While I love creating new art projects to keep things fresh and interesting, some of the older projects are just so good, they’re worth repeating year after year…. which also gives me the chance to keep improving them!
Kaleidoscope Lettering is one of those projects! It uses the concepts of bilateral (reflective) symmetry, tessellation, and positive/negative space to transform names, initials, or inspiring words into unique designs that look way more complicated than they actually are. Students are amazed by the striking designs they create!
Kaleidoscope Lettering combines art and math concepts to create an engaging project with a variety of applications. You’ll find it’s ideal for working with students’ names at the beginning of the school year, illustrating an inspiring word for a New Year’s resolution, a relaxing activity for early finishers, a stress-releaser to pull out after testing, or a fun project to offer as a reward at the end of the school year. No matter when you do it, students will be proud of their unique, colorful designs!
This project was so successful and so well-loved by my students that I did it year after year… until I figured out we were doing it the hard way!
Using my original method (which you can read about here) students would have to first do their lettering on a small triangle of paper and then trace it several times onto a larger square, flipping and realigning the triangle each time. This technique worked well enough, yet posed some big problems. There was the extra prep for the teacher (having to cut out all those triangles!) and the difficulty of seeing through the paper to do the tracing. But the biggest problem was that the flipping and realigning steps took extra time for the students to do, and left the door wide open for mistakes! This also created more work for the teacher to be sure each rotation was done correctly by every student before moving on to the next one.
My ‘new and improved’ method is not only faster and easier, it’s also mistake-proof! I’ve eliminated the steps of creating the lettering on a separate triangle and then having to move, realign, and flip it each time before tracing it. Eliminating those extra steps saves time and eliminates errors and unnecessary frustration!
Kaleidoscope Lettering accommodates students across a wide range of ages and abilities and teaches important art concepts. I’ve also found that this project motivates students to apply their best efforts toward craftsmanship because the results are just so impressive.
What improvements did I make to this lesson? The short answer is the method…. folding the square paper and lettering directly on that, then refolding and rubbing to transfer the image to each triangle. But I wanted to share all the tips and suggestions I’ve learned over years of doing this project – way too much for a blog post! So I created a pdf for my Teachers Pay Teachers store where I include all the step by step photos you’ll need to teach this lesson at three different levels – basic, intermediate, or advanced. You’ll also find vocabulary, color theory, suggestions for supplies, a project gallery for inspiration, and lots of helpful tips for success throughout. I think it’s my best TpT product yet. I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!