Introduction: Mandala

About: I am a middle school art teacher. I love teaching kids, and anyone who wants to make art.

For the start of this project I give a lesson about Mandalas that are made by the Tibetan Monks. The Monks make Mandalas using colored sand, it is an amazing process and has a deep religious meaning for the Monks. Information about the Monks and their Mandalas can be found on the internet to strengthen your lesson.

Note: Other cultures have made Mandalas, choose the one that best suites your lesson.


One piece of Square paper
One Pencil
One marker
And watercolors.

Step 1: Preparing the Paper

I start by folding the paper into 8 sections. Fold the paper it in half, and in half the other way. Then fold it corner to corner and corner to corner the other way.
Any size paper can be used and for less advanced students 4 sections can work.

Step 2: Transferring the Image and Making the Divider

To make the Mandala symmetrical I use a pencil transfer process. Step one, draw your divider in one section. Step two, fold your paper so that to part you just drew is facing a blank section. Rub the back of the paper using the end of the marker. If you rub in the correct area, and if you drew dark enough, and if you rub hard enough the image you just drew will transfer. Once the transfer has been made trace over the image and repeat the process.

Step 3: Continue Making the Divider

I have my students use two lines to make a divider. This makes the divider a shape rather than a line, which looks more dynamic. More dividers can be added as well as shapes inside the divider for greater difficulty.

Step 4: Adding Other Images

Once the divider is finished it is time to add other images to the design. I do not let them use words letters or numbers because half the time they will be backwards. Students are asked to use images, objects and symbols that have personal meanings. I ask them to fill their paper leaving very little unused space all the while transferring so that all the areas match. At this point, a discussion about images will help students to begin. I talk about how a light bulb is a symbol for ideas or for being creative.

Step 5: Color

For this project I like to use crayon and watercolor. The crayon is used to trace over the pencil lines and color and in small areas. The crayon resists the watercolor from soaking into the paper and It keeps it in place. Interesting effects happen when white crayon or light colors are painted over with the watercolor. This process is called “Watercolor Resist” and it is a lot of fun.
A challenge for advanced students is to shade some areas creating a 3D effect when the paper is dry.

It is really up to the teacher as to what medium and technique to use and any and all mediums can look great with proper instruction and technique.

Art Skills Challenge

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Art Skills Challenge