Sunday, March 9, 2014

Landscape Inchies Part 1

I recently completed this project during a residency.  I was working with Grade 4/5.  They were studying 6 different regions of Canada so we completed 6 inchies to represent these.

They then chose their favourite 3 and these were mounted on a 1"x 6" board that was cut into a 12" length.

I love collections.  I'm always looking to pull student work together into a collection.

Here are the other 3.

Inchie posts always have a lot of pictures so I'm going to do this in 2 parts.  The 'how to' for the first 3 inches right now and then the second set later in the week.

Can you guess the 6 geographical regions?


- wc paper cut into 3" x 3" squares, you need 6 for each student
- disk tempera paint
- acrylic paint in black, red, light green, white
- a 1"x 6" board cut into 1 foot lengths, a 8ft board costs around $4.40 so each board is about 55 cents
- textured wallpaper
- green painter's tape
- corrugated cardboard cut into small pieces
- snow writer or white puffy paint
- metal duct paint
- salt shaker
- iridescent glitter glue
- thin cardboard, like from a cereal or cracker box
- drywall filler
- tacky glue

When I do this with the kids we work on several inchies at the same time.  Whenever we need some drying time we just move on to another inchie.

Here I will present each inchie from start to finish.
Prairie or Grasslands Inchie
I have this textured wallpaper I use a lot. It has lines in it.  I buy it from either Home Depot or Walmart and a roll lasts a long time.
Give each student a small square, about 1.5" x 1.5", but I did not measure these.  Have them paint it with red acrylic paint.  You need to use acrylics for this wallpaper as tempera does not stick well enough.
Set aside to dry.

Take a piece of green painter's tape and your first inchie.

Tape the lower section of your inchie.

This will mark off your horizon line.

Paint the upper part a nice blue.

While the paint is still wet take a kleenex, scrunch it up a bit, and lift off a few clouds.

Set aside to dry.

When blue paint is dry, remove tape. Paint in ground area with brown disk tempera.

Let dry.

Give each student a small piece of corrugated cardboard.

Have them dip edge in light green acrylic paint and make the wheat lines on top of brown paint.  You don't want to totally cover the brown.

Let dry.

Take the textured wall paper you painted red, turn over and draw a grain elevator shape.  I had reference photos for the kids.  Cut out.

I printed off the Alberta Wheat Pool logo for each kid, (email me if you need this).

Have them cut it out and glue onto the grain elevator.

Glue into place on the horizon line.

That's it for that inchie.  I did a larger project just like this one.  You can find it here.

Arctic Inchie

Draw 3 lines on the lower half of an inchie.  You want it to look like snowdrifts.

Using a snow writer or a white puffy paint pen go over these lines.

Set aside to dry.

Cut a silver full moon out of the metal duct tape.  Remove backing and stick in place.

Paint in the sections with purples and blue.  You can paint over top of the moon it will just resist the paint.

While paint is still wet add a sprinkle of salt.  Sometimes we can get a neat effect where the salt reacts with the paint, when dry and brushed off it looks like it's snowing.  It doesn't always work but it's worth a try.

Add a little snow glitter to the bottom of the inchie. With the kids I just used some iridescent glitter glue.

Let dry.

Using white and black acrylic paint and a fine brush add a little polar bear.  I told the kids make a white oval, add legs, paint in a nose and an eye.

That's it for this one.  I have a larger project that this based on, you can check it out here.

Cordillera Inchie

I gave each kid a piece of cereal box that was the approximately the same size as the inchie.

I asked them to draw a mountain range from one side to the other in pencil.

Cut out.

Coat the cardboard with a layer of drywall filler.

Set aside to dry. (about 6 hrs.)

Paint inchie blue.

Let dry.

Paint the drywall mountain with some grey and black acrylic paint.  If you didn't reserve any white for those snowy mountains you can add some white.

Put some glue onto the back of the mountains.

Glue into place on the blue inchie.  Leave some space at the bottom.

Mix a nice blue/green colour with the disk tempera and paint in that lower part. (right overtop the previous blue paint).

That is your mountain lake.

Take a strip of that textured wall paper.  Paint with 2 colours of green (light and dark), you want a marbled effect.

Let dry.

Cut a jagged line diagonally across the strip.  This is your tree line.  Glue into place along the lower edge of your mountains.

That's it for this inchie.

3 regions done 3 to go.  Check back later this week for part 2.



  1. This is perfect timing! We are doing a year long Geography for Kids study. I've been able to adapt a number of your art projects to our study. We are about to study Canada, Central and South America. This project is perfect for our study on Canada! Thank you!

  2. love the right in with my grade 4 curriculum....just not sure what mc paper paper here at school but I am willing to go out to art store to purchase what is needed

    1. Hi anonymous, it's wc paper and it stands for watercolour paper, most wc paper can be pricey but you don't need a lot for inchies. I can usually get a pretty good deal from school suppliers but I also buy pads of wc paper when on sale and using my 40% coupon at Michaels.

  3. Gail - this are absolutely fabulous. I am a 4/5 HR and rotary art teacher in Ontario and can't wait to do an 'inchies' series with my classes!

  4. Hello!

    I love your art projects. I made the nautical inchies with my class last year. I am curious what you use to attach the inchies to the wood on this project? Also, what do you use as the hanger? I want to try making these ones this year. Thanks so much!

    1. I glue them to the wood with tacky glue, the hanger is a piece of leather cord that is hot glued to the back of the board. I use a sealer spray to add a finishing coat to the piece. We use a aerosol spray as we don't want to re activate the watercolour and get smears. Hope that helps any good luck with the inchies.