Lesson Plan Title : Parsemage

Age Range: Grade 9 through grade 12 (High School)

Overview and Purpose: Parsemage involves creating pictures by laying chalk dust or charcoal in water and then putting paper under it and lifting the paper up. This can be a foundational lesson for a project that involves multiple techniques.

Objective: The student will be able to use the parsemage technique to create a picture with chalk.


Different colors of sidewalk chalk

Zester (very fine grater)

Tray of water

Heavy art paper

Small bowls


Talk about parsemage and abstract art. Students can work individually or in pairs to create pictures with the chalk. They should grate the different colors of chalk into different bowls. When they have the colors they want, they can sprinkle the dust on the water. They can then slip a piece of paper under the dust and lift. The chalk will catch on the paper and make abstract designs. Students can experiment with swirling the dust or creating patterns in the water and seeing how easily they translate to the paper. Students can use this as the basis for a secondary picture if they want.

Wrap Up:

Charcoal can also be used for this lesson. Left over briquettes from a barbeque can be grated and used in varying densities to create color gradients in the pictures. This lesson can be extended into science by experimenting with other mediums to see if they will work as well.