My 3rd-5th graders had a pretty good time with this one. Well, they always have a good time with the chalk/glue resist projects. I think they turned out beautifully, and the kids are nice and proud of them.
We’re working on different cultures in the classes. Right now, we’re south of the border. The 3rd-5th grades made Mexican blankets, and the high schoolers made “tin” snakes. These turned out really nice, and it only took a couple of classes, so it was a great kick-off project.
They started out by cutting the shape of a basic snake out of foam core.
Then, they cut out pieces of cardboard and glued them in whatever designs they liked. The shapes just needed to be geometric.
Once the glue was dried, they covered their snakes in small pieces of aluminum foil.
They really liked this next part: coloring the snake using colored Sharpies.
In an effort to get caught up, I’m posting three different projects for this one. Whew!
The first set is from my (last year’s) 3rd/4th graders: Jellyfish. First, they drew out their jellyfish very lightly, and then covered it in glue. While the glue was still wet, they dripped watercolors and let it bleed. Once the glue was dry, they added the watercolor background and used saran wrap to make it fractal.
This next set was created by my (then) 5th/6th graders. We were practicing analogous colors.
The final set is from my (then) 7th/8th graders. The challenge was to have at least one partially behind another, and at least one partially off the page. I found some free coloring pages and printed them off for the kids to use and swap out. They were able to trace whichever fishes they liked. Then, they used oil pastels to make the fishes hyper-colorful. Finally, they used watercolor to fill in any remaining fish parts as well as the background water.
My 5th/6th graders did piece based on the artwork of Charley Harper. Here’s the picture it was based off of:
First, the students drew a birdbath and outlined it gray oil pastel. Then they used a gray watercolor wash to fill it in. Once it was dry, they cut it out. They lined up the birdbath on the second sheet of paper and made a small mark at the top of it in pencil. They removed the birdbath and drew a cardinal body on the line, like a Hershey’s Kiss. Next, they drew two dots for the eyeballs, and then drew a “U” and connected the dots at the top. Inside of that shape, they drew an upside-down “U”, and then a “V” to create the beak. They colored in the black part with a Sharpie, as well as outlined the cardinal with it. Once they were done with the body, they used a ruler and a red Sharpie to make the “flapping” wings. An orange Sharpie was used to color in the beak. Then they used oil pastels to color in the cardinal and make the branches. They water-colored the background blue and then glued the birdbath into place. Finally, using a mix of glue, shaving cream, and glitter, they added puffy snow to the birdbath, the bottom of the paper, and to the branches. They REALLY loved that part, and it looked pretty awesome!
Last year, my 6/7 class painted lots of paper. We had it strung up all over the place, but we never got to actually use it for a project. When they were a 5/6 class, those kids tore paper into leaf and petal shapes to make their poinsettias, and they used regular construction paper to do this.
For my new 5/6 students, we kicked it up a few notches. We used the painted papers from last year, and they turned out great!
We drew petal and leaf shapes (for poinsettias, they’re pretty much the same) onto the chosen painted papers. I had lots of oranges and blues for the petals, and reserved the greens for the leaves. Then, we cut them out and positioned the parts where we wanted them, and then we glued everything down. To make it even more elegant, we used gold or silver oil pastels to outline the petals and give them their veining. Yellow oil pastels were used for the centers. Don’t they look beautiful??
This was a huge project (as most paper mache projects are), and it took f o r e v e r because of all our snow days! that being said, the kids loved how they turned out. If they’re proud of the finished project, that’s what matters, right?
Let’s get down to business:
First I gave each student two panels of cardboard that I cut from a box. They also used a paper cup, a ruler, a pencil, and a marker. They measured the widest part of the cup (the rim), and it was 3″. Then, they drew their first name initial to the size of the cardboard. With a ruler, they made the letter block-styled, keeping the width at least three inches. Once they had the letter drawn out, I had them run the cup all through the letter just to make sure. Finally, they used the marker to trace the line, and then cut it out.
For the next step, they were instructed to trace the letter onto the second cardboard panel and cut it out. Then, I gave them a stack of cups and they glued them to the surface of the one of the letters, alternating the cups going up and down. When they finished, they put glue (tricky!) on the tops of the cups, and laid the other letter on top. It’s a good idea to lay something heavy on them, to keep the glue in contact with the cardboard until it dries.
The third step was to paper mache the dried letters. This was described as fun, messy, gross, warm, and cold (depending on how fresh the paste was). The best way I know how to make paste is to put all-purpose flour in a bowl, add some very hot water, and using an electric mixer, stir and keep adding water until you get the consistency of pancake batter. Once it’s done, mix in about a tablespoon of bleach. This way, if you need to keep it for the next day, it won’t mold. I told the kids to criss-cross their strips of paper to build strength.
Once the letters were covered with paper mache, and they were good and dried, the kids added primer. Now, I don’t like to buy primer paint, because I have so many kids, and it’s friggin’ expensive, so I make my own by mixing 1 part white acrylic paint to 1 part white glue.
At last the letters were ready to paint! The students used acrylic, and if you’ve never tried the cheap paints vs. the good ones (more expensive), then you haven’t lived… You totally get what you pay for!
Here are the finished letters! Some students chose to paint it a solid color, and some chose to paint a pattern or a picture. They all turned out great!