Search form

Art: Torn Paper Landscape

Grade Level: 3rd-5th Grade

Subject: Visual Arts

Duration: 60 Minutes


Students will learn how to create a landscape using torn pieces of paper while exploring the elements of art, such as color, shape, and texture.

Learning Standards:

VA:Cr1.2.3a: "Apply knowledge of available resources, tools, and technologies to investigate personal ideas through the art-making process."

VA:Cr1.2.4a: "Collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to the makers."

VA:Cr1.2.5a: "Identify and demonstrate diverse methods of artistic investigation to choose an approach for beginning a work of art."


  • Magazines, old books, cardstock, construction paper, and wrapping paper in various colors
  • White drawing paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Images of landscapes for inspiration

Lesson Background:

Chigirie is a traditional Japanese art form that has been around for centuries and is used to create decorative fans, lanterns, and wall hangings. The word "chigirie" is a combination of two Japanese words, "chigiru" which means to tear, and "e" which means picture. This art technique 

As an art form, Chigirie is highly versatile, and artists that have mastered it have created pieces that show extreme creativity and personal expression. At first glance, it appears to be basic and simple since it involves tearing pieces of paper into various shapes and sizes and then layering them to create a three-dimensional effect. The torn edges of the paper create a unique texture that adds to the beauty and complexity of the finished piece. An artist that has mastered chingirie can create intricately detailed designs and images.

Chigirie remains a popular art form in Japan; in fact, it's practiced by artists all around the world. Chigirie artists often add other traditional Japanese art forms like calligraphy and Sumi-e (ink) painting to showcase their works' delicate beauty.  

Lesson Opener:

  1. Ask your students to share their favorite places to visit. Students may share the following types of places:
  • Grandma's house
  • Swimming pool
  • A restaurant
  1. Now ask the students to share their favorite landscape. You may see some confused faces with less reaction to share. Explain that a landscape is an image of a natural (not man made) scene. Some students may now be willing to share their favorite landscape. Responses may include:
  • A fishing hole
  • Hiking trail
  • Back country road
  • Grand Canyon or other natural icons
  1. Explain to your students that they will be making a landscape scene using torn paper materials. For example, you will need to collect various shades of white, blue, and gray to create a winter snow landscape scene. 

Project Procedure:

  1. Begin the lesson by showing students examples of landscapes and discussing the various elements that make up a landscape. 
  2. Ask students to identify the colors, shapes, and textures they see in each image. Do this step until the students understand the concept of landscapes.
  3. Allow your students to bring a physical picture of a beloved landscape or to search online for a landscape they enjoy. Doing this step will make the project more personal to each student. 
  4. Provide each student with white drawing paper, a ruler, and a pencil. Instruct students to use the ruler to draw a horizontal line across the middle of the paper, creating a horizon line.
  5. Ask students to tear pieces of paper into various shapes and sizes to create their landscape. Encourage students to experiment with different textures, colors, and layering techniques to create their chosen landscape.
  6. Once students have torn their pieces of paper, they can arrange them on their drawing paper to create their landscape. 
  7. Use glue sticks to adhere the torn pieces to the larger white paper.
  8. As students work, circulate the room and provide guidance and support as needed.
  9. Once students have completed their landscape, they can use other torn pieces of paper to add details or elements to their artwork, such as a bird, the sun, or flowers.
  10. Display the completed landscapes around the classroom or school, and encourage students to share their artwork with their classmates and family.


Assessment will be based on the completion of the torn paper landscape and the use of color, shape, and texture in the artwork. Students will also be assessed on their ability to follow directions and work independently.

Additional Work:

When students are finished with their landscape, encourage them to create another work of art using the same principles as the first piece. Ideas may include:

  • A torn paper self-portrait
  • A torn paper favorite place

Written by John Jones

Education World Contributor

Copyright© 2023 Education World