PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture

Students create a small box with a lid using watercolour and a photo transfer to make it unique.

Required Time

40 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 3 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour cuboid expressively horizontal photo transfer vertical


Crayola Watercolours Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola Washable Glue Sticks Crayola Scissors Crayola Glitter Glue Cardstock Paper - 13.9cm x 21.6 cm *5.5" x 8.5") - 1 per student Cardstock Paper - 13.3 cm x 20.9 cm (5.25" x 8.25") - 1 per student Clear Packing Tape Table Salt in a Shaker

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PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step One

Step One


  1. Use a piece of 13.9 cm x 21.6 cm (5.5” x 8.5”) size cardstock paper.
  2. Moisten the watercolour paints by dropping a brush load of water on each colour.
  3. Wet the paper with clear water.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Paint into the wet paper with some colour.
    this is the wet on wet technique
  2. Add another colour and let the colours bleed into each other.
  3. Fill the paper with colour.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Sprinkle a small amount of table salt over the wet paint.
    - the salt will absorb the paint and leave small white speckles
  2. Set the paper aside to dry.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Four

Step Four


  1. Cut out a black and white photocopied picture.
  2. Leave a small border of white paper around the image.
  3. Stick one end of the packing tape to the table.
  4. Place the picture under the tape.
    - static electricity may pull the picture to the tape
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Press the tape flat on the picture.
  2. Smooth out the tape and make sure it is completely stuck on the picture.
  3. Trim around the outer edge of the picture to remove the background paper and tape.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Place the picture into a basin of water.
  2. Let it sit for a few seconds.
  3. Hold the picture under the water.
  4. Rub the picture between your fingers and thumb to remove the white paper from the tape.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Remove the picture from the water.
  2. The picture has been transferred from the paper to the tape.
  3. Set the picture aside to dry.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Brush the salt off the dry painted paper.
  2. Place the paper paint side down on the desk.
  3. Follow steps 1 - 3 on the 'Small Box With A Lid' worksheet. (Downloads - SmallBox.pdf)
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Place the paper paint side up on the desk.
  2. Apply glue to the back of the photo.
  3. Glue the photo on the inner rectangle made by the folds.
  4. Press it flat and smooth.
PHOTO TRANSFER BOX – Colour, Form, Texture - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Follow steps 4 - 6 on the 'Small Box With A Lid' worksheet to finish making the box top. (Downloads - SmallBox.pdf)
  2. Once the top is finished use a piece of 13.3 cm x 20.9 cm (5.25” x 8.25”) cardstock paper to make the bottom of the box.
  3. Spread some glitter glue over the top of the finished box.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a photo transfer;
  • create a small box with a lid;
  • use colour expressively;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • figure out how to make smaller sized boxes;
  • create a series of stacking boxes that fit inside each other, each decorated with a different photo transfer and colour;
  • place interesting information inside each box;
  • provide a quiz to be completed after viewing the contents of the boxes;
  • share their box sets with their peers.


  1. Pre-cut the cardstock paper 13.9 cm x 21.6 cm (5.5” x 8.5”) - 1 piece per student for the TOP of the box.
  2. Pre-cut the cardstock paper 13.3 cm x 20.9 cm (5.25” x 8.25”) - 1 piece per student for the BOTTOM of the box.
  3. Photocopy the How to Make a Small Box instruction sheet for students. (Downloads – SmallBox.pdf)
  4. Photocopy a variety of copyright free images such as those found in Dover publications books, for example, 1300 Real and Fanciful Animals: From Seventeenth-Century Engravings, by: Matthäus (the Younger) Merian
  5. Download and display the Colour poster available on this website.
  6. Introduce or review characteristics of cuboids.
    - has 6 flat faces
    - all angles are right angles
    - is also a rectangular prism
  7. Create a sample.


  1. Discuss the element of colour and characteristics of colours, for example, warm and cool colours, bright and dull colours, light and dark colours.
  2. Discuss how colours can be used expressively to communicate different feelings, such as calm, happiness, excitement. (Downloads – CulturalColour.pdf)
  3. Show and discuss your sample.
  4. Demonstrate how to make a photo transfer. 
  5. Consider what a small box with a lid (a cuboid) might be useful for, and how the choice of picture used to decorate it might influence how the box is used.
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a photo transfer.
  2. Create a small box with a lid.
  3. Use colour expressively.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the works.

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:
    - cut and folded the paper accurately
    - created a small box with a lid that fits
    - used colour to express a feeling
    - created a photo transfer
    - created an effective wet-on-wet watercolour painting
    - created a box that is in good condition
  3. Give students the 13.9 cm x 21.6 cm (5.5” x 8.5”) size paper.
  4. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  5. Encourage students to think of how they can use contrast to create areas of emphasis.
  6. Observe students as they work. 
  7. Once student have completed the top of the box, give them the 13.3 cm x 20.9 cm (5.25” x 8.25”) size paper to make the bottom of the box. 
  8. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into small groups.
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Share their boxes and take turns discussing the things that are especially effective and why.
    - Talk about how the colours and photo transfer express a feeling.
    - Talk about what the box might be useful for, and why.

    - Talk about what they found satisfying about making the box.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to tell how they felt about doing this project.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their artworks – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, holds box to the side, 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 - PhotoTransferBox_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - PhotoTransferBox_self-assessment.pdf, or PhotoTransferBoxPrimary_self-assessment.pdf)