SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast

Students use construction paper to create a collage composed of 3 different geometric shapes and one organic shape.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


collage colour contrast design geometric organic shape silhouette


Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Crayola Scissors Crayola Glitter Glue Crayola Construction Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") - assorted colours Crayola Broad Line Markers Pencils Geometric Shape Tracers

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SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose a different coloured paper for each geometric shape. 
  2. Use the tracers to draw 3 or 4 shapes on the paper.
  3. Use the same colour of marker as the paper when you trace your shapes. For example, use a red marker to trace circles on red paper. 
  4. Cut out all the shapes.
    Hint: Cut a frame about 1 cm  (1/2") around each shape before cutting on the lines. This makes it easier to hold and cut. 
SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Draw about 6 different lines on a piece of paper. 
  2. Choose one of your lines to add detail to one of your shapes.
  3. Choose one of the shapes.
  4. Draw the line on the shape with a marker that is the same colour as the shape. 
  5. Draw over the line with glitter glue that is the same colour as your shape.
  6. Repeat this process for each of the other shapes. Make sure you choose a different line for each new shape.
  7. Remember to use red marker on red paper, blue marker on blue paper, and yellow marker on yellow paper.
  8. Set the shapes aside to dry.
SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Find a background colour that you think looks best with your shapes.
    Hint: Try placing your shapes on several background colours to help you decide which one you like best.
  2. Make sure the glitter glue is dry before you begin.
  3. Use all your shapes to create your design.
  4. Arrange the shapes so your eye moves around the paper from one space to another in an interesting way.
  5. Once you are happy with the way it looks glue the shapes in place.
SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Sketch the outline of an animal, bird or something else found in nature on a small piece of paper. 
    - This organic shape will be a silhouette in your collage.
    - Make sure the size suits your design.
  2. Cut out your shape to make a tracer.
  3. Trace your shape on a piece of black construction paper.
  4. Cut out the shape. 



SHAPE COLLAGE – Organic, Geometric, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place your black shape - your silhouette in different spots on your design.
  2. Once you are happy with the location glue it in place.
  3. Use your scraps to cut out smaller shapes to add detail and variety to your collage.


Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a collage using red, yellow and blue construction paper;
  • explain the difference between geometric and organic shapes;
  • use contrast to create emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • read and discuss the book Colour Farm, by Lois Ehlert to see how geometric shapes are used to make animals and landscapes;
  • create a new collage combining different coloured geometric shapes to create a picture such as an animal or landscape;
  • work in small groups to share their collages and discuss how they used the shapes and colours to create their tree or animal;
  • work in partners to use their two completed artworks to create a story with a beginning, middle and end;
  • share their stories with the whole class.


  1. Prior to this lesson have students practice tracing and cutting small shapes from a large piece of paper.
    Demonstrate how to:
    - place tracer about 3 cm (1") from the edge of the paper, not in the centre of the paper;
    - cut about 1 cm (1/2")  around each shape before cutting on the lines to make the paper easier to hold and cut.
  2. Download and display the Colour and Shape posters available on this website.
  3. Download silhouette images from the Internet, for example,
  4. Gather, and make available, books on the theme of shapes such as Round as a Mooncake, A Book of Shapes, by Roseanne Thong; Icky Bug Shapes, by Jerry Pollotta; and The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns and Gordon Silvena. (Marilyn Burns is known for her integration of mathematics into her children's books.)
  5. Cut out sets of tracers, enough for students to share in small groups. (Downloads - Geometric_tracers.pdf)
  6. Create a sample collage using three shapes and three colours.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud using a book with a shape theme such as Round as a Mooncake - A Book of Shapes, by Roseanne Thong.
  2. View and discuss the silhouette images.
  3. Discuss the characteristics of geometric and organic shapes.
  4. Have students identify shapes within the classroom.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a collage using red, yellow and blue construction paper.
  2. Explain the difference between geometric and organic shapes.
  3. Use contrast to create emphasis.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - cut out shapes carefully
    - used marker colours that match the paper colours
    - glued the shapes carefully
    - arranged the shapes in an interesting way 
    - made a silhouette in a size that suits the design
    - kept the paper in good condition
  3. Guide the students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as work.
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud using a book such as Blue Horse or The Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle to discuss and observe the use of collage illustrations in a story.
  2. Discuss how the author created these illustrations.
  3. Have students share their completed collages with a partner. Ask them to share:
    - What they like about the collages.
    - Two things that are the same about their collages. 
    - Two things that are different about their collages. 
    - What was difficult about making the collage.
    - What was satisfying about making the collage.
  4. Have the partners create a short story using both collages and focusing on their silhouettes as the main characters in their story.
  5. Remind them that every story has a beginning, middle and end.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their collage – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - ShapeCollage_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students write a reflection that includes things such as:
    - How they made their collage.
    - Why they chose their silhouette.
    - What they like best about their collage.