Students create a small papier-mâché bowl and use acrylic paint to finish it in a design inspired by Kandinsky's concentric circles.

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 6


Language Arts
Visual Arts


concentric half measure mold papier mâché smooth strips


Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paint Brush Set - 5 Count Recycled Newspapers White Newsprint Plastic Wrap Small Bowl Paper Plates - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Towels

Shop Crayola Products


PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Tear newspaper into strips about 1.5 cm (1/2") wide. 
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of glue and 1/4 cup of water. 
  2. Stir the mixture together until it is smooth. 
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Place a small bowl on a plastic plate or tray. The glue might run off your bowl and this will keep your table dry.
  2. Cover the small bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Make sure that it is smooth.
  4. Tuck the edges inside the bowl. 
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Glue one newspaper strip at a time on top of the bowl until it is completely covered.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Tear plain newsprint paper into strips about 1.5 cm (1/2") wide. 
  2. Cover all the newspaper strips with the plain newsprint paper strips.
  3. Repeat gluing layers until you have 6 altogether. This will make your bowl strong.
  4. End with a plain layer. This will make your paint bright.
  5. Allow the papier-mâché bowl to dry for several days. Then remove it from the plastic bowl.
  6. Glue small strips of paper over the edges to finish the bowl.
  7. Set it aside to dry. 
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Before beginning to paint your Kandinsky bowl practise painting concentric circles on a pie plate.
  2. This will help you decide what colours you want to paint your finished papier-mâché bowl.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Paint the inside of your papier-mâché bowl using Kandinsky inspired colours. 
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Let each layer of colour dry before adding another colour of paint.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Paint the outside of your papier-mâché bowl.
PAPIER-MÂCHÉ KANDINSKY BOWL – Form, Colour, Contrast - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Allow the paint to dry, then place the bowl facing up to enjoy your Kandinsky inspired design.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a papier-mâché bowl;
  • paint the bowl with a Kandinsky inspired design;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity;
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the painted bowl.


Have students:

  • work in groups of 4;
  • use their bowls to act out the story of Golidlocks and the Three Bears;
  • have Goldilocks use her bowl to create a new version of this fairy tale inspired by Kandinsky's love of colour and sound;
  • share their stories with the rest of their class.


  1. Prior to this lesson you may want to have students do the lesson Inspired by Kadinisky available at this website, 
  2. Download images of Wassily Kandinsky’s art from the Internet.
    Colour Study - Kandinsky
  3. Gather and make available books about shape, for example, Icky Bug Shapes, by Jerry Pallotta; Shape by Shape, by Suse Macdonald; Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes, by Stuart Murphy (math start); A Circle Here, A Square There, by David Diehl.
  4. Gather and make available books related to Kandinsky, for example, The Girl Who Heard Colors, by Marie Harris; The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art, by Barb Rosenstock; Wassily Kandinsky, 1866-1944: The Journey to Abstraction, by Ulrike Becks-Malorny 
  5. Download the Shape, Form and Colour posters available on this website. 
  6. Download images of papier-mâché projects from the Internet.
  7. Ask students to bring in a small, plastic bowl to use as a mold for their papier-mâché bowl.


  1. Introduce Wassily Kandinsky. Read the The Noisy Paint Box, or share a few points about the artist.
    - born in 1866
    - Russian artist
    - had a special gift called synaesthesia cognate - a condition that meant when he heard a sound he also saw a particular colour
    - he used colours and shapes in his abstract paintings to express feelings and music
    - he painted the first non-objective painting called the First Abstract Watercolour, 1910
    - he thought each shape created specific feelings – square caused calm feelings; triangle caused aggressive feelings; circle caused heavenly feelings.
  2. View and discuss the painting, Colour Study, Squares with Concentric Circles focussing on the shapes and colours Kandinsky used, and how the painting makes students feel, and why.
  3. View the pictures of papier-mâché projects and discuss the technique. Explain the process.
    - layers of paper dipped in glue are placed over a mold and allowed to dry
    - glue makes the paper dry hard and strong
    - the more layers you have, the stronger the finished product will be
  4. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a papier-mâché bowl.
  2. Paint the bowl with a Kandinsky inspired design.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity. 
  4. Support your ideas with evidence found in your bowl. 

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the process.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a bowl that is hard and strong
    - created a bowl with a smooth surface 
    - used colours that are bright and varied
    - painted lines that are different widths
    - painted concentris circles 
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in the lesson plan.
  4. Demonstrate how to use a variety of widths when painting the circles.
  5. Observe students as they work.
  6. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Once all the bowls are dry arrange them on a table,
  2. Ask each student to think of a use for their bowl. This will be an opportunity to discuss what can and cannot be put inside a papier-mâché bowl. 
  3. Encourage students to think of how the design and shape of the bowl influences how it might be used.
  4. Use a children's book, such as Strega Nona, by Tomie dePaola to demonstrate how an object can be used as the main focus of a story. Strega Nona uses a magic pot.
  5. Have students write a short story that uses their bowl as the main focus.
  6. Have students share their stories in small groups, using their bowl to animate the tale. 


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