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Project guide: Creating a floorplan of Santa’s grotto on iPad

Architects have to use creativity and technical drawing skills to design buildings – every building starts in someone’s imagination. With iPad, Apple Pencil and Everyone Can Create Drawing, your students can plan and design their own buildings in the classroom.


Conal Siddall

For this Christmas themed project guide, we’re going to show you how to use iPad, Apple Pencil and the Tayasui Sketches School app (which you can download for free from the iOS app store) to create a floorplan of Santa’s grotto. We’ll be using Everyone Can Create Drawing to give us some tips, so download the book from here or the Books app to get started.

If you haven’t used the Tayasui Sketches School app, open it and familiarise yourself with the controls. Go to page v of Everyone Can Create Drawing to see a quick guide for the most important features of Tayasui Sketches School.


Step 1: Plan out the characteristics of your grotto

Start by writing a list of what’s inside Santa’s grotto using the Pages app – think of the different characteristics and features, the different rooms and the size. You can let your students lead this activity by asking them to consider things like where the toys are made, where Santa’s family sleeps and where the reindeer are kept etc.

If you have Clevertouch displays at your school, you can connect the iPads to the screen using the Clevershare app to create a class brainstorm and share ideas.


Step 2: Sketch your floor plan

Now you’re ready to start creating a floor plan for the grotto using the Taysui Sketches School app. One of the great things about doing this task on iPad rather than desktop is that your students will find it easier to draw using Apple Pencil while moving the iPad around to give them the perfect angle.

When you open a new project in the app, press the settings button (cog) and change the background grain to squares. This will help you keep everything in proportion. Architectural drawings usually include:

·      Room labels.

·      Furniture labels.

·      Doors and windows.

·      A part of the outside.

The ruler tool is great for drawing straight lines at precise angles, such as walls and bay windows, and you can simply draw freehand for the furniture. You might find it useful to open Split View during this so you can refer to your list of features while you draw – swipe up from the bottom, press and hold Pages, then drag it to the edge of your screen.

When you’re finished designing, add some colour and a few extra festive touches like candy canes or a top-down drawing of a Christmas tree. Take a look at the floorplan we created in the app below.


Step 3: Create a front elevation sketch

A front elevation is an eye-level view of the front of the house to show the finished appearance and capture its style. This will contain important architectural features like roofs, bay windows and doors.

Open a new page in Tayasui Sketches School – this time, use a blank page background. Page 61 of Everyone Can Create Drawing has an example of a front elevation and instructions on where to start. You can find tips for drawing shapes, shadows and shading on page 20. Remember to keep your floor plan in mind while creating this, so the front elevation matches the plan.

In our front elevation, we’ve chosen to include features such as a round door, rounded windows, snow on the window frames and a few more extra touches to help give it a bit of Christmas magic.


When your drawings are finished, you can save and export over email, AirDrop, through Apple Classroom and more by tapping the share button in the app. Let us know if you’ve created some amazing drawings using iPad by sharing them with us on Twitter, and we’ll give you a retweet!


Advanced designing on Mac

If you want to use more powerful design software, Mac is the way to go. The extra computing power means they’re great for students who need to design using demanding apps like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.


Ask us for help

If you’re interested in getting more from your iPads in the classroom, you can come to us! As a top Apple Solution Expert for Education in the UK, we have a dedicated team of education specialists, many of whom have previously worked in schools. We can recommend you great apps for art and design, the right hardware for your needs and much more.


If you want to know more about using iPad in lessons, get in touch with our team on 03332 409 290 or email For the latest news, follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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