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Mini Magnet Masterpieces

Miniature Portraits are remarkably small-scale paintings used as personal keepsakes or as jewelry from various cultures. Try your hand at creating a modern miniature masterpiece!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
    Grades 7 and 8
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Show students miniature portrait paintings from various cultures. Examples include: a. “Miniature Portrait of Margaret Roper”, by a German miniaturist, Hans Holbein the Younger dates back to 1535-36. b. The portraits of the Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari, and Deccani courts in India are colorful and exotic. c. A 17th century example, “Portrait Miniature of an Indian Courtesan” exemplifies remarkable craftsmanship. d. A miniature of George Washington was painted by the most famous American miniaturist painter, Robert Ford, in 1800. e. The National Museum in Warsaw, Poland has a fabulous display of 18th century portrait miniatures. After discussing these tiny masterpieces, which are as small as an inch in diameter, let the students try to create elaborate small scale drawings.
    2. Students should trace 1 inch (2.54 cm) circles in a Crayola® Sketchbook and use Crayola Watercolor Pencils to design original creations such as, animals, nature, or sports images.
    3. Students cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Use water to spread some of the watercolor pencil and make the colors more intense. Allow time for drawings to dry.
    4. When the miniature masterpieces are dry, use Crayola scissors to cut out the circles.
    5. Using Crayola Glue, have students spread a thin layer across the back side of the glass gem with a finger. Next, stick a miniature drawing face down into the glue surface. The glue may cloud the image at first, but once dry it will be clear. Repeat the process according to the number of magnets students are making.
    6. Dab glue on the back of the drawing and apply to the magnet. Let the magnet dry overnight upside down.
  • Standards

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

    LA: Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.

    MA: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.

    SCI: Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Identify and explain how and where different cultures record and illustrate stories and history of life through art.

    VA: Demonstrate safe and proper procedures for using materials, tools, and equipment while making art.

  • Adaptations

    Divide students into two groups and compare small scale art with large scale art. One group should research the Miniature Paintings of India, while the other investigates Federal Art Project Number One public murals of the WPA during the Great Depression. Each group should lead class discussions and prepare electronic presentations on the challenges, subject matter and size issues that each group of artists had to address. This discussion should bring up topics such as multiple artists working on the same piece of art, materials, illuminated manuscripts, public spaces, historical renderings, and cultural ideals or myths.

    Conduct hands-on experiments with magnets to help students learn about scientific concepts such as electromagnetism, transfer of energy, and magnetic pull. Show students the incredible ferrofluid artwork of Japanese artists Sachiko Kodama and Minako Takeno.

    Make 3-D magnets with students. Show the students tiny sculpture from artists such as, Dalton Ghetti, Willard Wigan or Shay Aaron. Use Crayola Model Magic to create miniature sculptures of animals, insects, shapes or people. Let the creations dry and glue a magnet to the back with Crayola Glue.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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