Students make a texture sampler using masking tape and different types of paint to create the illusion of leather.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 4 to Grade 9


Art Techniques
Language Arts


contrast dry brush emphasis simulated texture texture


Crayola Acrylic Paint Crayola Washable Watercolour Paints Crayola Washable Glitter Project paint Crayola Washable Project Paint Crayola Paint Brushes Crayola No-Run School Glue Bristol Board - 15.2 cm x 30.5 cm (6" x 12") - 1 per student Water Containers Paper Plates or Plastic Lids for Palettes - 1 per student Paper Towels Masking Tape

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TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step One

Step One

  1. Stick small, torn pieces of masking tape to a 15.2 cm x 30.5 cm piece of Bristol board.
  2. Overlap the pieces and change directions to create a random pattern.
  3. Make sure all the edges of the tape are flat and firmly attached to the surface of the Bristol board.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Divide the width of the Bristol board into 6 fairly equal sections.
  2. Choose two colours of acrylic paint – one light and one dark.
  3. Paint sections 2 and 3 of the taped Bristol board with the light colour.
  4. Allow the paint to dry completely.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Paint a darker colour over the light colour in section 3.
  2. Use very little paint.
  3. Dry brush it into the cracks made by the masking tape.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Use watercolour paint to fill in section 4.
  2. Notice the difference.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Paint section 5 with glitter paint.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Use washable tempera paint to cover section 6.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Coat the bottom half of the paper with Crayola Washable Glue.
  2. Just pour a little glue directly onto the surface and spread it with a paint brush.
  3. Set the paper aside to dry.
TEXTURE TECHNIQUES – Fooling The Eye - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. When the glue is dry label each section.
  2. Use this sampler to help you decide what kind of finish you want to use on a project.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • create a sampler of textures that fool the eye;
  • use contrast to create areas of emphasis;
  • compare the effects of different paints on masking tape;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the works.


Have students:

  • use the technique on a handmade book they have created using the Creating A Simple Bound Book lesson plan available on this website;
  • use the technique on a box they have created using the A Box Full of Luck lesson plan available on this website;
  • experiment with other ways to use masking tape to create textured surfaces;
  • share their ideas with others.


  1. Gather plastic placemats - one for each student.
  2. Gather the required art materials and place them in baskets for easy distribution.
  3. Place students into small groups so they can share materials.
  4. Prepare a large piece of paper with masking tape to use for demonstrating the various steps in the process.
  5. Trompe-l'oeil is an art technique that creates the illusion that flat objects are really three-dimensional. It means to fool the eye.
  6. Download examples of trompe-l'oeil artworks from the Internet, for example,


  1. Examine several of the trompe-l'oeil images.
  2. Point out how the artworks 'fool the eye'.
  3. Consider reasons people would want to do this.
  4. Ask if anyone has ever seen such an artwork.
  5. Discuss how it is possible to create textures that fool the eye into thinking the surface is something other than what it is.
  6. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a texture sampler that fools the eye.
  2. Use paint to create areas of contrast.
  3. Compare the effects of different paints on masking tape.
  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:
    - covered the Bristol board with small pieces of masking tape
    - overlapped the pieces of masking tape
    - made sure the masking tape is flat and sticks to the surface of the paper
    - used 5 different kinds of paint
    - covered half of each section with glue
    - kept the paper in good condition
    - compared the different effects of each kind of paint
  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.
    - Talk about how and why they might use this technique in other art projects.
    - Talk about what was difficult and what was easy for them to do.
  3. Share ideas with the whole class. 
  4. Ask them 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 the samplers – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the sampler and from personal experience.
  3. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - TextureSampler_tracking.pdf)
  4. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - TextureSampler_self-assessment.pdf)