Sporty Name Bags

Sporty Name Bags

Explore the art of creating positive and negative space with Crayola® Bright Fabric Markers, and draw a colorful name design on a fabric drawstring backpack!

  • 1.

    The elements of art are used to build an artist’s creation. Form, line, space, shape, value, color, and texture are the elements of art. Not every work of art uses all seven elements, but there are some elements that always appear. Shape is one of those elements!

  • 2.

    What do you think space is? How would you define space? In art terms, space is area. It can be 3-D or flat, but it is one element of art that can always be found. There are two types of space, positive and negative. Positive space is the subject of artwork, and negative space is the background or areas around and between the subject.

  • 3.

    Look at some examples of M.C. Escher’s art, like “The Drowned Cathedral,” “Old Olive Tree,” and “Hand with Reflecting Sphere.” Identify the areas of positive and negative space. Discuss what you see with your class.

  • 4.

    Design your own masterpiece showing positive and negative space! Use your name to create an interesting design on a sporty drawstring backpack! Begin by drawing your name with Crayola Classic Colored Pencils on a heavy sheet of paper. Be sure to draw thick letters that will be easy to cut out and trace.

  • 5.

    Carefully cut out each letter of your name using Crayola Blunt-Tip Scissors, and arrange the letters on a flattened drawstring backpack. For best results, use 100% cotton fabric. With Crayola Bright Fabric Markers, trace the outline of each letter onto the backpack. Flip each letter upside down and place directly under the tracing of your name, creating a reflection, and outline the reflection with Bright Fabric Markers. Stain Advisement: Fabric markers are permanent on clothing and contain colorants that may stain household surfaces. Wear a smock to protect clothing and cover your work surface. Recap markers as soon as possible and store in a horizontal position. Do not shake markers.

  • 6.

    Fill in the positive space on the name design above the reflection with bold colors using Bright Fabric Markers! Place a sheet of recycled newspaper or scrap paper inside the drawstring backpack to prevent bleed through. Color your design, making sure you saturated the cloth. For the name design reflection, fill in the negative space with color.

  • 7.

    When you are finished, ask an adult to iron your design. Set iron on cotton setting and iron on the reverse side using a back and forth motion for 4 minutes. Or place garment in the dryer for 30 minutes on the hottest setting. This will fix the color to the fabric.


  • Students explore the elements of art, primarily positive and negative space.
  • Students define elements of art, space, positive space, and negative space.
  • Students demonstrate their understanding of positive space and negative space by creating a colorful name design and reflection.


  • Explore positive and negative space in 3D with a subtractive relief carving! Use Crayola Air-Dry Clay to form a thick slab from which to carve an interesting design. Carefully subtract areas of the slab using modeling tools and carve out the subject of your artwork. The areas of the clay slab that remain untouched are the negative spaces. The carved areas are the positive spaces.
  • Ensure younger students and those with special needs gain a thorough understanding of positive and negative space before drawing their name designs. Use alphabet puzzles to demonstrate letters as positive space and the surrounding areas as negative space. Also, point out the negative space left on the heavy paper after their letters are cut from it to reinforce the difference between the types of space.
  • Assessment: Review the definitions of positive and negative space and share your Sporty Name Bag with the class! Discuss the areas of positive and negative space on each student’s design. Can you identify any other elements of art in the designs?