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Chinese Dough Figures

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Guadalupe Moreno
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Chinese Dough Figures

Grade: 9th-12th

Subject/Content: Art – Dough Figures

Time length of Lesson: 1-2 weeks


Learning Objectives: 

•To learn a Chinese folkloristic tradition and create a tangible piece of art from this tradition

• To follow step by step recipe instructions
•For students to understand that in making the dough figures, they are preserving the cultural heritage and tradition of the people from China


Materials Needed:

Large Bowl
4 Cups of all-purpose flour 1 Cup salt
1 Tbsp cream of tartar
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 cups of hot water
Food coloring
Acrylic paint



National Standards:

CR 2 Advanced: Plan the making of multiple works of art and design on a theme, idea, or concept. 

CA Standards:

VA 2.0 Creative Expression: Students apply artistic processes and skills, using a variety of media to communicate meaning and intent in original works of art.

VA 2.1 Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective use of the elements of art and the principles of design.

VA 2.4 Review and refine observational drawing skills

Common Core English Standards:

E: L.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

E: L.4.3a. Choose words and phrases to convey ideas precisely.

Part 1 A.1 – Collaborative: Exchanging information and ideas with others through oral collaborative discussions on a range of social and academic topics (Expanding & Bridging, 9-12)

Part 1 B.5 -Interpretive: Listening actively to spoken English in a range of social and academic contexts (Expanding & Bridging, 9-12)

Part 1 B.6a-b -Interpretive: Explain ideas and phenomena, processes, and text relationships within and across text (Expanding & Bridging, 9-12)




Lesson 1

Day 1 (60-minute sessions - 2 times/week)

(5 Min)

-Introduction of objectives

(15 Min) 

- Introduce the concept of dough figures. Connect to similar folklore/Contemporary artwork from their own cultures. Examples, figurines made of fondant for cakes, sugar skulls in Mexico, etc.


(40 Min) 

- Read the folklore - Wolf and the Dough Children 

Watch Clay Figure Zhang--China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

Talk about the concept of the story


Lesson 2

Day 2-3 (60-minute sessions - 2 times/week)

- Students will make the dough

-Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients until well blended.

-Add oil and water to the flour mixture. Combine the ingredients and knead for about eight to 10 minutes or until a soft, pliable dough forms. You may need to add more flour depending on the consistency of the dough.

-Divide the dough into several balls. Make an indent in each ball with your thumb and add a few drops of food coloring. Knead the coloring into each of the dough balls until thoroughly mixed.


Day 4-7 (60-minute sessions - 2 times/week)

-Molding and Finishing

-Mold the dough into craft projects of your choosing. Some fun projects to make are hand-print plaques, loose change bowls, pencil holders and figurines. There is no limit to what you can create so let your imagination run wild.

-Allow the pieces to harden for 24 to 48 hours in a dry place. You can also speed up the hardening process by baking the dough in an oven heated to 250 degrees. Check on the pieces every half hour and remove from the oven when fully hardened, usually between one and two hours.

-Embellish your creations with acrylic paint. you may need to apply more than one coat of paint to get the desired effect. Let the paint dry for at least six hours before handling.