GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape

Students design their own hand printed greeting cards using marker with water and simple stencils.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 6


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


overlapping random rhythm rhythm shape space


Cover Stock Paper 21.6 cm x 28 cm (8.5" x 11") Small Sponge Water Container Overhead Transparency or Other Lightweight Plastic Sheet Markers

Shop Crayola Products


GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step One

Step One

  1. Fold the paper in half short end to short end.
  2. Make a good crisp fold.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Two

Step Two

  1.  Carefully tape the folded paper to a plastic placemat or piece of firm cardboard.
  2. The tape will leave a white border around your design once it is removed.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Use a white crayon to draw some small shapes on part of the paper, for example, some spirals.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Four

Step Four

  1. Draw a shape on a small piece of overhead transparency.
  2. Cut it out.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Five

Step Five

  1. Place the plastic shape on your paper and hold it firmly in place.
  2. Draw some marker on the shape.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Six

Step Six

  1. Dip a small sponge into the water to get it wet.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Seven

Step Seven

  1. Squeeze out most of the water.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Eight

Step Eight

  1. Drag the damp sponge over the inked shape and onto the paper. The water will make the marker ink flow onto your paper.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Nine

Step Nine

  1. Remove the plastic shape to see your stencil print.
  2. Repeat with other colours, overlapping the shapes until you fill the paper.
GREETINGS! – Stencil Print, Space, Shape - Step Ten

Step Ten

  1. Gently remove the tape.
  2. Notice how the colours mix together in some places.
  3. Notice how the white crayon shows through the ink.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Cut out a simple shape;
  2. Create a greeting card using a stencil and marker;
  3. Use repetition of shape and colour to a create random rhythm; and
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  1.  Work with another class to teach their peers how to make stencil prints.
  2. Use the stencil printmaking technique to illustrate a poem. See lesson plan on this website.
    Stencil a Poem



  1. Download the Space, Shape, Rhythm and Pattern posters available on this website.
  2. Prepare a completed and a demonstration sample.
  3. Cut overhead transparencies (the 'write on' type) into quarter sheets.
  4. You may want to provide suitable tracer shapes for students, e.g., stars, bells, angels for Christmas; trees, leaves, for Earth Day.
  5. Gather and make available picture books about shape and pattern, for example, The Shape of Things, by Dayle Ann Dodds; The Greedy Triangle, by Marilyn Burns; Math Counts: Shape, by Henry Arthur Pluckrose; Math Counts: Pattern, by Henry Arthur Pluckrose; Shapes Board Book, by Judith Nouvion.


  1. Discuss card giving in general.
    - Why and when do we send/give cards?
    - How do we choose the cards we give?
    - What are some of their favourite kinds of cards?
    - How have cards changed with technology?
  2. Brainstorm reasons to make and send their own cards, focusing on people they would want to send a special card to and why.
  3. Discuss the use of shape to make a suitable design for a special card. Focus on the purpose or theme of the card, and what an appropriate shape would be. 
  4. Introduce/review the characteristics of pattern and rhythm. 
  5. Introduce the challenge


The Challenge

  1. Cut out a simple shape.
  2. Create a greeting card using a stencil and marker.
  3. Use repetition of shape and colour to create a random rhythm.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    design has random rhythm
    - colour is bright and strong

    - contrasting colours create movement
    - shapes overlap 
    - paper in good condition
  3. Demonstrate the technique as you 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 in groups of about 6.
  2. Ask them to share thoughts about the works.
  3. During the discussion include references to: 
     Colour – How does the colour create contrast and rhythm?
    -  Shape – How does the shape reflect the theme of the card?
    -  Technical Accomplishment – How does attention to detail contribute to the overall effect of the design?
  4. Ask volunteers to share some ideas with the whole class.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting
  2. Observe students as they discuss the art works – active listening, insightful contributions, supporting ideas with evidence found in the artwork and from personal experience. 
  3. Have students reflect on their own artworks in their sketchbooks. Ask students:
    - What worked well in your artwork? Why?
    - What would you change or do differently next time?                                                                                                                                
    - What will it feel like to give this card to someone special? Why?