Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Owls in the style of Paul Klee

It seems every year I do a Fall owl project.

These owls are inspired by Paul Klee.

This one is on hardboard but you could use cardboard.

The wings are made out of corrugated cardboard and the beak is recycled foam.

You can also do a full paper version, this one is in the art journal.


- substrate, can be hardboard, masonite, cardboard, canvas or paper
- gesso for priming, optional
- acrylic or tempera paint
- corrugated cardboard
- recycled papers
- glue


If you wish you can prime your substrate with gesso.

Take a piece of recycled paper, this is a large book page, paint with the colour you want for the body.

I also painted a red one for the head.

I painted the corrugated cardboard in shades of brown.  This will be for the wings.

I cut a beak out of recycled foam and painted it yellow.

I painted the background (substrate) in shades of blue.

I try not to let paint go to waste. I'll paint pages in my art journal or plain paper to use in printmaking to use up any excess paint.

This is the orange body paper. I turned it over and sketched out my body shape. Cut it out.

Add dashes of colour to the body.

Cut out some wing shapes from the painted cardboard and add dashes.

To cut out the head I took the red painted paper and turned it over. I traced the head and shoulders of the body on to it.

I turned it upside down and cut a triangle out of the forehead.

I then painted on the dashes.

To make the eyes I cut 2 round circles out of white paper,  I used my circle punch.

I then cut one out of some leftover orange paper.  I cut it in half for the eyelids.

I cut 2 smaller circles out of black paper for the pupils.

Cut a branch out of black paper.

Glue down all the pieces.

Add some shading and details with black and white pencils.

These china markers work on everything.  I buy them by the box at Staples.

That's it.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Papier Mache Bear Heads

Keeping with our Bear and papier mache theme this week I put together this project.

Each head is about the size of an orange.  I mounted mine, a good way to combine this project with a writing assignment.

I think these would also be amazing as a Christmas tree ornament.  Put a eye hole screw in place by poking a hole in the top.  Polar bears with a red ribbon...awesome!

Let's get started.


- newspaper
- masking tape
- white glue and water mix (1 to 1), paper towel strips for mache
- cardboard egg carton
- recycled cereal or cracker box
- acrylic paint
- small brushes for details
- bear reference photos
- substrate if mounting, I used a piece of plywood but you could use hardboard (masonite), canvas, or cardboard
- glue


Take a half piece of newspaper and squish into a ball, about the size of your palm, and tape.

If you want to mount these on a substrate, choose one side and pound it a few times on your work surface to flatten.  When maching you will not need to cover this area.

Cut a section from your egg carton.  You don't need to trim as those jagged edges help you tape it to the newspaper ball.

Tape in place with masking tape.

The egg carton forms the muzzle of the bear.

Out of a cereal or cracker box cut 2 ears.  See how mine have tabs at the bottom, this makes it easier to tape.

Mix up your glue and water (1 to 1). Have your paper strips ready to go.  I always make extra and keep them in a plastic bag for future projects.

Start applying your strips, crisscross them so they hold each other in place.  You only need 1 coat.  Cover the ears and you can add a ball of strips to build up the nose.
Try to keep the shape of the ears, no excessive wrapping.  If you are mounting the heads you don't need to cover the back.

Leave the heads to dry.  About 1-2 days and give them a turn to dry all the sides.

I like to put mine on wax paper so they don't stick.

When dry give your heads a coat of paint.

Using small brushes paint the details.  Reference photos of bears are a great help.

You can paint your background if you are mounting them.  I spent a bit of time trying to figure this out.  I did not want to make it too busy and distracting.  The focus is the bears.

I opted for colours that would be found in each Bear's environment.

Glue the heads in place. I used the glue gun but you can also use tacky glue.

I wanted to add some text to the piece.  I printed out my titles and painted them with some watery acrylic.

I had thought I would put the names of the bears but it proved to be too busy.

Add a coat of sealer if you wish and a hanger at the back.

That's it.  My grizzly turned out too be way more friendly than I intended. :)


Monday, September 14, 2015

Papier Mache Bear Den

I developed this project last spring for a group of 1st Graders.

They were quite successful.


- a round balloon
- white glue, water, paper towel strips for mache
- acrylic or liquid tempera in white, black, green
- recycled cereal or cracker box, some corrugated cardboard
- kraft paper or painted paper scraps (brown)
- Tacky glue
- moss
- shredded paper
-fun fur or felt, optional
- googly eyes
- black paper or foam for nose


Blow up your balloon, a little smaller than your hand.

Gather your papier mache supplies.  I like to work on top of wax paper.

I use a 1 to 1 glue and water mix.

Cover your balloon with strips. You need about 2 layers.  I use brightly coloured balloons and when you can't see the colour anymore you know you're good.

Criss cross the strips, every once and a while put a dry strip on to soak up the excess glue.

It should look like this when you are done.  Notice I left the end of the balloon poking out, this makes it easier when it comes time for cutting.

You want to let these balloons dry out, 1-2 days.

The balloons like to roll so I make a ring out of foil to keep them stable.

Half way thru the drying time you want to turn them.

When the paper mache has dried pick one side, usually the weaker one, and gently smoosh the side in.

To cut the den opening start at the balloon end and cut out a circle.  Start small you can always cut it larger.

Time to paint.  Mix your white and black paint together to make grey. Paint the entire den and then with a sponge add plain white and black.  We are trying to make it look like rock.

We did not paint the inside.  If you want to, wait until the outside is dry otherwise your papier mache gets too soggy and may collapse.

Take your corrugated cardboard and cut an oval for your base.  You want it larger than the size of your bear den.

Paint with green paint.  If you use 2 shades of green you can add a lot of depth and texture to your grass making it look more realistic.

Cut a bear body out of your recycled cereal box.

You want it too be just a little smaller than the opening of your bear den.

Now you could paint it directly or if you have some scraps of brown painted paper glue this on.

We added some fuzziness to our bears.  You can use fun fur, fleece, or felt.

The head is a rounded triangle with ears.  At school we used kraft paper, here I used some speckled paper I had leftover from my Bear Collage project.
Colour the inner ear with pencil crayon.

Glue your pieces together.  Add 2 google eyes and a nose punched from black paper or foam.

When your den is dry, glue onto the base.

Glue some moss onto the base around the sides of the den.

I get my moss from a garden centre.

We need to add a little stuffing to our dens.  You can purchase it or do what I do.  I run cardstock and newspaper thru the shredder.  Crumple the strips a bit with your hands and it works great.

Stuff the den.

Time to add the bear.  Put some glue on the feet, fold them backwards and stick on the base in front of the den. You will need to hold them in place until they set-up.

That's it.

If you are studying Bears this is a great tie in.