Sunday, February 10, 2013

Taj Mahal Canvas

Last year I came up with this canvas project for Grade 3 to tie in with their social studies curriculum.

I describe it to the students like a postcard scene.

To give Grade 3 a choice this year I introduced this Taj Mahal canvas for India which is another country covered in social studies.


- primed canvas, I buy the 10 multipack at Micheals which seems to go on sale at least once a month
- reference photo
- art boards, wax paper
- blue and white acrylic paint
- cereal/cracker box cardboard, chipboard
- drywall medium
- white paper
- tempera disk paint
- elephant photo
- snippet of text, "Taj Mahal", "India"
- tacky glue
- fine sharpies
- grey and yellow pencil crayon
- Mod podge


Take your cardboard, measure to fit the width of your canvas.

Sketch on the Taj Mahal in pencil, using a photo for reference.

Cut out cardboard.

Take some drywall medium, I buy mine from the hardware store in a big gallon size for around $20.00.  Scoop out a little onto a recycled foam plate.  Using your finger add some to the dome and towers.  You are building up texture to make the building appear more 3D.

Set aside to dry.

Paint your primed canvas a nice sky blue with acrylic paint.

Be sure to do the sides as well as we won't be framing this canvas. Set aside to dry.

At school we work on top of art boards and wax paper.

Every student wears an art shirt to protect their clothes from the acrylic paint.

After the drywall has dried, about 6 hrs., paint the rest of the cardboard with white acrylic paint or gesso.  You want to cover up the cardboard brown.

Let dry.

Take some white paper or card stock, cut to the width of the canvas.

Sketch in the promenade of the Taj Majal.

Cut to fit at bottom of both your canvas and cardboard Taj Mahal.

Paint with disk tempera.

Print or hand write a title for your canvas.  At school I had pre printed titles in a variety of fonts for the kids to choose from.

Trim and then paint with the disk tempera.

When the paint has dried on your cardboard Taj Mahal you can add details with a fine sharpie, shading with a grey pencil crayon and highlights with a yellow pencil crayon.

Apply tacky glue to the back of cardboard and put in place on the canvas.

Glue on the painted paper and the title.

Now I know there are probably not too many elephants strolling around the grounds of the Taj Mahal but we put one in anyway to give it the same appeal as the Peru canvas.

Cut around your photo and then glue into place.

You can now add a coat of Mod Podge but apply generously and don't do any extra brush strokes.  The disk tempura will start to smear if you do.

That's it.


  1. I like this idea! I was going to have kids draw architectural type drawings of buildings from the area they were studying, showing the geometric shapes, forms and details, but I think kids would love this! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Great project for kids (adult too). You always have great projects and steps. Thanks! Jackie

  3. I like this! It made me think of taking the various places we have visited (like National Parks) and having my kids each choose a place to create their own board. Thanks so much!

  4. Thank you! I LOVE your blog! Might I suggest that this project would be a great one for Valentine's day also, if one would study the reasons for which the Taj Mahal was built. Thank you again and God bless you!