Lesson 2: Apple Prints

Grades 3–5

In this lesson, students will learn about textiles, and will use apples to create their own textile patterns.

Students will study the graphic elements of textiles, and will discover how to use apple prints and ornamental designs to make their own textile patterns.

Large sheets of paper, water-based printing ink, pencils, markers, apples (cut in half), watercolor or acrylic paint, paintbrushes, plastic knives, rulers, clothing with a graphic print, examples of textiles, such as the ones found here:

  1. Ask students to look around them. Have them describe their classmates' clothing. When a pattern comes up, write the name of the pattern (floral, checkered, striped, etc.) on the board. Ask the student that identified the pattern to draw the pattern.
  2. Once you have three or more patterns identified and illustrated on the board, ask students about the patterns. Specifically ask them if they notice what the pattern is and how it repeats itself.
  3. Draw a grid around the pattern. Use the grid to divide out the different elements of the pattern. Explain to students that these lines are guidelines. They help to break a pattern down into its parts and to organize their space so that graphics can be added in a repetitive and consistent fashion. If necessary use a piece of paper to cover part of the pattern to show only the part you want students to pay attention to.
  4. Pass out 8 ½ x 11 sheets of scrap paper and pencils. Challenge students to come up with guidelines for the remaining two patterns.
  5. Complete the introductory conversation by showing the students the images of various textiles that you have collected. Explain that textiles are woven fabrics that can be used to make clothing, curtains, bedding and more. Describe different types of textiles and how patterns are incorporated into the textile. For example, explain that rugs often have patterns woven into the textile whereas most clothing has patterns printed on the textile.
  6. Discuss the patterns printed on the textiles you have brought into the classroom. Have the children identify the graphic elements, define where and how the graphic elements repeat, and imagine what guidelines would be most helpful for re-creating the textile. If there are pattern elements that two or more of the textiles have in common point out the similarities. Show students that many patterns have a large design element with smaller shapes around it.

  1. Have students make a rough sketch of a textile on their scrap paper using the guidelines they have drawn. Explain to students that this sketch will be the basis of their larger textile pattern. Point out that their textile design may change as they are developing it and they should not try to force their final product to look exactly like their sketch. The sketch is simply a foundation that can help them plan out the pattern.
  2. Tell students they will make textile patterns using a surprising tool: apples! Pass out two to three apple halves to each child, along with plastic knives. Explain that student will use the apples to create the larger graphic elements of their textile. They may decide to leave the apple as it is, or they may decide to stylize the shape of the apple with a plastic knife, or they may decide to alter the surface of the apple with their knives and/or their pencils to create a different texture in the print.
  3. After students have finished manipulating the apple halves, pass out large sheets of paper. Allow them to choose whether they would like to draw the guidelines on the large sheet of paper, or whether they would like to proceed without guidelines.
  4. As they are ready, allow children to begin rolling ink onto the surface of their apples with brayers, and pressing their apples to the surface of their papers to create the large graphic element of their prints. Remind students that textiles are made from repeating graphic patterns. They should work hard to identify where their pattern begins and ends so that they can confidently repeat it in a consistent and continuous fashion.
  5. Once they are done printing with the apples, students may use markers, watercolor paint or acrylic paint to add the smaller graphic elements around the apple prints. Remind students that these elements are part of the repeating pattern of the textile and should be drawn or painted around each larger graphic element in a consistent and continuous fashion.
  6. When students are done, allow their work to dry.
  7. Complete the activity by discussing the role of the textile designer in clothing design. Explain that today textile designers can create their design elements by hand and then scan them into a computer to change the color and to create the repeating patterns. As a homework assignment, have students find two or three textile designers online and familiarize themselves with different types of textile design.

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