works are quite small - almost like looking at the image on a device.
  3. Discuss the idea that humans have wanted to share images and information about themselves from the beginning of time. Why is that?
  4. Discuss how shapes and colours can be used to represent aspects of your personality.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Use construction paper to create a miniature self-portrait.
  2. Use colour and shapes expressively.
  3. Create a textured frame.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when my self-portrait:
    - is carefully planned and completed
    - has shapes that represent me in some way
    - has colours that express my personality
    and my frame:
    - has a variety of textures
    - has rich colour
    - contrasts with my self-portrait
    - is in good condition
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into partners.
  2. Ask them to: 
    - share their work and discuss the things that are especially effective and why
    - talk about what the self-portraits tell them about each other
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.
  5. Have students work together to arrange the portraits in a group display that highlights the class as a whole.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their portraits – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the portrait, 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 – MiniMe_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – MiniMe_self-assessment.pdf)