Greek Story Vases

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Students will learn about Ancient Greek Pottery designs as they make their own mini vases using styrofoam cups and paint.

By Doreen Diorio [Doreen is an Art Teacher/Artist at P.S. 105, Brooklyn, New York.]


Introducing students to the art of Greek vases while they develop their own storytelling skills.


Greek, vase, pottery, red, black, ware

What You Need:

  • Styrofoam cups
  • Oil Pastels (in black and brick red)
  • sharpened pencil
  • tissues
  • art reproductions (of Greek vases)

What You Do:

  1. Introduce Greek vases through images. Describe creating and storytelling techniques used on vases.
  2. Have students lightly draw their own story in 2 parts, first on paper and then on both sides of the cup with a pencil. Emphasize the use of clear outlined images and design with few details
  3. Using the pencils, have students “carve” into the lines they wish to keep without breaking the cup. Encourage them to take their time.
  4. Color inside the outlined areas with black pastel. Have the students press hard, then smudge with a black craypas/oil pastel.
  5. Color outside of the black forms (in the negative space) with brick red craypas/oil pastel.
  6. Smudge the pastel onto the cup using tissues. An “outline” will appear white around the forms from the cup color.
  7. After the vases are complete, each student should be encouraged to write a short story describing the image on their work of art.