Architectural Relief Tiles


Students study building design, learning new vocabulary, then put their learning to work as they present relief tiles of architecture studied.


1. Make a foundation of Crayola® Model Magic®, at least a 6-inch (15 cm) square and 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) thick.

2. Roll coils of Model Magic to make raised parts of buildings. Attach pieces firmly to the base.

3. Pinch or pull architectural details out of the base or additional modeling material. Score the compound or make cross hatches with a plastic fork, toothpick, or other modeling tools. Use plastic straws, chop sticks, or textured items to cut away or press in surface details. Be creative.

4. After the Model Magic is dry, cover the work area with recycled newspaper. Paint the tiles with Crayola Watercolors and Brushes.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Modeling Materials including Crayola Model Magic®, and Model Magic Fusion™, Crayola Air-Dry Clay, and Crayola Dough—

  • Keep away from open flames. Do not use to make candleholders, hot plates, trivets, or other similar objects that will be used or placed near fire and other heat sources.
  • Do not put in an oven, microwave, or kiln.
  • Do not make into vessels/containers that will hold unpackaged food.
  • The use of modeling material to make items that look like food is discouraged for children younger than age 5 to avoid their confusion with real food.
  • Unless sealed with a water-resistant glaze, do not make projects exposed to or immersed in water, such as boats or outdoor bird feeders. They would disintegrate when exposed to moisture.
  • Crayola Dough—contains gluten (wheat flour) as an ingredient.
  • Crayola Air-Dry Clay, Crayola Model Magic and Model Magic Fusion are gluten-free. However, they are produced on the same machinery as Crayola Dough which does contain gluten. Although the machines are cleaned prior to the start of each production run, there is a slight possibility that trace amounts of gluten from Crayola Dough may be present in the other modeling compound products. For information regarding specific ingredients or allergic concerns, please call our Consumer Affairs department at 1-800-272-9652 weekdays between 9 AM and 4 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Modeling Tools—Use the least dangerous point or edge sufficient to do the job. For example, craft sticks, plastic knives and forks, and cookie cutters can cut or carve modeling materials.

Wood—By its nature, wood is rough and may contain splinters or sharp points


  • Ask students to study the works of famous architects such as Palo Soleri or Frank Lloyd Wright. What art elements and principles of visual organization are typical in their work?
  • Students who would find intricate work with modeling compounds too difficult might draw structures on the computer or with other adaptive drawing tools, or could use wooden or plastic building blocks.
  • Choose an architectural style, and find buildings that represent that period. Compare similarities and differences.
  • Observe a building under construction. Each week, students sketch or photograph the structure's progress, people, and machines at work. Consider the importance of physics and math. These tiles and reports could be the culminating event to document the construction.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Washable Watercolors
  • Watercolor Brushes with Plastic Handle
  • Model Magic®
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • chopsticks
  • rolling pin
  • modeling tools
  • textured items (optional)
  • plastic dinnerware (optional)
  • plastic drinking straws (optional)
  • toothpicks - wooden (optional)
  • measuring tool



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12
  • Special Needs


  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students study the design of buildings, either first-hand within their communities or with photographs. Some possibilities include a public library, the Empire State Building in New York City, and the Eiffel Tower, designed by Gustave Eiffel, in Paris.

  • Students design relief tiles representing buildings studied.

  • Students use the vocabulary of design elements (foundation, roof, transom, lintel, balustrade, facade) and construction materials used in the building(s) they are representing.

  • Students present an oral report about the city and architect or imaginative basis for their relief tile to the class or community.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards