Throughout many time periods and cultures, flags have been a symbol to identify a country or group, signal an activity, or express feelings. Flags identify and unify countries. Flags can symbolize caution, stop, and go. Different cultures express feeling and inspiration through flags. Sporting teams and schools can show pride through the display of their team flags.
Start With Research
Researching will help you uncover all different types, styles, and uses for flags. Here are a few examples:
- Papel picado are hand-cut tissue paper flags dating back to the Aztecs. They’re used in Mexico to adorn altars and streets during the Day of the Dead celebration. They are also used for decoration during other street festivals and special occasions. Colors play an important role in these flags. The Day of the Dead features oranges, pinks, and purples.
- In Nepal, prayer flags are created out of finely woven cotton and block printed with good wishes that are thought to be spread when the flags blow in the wind. These flags are usually flown in groups of five. Color is significant in these flags: the five colors used are blue, white, red, green, and yellow. Each color represents an element: sky, wind, fire, water, and earth.
Hopefully, this little bit of information has sparked your curiosity about flags. This lesson will allow participants of all ages to create their own inspiration flags.
First, have participants research flags and all their hidden meanings. Once the research is done, start brainstorming the meaning and purpose behind your flags. Consider doing this as a family or neighborhood activity. How will the flag or flags you design represent your feelings and intentions?
Symbolism and color choice should also play a meaningful role in the design, creating a community or personally-based inspirational theme. Possible themes and symbols for this project can include family history, personal inspiration, community or school symbols and themes, words of motivation, or personal hero. The possibilities are endless; keep it positive and motivating.
Have participants sketch out their designs. Use paper or cloth as a medium, depending on the age group and supplies available. This lesson uses Smart-Fab, an artificial fabric. Use markers, crayons, printing ink, or paint to create the final design on the material of choice.
Inspiration Flags Art Project
- Participants will look at flags spanning time and culture and note the variety of intent and purposes that flags communicate.
- Participants will learn about the symbols depicted on flags and discuss their meanings. What are the flags communicating? What is the purpose of the flag? Some flags include words, symbols, and colors in their design, each with meaning. How does the purpose of the flag influence when and how the flag is displayed?
- Participants will create their own symbol and meaning to represent in their own flag.
More Flag Art Lesson Plans & Ideas
Want to try something else? Be sure to check out these other art lesson plans and view our Art Lesson Plan collection for even more.
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Mary Reilly received her BA with an emphasis in textile design from Mount Mary University in Wisconsin. She studied at the Wetterhoff Institute of Craft and Design in Hämeenlinna, Finland, as well as took numerous post-graduate courses in fine arts. Mary has over 15 years of experience with Sax Arts & Crafts, developing and shaping a national team of Art Consultants who have conducted art education and professional development workshops to elementary, middle, and high school art educators across the United States and Canada.
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Nadine Dresbach received her Masters and Undergraduate Degrees in Art Education from Kent State University. She began her teaching career at Canton City Schools and Kent State University in Ohio. In 1995 she was hired by Sax Arts and Crafts as an Art Consultant and Category Sales Manager representing School Specialty at conferences and professional development sessions. Nadine also creates artwork and lesson plans for the company. Her other teaching experiences include instruction and Internship Supervisor for Winthrop University in Rock Hill South Carolina as well as work for the Rock Hill and Union County School Districts and St. Anne Catholic School.
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