Project Accessory Classroom Style

Based on the My Lifetime show, Project Accessory this lesson will challenge your students to design accessories for an outfit of their choice. The objective of this lesson is to test student’s design skills and practical application of the elements and principles of design and color. Skills required: matching colors & patterns, sewing, construction, neatness, flexibility, adaptability.

Time Frame: 1-3 blocks


  • The objective of this lesson is to test student’s design skills and practical application of the elements and principles of design and color. Skills required: matching colors & patterns, sewing, construction, neatness, flexibility, adaptability.


  • Have your class watch an episode of Project Accessory.  You could use this one or choose another of your liking.


  • Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects that look High-End, Not Homespun
  • Paint
  • Scissors
  • Pliers
  • Knife & Mat
  • Hot Glue
  • Fabrics (pleather, fur, felt, etc)
  • Beads
  • Sequins
  • Thread
  • Buttons
  • Hair clips/combs
  • Pin Backs
  • Elastic hair bands
  • Jewelry Clasps
  • Jewelry Findings (earring backs, rods, necklace wire)
  • Trims
  • Used items from Goodwill or students’ houses (neck ties, bow ties, purses, tote bags, shoes, jewelry, scarves, belts)
  • Internet (idea generation)

Background for Teachers

  • First it is important to watch at least one episode of the show so the rest of this lesson is in context.
  • Have students  bring in an outfit to accessorize from home. You may choose to tell them why they are bringing in the outfit or not depending on the class’ ability. Telling them its for an accessory competition will give them more time to plan ahead. This can be a dress, a formal outfit, or a casual outfit. It can be an outfit for men or women. It is really neat to display everyone’s outfits on a hanger on a rack or on a mannequin if at all possible prior to revealing the challenge.
  • For middle school,  inexperienced classes, or time constrained classes, have students work in partners to complete the challenges.
  • As far as getting supplies there are a lot of supplies listed and this can obviously add up. To deal with this you can either ask students to bring in the supplies they need for their specific projects (assuming multi day approach) or you can solicit faculty to bring in some of these odd ball things and just provide the basic materials listed above. You may also be able to solicit donations from your tech-ed department or a local hardware store for used or broken stuff.


Scenario 1

  • The first challenge is to create at least two accessories for your outfit made out of common recycled items.
    • Suggested Supplies
      • Paper Towel Tubes
      • Newspaper
      • Cardboard Boxes (ask your school’s cafeteria)
      • Bottle Caps
      • Containers
      • Twist ties
      • Bread Ties
      • Plastic Bags
      • Paint

Scenario 2

  • The second challenge is to create at least 3 accessories based on nature with at least one using an item from nature (non animals) in the product.
    • Suggested Supplies (you can have your class go find stuff outside if you prefer)
      • Small twigs
      • Tree bark
      • Vines
      • Thistles
      • Seed Pods
      • Small Pebbles
      • Sea Shells, coral
      • Hay
      • Moss (purchase at craft store)
      • Pictures of flowers, leaves, trees, etc.
      • Fake flowers, leaves, stems (from craft store)
      • Snow flakes (purchase at craft store)
      • Paint
      • Feathers
      • Acorn

Scenario 3

  • The third challenge is to create 3 accessories based on inspiration from the hardware store.
    • Suggested Supplies
      • Wire (various colors/thicknesses)
      • Nuts
      • Bolts
      • Screws
      • Chain
      • Sand paper
      • Paint
      • Tiles
      • Siding
      • Knobs
      • Carpet samples
      • Wood

Other Scenarios

  • Lines, shapes, curves, 3-d shapes
  • Black & White Accessories
  • City Inspired Accessories
  • Decade Inspired Accessories


  • Have students set their outfit up either on a rack, mannequin or hang on doors, tables, chairs, etc. Give each student/group their own space. Read the challenge, I like to make it dramatic by opening a letter on a silver platter with the challenge.
  • Remind students how they will be judged and what is at stake for the winners of the challenge. I personally do not like giving grades for challenges only bonus points or prizes. I personally believe that students are under enough pressure from the competitiveness of the competition that adding the grade component can overwhelm some students causing more fear than fun.
    • Judging Guidelines:
      • Theme Adhesion: implementation of the theme and compliance with the rules
      • Cohesiveness: All accessories must be tied together but this doesn’t mean they have to be matchy
      • Outfit Statement: How well the accessories go with the outfit, how clear of a statement the out fit is making (what adjectives describe the look? Is it a clear statement?)
      • Quality & Craftsmanship: How well the items are assembled. (Are their glue strands? Loose threads? Will the item stay together?)
  • Give your students time to complete the challenge. Depending on what you are asking them to do you can do this lesson in one block to three blocks per challenge. If you are going to squeeze this into one block you might want to consider having students do their design drawing at home by telling them the challenge ahead of time. I would suggest one accessory per block. So if you are asking them for three accessories you should give them three blocks.


  • Have your students participate in a fashion show showing off their accessories. Collaborate with drama club to have someone do hair and makeup for the show. Students can either personally model their outfits or chose someone to model. Ask three faculty and staff to judge the show along with an audience choice winner. Ask local businesses for donations to sponsor the show or the show’s prizes. Since fashion shows can be a lot of work you may also consider combining your show with your school’s art show or concert.
  • You can also add a budget component to this challenge.
  • If you want to do  this challenge but don’t have the time to have students make everything collect a variety of accessories and lay them out on a large table. Have all your students put on their outfits and split the class up into teams of three. Have each team pick a group member to be the model. When you say, “go” have the other team members accessorize the model from the things on the table.  When time is up have all the models stand next to each other at the front of the classroom and discuss the positives and negatives of the accessories chosen. Ask the class about the elements of design, matching, color, cohesion of the look, other accessories that might be chosen that weren’t available.



  • Full Episodes of Project Accessory
  • Accessory Pictures for Inspiration


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