Name designs are a great way to begin the year. This gives you an opportunity to connect the names with the students. Projects always come out successful. You might also want students to research the meaning of their name. Links below.
Block Name Design Project from Debbie Bridges
Fold Paper horizontally in half (18" or 45.7 cm) and repeat folding into fourths.
Open up and now fold vertically in half (12" or 30.5 cm) and repeat folding into fourths
Open up your paper and you should have four rectangles by eight rectangles.
On the creases, draw straight black lines with black marker so that the rectangles stand out. (Use ruler if needed)
With pencil print your name in large capital letters - one in each rectangle. Do not skip any rectangles and keep repeating your letters until you run out of rectangles. Large letters (letters should fill the rectangle). Trace with black marker. You will end with your name not completed in some rows.
Design the first letter by adding a simple color or pattern but you must repeat the exact color for every matching letter.
Submitted by Rebecca Burch
Radiating Line - Symmetrical Name
This project is done the same as above. It makes a good substitute day lesson. Results always turn out well. Write name in bubble letters - then outline with radiating lines inside and outside each letter till making letters connect. Contrast with radiating lines in the negative space. This student contrasted warm and cool colors. Use crayons, oil pastels or markers.
Students added their name to these patterned fish done in Crow Quill Pens and India ink (or Sharpie markers). 5th graders designed a fish, adding their first name in block letters to the design. They then filled ever part of the fish (except their name) with a variety of patterns. Make these any size from 9" x 12" to 18" x 24".
You can tweak it to be any kind of animal- maybe even let the kiddies choose their "totem animal" (or "spirit animal" that represents them best - See animal symbolism.
Submitted by Lin Alt Radial Design Name
This lesson can be done with colored pencils, markers or Crayons. Students draw spiraling lines out from center of square paper. Alternate name and patterns in each section. Limit color pallet - repeating colors.
Barbara says students loved the Chalk and Pastels Lesson Idea, and the kids who love cartooning could practice bubble letters in 3-D. Doing their own names seems to eliminate the "fear "of drawing with perspective. Glue outlines could add textural interest.
Submitted by Rebecca
6th grade students looked at and discussed images from Illuminated manuscripts focusing on the Initials at the beginning of the written sections. They then used their names as self-portraits by making the first letter an Illuminated Initial. They had to include at least 3 miniatures of things to describe them, favorite sport, hobby, their pets, etc. in the first letter. It went rather well, being as it revolved around them and their interests. The final project was done on a thicker paper and painted with watercolors. Teacher Sample
Submitted by: Ken Schwab Illuminated Name - Calligraphy
High School Lesson
Ken did a design project with his Art 1 students - the illumination idea with tempera and ink. They were to use their name, first or last. First initial had to show aspects of their personality - identity. The remaining letters had to fit "aesthetically" with the first letter.
Submitted by: Janet Gall Block Name Design
Birch Tree Elementary
Measure 12 x 18 paper into 3" grid (could fold paper to make grid or measure with ruler). Draw one block letter in each block. Repeat name to fill page. Color with warm/cool colors for contrast. Fill negative space with pattern/lines. Color with crayons, oil pastels, markers or colored pencils. This would also make a nice painting assignment.
Submitted by: Janet Gall Hand Design with name in complementary colors
Students make a tag board hand tracing. Make a design with hands - overlap that with initials or name in block letters. Hands could also be filled with patterns. Markers, colored pencils or crayons could be used. This particular lesson focused on complementary colors.
Submitted by: Janet Gall
Birch Tree Elementary Crayon Engraving Name Design
Fifth and sixth grade students learned about the elements and principles of design and then practiced using them. They planned a design with their name overlapping geometric shapes. In scratch art, the paper is first colored heavily with crayon and then painted black. Students scratched simulated texture into the letters and spaces. Some of them were really creative in coming up with different textures.
Submitted by: Janet Gall
Birch Tree Elementary Radiating Line Name Design
This lesson can be done in markers, crayons or colored pencils. Students write their name then outline it with radiating lines around the shape of the name. Each line has a different pattern. Warm and cool colors could be emphasized.
Also see Alien Name Lesson and Insects Name lesson on Incredible Art Department
Submitted by: Janet Gall
Birch Tree Elementary Name Symmetry Monsters
This lesson can be done with manuscript or cursive letters. Fold your paper in half horizontally - along length of paper). Write your first name in cursive (or print) along the fold. Go over with soft lead pencil - transfer to other side by rubbing. Go over lines with black marker. Find creature within design. Add additional designs and lines. Color with choice of medium. Janet's students used crayons.
Alternate: Keep folded and cut out. Open and turn it over so you don't see your pencil marks. Look at the shape you created. Think of how you can turn it into a creature. Use markers (or colored pencils) and glue to a sheet of Construction Paper.
Submitted by: MaryAnn Kohl - Name Flame - Symmetry
Create a red-hot flaming design using one's name as the underlying basis.
Fold the paper in half lengthwise (the long way) matching the corners. Then press the folded edge and crease. Open. Flatten the paper on the table with the fold running from left to right (the long way).
Print or write a name with pencil on the folded line. Draw the letters in a large enough design to almost fill the top half of the paper. Cursive writing has the most flame-like design, but printing will work fine.
To transfer the letters to the other half of the paper, trace the pencil letters heavily with dark or colored Chalk (or Ebony/soft lead pencil). Then refold the paper so the letters and chalk are inside the fold. Rub the outside of the paper with the back of a spoon, a ruler, or a wooden craft stick. Peek inside the folded paper and see if the letters have transferred to the other side of the folded paper. Continue rubbing until they are well transferred. Then open again.
Trace all the letters, both pencil and chalk lines, with a wide black marker. (Excessive chalk may first be brushed away with a tissue or soft cloth.)
To turn the name design into flames, color in the spaces with flaming colors like red, orange, yellow, and blue (blue is the hottest part of the flame). Draw pointed flame shapes stretching out from the design in different flame colors. Try mixing more than one crayon color within the shapes. Color bright and heavy to make the colors shine. Rub the flames with a soft cloth to polish them to a shiny end result.
Cut around the entire flaming name (See illustration) with a wavy or pointy technique. Glue the name flame to a black background paper and display.
This idea appears in Primary Art by MaryAnn Kohl
Name Molas Symmetry - from Ellen
This uses the same folded technique.
From Ellen: A couple of years ago I started the year off with name projects for grades, 4th - 8th. The 8th grade did name molas. First they folded a paper lengthwise and wrote their name in cursive on the folded side. Then they went over their name to make their letters thick. I emphasized that their letters had to go off the page on the fold so when they cut them out they would have the mirror image of their name cut out also and attached. This pattern part was the same for several other of the name related projects, 6th grade did African mask inspired name project and 4th grade did insects using their name in this pattern.
Then using their name pattern, they choose three pieces of construction paper in different colors. They kept one of the colors for the background. They folded the other two papers lengthwise and using their pattern cut them out. They were instructed to keep both the positive and negative areas of these construction papers. Then they took one of the paper's negative or the area around the name and enlarged the area trimming around the shape, taking off about a quarter of an inch. The positive side, the part with the writing they trimmed also making it smaller. They then arrange their cut out pieces of their names on the paper used for the background, cutting into the negative areas of the paper to make designs around it.
If anyone does this lesson, please send an image to the Incredible Art Department.
Names are drawn on 1/8 pie wedge (on folded 6" [15 cm] square) - then transferred to make mirror image. The design is then copied all around a 12" (30.5 cm) circle. color with colored pencils, markers or crayons. See Radial Design lesson plan
Submitted by: Maria Smith,
J. G. Hening Elementary School Mandala Name Design - Radial Symmetry
Social Studies (Hindu, Buddhist, Native America, Celtic)
Students will create a square mandala based on the letters of their first name.
Students fold white paper so they have created 8 triangles.
In only one triangle they are to draw the letters of their first name—avoid single lines lettering styles.
Emphasize that the whole triangle must be utilized—top and bottom of the triangular section.
Distribute carbon paper and explain how this paper is used
The pencils design is folded (diagonally) so that when it is traced, the carbon creates a copy in another triangle. Place carbon (or Saral Transfer Paper) on table carbon side up - place folded paper on carbon so mirror image is created. Then fold and trace square symmetrical name design into the other sections.
After each triangle is traced go over it with a thin black permanent marker. This will allow the student to see what they are tracing as they move through each triangle.
Markers will then be used to give color to the design—if one letter in the name is colored blue for example all the rest of those same letters will be that color.
From Maggie White:
I did a name design lesson similar to Marcia's that came out super! The students had to make the letters touch the sides of the page, so a lot of negative/positive spaces were created. They filled in the negative spaces with different patterns, and left the letters blank. Cool and unexpected reversal. The students were really into it. It was especially interesting, with all-girl and all-boy classes, to compare the boys' aesthetic sense with the girls. (Maggie did this with 6th grade)
Abstract Design From Denise Pannell:
Second graders create abstract name designs. Marker drawing using the letters in their names to form a design and colored with marker
Variation - Select Words/Truisms instead of Names.
The Word as Art - by Marvin Bartel
"Select a word or truism and create it out of the something that represents that word. Select something and make a word or truism from it. The word or truism should be anything that they think stands for understanding and progress in the world."
Bread Dough Letters From Jean Wood:
I did a lesson with names the student's really enjoyed - A name "sign". The students were given a pre-cut board, about the size I thought was right for the length of the individual's name. The students first sanded the board smooth, and screwed in two little hooks for hanging the board. Some really loved this process. Then they were given a ball of bread dough clay. They formed letters out of bread dough worms they rolled, making them the right size for the boards they had just sanded. We let the letters sit until dry, then I baked the bread dough letters in the oven until completely dry and hard. Next class they painted the letters with tempera, then chose a second color and painted the board. More time to let the painted items dry. Then student's glued the painted name onto the board and put a few fancy lines or rick rack around the edges of the board with paint. With a string for hanging the boards they were finished!
Name Designs from Sarah Peterson:
Name Collage - basic collage of magazine/photos/letters chosen according to personal interest - I liked starting with this because it's a nice low-pressure "ease in" to art... kids don't get caught up in creating a "perfect" product
Name Transformation - We look at "custom" alphabets and students make sketches and transform each letter into something that represents an interest... like making a letter into the shape of family pet or ballet shoes, etc.
Symbolic Hands - This can include a name... I've done it as a wax resist, we discuss symbols in art and look at some various symbolic shapes, designs, then students trace their hands and draw symbols to represent their families, interests, pets, successes... then do a watercolor wash over the whole hand... this also makes a nice display for hallways, bulletin boards...
Name Portrait - Micrography - from Judy Decker
Lesson idea for upper elementary through middle school. Take digital photographs of the students - change to high contrast - or line feature - so lines are clear. Outline the main shapes of portrait. Transfer lines to good drawing paper using Saral Transfer Paper (or graphite on back). Use tiny lettering to outline all of the contours (Micrography - tie in Jewish culture as well). Tiny writing would be the name over and over again - positive character traits - and the meaning of the name. Lettering would be done in Ultra-Fine Point Markers or other choice of pen. Erase Saral transfer graphite lines when finished. Watercolor finished Micrography if desired. If anyone does this lesson - please send in a sample of student work.
Symbolic Name Design - from Vicki Patterson
Done with 5th grade. Divide a 12 x 18 (30.5 x 46 cm) white Drawing Paper with about 5 or 6 gently curving lines... usually horizontally. With a new take on block or bubble letters, students learn to "fit" their name... first, last, nickname, whatever... into the most central long space between lines. I often start with newsprint for an experimental one, so students can get the idea before moving on to white paper. After their name is in place, we brainstorm things that are unique about each student... They compile their own list on scrap paper, and I ask questions like "What's your favorite color, favorite food, favorite sports team, what kinds of things does your family do together, favorite animal, any pets, favorite things you like to do in the summer..." the list is endless. Each of the surrounding "bands" around their name created by the wavy lines must then be filled in with patterns created by visual cues or symbols to tell about themselves (based on the list they created) no words are allowed! The results are amazing!
Notan Name Design - from Michael Gerrish
Students do the "expanding the square" Notan lesson using letters of their name for design. Letters can be glued raised up for a relief/3-D design. See Notan lesson plan for details.
License Plate Name Design
Riverdeep Newsletter ran several days of name lesson ideas. One that I recall was for middle school to high school. A license plate design using numbers and letters of significance. Middle school students could do these as their art ID card for signing out supplies (someone posted that idea not too long ago). Students write a reflection on what the numbers and letters mean.