Using Literature to Inspire Mythical Artwork
Meets the learning standards for grades 4-5 (can be adapted)
Media Type: assemblage
Subject Integration: Fine Arts, English Language Arts and Reading
Formal Lesson Plan and TEKS Information

Materials: writing/drawing materials, paper, wax paper, white school glue or Mod Podge, wide brush or sponge brush, white/clear glitter or salt, foil, baking sheet, oven, iron (optional), clear tape (optional), Needle and thread or fishing line (optional), ribbon or twine (optional), rubber bands (optional)

** Library Membership is not required but will enhance the experience and the learning

Focus Question:  How can books inspire unique artistic expressions?

Activity 1:  

For this activity, we will explore the theme “Mermaids.” Our friends at the Wichita Falls Public Library  are a treasure trove of inspirational materials and resources.  Click here for a list of unique mermaid stories from the Wichita Falls Public Library.

  1. Select your source material.
  2. Once the literary source material has been selected, identify what inspires you in that book/story and design an art project. For this example, we will use “Julián is a Mermaid.”  Inspired by the water droplets, pearls, bubbles and polka dot prints in the illustrations, we will learn to make faux Capiz Shell discs.

Activity 2.

Gather the materials and cover the baking sheet with foil.

Tear several sheets of wax paper from the roll, approximately 24-inches long. Crumple the sheet of paper, then smooth it out and fold it in half like a hot dog. The crumpling creates subtle lines in the finished product that resemble the organic look of natural shells.

Unfold a sheet of wax paper and use a brush or sponge to spread Mod Podge or white school glue evenly over the whole surface. Fold it back in half and smooth it with your hands.

*This step is optional and requires adult supervision* Cover the folded wax paper with a piece of plain paper and press it with an iron on medium heat.

Coat the outside of the folded wax paper with Mod Podge or glue and sprinkle with glitter or white salt. Set aside and let it dry.

Once dry, use a round object to trace circles on the wax paper and carefully cut them out.

Spread the circles out on the baking sheet and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. Discs will darken slightly and stiffen somewhat, which will make them look even more like the natural shells!

Now that the capiz shells are complete, what can we create that is inspired by the book?

Watch this video about natural capiz shell crafts, and let your imagination lead you!

CLOSING: Upload pictures of your finished project here. Reach out to Angela Hill ( at the library to tell her about the project you designed inspired by their books!