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Bar Soap Resist

Lesson Plan and Artwork by Joe Culotta, Art Consultant
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Lesson Plan
Grades K-12
Sax Lesson Plans, Art History, Science, Language Arts


The term "resist" is used in many areas of art. Resist is a substance that is applied to areas of an object to create a pattern or image. Using a resist technique protects these parts from being affected by subsequent stages in the art process. When the resist is removed it will reveal the negative space. In this lesson plan, bar soap is used as the resist medium on black canvas. When the canvas is washed to remove the soap, and the black is revealed, it enhances the overall design.


  • Students will explore their understanding of positive and negative space by experimenting with and using bar soap to block in their design.
  • Students will create a drawing using Crayola Color Sticks on black canvas with the soap as the resist medium.

Supplies Needed

#1290583 Crayola Color Sticks, set of 24
#1334629 Crayola Color Sticks, set of 120
#1590439 Sax Gloss Multi Media Varnish – Gallon
#1428719 Fredrix Black Canvas Pad 18 x 24" (can be cut into 40 – 9 x 12" sheets for a class)
Small bar soap



Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Standard #3: Refine and complete artistic work.


Standard #5: Develop and refine artistic work for presentation.


Adjust quantities and add all items at once


Step 1

Have students research Georges Rouault and his use of heavy black lines in his paintings.

Step 2

Emphasize the importance of using the bar soap to draw on the black canvas to create a "block" for color work. Demonstrate that those areas will be the negative space that will remain black.

Step 3

Emphasize drawing with heavy strokes and applying color over color to achieve "blends" in the art work.

Step 4

Take care not to draw over the soaped areas and emphasize strong color in the work.

Step 5

After the drawing is completed, wash the surface in water to remove the soap lines revealing the black canvas.

Step 6

If the color does not appear dark enough after the work is "washed" allow it to dry and color over areas that need to be enriched.

Step 7

After the drawing is dry apply Sax Multi Media Varnish to seal it.

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