Your email*

High [9th-12th] Lesson Plan

Graphic Design Cups

Created on March 09, 2020 by KatieMorris

Students learn about the history of graphic design in ceramics as well as surface techniques and create a ceramic cup/mug with a graphic surface design.

2 Keeps, 1 Likes, 0 Comments

5 sessions; 45 minutes per session

1.SWBAT understand the history of graphic design in ceramics.
2. SWBAT take notes on a variety of ceramic surface treatment techniques.
3. SWBAT design a ceramic cylinder with a graphic surface design.
4. SWBAT demonstrate craftsmanship in the creation of their cylinders/mugs.
5. SWBAT properly glaze their cylinders.

1. Lowfire earthenware clay
2. Ceramic tools including slab roller or rolling pins
3. Underglaze
4. Wax resist
5. Slip and small nozzle bottles
6. Stamps or textured objects
7. Glaze
8. Glaze brushes
9. Kiln

Need these materials? Visit Blick!

1. Introduction: Show slides presentation on the history of graphic design in ceramics. Talk about the techniques used.
2. Demonstrate and describe ceramic surface techniques while students take notes.
-sgraffito (apply underglaze in contrasting color and use sharp tool to scratch through forming a design)
-Mishima (apply a coat of wax resist, scratch design and apply underglaze where you removed the resist. This is kind of the opposite of sgraffito)
-underglaze (paint design with underglaze)
-slip trailing (use slip in bottles with a small tip to “trail” a design which will stay raised on the surface)
-carving (use tools to carve away part of the clay creating a design)
-stamping (using stamps or stamping textured objects into the clay to create a design)
3. Plan design
-students create a design that uses at least one surface technique
-Options for adding graphic design: Pattern, Image, Geometric design, Words, etc
4. Demonstrate ceramic cylinder
-roll out slab
-cut out rectangle and circle the same diameter as width of the rectangle
-form rectangle into a cylinder by wrapping around and fitting on top of the circle
-score and slip seams
-demonstrate pulling a handle in case students choose to make the cup into a mug
-make sure that it is functional to be used as a cup: rounded lip, no sharp edges, etc
5. Students construct their ceramic cylinders and work on surface design
6. Fire when bone dry
7. Demonstrate glazing techniques
8. Students glaze projects
9. Complete glaze fire


Functionality- when making pottery (functional ceramics) it should be comfortable to hold. The rim should be smooth and if there is a handle it should be comfortable to hold.
Craftsmanship- the item is constructed with care, attention was paid to the details. “Wow they did a really good job and tried their best” not “cool idea but they were pretty sloppy”.
Design- thought and effort was put into the design on the surface of the cylinder/cup/mug. The graphic elements are well developed.

Since this was in my intro graphic design class we followed up with a magazine cover assignment. Students photographed their mugs and designed a cover featuring their work.


Visual Arts Standard 1:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

[9-12 Proficient] Students conceive and create works of visual art that demonstrate an understanding of how the communication of their ideas relates to the media, techniques, and processes they use
[9-12 Proficient] Students apply media, techniques, and processes with sufficient skill, confidence, and sensitivity that their intentions are carried out in their artworks

Visual Arts Standard 3:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

[9-12 Proficient] Students apply subjects, symbols, and ideas in their artworks and use the skills gained to solve problems in daily life

Visual Arts Standard 4:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

[9-12 Proficient] Students differentiate among a variety of historical and cultural contexts in terms of characteristics and purposes of works of art
[9-12 Advanced] Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning