Use this free printable to to learn about different types of texture in art. Show kids the difference between implied texture & actual texture the easy way!

Texture in art can be a tricky thing to define.  It can mean how something feels (actual texture) or how something looks like it would feel (implied texture.)  Use this free printable about the different types of texture in art to help explain this art basic to your student!

The element of texture in art…

Texture is the feel or consistency of a surface.  Pointing out texture in art ought to be easy connection.  Kids touch everything!  Reaching out and touching things is one of the very first ways a child gathers information about their world.  Texture is something a child can feel with their sense of touch.

Well, usually.

Texture has always been one of the trickier elements to discuss with kids, in my opinion.  I can unroll an art print and talk about the texture the artist created with thick oil paints.  As a class we can discuss the rough, loose weave of a piece of  fabric in a photo.  Meanwhile the print and the photo are printed on slick, glossy paper.  Huh, what?

Just because you can’t “feel” it with your fingertips doesn’t mean an artist can’t create textures with their tool of choice!

Books about texture in art….

  If you’re looking for children’s books about colors, lines, shapes, or patterns options abound.  But children’s literature about the element of texture in art is harder to find.   Spiky, Slimy, Smooth; What is Texture? by Jane Brockett is a fun place to start!  Even if your kids happen to be a bit older picture books like this can be the beginning of some fun discussions.  The photographs are beautiful and draw attention to where we see texture everyday!

Check out this post for more book suggestions for all the elements of art!

What is actual texture in art…

Actual texture is the easier concept to discuss with kids.  This is what kids know when they reach out and touch that bumpy tissue paper collage, smooth porcelain bowl, or the rough hewn sculpture.  They know the texture of these items because their fingers tell them, their eyes confirm.

“Yep, bump

Wow, so smooth.”

“Ouch, super rough!”

Texture treasure hunt!

After reading about textures it’s a fun transition for kids for them to be able to get up and move about their environment for a “texture treasure hunt.”  Demonstrate how to use the side of an unwrapped crayon and a plain white paper to make rubbings of any objects that have an interesting actual texture.

Use this free printable to to learn about different types of texture in art. Show kids the difference between implied texture & actual texture the easy way!


If some time and space allow these texture rubbings can be as large as you want.  Encourage kids to consider their placement, overlapping, and composition just as they might in any work of art.

What is implied texture in art….

Now, let’s get back to those prints or photos that appear to have a bumpy or rough texture but when touched are smooth.  The idea that an artist can imply a texture that is other than the surface on which the artwork is created is a tricky one. After kids understand actual texture they are ready to move on to the idea of implied texture.  Artists can make a smooth two dimensional surface appear to have a texture that’s not really there.  That is implied texture!

Creating different types of textures in art….

Here’s where my texture printable comes in.  Allow your child some space.  Again, outside is ideal but wherever you are there are bound to be some textures!  (They’re everywhere!)

Your little person can write about the name or texture of the object on the left side while attempting to recreate that texture in an artistic manner on the right side.

Use pencils, pen and ink, crayons; take whatever artistic liberties needed to get the point across to your child!  And if writing is difficult use the left side to do a rubbing of a texture and leave the right side for your child’s interpretation of that same texture!

The focus is NOT on making the kids copy identical replicas of any texture.  Really the idea is to draw their attention to the fact that we are surrounded by textures and how they can affect a composition or work of art!

Use this free printable to to learn about different types of texture in art. Show kids the difference between implied texture & actual texture the easy way!

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Teaching texture beyond the printable….

Once your students have covered the basics of texture in art and they’re familiar with types of texture in art such as implied texture and actual texture movie on to the fun stuff- creating art that features the element of texture.  Check out these free lessons to further explore the element of texture! 

Use this free texture printable and collection of art projects that focus on the element of texture to teach kids about actual texture and implied texture!

Texture pendants made with air dry clay….

Whip up a batch of these air dry clay pendants using just a handful of household ingredients to make these pendants that really let the element of texture shine!  These only take a few minutes and would make such a pretty gift or keepsake.  

Oil pastel texture rubbing…

Use oil pastels and tissue paper to make vibrant texture rubbings that incorporate into a collage.   

Sandpaper printmaking….

Drawing and coloring on sandpaper is an excellent sensory experience that creates art with a lot of implied texture.  Learn the details of sandpaper printing two different ways with printing with sandpaper on fabric and making sandpaper monoprints on paper.

Wood prints…

These magic marker woods prints are an easy way to make a direct connection between the actual texture of the wood blocks and the implied texture of the prints.  Plus the woodblock prints are super colorful and pretty!

Textures in nature….

This project is a new twist on the favorite craft of leaf rubbings.  Capture the texture of a leaf using a white crayons and a watercolor wash for ghostly leaf impressions.


Use this free printable to to learn about different types of texture in art. Show kids the difference between implied texture & actual texture the easy way!

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Artists and the ELements combine art history, hands on art projects and the basic element of art vocabulary to make a fun and easy year long art curriculum.