Visual Arts: Cubist Cardboard Paintings

Grade level: Grades 1-4
Duration: Two-1 hour sessions
Media Type: cardboard/tempera paint
Subject Integration: science, math
National Standards for Visual Arts: (see bottom of page)
Objectives: for students to see/appreciate/understand the artwork of cubist style artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Juan Gris.

(website for help with writing rubrics)


4 - Standards are exceeded
3 - Standards are met
2 - Standards may be met at a very low quality or with some exceptions
1 - Standards are not met or work is not attempted or very poorly done


  • cubism
  • shape
  • line
  • mood
  • texture
  • color
  • three-dimensional form
  • abstract
  • viewpoint
  • assemblage
  • space
  • volume
  • mass
  • primary colors
  • secondary colors

Materials and Procedure:

  • Pieces of cardboard (8”x10” for background)
  • smaller pieces of various shaped cardboard
  • white glue
  • plates for glue
  • pencils
  • yarn for hanging artwork
  • tempera or acrylic paint

Day 1:
Students are shown works of art by Picasso, Braque, Gris, etc. Students are asked to come to the front of the room to show peers what he/she sees in the various artworks presented. Pictures of various cubist artists are shown and process/techniques of the artists are discussed. Local Duluth artist Annie Labovitz is introduced. Students are shown PlayList video of Annie Labovitz.

Anne Labovitz - Composite Portraits (7:07)


Students are given a clean piece of cardboard, about 8”x10”. Make sure students put their names on the back of their work. Before class begins, the teacher cuts up 250+ small pieces of cardboard (triangle, rectangle, square shapes) for students to use as a material to create their cubist artwork. Students are given white Elmer’s glue and told to create! Small pieces of cardboard are glued to the large piece, one at a time, arranged in a cubist fashion. If the artwork is to be hung later, a loop of yarn can be attached for hanging purposes. As soon as all pieces are glued down, students may immediately start to paint with various colors of tempera paint. Students are encouraged to start with primary colors (red, yellow, blue) and mix colors to create secondary colors
(green, orange, purple). Encourage students to have fun and be creative! Some students may even add lines, dots, etc. while painting.

Day 2:
Teacher/students review previously learned information. Students continue to paint artwork. Most students finish in this timeframe.

Discussion Questions:
What do you see? Which shapes do you see? How does this painting/artwork make you feel? What else do you notice? What do you think this artist was thinking when he created this artwork? What did you think of Annie Labovitz’s work? What did you learn from the video? If you could ask Annie a question, what would it be?


Numerous visuals online of various cubist works.


  • Picasso by Phillippe Dagen
  • Picasso Black and White by Carmen Giminez
  • Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life, 1928-1945 by Karen K. Butler
  • Georges Braque: A Life by Alex Danchev
  • Juan Gris (The Museum of Modern Art publication in reprint) by James T. Soby

National Standards for Visual Arts:

Content Standard #1: Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes. Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses. Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories. Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner.

Content Standard #2: Using knowledge of structures and functions
Achievement Standard:
Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas. Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses. Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas.

Content Standard #3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Achievement Standard:
Students explore and understand prospective content for works of art. Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

Content Standard #4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Achievement Standard:
Students know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures. Students identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places. Students demonstrate how history, culture, and the visual arts can influence each other in making and studying works of art.

Content Standard #5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Achievement Standard:
Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.
Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks. Students understand there are different responses to specific artworks.

Content Standard #6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Achievement Standard:
Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines. Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

Funding for this program is provided by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Click here for more information or visit the Minnesota Legacy website.

Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment