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“Painted Ladies” : Drawing Victorian Homes

Drawing detailed architecture can be difficult for any age but for elementary students, it can be daunting. These beautiful Victorian homes were created by fifth grade students. We decided to start the drawing in pencil and work to add finishing details with a black marker. It’s one of the few art projects that begins with a pencil and eraser but a necessary one.
I can’t give a step-by-step tutorial since I didn’t take enough pictures along the way, but I will offer a few pieces of advice.
I start the lesson by explaining the defining elements in Victorian Homes and talk about the Painted Ladies in San Francisco. I explain how detail is important, especially around the roof tops and window frames.
Then, I pass out an assortment of cardboard templates. I use these templates for my Castle Drawings and they work wonders. Using tag board, I cut out an assortment of squares, rectangles and columns. Use whatever size is good for use. You don’t have to be precise. Then use the cardboard templates to trace sections of the homes.
Looking at the student’s artwork below, notice how each section of their houses is basically one of these shapes. The idea is to get them thinking in terms of quadrants. A square for the door area, a square for the windows, a rectangle for the roof, etc.
Have the students trace the templates in pencil, creating and building a house. After all the floors and sections are added, they can add windows, steps, doors, balconies, rooftops, etc.
Use a black marker to trace over all lines and add finishing detail such as brickwork and roof top shingles.

San Francisco’s Painted Ladies

These Victorian homes were drawn by the fifth grade students in Mrs. Bosse and Mr. Ranson’s Class

This lesson is featured in my PDF booklet, “Architect Made Easy”. To purchase, go into the shop and add this lesson to your cart:


  1. I am interested in buying this. I would love to have more details like how many pages is this and does it have examples of parts of the victorian homes for kids to look at?

    Nancy Mastrocola

    April 21, 2011

    • Hi Nancy,
      This lesson is in the Fun with Architecture PDF Art Booklet. Click on the SHOP button on the main page and scroll down until you see Fun with Architecture. You can also check out the original post Here.


      April 21, 2011

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