STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape

Students use markers with water to create a stencil print that reflects a Haiku they have written.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 8


Language Arts
Visual Arts


cool colours expressive printmaking shape stencil print warm colours


Crayola Broad Tip Markers - 24 Count Crayola Fine Line Markers - 12 Count Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Scissors Write-On Overhead Transparencies - 14 cm x 21.6 cm (5 ½" x 8 ½") - 1 per student Water Containers Small Pieces of Sponge - about 3 cm x 3 cm (1 ½" x 1 ½") - 1 per student Paper Towels Masking Tape Pencils

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STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose the Haiku you want to use.
  2. Trace the outline of the transparency onto a piece of paper.
  3. Draw a shape that will best reflect your Haiku in that rectangle.
  4. Make your shape as big as the rectangle.
  5. Place the transparency on top of your drawing.
  6. Use a marker to trace your shape onto the transparency.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Cut out the shape.
  2. Save the scraps of transparency.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Wipe the marker off the shape with a damp sponge.
  2. Dry it with paper towel or a tissue.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Roll some small loops of tape with the sticky side facing out.
  2. Place them on the back of your plastic shape.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Centre your shape on the paper and press it into place.
  2. Use a white or other colour crayon to draw some patterns on the paper around your shape.
  3. Set your paper aside.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use some of the scrap plastic to test colours and practice the technique.
  2. Hold a piece of plastic in place on the paper.
  3. Draw some marker ink along the edge of the plastic.
  4. make sure the marker ink is only on the plastic not the paper.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Place the small sponge into the water.
  2. Squeeze some of the water out of the sponge.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Place the damp sponge on top of the ink .
  2. Drag the ink onto the paper.
  3. Try with different colours.
  4. Experiment with how wet you make the sponge.
    - What happens to the marker colour when the sponge is almost dry?
    - What happens to the marker colour when the sponge is very wet?
    - What is the right amount of water in your sponge to get the effect you like?
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Now you are ready to complete your stencil print.
  2. Use the same technique and the effects you discovered.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Decide if there is anything else you want to do with the print before removing the transparency from the paper.
  2. When you are satisfied gently remove the transparency from the paper.
  3. Be careful because the tape may tear the paper.
STENCIL A POEM – Printmaking, Colour, Shape - Step Eleven

Step Eleven

  1. Write your Haiku inside the shape.
  2. You may want to use markers to add a pattern inside the outer edge of the shape.
  3. View your finished work with fresh eyes.
    - How does the image contribute to the Haiku?
    - How does the Haiku contribute to the image?
    - What do you like best about your artwork? Why?

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a stencil print that connects with the ideas in a poem they have written;
  • use colour expressively;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • use the Quilt Book lesson plan available on this website to create a book of poems;
  • include a variety of types of poems;
  • use a variety of techniques to illustrate each poem;
  • share their wok with their peers.


  1. Gather required art materials.
  2. Prior to doing this lesson teach students how to write a variety of poems, for example, haiku, sonnet, acrostic, cinquain, and sonnet.
  3. Provide time for students to select their favourite poem from the ones they have written.
  4. During the poetry unit, gather and make available a variety of poetry books, for example, The Poet's House, by Jude Brigley; Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw; A HodgePodge of Children's Stories, by David Jacks; Don't Step on the Sky: A Handful of Haiku, by Miriam Chaikin; GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys, by Bob Raczka; and Each Peach Pear Plum, by Allan Ahlberg, and Janet Ahlberg. 
  5. Select several haiku poems from the books to use in the introduction to this lesson.
  6. Prepare a sample stencil to use for demonstrating the technique.


  1. Read several haiku poems to the class.
  2. Ask students to close their eyes and to imagine what they see as they listen to the poems being read.
  3. Have students share their imaginings and then show the illustrations for each poem. 
  4. Discuss how each person may have a different image of what they hear.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a stencil print that connects with the ideas in a poem you have written.
  2. Use colour expressively.
  3. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  4. 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 stencil print
    - created a design that connects with my poem
    - used colour expressively
    - added details with different patterns
    - created an effective shape that fits my poem
    - used the resist technique successfully
    - kept the paper 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 small groups. 
  2. Ask them to: 
    - Compare their work and describe to each other what they did to get certain effects.
    - Read each other their poems.
    - Talk about what they like about each poem, for example, feelings, energy, surprises.
    - Comment on how the image created by the stencil connects with the poem.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask students to share 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 self-portraits – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the self-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 – Stencil_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Download - Stencil_self-assessment.pdf or Stencil-Primary_self-assessment.pdf)