I will be doing this project for the first week or more with my junior high students. It involves the learning about the Elements of Art and Principles of Design and I’m happy about that because I require my students to identify the Elements and Principles in the artwork we analyze.

Elements of Art book

Elements of Art book

Elements of Art/Principles of Design book

Original project by: Anne Jones

2-3 days (maybe more)

Grade level: 7-8 grade


  • Color pencils
  • things that make subtle texture, like string or bits of rice or cut up straws or something (for the texture element of art)
  • paper strips 42″ x 6″ 1 per pupil (I mean, it could be 36″ or something else, the point is to make 16 pages) thicker paper is better, it will allow the book to stand up by itself. Our examples were made out of cardstock, but you could use old manila folders or thick construction paper
  • templates big enough to fill up a goodly amount of each page. 2 templates per person (one for the elements of art and 1 for the principles of design)

Begin by explaining each of the elements of art or principles of design or have students break into groups and have each group explain one of them (good community building activity, plus they have to meet other people) so that students have an understanding of the elements of art/principles of design before they begin the book.

Accordion fold the paper so that you have 16 sections that are 4×6 inches

On the first section, write “Elements of art” (thats your cover page)

Skip the second section

On the third section write “Line” at the top of the page, trace the template onto the center of the page and fill it up with types of lines.

Skip the next section

Continue with one page blank and one page filled with each of the elements of art :Line, color, shape, value, space, form, texture

Principles of Design book

Now, flip it over. On the back of the last element of art you did your going to write “Principles of Design” and again, alternating 1 page filled, one page empty, trace the template onto each page, fill in the shape with decorations that express that principle of design (because it is the back of the accordion, you will find that you can only fit 6 principles, so do two on the same page).

The goal is to have a book that when open one way shows all the elements of art and when turned around will list all the principles of design.

I really recommend you do an example book first, so that you can trouble-shoot, be able to explain it more easily, and so that you have an awesome example.