Saturday, February 21, 2015

Peacock Batiks and Journal Pages

I recently did these peacock batiks with Grade 3.  It ties into social studies where they are learning about India.  The peacock is the national bird of India.

We used lots of bright colours.

Now if you don't want to do a batik you can also create amazing peacocks in the art journal using painted papers.


- fabric, regular white cotton muslin works great
- pencil
- wax paper
- reference photos of peacock
- Elmer's clear gel glue
- acrylic paint in a variety of colours
- fabric markers, glitter paint, metallic paint to embellish

Art Journal:
- art journal or background paper
- heavy paper for painting
- disk tempera in bright colours
- glue
- markers, glitter, acrylic paint for adding details



Cut your fabric to your desired size.

Lay down some wax paper onto your work surface.  Put the fabric on top of the wax paper.

You can add some tape if you need to hold the fabric in place.

With your pencil draw out your peacock directly onto the fabric.

I asked the kids draw a large enough peacock to fill the space.

Use your Elmer's gel glue and go over your pencil lines.
Sometimes my students find it hard on the hands to squeeze the glue out of the bottle so I'll put some in a little cup and they use a paintbrush.

Go over every line as well as whatever part of the design that you want to stay white.

Keeping the fabric flat let dry.

Paint the peacock using acrylic paint mixed with a bit of water. The water helps the paint flow a bit better making it easier to paint the fabric.

Paint the entire piece of fabric so no white is showing. You can go right over the glue lines.

Let the fabric dry. Now you need to remove the glue. Place the fabric in the sink and let it soak in some hot water.
After 1/2 an hour or so give it a bit of scrub and rinse.

Let dry.

The batik is done but if you want you can add extra sparkle using glitter and metallic paints.

I used the paint to add details to the feathers.

That's it for the batik.  You can make it into a banner, placemat or even a pillow case.

Art Journal:

You need to paint a few papers for the peacock.
First I painted a paper for the body.  I choose blue and green.

I then painted 1/2 of a paper purple and magenta.  The other half I painted yellow.

I painted my background page a nice rich orange.  In fact it was already painted using leftover paint from the batik.

On the back of the paper I painted earlier I drew out my peacock body.
I cut it out.  Save the scraps in case you need them later when making feathers for the peacock.

I had this leftover piece of blue painted paper so I drew out the shape of my feathers.

Cut it out.

I cut strips from the purple and magenta paper and added them to the feathers.

I also added circles form the leftover body paper and yellow paper.  Glue into place on the background and then add body shape.  I cut legs and a beak out of the yellow paper.

I added paint, pencil crayon, marker, and glitter paint to further embellish my peacock.

That's all for now.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Penguin Portraits

I completed these penguin portraits with Grade 1 in my last 2 residencies, (about 100 penguins!).

They were quite effective.

Here are some of the student's work.


- substrate, we used 12"x12" hardboard but you could use cardboard, poster board, heavy paper or canvas
- recycled cardboard for belly
- drywall filler
- snow glitter
- acrylic paint in dark blue, purple, light purple, yellow, and white
- disk tempera paint
- white paper for painting
- black paper
- large googly eyes, you could also make eyes out of white and black paper
- pipe cleaners in assorted colours
- piece of yellow craft foam for beak
- glue
-small snowflakes
- mod podge, optional


This is a 2 session project.

Out of recycled corrugated cardboard cut out the belly shape. It's an egg shape but then cut straight at the bottom.

Coat one side of the cardboard with drywall filler.  While it is still wet shake on some snow glitter.

Take background and tape off a horizon line.  I do this with Kindergarten to Grade 2. When they start painting the background they have a tough time stopping, the tape gives them a visual finish line.

Paint the background.  We started at the top with dark blue, then purple, and then light purple.  We tried to do some blending so we were not too stripey.

Set aside to dry.

I have this great roll of corrugated cardboard. I think it is sold as packing material. You could also use paper feed thru a crimper or just regular cardboard.

I gave each child a rectangle and they painted it yellow.  This will be for our feet.

This was the end of session 1 for us.

Session 2:

I gave each child a rectangle of white  paper about 4"x6".

Using disk tempera paint we painted it for our ear muffs.  They could do stripes, dots, etc.

Remove tape from background.  Paint bottom with white acrylic.

I gave each child a 8.5'x11' piece of black card stock. We turned it the short way.  Place the now dry belly on the paper, lining it up at the bottom with the paper.  Trace around but leave a gap. You want the black body to be larger than the white belly.

On the sides draw 2 wings.
Cut out the pieces.

Glue the black paper body in place on the background, glue on wings.

We needed to use a glue gun on the belly. (adults only)

Add 2 googly eyes.  I gave each child a small square of yellow craft foam and they cut a triangle for a beak.  I gave them some fabric snowflakes that I get from true Dollar store to glue on the background.

Cut 2 ovals out of the painted paper for ear muffs.

Glue to the sides of the head.  Add 1/2 of a coloured pipe cleaner for the band.

Finally you can add a coat of lodge to seal everything down and give you a nice shiny finish.

That's it.

I wanted to show you our valentine butterflies that we completed in kindergarten.

We used the same lesson as the warm and cool butterflies but cut 2 hearts for the wings.  We also used our Valentine colours.

Have a Happy Valentine's Day everyone.


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Clay Spoon Monsters

I finished my month long residency on Friday. It was a large school with 500 students and I completed 2 projects with each class.

This was one of the Grade 2 projects, spoon monsters.

I know I could use a spoon monster by my stove!

Here is some more student work.

I only have a few photos as I'm still doing my glaze firing.


- clay, I used about 1 box per class (25 students)
- newspaper, I give each student 1/2 a page
- canvas placemats
- penny nails
- skewers
- little water cups
- glazes
- kiln


For clay we work on top of canvas placemats.  Each child gets a penny nail for cutting, a skewer for scoring and adding detail, and a small cup of water.

I start off by giving each child a lump of clay approximately the same size.

I get them to roll it between their hands or around the table to form a nice round shape. They are about the size of a large naval orange.

The grade 2 students push their thumbs into the ball of clay and form a nice pinch pot.  I talk to them about what a good thickness should be. (width of their thumb).

I will go and check each one to make sure it's going to work before we move on to the next step.

Take your 1/2 page of newspaper, crumple into a loose ball and stuff inside the pot.

The newspaper helps the pot keep it's shape.  I remove these before firing.  Current school policy is to remove combustibles.  In the past I have just let these burn off during the bisque fire.

Take pot and turn onto it's side.  Give it a few thumps on the table.  This will flatten the side so it can stand up on it's side.

I tell the kids if it wobbles try again.

It should look something like this.

Flat on the bottom.

I give each child a smaller lump of clay and we start to add the features to our monsters.  We attach clay by using our "scratch, scratch, water, water" chant.

We use our skewer to score/scratch our clay and then dip our finger into the cup of water and add this to our scratches. I then tell the kids that the scratches have to KISS.  An easy way to get them to remember despite all the 'eww gross' comments.

I also tell them that 'short and stubby' is our friend. We don't want features that are to thin or tall on our monsters.

Finally we scratch our names onto the bottom of the monsters.  I drape the clay with plastic to equalize for a day or 2 and then allow it dry out for 1 - 2 weeks.

I then bisque fire, we glaze, and I do the second fire.

I had 3 grades completing clay projects during this residency.

Here are some of the penguins from Grade 1.  My full tutorial is here.

and here are a sampling of the owls from Grade 4.  My owl tutorial can be found here.

Awesome work by all classes!

Well I have to go prep for the start of another residency on Monday.  I have lots more student work and  new tutorials to add in the coming week.