Arts of Asia in Reach
Japanese Family Crest Lesson Plan
3. Strategies & Procedures

Engage (Motivation)

Begin this lesson with an open discussion about symbolism. Point out modern uses of symbolism such as in advertising—brainstorm different examples that students encounter on a day-to-day basis. (ie: the "swish" sign = Nike; the golden arches = McDonald's; the peace sign; a circle with a slash through it = "Do Not…" or "No…")


Next, let students choose to create their crest either about themselves, their group of friends, or their families.
  • Have students brainstorm different symbols and ideas that represent their chosen crest subjects.
  • Have students draft 5 thumbnail sketches.
  • Have students critique each others sketches and offer constructive criticism regarding use of principles and elements of art and design.
  • Have students should select one of their five thumbnails.

Explain the tools needed for stenciling and how to use them properly!
  • A stencil brush is thick, dense, and flat.
  • Its short, stiff bristles prevent paint from getting under the surface of a stencil.
  • When dipping the brush into the paint, dab the end of the bristles lightly into the color. Do not overload the brush with paint!
  • Don't let the paint be too watery or it will run under the edges of the stencil. alms


Once students select their final sketch, have them finalize their lines and transfer the image onto stencil board.
Then have students follow the following procedures:

Making the stencil:
  1. Transfer design to stencil board. Make sure the crest has at least a 1/2" border surrounding its entire design. (Transfer or carbon paper may be used to expedite design transferal) *
  2. Using a craft knife, start cutting out the longest, straightest edges, as these are the easiest to cut. Press firmly and smoothly.
  3. Use your free hand to stop the stencil from moving, but always keep fingers away from where you're cutting.
  4. Finish making the stencil by cutting out the smaller details.
  5. Finally, neaten any rough edges before painting.
  6. Remember to safely cap the craft knife and return to its proper place. Discard any scrap stencil board.
* Alternative procedure: Photocopy students' final designs. Use photocopies secured with tape to stencil board and cut out with stencil.

Painting the stencil:
  1. Stretch t-shirt over an appropriate-sized piece of cardboard and secure with masking tape if necessary.
  2. Position stencil in middle to center of t-shirt (or in desired location). Secure stencil to t-shirt with tape to prevent stencil from moving once painting has started.
  3. Start from the outside and work inward. Apply the paint to the appropriate section of the stencil using a vertical, up and down motion. Do not brush across, instead tap the end of the brush onto the stencil.
  4. For smaller sections and details, use the fingertips of your free hand to hold down the smaller parts of the stencil while you paint.

Continue to: 4. Assessment & Closure