Sealed With a Chop


On Chinese poetry and art, a small red square announces, "I made this." Design your own Chinese character stamp, called a chop, to mark your letters, art, greeting cards, and other items.


1. "Four Treasures" are found on every Chinese scholar/artist’s table: ink stick, ink stone, brushes, and paper/silk. Each person also has at least one personal seal or chop. Carved in relief or incised in an ancient seal script, these chops are the artist’s signature in Chinese characters (symbols). Today, chops are still used to show authorship or ownership, even in business agreements.

2. Chinese chops are made from jade, ivory, soapstone, or other soft precious stones. The body of the stamp may be various sizes and shapes. Often the stamp has a carved shape of a dragon, turtle, or other figure. The characters may be incised into the stone (producing white characters on a red field, like the ones at the top of the photo) or raised in relief (producing red on white like the chops at the bottom of the photo).

3. To make your personal seal, shape Crayola Model Magic® into the body of the chop. If you like, mix white and green just a bit for a marbleized jade effect. (You can also mix white Model Magic with color from a green Crayola Washable Marker.) Air-dry the chop at least 24 hours.

4. Create the top or head of the stamp separately. Find examples of Chinese characters and then create them in one of two ways: Roll a thin snake of Model Magic to form the character. (Remember, you will attach the character backwards on the bottom of the stamp so the character prints correctly.) Air-dry it 24 hours. Or use a plastic knife to incise your characters in Model Magic. Carve it backwards so it will print properly. Air-dry the head 24 hours.

5. After the head of your seal is dry, glue it to the rest of the chop with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry the chop overnight.

6. To use your chop, cover your art area with newspaper. Pour a bit of red Crayola Washable Paint on a foam tray. Carefully brush the seal with the paint. Print your mark on white paper. Make several impressions before reapplying the paint. Wipe off any excess paint on your chop with a dry paper towel so you can use it again. Air-dry your marks.

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.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.

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.

Recycled Foam Produce Trays—Wash in hot, soapy water. No meat or poultry trays should be used.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Cinnabar, a bright red mineral derived from mercury sulfide, is the coloring pigment in the oil-based paste that is traditionally used with chops. Find out how ink is produced by calligraphers by grinding an ink stick on an ink stone and mixing in water.
  • Research how Chinese characters are composed together. Learn how they read from right to left and down the page.
  • Assessment: Ask students to explain their Chinese character. Note whether students proudly use their chops to mark written work.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Paint Brushes
  • Washable Kid's Paint
  • Model Magic®
  • No-Run School Glue
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • paper towels
  • recycled foam produce trays
  • container(s) of water
  • plastic dinnerware



  • Grades 1 to 3
  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students research the tradition of using personal seals from ancient to contemporary times in China.

  • Students become familiar with several Chinese characters.

  • Students reproduce a facsimile of a Chinese personal seal or chop and use it to mark their work.


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