Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Popcorn Flowers

This is an annual art project by Mrs. B at my main school (no, it's not me).  But I thought I'd pass it on as it always turns out so nice and the kids have a great time.

Thanks Mrs. B for letting me post this one!


- large sheets of paper
- liquid tempera paint
- powdered tempera paint
- popped popcorn
- glue
- scissors

On your large sheet of paper trace around a plate or lid in the middle of the paper.

Paint in a stem and a few leaves.

Pour some liquid tempera onto a plate. Using one hand dip into the paint.

Stamp on the petals around the circle you traced.
You should be able to get 5 or 6 handprints on.
Let the painting dry.  Pop some popcorn.
Add about a tablespoon or so of dry tempera paint to the popcorn.

Put the lid on or hold a plate over top the container and give it a good shake.  At school we have 4 large ice cream tubs with lids that we use every year.
When the painting has dried fill traced circle with glue and add popcorn until filled.  Let the glue dry and then post on your bulletin board!
A popcorn garden. 
That's it.  See you next time.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Father's Day Clay Pots

Grade 6 sculpted their Father's Day pots.  Normally I wait until I have a completed sample to show you but with Father's Day approaching I thought I'd show you the process and add some pictures of the final results in a few weeks.  That way if you want to try this with your class you still have time.


- clay
- access to a kiln or use air dry clay
- nails for cutting with
- wooden skewers
- little cups of water
- piece of canvas like fabric to work on
- rolling pin
- newspaper
- glaze
- potting soil
- cat grass seeds, alfalfa seeds, etc. for hair


So the pot is made by slab construction.  You can do a pinch pot but I wanted the Grade 6's to have a nice smooth surface to mold their face on.

Roll out a clay slab about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut a long rectangle with a nail.

Roll into a cylinder overlapping the ends a bit.

With your finger and a little bit of water smooth the seam and ensure a tight seal.
Cut a bottom out of remaining rolled clay.  Trace around the outside of your cylinder.
Make a hole in the circle (bottom) for drainage in the finished pot.
To "glue" the cylinder to the bottom you want to scratch or score both pieces of clay where they will be attaching.  Add a little bit of water with your finger.
Smooth the seam with your finger and a little more water if needed.  Tap the pot on your work table lightly to ensure the bottom will be level.
Now we can start sculpting the face.  We want this to look like our Dad so the students brought in photos or had them on their cellphones to use as reference.   Start by molding the nose, attach a triangular shape to the pot and then round the tip and smooth the bridge of the nose.

Add the eyebrows.  Roll out a thin snake.
Cut to desired length and attach smoothing into bridge of the nose.  Make sure you scratch and moisten when "gluing" 2 pieces of clay together.
For the eyes you can form an outline using those thin snakes.
Apply to the face.
Cut little ovals out of some rolled clay for the eyeballs an attach inside the outline.

Using a skewer you can mark in the pupils.
Make a mouth in the same fashion with thin rolled snakes and apply to the face.
You can add scratches to the eyebrows as well as extra clay to form the cheekbones and chin.  Just make sure to tap the pot after making the chin to ensure that flat bottom.
Add ears.  You don't want them to stick out too far or else they will just break off.
Finally add a 1/2 piece of newspaper crumpled up and place in pot to help it hold it's shape while drying.  Remove the newspaper before firing.

Place pots in a warm place with lots of air circulation to dry out.  I cover mine loosely with garbage bags for about 2 days and then I remove the bags and let the pots finish drying.  This slows down the drying process (we are so dry here in Calgary) and stops cracking.
 That's it for now.  I'll fire these pots in about 10 days or so when they are no longer cool to the touch.  Stay tuned for part 2.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Little Poetry Figures

I have a thing for little boxes.....I save them until I have a class set and then we make something

- like valentines
- robots
- puppet boxes
- and many dioramas!

So for this project it started with this little puppet and we then expanded using the concept of having something in the little box that we then reveal.  Earlier in the year we made robots out of Dove soap boxes that had a message inside written by the robot.

This puppet uses a small treat box (Smarties) like the ones you give out at Halloween or in lunches.

Unfold the arms of this puppet and you reveal his dream.

Here are some other ideas using the same size box.......
A bird dreaming of her nest of eggs.........
and a robot dreaming about a vacation.
Materials Required:

- piece of paper and pencil
- a class set of little boxes, containers
- white paint or gesso
- scissors
- tacky glue
- acrylic paint
- odds and ends for embellishments
- hand written or typed text

On the piece of paper sketch out a plan for your figure and one sentence poem.  You need some sort of cover or flap to hide the opening in your box.  I had arms, a wing, and a door.

Take your little treat box and open up flat.  Cut out a little window in one of the large sides.  Paint over the outside with white paint or gesso.
Paint in a little scene for the inside of the box.  If working with young kids just paint in a background.  Add details by drawing/coloring them on plain paper and then cut and paste into place.
Glue box back together.  I use elastics to hold it together when drying. Paint outside of the box with acrylic craft paint. 
Find other pieces for your figure and paint if necessary.  For the robot I painted 4 cubes for the legs, I wound 2 pipe cleaners around a pencil for the arms, and I painted half of a cork for a head.  Look around at what you have on hand.  The kids will amaze you with their ideas.
Glue all your pieces in place.
For the bird I had a pompom head, feather tail and wire feet.
Finally add the text of your poem.
That's it.  You can make a whole collection and you'll never look at a little box the same again!
See you later.