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Do you want to express yourself, be creative, or make an impression? Visual Arts is for you! It may be messy, fun, strange, or unique. You will get to work with paint, chalk, metal, wood, food, scrapbooking, paper, computers and much, much more. Be yourself, explore visual arts! Choose the specific project you are interested in from the list below. 

Project Levels

  • Food/Cake Decorating
  • Chalk/Carbon/Pigment
  • Clay
  • Computer Generated Art
  • Fiber
  • Glass & Plastic
  • Heritage Arts
  • Leather
  • Metal
  • Nature Craft
  • Paper
  • Scrapbooking
  • 3-Dimensional Mixed Media
  • Wood

Resources to help you learn

The following 4-H manuals provide general information on all visual arts projects and are available for ordering through 4-H Online. Manuals specific to one art medium are also available for ordering and are listed under the specific project area.

  • Getting Started in Art: Beginner Level: Learn to express emotions through art; create projects using line, form, and texture; and establish balance or rhythm in your art. Appropriate for any Art project listed below. 
  • Sketchbook Crossroads: Drawing, Fiber, and Sculpture Activity Guide: Advanced Level: Learn to use color and space in artwork to create balance, create calligraphy and cartoons, applique with felt, weave, experiment with dyes, and sculpt with clay and wire. Appropriate for the following projects: Chalk/Carbon/Pigment, Clay, Fiber, Heritage Arts, 3-Dimensional
  • Portfolio Pathways: Painting, Printing, and Graphic Design: Advanced Level: Explore techniques with acrylics, watercolors, and colored sand. Experiment with oil painting. Create dry point etching. Make a wood block stamp. Appropriate for the following projects: Chalk/Carbon/Pigment, Computer Generated Art, 
  • Exploring Fiber Arts. Appropriate for Fiber. 
  • Duct Tape Crafts. Available @ utah4H.org/discover. Appropriate for Fibe
  • Cake Decorating. Appropriate for Food Decorating.
  • Creating Stained Glass Projects Appropriate for Glass/Plastic
  • Paper Crafts. Available for download @ utah4H.org/discover. Appropriate for Paper
  • 4-H Scrapbooking. Appropriate for Scrapbooking

State Fair Exhibit Guidelines

Each county may submit one entry from these projects:

  • Food/Cake Decorating (1 total from 50332, 50333, 50334, 50335)
  • Chalk/Carbon/Pigment on wood, metal or textiles (Division B) 50352
  • Clay 50337
  • Computer-Generated Art 50338
  • Fiber 50339
  • Fiber Non-Original Ages 8-10 Only 50350
  • Glass/Plastic 50340
  • Heritage Arts 50341
  • Leather 50321
  • Metal 50342
  • Nature 50343
  • Paper 50344
  • Scrapbooking (1 total from 50345, 50346, 50347)
  • Three-Dimensional Design/Mixed Media 50348
  • Wood 50349
  • Ready4Life 50351

Each county may submit two entries from:

  • Chalk/Carbon/Pigment on canvas, paper, or glass (Division A) 50336
  • Scrapbooking (2 total from 50345, 50346, 50347)

Exhibitors must be enrolled in the Visual Arts project category in which they are exhibiting. Exhibitors are encouraged to date the project when it is made. All visual arts exhibits are evaluated using a visual arts rubric which takes into account correct use of design elements; craftsmanship; and creativity.

Articles exhibited must be an original design created by the exhibitor (except in heritage arts which may follow a pattern AND Fiber-Non Original Ages 8-10 ONLY). Copyrighted or trademarked designs are not acceptable; this includes Team or School logos.Kits and preformed molds are not considered original and are not acceptable in any Visual Arts Class. Combining parts of different patterns (pictures, photographs, images from the internet or a magazine) with the member's own ideas can result in an original design, but simply changing the color, pattern and/or size of a pattern does NOT make the design original. This also applies for ideas found on a site such as Pinterest. If you see something on Pinterest that you like, use the concept and create something different using the concept; however if it MUST NOT look exactly like something the judge can search for and find on Pinterest. The exhibit must combine parts of different patterns and/or ideas with the concepts of the member, however changing the color or changing the size of the item or pattern used does NOT make it original.  If you create a replica of what you see somewhere else, it is not your original design.  If a photo, sketch, or other idea source was used, submit it with your entry, firmly attached to your exhibit. Be prepared to explain how and where you got the idea for this project.

Members wishing to exhibit quilts made from a pattern may enter it in Heritage Arts. Quilts exhibited in the Visual Arts – Heritage Arts area will be evaluated using a visual arts rubric which takes into account correct use of design elements; craftsmanship; and creativity. All work on the quilt MUST be completed by the 4-H member. You cannot exhibit a quilt that was quilted by someone else.

Visual Arts Food/Cake Decorating Beginning (SF 50332)

Exhibit one of the following:

  • Exhibit four decorated cookies, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cookies OR cookie forms.
  • Exhibit four decorated cupcakes, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cupcakes OR cupcake forms.
  • Exhibit a single layer decorated cake, using a minimum of four different techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

Visual Arts Food/cake Decorating Intermediate (SF 50333)

Exhibit one of the following:

  • Exhibit four decorated cookies, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cookies OR cookie forms.
  • Exhibit four decorated cupcakes, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cupcakes OR cupcake forms.
  • Exhibit a single layer or two-layer cakes, using a minimum of five Level 2 techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

Visual Arts Food/cake Decorating Advanced (SF 50334)

Exhibit a decorated, stacked or multi-layer cake, or a tiered cake, using a minimum of four Level 3 techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

Visual Arts Food/cake Decorating Master (SF 50335)

Exhibit to include a one-page written description of your project, including goals, plans, accomplishments, and evaluation of results. Include up to four pictures of your accomplishments AND exhibit an original design decorated cake using more than five techniques. Exhibit may use cake OR cake form.

Visual Arts Chalk/Carbon/Pigment

Enter the division based on the type of material on which the art was created.

  • Division A: Canvas, Paper, Glass: (SF 50336)
    Any original art work done with pencils, chalk, pens, ink, paint, charcoal, dyes, etc. on canvas, paper, or glass. This would include all painting, sketching, drawing, cartooning, original non-computer generated graphics, printing, etc. Painted and/or glazed pre-formed ceramics and painted porcelain dolls are not eligible for State Fair exhibit. Drawings and paintings should be matted or framed under glass. (Exceptions: Oil and acrylic paintings do not require glass and are not required to be matted.) Water color, chalk, pen & ink, computer-generated art, etc. do require some protective covering. Gallery frames are acceptable. Canvas paintings that continue “over the edges” are acceptable without frames; however, the piece must still be prepared for hanging. Matted pieces without frames are acceptable, however the piece must be prepared for hanging OR it must include a photo of the artwork being displayed in a non-hanging manner. There is no specific requirement for the type of mat used.
  • Division B: Wood, Metal, Textiles: (SF 50352)
    Any original art work done with pencils, chalk, pens, ink, paint, charcoal, dyes, etc., on wood, metal, or textiles. Painted and/or glazed pre-formed ceramics and painted porcelain dolls are not eligible for State Fair exhibit. Any exhibits created as a piece of wall art must be prepared for hanging.

Visual Arts Clay: (SF 50337)

Any original item made of clay; may be fired or unfired, hand formed or thrown on a wheel. Self-hardening clays are fine. Fire/oven-cured and cornstarch clay could be accepted. Items can include, but are not limited to, clay statues, bowls, jewelry, etc. Pre-formed ceramics are not eligible for State Fair exhibit.

Visual Arts Computer-Generated Art: (SF 50338)

Any original art created in any software package. Exhibit may not include scanned work, clip art, downloaded images from the internet, any imported image, or photographs. All pixels must be original. Photo mosaics are NOT allowed. Exhibitors in this class (like all other classes in this sub-section) must be enrolled in Visual Arts; Computer project enrollment is not required. NOTE: Wood and metal exhibits created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in this class. Plastic exhibits with an artistic focus created using a 3-D printer should be entered in this class. If the art created is designed to hang, then the entry should have some protective covering, such as a glass frame, and prepared for hanging. If the art is something that has been created with a laser cutting program/device and is NOT designed to hand, it does not require protective covering nor does it need to be prepared to hang.

Visual Arts Fiber: (SF 50339)

Any original item made of fiber. Examples are quilts, fabric collage, soft sculpture, stitchery, weaving, embroidery, cross-stitch, wearable art, hooking, braiding, duct tape artistry, string art, and baskets. Original cross-stitched, knitted, crocheted or quilted items belong in this Fiber class. Non-original cross-stitched, knitted, crocheted or quilted items should be entered in Heritage Arts. Machine knitted items are not appropriate for this class.

Visual Arts Fiber Non-Original AGES 8-10 ONLY: (SF 50350)

Any non-original item made of fiber. Examples are fabric collage, soft sculpture, stitchery, weaving, embroidery, cross-stitch, crocheting, knitting, weaving, hooking, and felting. Exhibitors may use a pattern and/or an idea generated from another source. 

Visual Arts Glass/Plastic:(SF 50340)

Any original item made of glass or plastic. Possible items to exhibit include stained glass, etched glass (original design), mosaics made of glass, glass beading, plastic jewelry (friendly plastic). Interlocking building block creations (i.e. LEGOS) are not suitable for State Fair entry. Stepping stones or wall hangings that include cement decorated with glass or plastic items are not suitable for this class.

Visual Arts Heritage Arts: (SF 50341)

Exhibit an item of traditional art learned from another person or from a pattern (NO KITS) may be entered in this class. Non-original cross-stitched, knitted and crocheted items by pattern fit in this class. ALL ORIGINAL cross-stitched, knitted and crocheted items should be exhibited in Fiber Arts; (machine knitted items ARE NOT acceptable for this class.) Other possibilities include: needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, crewel, embroidery, cut work, hardanger embroidery (embroidery openwork), macramé, baskets, candles, pysanki (decorated eggs), leather, quilts, baskets  (made using a traditional pattern), traditional handmade dolls with handmade costumes, soaps made using nature dyes also can be made using hand-made molds or broken into chunks for display, or candles. No machine quilting allowed in Heritage Arts. Exhibitors must also bring 1) the pattern or a copy of the pattern they used to create their traditional art; and 2) a description of the traditional origins of their art choice.

Visual Arts Leather: (SF 50321)

Exhibit one of the following options using leather.

  • Leather Stamping: Exhibit should utilize one or more stamping techniques – exhibit examples include items such as belt; coasters; bookmark; key chain; wrist bracelet.
  • Leather Carving or Tooling: Exhibit should use simple swivel knife tooling techniques or may incorporate several swivel knife-tooling designs or patterns – exhibit examples include items such as belt; pictorial carving; key case.
  • Leather Lacing: Exhibit to include stamping and/or carving techniques incorporated with lacing techniques – exhibit examples include items such as wallets; purses; etc.
  • Leather Stitching: Exhibit may include stamping; carving and/or lacing techniques and should be a leather item or article of apparel, which incorporates hand-sewing techniques and/or stitching techniques. Hand-sewing and/or machine stitching must be the work of the exhibitor. 

Visual Arts Metal: (SF 50342)

Any original item made of metal such as sculpture, tin punch, engraved metal, and jewelry. Items intended for industrial use (as tools and/or shop items) are not considered part of this Visual Arts project and are not eligible for entry. Metal items that have been partially or totally created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in Computer-Generated Art.

Visual Arts Nature: (SF 50343)

Any original item made of natural material such as wreaths, cornhusk dolls, etc. Items should be made of natural materials (which may be purchased) but securing elements such as glue and wire may be used in the inner construction as long as they do not detract from the overall "natural" appearance. Articles such as dried pressed flowers may be displayed under glass since it is necessary for protection/preservation of the natural materials. Candles are not suitable as entries. All baskets should be entered in Heritage Arts.

Visual Arts Paper: (SF 50344)

Any original item made of paper. Examples could include origami; greeting cards; paper-cut designs, paper mache, hand-made paper, paper collage, paper models of architecture, quilling, etc. Paper twist articles, made from directions in craft books and stores ARE NOT original and are not appropriate for this class. Scrapbooks should be exhibited in Visual Arts Scrapbooking.

Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Beginning: (SF 50345)

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc. Beginners must use a minimum of four embellishments and tell a story with pictures.

Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Intermediate: (SF 50346)

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc. Intermediate level exhibitors must use a minimum of eight embellishments and tell a story with pictures and journaling.

Visual Arts Scrapbooking, Advanced: (SF 50347)

Exhibit one album or notebook, either 8 ½” x 11” or 12”x12”, with a front and back cover. The album/notebook must have a minimum of 4 pages (front and back, 8 sides), exhibited in page protectors. “Embellishments” are defined as the decorations or special details and features that add to a page and make it more visually appealing. Embellishments may include, but are not limited to, ribbon, clips, special lettering, etc. Advance level exhibitors must use a minimum of 12 embellishments and tell a compelling story with pictures, journaling, and other media.

Visual Arts Three-Dimensional Design/Mixed Media: (SF 50348)

Art pieces in this class must be comprised of at least three different media. No one medium can make up more than 40% of a piece. The piece should be either freestanding or should be prepared to be hung. It must be observable on at least three different sides. Originality and design are important concepts. Craft and preformed or assembled projects are not acceptable.

Visual Arts Wood: (SF 50349)

Any original item made of wood (wood carving, sculpture, collage, wood burning, etc.). Utilitarian wood items made from patterns or kits (e.g. outdoor or indoor furniture, shelves) should be entered in woodworking, not in visual arts. Popsicle stick crafts are not acceptable for State Fair entry. Wood items that have been partially or totally created through the use of laser cutting programs/devices should be entered in Computer-Generated Art. All Visual Arts Wood exhibits MUST have an artistic element that the exhibitor can explain. Furniture built by the exhibitor aligns with the Woodworking project area – unless the element to be judged is wood carving or wood burning that is one element of the exhibit. Exhibits will be judged using a Visual Arts Rubric and not a woodworking construction rubric.

Visual Arts Ready4Life Challenge (SF 50351)

Open to 11- to 18-year-olds enrolled in any Visual Arts project. Exhibits in this category must include the following: a) a physical representation of the career or business product such as a model, prototype or display/portfolio that includes images of accomplished work; b) verbal or written explanations that demonstrate knowledge of the related career or business fields, potential careers, and the appropriate requirements for achievement in those fields. The judging criteria for this class values thoroughness of career and/or business exploration and pursuit above the workmanship of the physical specimen on display.

Visual Arts Maker (SF 50400)

Counties may submit 3 entries TOTAL combined from all Maker exhibit divisions.

Exhibits in this category are designed to be multi-disciplinary in nature, innovative, and must not fit into any other exhibit category. To qualify for this category, your project MUST abide by the following guidelines:

  • Exhibits must be an object or device that has an intended purpose and uses technology in either a mechanical way, digital (computer) way, or combination of the two.
  • The device must be something that can be used in everyday life by multiple people (a target audience), and MUST be manufactured/built by the exhibitor (If not fully manufactured by the exhibitor, the device MUST be modified structurally or be reprogramed to perform a different function other than what it was designed to do
  • Exhibit MUST be able to interact with the outside world. (e.g. an on off switch, input sensors, feedback, etc.)
  • Exhibits MUST include a detailed build log with instructions on how to make or build the exhibit, AND contain either a 3D rendering or detailed and labeled sketches of the device/product.
  • All parts and software used in the design/build MUST be listed in a detailed Bill of Materials including cost per item and total cost. Total time spent on the build must be documented in your build log.

In addition, exhibitors are HIGHLY encouraged to use tools such as 3-D printers, laser cutters, routers and/or other hand/power tools to help in the manufacturing process (NOTE: Simply 3-D printing or laser cutting an object without the other specifications does not qualify as a Maker Project). It is also HIGHLY encouraged that exhibits use Open Source Software and/or Hardware in the build.