Friday, March 30, 2012

Faberge Eggs -- Upper Elementary

So I wanted to do something for Easter that wasn't specifically "Easter" so I thought Faberge eggs would be nice since they incorporate some very famous art, some use of recycled materials and can be finished in any number of ways depending on how long you have to work on the project.

I was inspired for this idea by a book that I found at a local Used Book Superstore. The book pages are puzzles!

Faberge Treasures Jigsaw Puzzle Book from the Forbes Collection

Another great book resource is Faberge Fantasies and Treasures by Geza Von Harsburg:
The materials to start this project are very easy to find: newspaper (torn up), Elmer's art paste, larger plastic Easter eggs (found at the dollar store):
Step one: Cover the eggs with at least three or four layers of newspaper that has been dipped in the art paste. Since this will have to dry completely before the next step, you may want to allow students who work faster to make more than one egg.
Step two: When the paper mache is completely dry, use an x-acto blade to cut a seam around the middle. This is not safe for students to do on their own. The paper egg should easily come off the plastic one. If you want to save time you can leave the egg in the middle and go on to step four in the first class.
Step three: Then have students tape them closed again.
Step four: Add a layer or two of white paper over the newspaper. I used torn printer paper. Then add a few layers of white tissue paper over that for a nicer finish. Let dry again.
Step five: Decorating! For this step there are many options. Depending on how much time you have you can combine some of these with step four (if you are using tissue paper to decorate) or you can allow a full class time to complete the decorating.

Using tissue paper is a favorite option of mine because when applied with glossy Mod Podge it gives a jewel-like finish. Paint is another option: either tempera or watercolor. I really liked using the watercolor. I suppose you could all out glitter, but I didn't try that one. To get puffy gold paint I actually added gold paint to Elmer's white glue in the bottle so that the tip could be used as the applicator to get the line work. Glitter Mod Podge is nice (see the red egg). Prang makes a nice selection of metallic markers that look good over the painted eggs (see the dark purple egg). Embellishments up the bling factor (like sequin strands and rhinestones). The biggest thing, I think, is that the eggs be shiny, so they should all be coated with some type of gloss, either the Mod Podge that I used on all the eggs or some other gloss medium or varnish.

 This egg was drawn on with blue permanent marker, then layers of two shades of blue tissue paper were applied with glossy Mode Podge. Once that was dry (about 5 minutes), the gold was added with the glue bottle. That is the hardest part because it will drip and it is difficult to hold the egg while applying the decoration. It also takes a while for the thick gold glue to dry. Once it is dry hot glue the rhinestones on.

 This egg was painted with purple tempera (red and blue mixed together), allowed to dry (about 5 - 10 minutes), coated with glossy Mod Podge (dry again for about 5 - 10 minutes), and then drawn on with the metallic markers by Prang.

 This egg was painted with red tempera, allowed to dry (about 5 minutes), coated with glittery Mod Podge (dry again for 5 - 10 minutes), then the sequin strands and rhinestones are applied with hot glue.

 This egg was first drawn on with the gold glue to create sections for the colors, this had to dry and again was difficult to do. Also the egg has to be held while it dries unless you don't apply the gold to one of the tips. After about 20 minutes of drying time, the sections were painted using wet Q-tips and watercolors, which dried fairly quickly. Then apply a layer of gloss or glitter Mod Podge. The rhinestones were hot glued on.

This egg may be my favorite. It was decorated with dark blue tissue paper applied with Glossy Mod Podge. Shades of pink tissue paper were cut into diamond shapes and collaged over that. Tissue paper circles were collaged on the top and bottom. The gold glue was used to make the dots. The metallic markers were used to outline the shapes. The gold glue was also applied to the tip and a rhinestone was pressed into that.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bitty Bugs -- Kindergarten

These bitty bugs are perfect as the warmer weather approaches and insects start to appear in gardens. The idea developed from one that I saw while doing my student teaching. It was October, near Halloween, and my supervising practitioner had the kindergarten students create a spider using white model magic that they painted with black tempera and pushed pipe cleaner legs into. Wiggle eyes were hot glued on after the paint dried. The students also drew a web with chalk on black paper. By the end of the class the paint was dry and the eyes were on so the spiders went home with their webs.

For my idea I wanted to experiment with other bugs. So I made a bee, a lady bug, a dragonfly, and a version of the inspirational spider.

To make the bee: roll a small amount of yellow model magic (about 2"square out of the pkg) into a ball; gently flatten the ball; press in the legs, stinger and antennae; color in the black stripes and head; press in the wings; let dry overnight; glue on eyes.

yellow model magic, black Sharpie, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes

To make the lady bug: begin the same as the bee but with red; press in legs and antennae; color in spots and head; let dry overnight; glue on eyes.

red model magic, black Sharpie, pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes

To make the dragonfly: use about the same amount of model magic, but roll into a coil that tapers at the tail; press in legs, antennae and wings; let dry overnight; glitter by coating body with Elmer's glue, dropping into a baggie with chosen glitter color(s) and shake until coated; remove from baggie and glue on wiggle eyes.

any color model magic (I mixed yellow and black and got a mossy green), pipe cleaners, wiggle eyes, Elmer's glue, glitter

To make the spider: begin the same as the bee; snip a mouth with scissors; press in legs, antennae and fangs; add a bit of glue in the mouth; sprinkle red glitter on the glue; let dry overnight; glue on wiggle eyes.

black model magic, red glitter, pipe cleaners, Elmer's glue, wiggle eyes


Remind students to handle the model magic gently when rolling and when pressing in the parts. Otherwise they'll end up with smooshed bugs.

Hot glue the eyes on. They'll stay attached better that way. And while you are at it, you may have to secure some of the pipe cleaner parts with hot glue as well.

Add to the menagerie with other creepy crawlies like segmented caterpillars, snails, ants, green-eyed flies, etc.

Extend the lesson even more with painting, drawing or collage to create flowers, plants, or habitats for the bugs to live on/in. Display with insect facts, a butterfly net, mosquito netting, etc.

Interdisciplinary potential: Link to a science unit in the regular classroom. Adapt to suit the grade that is studying insects (I think it might be grade 2 in Massachusetts). Have students learn the parts of their insects' anatomy.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Basic Accordion Book -- Gr. 2

This lesson uses a basic 4 page accordion book with a mat board cover and back. The paper is cut to 4 1/2 x 24".
The theme of this particular lesson is cities. Some key terms are panorama, horizon line (basically where the buildings touch the ground), outline, and cityscape (vs. landscape or seascape).

I begin by asking if anyone can guess what panorama might mean. This is a tough one for second grade, but the students catch on once I say that the paper is a clue and I hold it up so that it is horizontal (and very long). Then I ask if they know what a cityscape is. Most don't right away. I then ask what a landscape is. Some say it is their own property, like their backyards. To help them along I show some examples of paintings and ask: "Is this a landscape?" I show them a portrait, and they say no; I show them a still life, and they say no; I show them an interior, and they say no; finally, I show them a landscape and they all say yes. I then ask for details that characterize a landscape (i.e. typically nature or country scenes). I then ask for what the opposite would be and they start naming city features. That is when I tell them they are describing a cityscape. From here we brainstorm using word webs or just lists for things that are found in cities (i.e. cars, buildings, businesses, lights, signs, people, sidewalks, roads, pigeons, etc.).

Now I give a quick demo showing how to establish the ground/horizon line, space out buildings, fill the page, etc. I tell the students they will draw first in pencil then go over all their lines with black Sharpie markers. For this example, I left the line drawings with Sharpie unfilled in. I used a watercolor wash over the entire image to create the mood of sunset. I like this technique and would recommend it for use in creating such themes as "sunset", "night", "winter", "spring", etc. just by changing the color choices. If not using watercolor, then have students use colored pencils to color in their outlined drawings.
When the main drawings have been completed, it is time to design the cover. The cover should represent the inside of the book and include a title. You may choose to use edging scissors along the outside of the cover design to trim the paper so that it is smaller than the book cover itself.
Fold the dry interior pages into only 4 pages to give it more of a panoramic appearance. Once it is folded you can glue mat board (cut slightly larger than the book size) to the front and back. Since this is a book with only a few pages, you can skip adding a string or ribbon to hold the book shut; it tends to stay shut on its own just fine. With the front and back covers attached, glue the cover drawing to the front. Display open for the best effect.

Here are some student examples:

*Social Studies extension: Require students to incorporate elements from their own city into their drawings. For example, discuss what buildings are in the center of town and have them include these in their drawings.

Accordion Book Variation: Pocket Folds -- Gr. 4

This lesson uses the same basic structure as the eight page accordion that was described earlier this month. The major difference is the added complexity of pocket folds. The paper is cut 6 1/2 by 16". Folds are at 1/2", 1 3/4" and 4 1/4" measured up from the bottom. The pocket consists of two folds (one to form the lip and one that folds up to form the pocket). The top is folded down to create a folded edge at the top to match the one on the bottom. It is best to score the paper before folding to get an even crease.

Unlike the last book lesson, I recommend folding first for this and filling in the drawings afterwards. Once all the drawings are done, use glue along the folds where the pockets are to secure them. Also glue the outside seams shut.
Since this lesson uses the pocket fold accordion book, I also have the students draw and cut out objects to go into the pockets. The lesson presented follows the theme "In or Under," which basically means that the students should be able to describe their book as representing objects found in or under something of theirs. For example: "Objects in my backpack" or "Things under my bed."
Remind the students that their objects should be large enough so they can be seen peeking out of the pockets, not hidden in them. Some students choose to have the design/object on the pocket go with the object in it -- that is an optional extension. In all, however, there are 16 objects represented (8 on the pockets and 8 in the pockets).
For the example given I used colored pencils to fill in the drawings after outlining with black sharpie. This technique makes the drawings stand out. It is important to color with lots of layers to get rich, saturated colors. Also, remember to color the interior of the pocket as well as the pocket itself not just the objects. For the interior of the pocket I used a layering technique to give the drawing more variety.
Create a book cover and back using chip board, cardboard or mat board. The board can be left plain or covered with fabric or paper (as in the example). Make a small image/text design to put on the front to title the book (in the example: "Art Room"). Attach the boards with Elmer's glue. If you want to add a ribbon, sandwich that between the board and the book before attaching the back cover. You can also add a button to the front using hot glue; this gives you something to wrap the ribbon around to keep the book closed when not on display.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Accordion Book Variation: Venitian Blind -- Gr. 5

This lesson was something I used as a filler lesson when I was subbing in the art room and the fifth grade class was transitioning from one project to another. Most of the students were done with the project that they had been working on so I needed something that was simple enough to explain and complete that some students could do it with little help from me. The lesson can be added to for increased depth, but I allowed the students to do whatever they wanted with the interior design rather than impose a subject or theme on them.
For this lesson I cut 12 x 18" paper into 3 x 18" strips, demonstrated how to fold the accordion shape, and cautioned about the safety of punching the hole for the thread and using the sharp needle. I demonstrated how to cut the embroidery floss to twice the length of their unfolded books (so 36").
The hole is punched with an awl that is very sharp. Keep a piece of cardboard beneath the folded up book as you punch the hole to prevent the tip from breaking or damaging your table surface. Next thread some embroidery floss through a needle and go in through the bottom hole on the front of the book. Thread through to the back and then go through the top hole on the back coming back out the front. Put the the two ends together and thread a bead onto them. Tie a knot at the end that is big enough to keep the bead on. The bead when pulled to the end of the thread allows the book to be opened. When pushed all the way back it closes the book up again.
*All designs, illustrations, etc. to the inside of the book should be done when the paper is still flat and has not been folded, unless you prefer a broken up image. The folds make it difficult to create a continuous design if you fold first. And threading should always be done last no matter what.
For my example I used markers to create an abstract botanical motif. I used a book with quotes about happiness to choose a string of words that I integrated throughout the design. Many of the students did something similar, but using their own thoughts on friendship. This choice was completely their own and not prompted by me in any way other than allowing them to examine my example up close.

A Thousand Paths to Happiness by David Baird

The book that I got the accordion technique from is Painted Paper by Alisa Golden.
Another great book on bookmaking ideas is More Making Books by Hand by Peter and Donna Thomas.

Some possible themes for this lesson: Courage, Strength, Justice, Freedom, Happiness, Success, Friendship, Honesty, Compassion, Peace, Hope, etc. Any of these would be a great way to get students thinking philosophically. Have students really reflect on their thoughts in relation to these concepts and come up with a sentence or string of words that they feel best expresses what they think their chosen concept means to them. Double check the sentences for spelling errors before transferring the words onto the artworks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Foam Board Mosaics -- Elementary Level

This coming Saturday I will be teaching an art lesson at a party. There will be kids of various ages from 4 to 13 years old, so I needed a project idea that was adaptable for those ages. This mosaic idea was shared with me at the North Shore Art Teachers Association meeting last school year and I've been meaning to give it a try, so this seems like the perfect opportunity.

The materials are lower cost if you shop around at the dollar stores. The primary material is foam board (which was $1 a sheet at the store). I painted all the boards in advance, but if doing this in a classroom where you have the time you can have the students do this step. I used toothbrushes and bath poofs to add texture to some of the boards; I also used paint brushes and rags to apply paint for varied results.

Next, cut the boards into long strips of about 1 1/2" in width. Leave the strips alone after that and allow the students to use scissors to cut the strips into geometric "tile" pieces.

Distribute Elmer's or tacky glue in small cups as well as cheap paint brushes and water cups. Hand out cardboard rectangles, squares, or pizza circles for the students to use as bases.

The students will then apply the foam tiles, cutting to size, by painting the backs with glue. I used the tacky glue because it adheres better and dries faster. Hint: It is easier to work from the outside edge toward the center when starting the design.

Here is the sample that I made. I will add photos of student examples if I can take a few at Saturday's party.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Drawings From Music Class -- Kindergarten, First and Second Grade

Whenever I fill in for one particular music teacher, she always asks me to do some art with the students, which I love to do. Her music room has so many great books that are about music and dance, but also have excellent, inspiring illustrations. Last week I came across three books that I really liked and had the students make drawings after hearing them read aloud. These were only half hour classes, so for many of these drawings the students only had about 10 or 15 minutes to work on them by the time the books were read and the materials were distributed.

One book was Giraffe's Can't Dance by Giles Andreae.

I read this book to the first graders and they made some great drawings of animals dancing.

Another fantastic book that I came across was Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields.
I read this book to the kindergarten students and demonstrated step-by-step how to draw some instrument-playing dinosaurs. A few students even made their own dinosaurs without my help at all.

I found a third book of silly animal poems, but now I can't remember the title. If anyone knows what book I'm talking about feel free to comment since I'm really stumped. This book had black & white line drawings for illustrations. The first poem in the book was about giving a giraffe a bath. Other poems included one about toasting marshmallows with a dragon, being too late to take your doggy for a walk and he makes a puddle, a "wittle wabbit", a "see" horse who can see a girl and her daddy, etc.

Anyway, with this third poetry book I let the second grade students come up and select a poem to read to the class. They could NOT show the illustration. The students then had to decide which poems were their favorite and make their own drawings to go with them.