Family Fresco

Family Fresco lesson plan

Paint a family picture—or any design—in the style of famous painters such as Michelangelo! Texture and glow add to their uniqueness!

  • 1.

    Fresco paintings are made by quickly applying a thin layer of wet plaster to walls. The paint—tempera or watercolors—becomes part of the plaster. Look at pictures such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel or Leonardo da Vinci’s "The Last Supper." Find out how they created these masterpieces. Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel while lying on his back!

  • 2.

    Decide what your subject will be. How about a family picnic? Maybe a still life? Or an abstract design? Choose a durable, interesting surface, such as heavy cardboard, plywood, or a foam tray. Draw your idea on the surface with a Crayola Colored Pencil.

  • 3.

    Spread newspaper over your painting area. Cover your picture surface with a thick coat of Crayola Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium using a large flat brush. Air-dry it for about 30 minutes.

  • 4.

    Moisten your Crayola Watercolors with a drop of water on each pan. Fill your brush with color and begin to paint. The colors will be absorbed into the Texture It! as you work. Paint with long smooth strokes or dab colors into the medium. Rinse your brush after each color change. If you change your mind about a color, just blot with paper towel and add a new layer of Texture It! to that area. Air-dry your masterpiece overnight.

  • 5.

    Add sparkle with a coat of Crayola Glitter It! Tempera Mixing Medium. Or paint on a pearlized finish with Pearl It! Mixing Medium. Both media add a beautiful glow to your fresco. Air-dry your painting. Why not frame it before you display it---or give it as a memorable gift?


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, an d artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.


  • Possible classroom resources include: Antonio's Apprenticeship: Painting a Fresco in Renaissance Italy by Taylor Morrison; Michelangelo's Surprise by Tony Parillo
  • Students collaborate to complete in-depth research on an artist who is well-known for painting fresco paintings. Organize research into an electronic format for sharing with classmates.
  • Students can repeat this process using tempera paints.