Art Classes: Level II

Level II-Art Lesson 13: The Polish Szopka

Use complementary colors to create an exciting palette for a holiday greeting card

The lesson is suitable for students in grade 3 through adult.


Art Lesson Description:

Every December, the city of Krakow, Poland, holds a contest. Contestants create incredibly intricate model buildings and cover them with foil. Many of the models include lights and moving figures. Polish people call such models a szopka (pronounced shawpka). On the day of the contest, the models are brought to the city square to be judged and displayed in a hall near the square. The display draws huge crowds from around the world.

The lesson comes in two versions. In Version A:

  • Students will use liquid acrylic paint to paint the szopka,
  • Outline the drawing with a silver metallic marker, and
  • To add a little extra holiday sparkle, paint the picture with acrylic glitter glaze!

In Version B, a simpler version of the lesson:

  • Students will use washable markers to color the szopka.
  • To add interest to the background, they will draw with a paint pen (easier to use) or an oil pastel.
  • To add a little extra holiday sparkle, paint the picture with acrylic glitter glaze!

Make it a greeting card! Why keep the project to yourself when you have finished it? The lesson includes instructions so you can put your szopka “on display” by turning it into a greeting card. With this lesson you can mail your art to your friends!

This lesson includes two POWERPOINT and one VIDEO version of the lesson plus 2 downloadable printouts: a warmup and a drawing of the szopka.


List of Supplies for Version A                 List of Supplies for Version B

1 copy of the szopka warm-up (this comes with the lesson) 1 copy of the szopka warm-up (this comes with the lesson)
Drawing board (#ad) (18" x 24" masonite) Washable colored markers (#ad)
silver marker pen (#ad) Optional: Acrylic paint pens (#ad)- your choice of color
1 sheet of 11" x 15" watercolor paper (#ad) 11" x 14" drawing paper (#ad)
Tempera paints or acrylic paints (#ad) Optional: oil pastel - your choice of color
Set of brushes (#ad)  
Masking tape (#ad)
Glitter glaze (#ad)  


Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:

Social Studies:

  • The szopka tradition began in the Middle Ages. Learn its history.
  • Krakow was once the capitol of Poland. Read about its history.
  • See a map of Krakow.
  • See a map of the whole country of Poland and learn some Polish history
  • Watch an English language video produced in Poland about Polish history to learn why Poles are proud of their country.


Polish Culture:


Approximate Time to Complete the Art Class:

  • Drawing the szopka: 25 minutes
  • Painting the szopka: 50 minutes
  • Adding the silver outline and the glitter paint: 15 minutes
  • Total time: 90 minutes


Original Image
Original Image
Finished--marker version
Finished--marker version
Finished--paint lesson
Finished--paint lesson

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Bundle II-C (Online Art Lessons for Kids | ArtAchieve)
ENTIRE Level II (Online Art Lessons for Kids | ArtAchieve)

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