PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook

Students use papier-mâché technique to personalize a sketchbook by creating a relief image that reflects something of importance to them on the cover. 

Required Time

120 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


draft emphasis outline papier mâché personal relief sketch


Crayola Acrylic Paint - 6 Count Crayola Paintbrushes - 4 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Erasable Coloured Pencils - 12 Count Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue Crayola Scissors Paper Plates for Palettes Masking Tape Hard Cover Sketchbook - 1 per student Tissue Paper Water Containers Paper Towels Recycled Magazines

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PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step One

Step One

  1. Make some preliminary sketches of ideas for your book cover.
  2. Have some fun with your design.
  3. Choose the idea you like the best.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Gather supplies needed.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Put one layer of masking tape on the front cover of your book.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Start creating your image by scrunching up balls of masking tape and sticking them onto the cover.
  2. Continue adding masking tape details until you are satisfied with your creation.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Cut tissue paper into small - about 5 cm x 5 cm (2" x 2") squares.
  2. Glue the tissue paper squares to the cover with Crayola Washable No-Run School Glue. 
  3. Apply glue to both sides of the paper.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Glue 3 layers of tissue paper squares over the entire book cover. 
  2. Create additional detail pieces to add to your book cover.
  3. Use masking tape to form the pieces, and then glue 3 layers of tissue paper over them.
  4. Allow everything to dry overnight.


PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Paint the book cover and any extra detail pieces with Crayola acrylic paint.
  2. Mix colours on a paper plate.
  3. Once the paint is dry use Crayola washable No-Run School Glue to attach the detail pieces.
PERSONAL POST – Altered Sketchbook - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Cut out words and quotes that reflect something about you from recycled magazines. 
  2. Glue them to your book cover so they become part of the overall design.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a relief image on the cover of a sketchbook/journal;
  • use the elements of design to create a design that reflects something of importance to them;
  • use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • use their journal on a weekly basis to:
    - reflect on things of importance to them using freewriting techniques;
    - draw and write poetry.


  1. Gather all materials needed for the activity.
  2. Create a sample.
  3. Download and display the Emphasis poster available on this website.
  4. Download a variety of images of Visual Journals from the Internet. (Google visual journals.)
  5. Download images of sketchbook/journals from the Internet, for example,
    Sketchbook Drawings
    Sketchbook Journal


  1. View and discuss a variety of sketchbook/journals to see how varied their use can be focussing on how expressing feelings and ideas in a personal sketchbook/ journal can allow creativity to flow.
  2. Talk to the students about the sample you created. 
    - How it is personal to you.
    - Why you chose to create it the way you did.
  3. Have students make a list of things they love and are important to them.
  4. Ask students to circle three of four things on their list that are most important to them.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a relief image on the cover of a sketchbook/journal.
  2. Use the elements of design to create a design that reflects something of importance to you.
  3. Use placement of objects to create areas of emphasis.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a relief image that expresses something about me
    - used the elements of design to communicate things that are important to me
    - used placement of objects to create areas of emphasis
    - glued appropriate words from magazines onto the design
    - used papier-mâché technique effectively

    - kept everything 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 as required.



  1. Once all the books are complete ask students to share them with a partner or in small groups. 
    Look closely at the cover illustrations.
    - Share thoughts about the work.
    - What does the design tell you about the person who created it?
    - What do you see that makes you say that?
    - How has the artist created areas of emphasis?
    - What effect does that have on the overall message?
    - What was difficult about making the book cover? Why?
    - What was the most satisfying thing about making the book cover? Why?
  2. Ask some students to share their ideas with the whole class.
  3. Encourage students to use their sketchbook/journals to explore a variety of ideas.


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