Bar Soap Resist

Lesson Plan, Grades K-12, Art, Language Arts, Science, Art History, Drawing, Mural


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Joe Culotta

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

Crayola Color Sticks, set of 24
Crayola Color Sticks, set of 120
Sax Gloss Multi Media Varnish — Gallon
Fredrix Black Canvas Pad 18 x 24" (can be cut into 40 - 9 x 12" sheets for a class) Small bar soap (motel size)
Fredrix Canvas Pad, 9 x 12 Inches, Black
Small bar soap (motel size)
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


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.



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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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