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Recycled Art Materials

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

Foil Turtle and Fish Collage

By on Apr 8, 2016 | 25 comments

This lesson was inspired by a lesson in The Usborne Book of Art Projects. It was a huge hit with my third grade class. The lesson in the book focused on fish but I thought a sea turtle would look lovely swimming in the glittery waters. Here’s How: Creating the Background There are a couple of ways to make the water background for the sea turtle and fish. One method is to use liquid or tray watercolors and table salt to make a traditional speckled background as shown above or you could use Mod-Podge and glitter liquid watercolor paints. To make a watercolor and salt background,  use 6″ x 9″ pieces of 90 lb watercolor paper and regular watercolor paints.  Wet the paper with a sponge or large brush, then mix blue and green watercolors onto the wet watercolor paper (wet-on-wet technique). Salting the surface will give the “ocean” a sparkly quality. I had some of the Mod-Podge glittery paints left over from the Fancy Fish Lesson, so I though I may as well use it up before it hardened and became unusable. The students brushed the leftover “glittery paint” onto a piece of blue or lavender drawing paper. The results were shimmery and ocean perfect. To make the glitter paint, combine a few table spoons of glitter liquid watercolors with about a ¼ cup of gloss Mod-Podge. Stir and use like regular paint. Drawing the Sea Turtle and Fish CLICK TO DOWNLOAD How to Draw a Sea Turtle Set the ocean paper aside and demonstrate how to draw some fish and sea turtles.  The idea is to keep the drawing very simple because the drawing will be created on tin foil. It may be helpful to do a practice drawing on a piece of paper cut to the same size of the tin foil. Use the drawing guide or show pictures of sea turtles and fish and allow the children to identify the basic shapes and colors from photographs. Coloring and Texture You’ll need some heavy weight tin foil (regular tin foil is fine), and some texture boards.  To make a texture board, cut heavy board (tag board, etc) into 9″ x 6″ rectangles.  Cut up old mesh vegetable bags and tape to cardboard. I made about 25 and had a...

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Watercolor & Paper Bouquets

Watercolor & Paper Bouquets

By on Jan 30, 2014 | 8 comments

Here is a simple art lesson that combines a watercolor and oil pastel resist with creating shapes with paper and scissors. We created these bouquets in January so colors veered towards that lovely February holiday. The students used regular sulphite paper instead of watercolor paper since there was very little blending or advanced watercolor skills involved in the project, so using my limited stash of watercolor paper wasn’t necessary. What you do need is watercolor paint. For fast application, you can’t beat liquid watercolors. I showed a few vase sample son the white board so the kids drew a vase first with oil pastel. Then they added a table line and finally a few stems for the flowers that would be added in the next step. When you are applying watercolor to sulphite paper, you will notice that the paint will soak into the paper. To avoid using too much paint, tell the children what will happen so they understand not to keep applying paint over paint. It will dry lighter but it will look nice. I bought some printed scrapbook paper at a craft store and felt that this was a good opportunity to use it. I don’t like making pre-printed materials the star of any art project, but the truth is, the kids loved being able to select their colors. I asked the kids to make 2-3 centers first, glue the middle of the centers to the paper and then start adding petals. As the children worked, I sat with each table and encouraged a variety of shaped petals. Oil pastels were set on the table so that children could add details. This lesson requires about three, 45-minute art sessions.  Fifth Grade...

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Shape Robot Art Project

Shape Robot Art Project

By on Aug 19, 2013 | 6 comments

An excellent back-to-school project for Kinders, these Shape Robots offer a look into how well a child can cut and paste, identify shapes and apply a little whimsy to their artwork. What You’ll Need… Colored Paper Scraps cut into 4″ x 6″ pieces 12″ x 18″ black sulphite (or any other color) background paper White school glue Black markers Colored beads, buttons or recycled materials Vocabulary… Triangle Square Circle Trapezoid Rectangle Starting with a tray of colored paper, children create a head, body and appendages for their robot. Using plastic tubs in various sizes helps little hands master a circle by tracing and cutting. You can eliminate the plastic cups if you are doing this project with older children. Starting with the head, children decide on a shape and create one. Add a body next and then the arms and legs. I ask the children to leave a space between the head and body in case they want to add a neck. Using a black marker, the children can add details and definition to their robots. This is a good opportunity to talk about line and patterns. When its time to add the details, instruct the children to drop the glue onto the robot instead of trying to place a drop of glue onto a tiny bead. Much easier for little fingers! Kinder Shape Robots…...

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Cardboard Fish and Owl Art Project

Cardboard Fish and Owl Art Project

By on Oct 19, 2011 | 11 comments

If you have some extra corrugated cardboard and a few bored kids, try creating these abstract fish and owls. I won’t lie. It took a while to cut out 65 fish and owl shapes plus the notches and mouth openings, but my Kinder students loved creating this cute project. Very hands-on, creative and fun. Kinder Fish and Owls!...

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Art Projects Inspired by Earth Day

Art Projects Inspired by Earth Day

By on Apr 21, 2011 | 6 comments

I’ve been known to dig through the lunch bins rescuing styrofoam trays for printing projects. I save newspapers for delicate ceramic projects and concentrated juice can tops for robot heads. Is it enough? No way. Sometimes I start to collect things then abandon the idea when I can’t come up with an art project or the pile threatens my limited storage. Then back to the bin they go. Depressing. But every once in a while, I adapt or create an art lesson that uses up my collections of recyclables. Here are some of my favorites Projects using recycled materials… Recycled Robots This lesson came to me via Painted Paper. Laura’s colorful little darlings inspired me to start collecting tag board from the teachers workroom. After I got enough to crop at least 60 rectangles, we embarked on our project. I added concentrated juice can tops, sode can tabs, plastic fruit baskets and old buttons and yes, I actually snip them off all my old clothes!   Using similar recycled materials, I created Rocket & Space Collage. I saw this idea behind a glass case at the Aerospace Museum at The Los Angeles Science Center. I snapped a picture and began collecting tag board scraps. You’ll need something heavy like tagboard but you could also cut up corrugated cardboard boxes or cereal boxes. It’s a dynamic piece that not only uses up old scraps but covers many art concepts. A real keeper! “Katrina” Dolls require some collecting. Egg cartons, newspapers, old lunch bags, paper plates or recycled card stock, cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls. The results are worth it!    Foil Fish This is a bit of a half and half project. You’ll need new tin foil but it’s a fantastic use for old fruit and vegetable net bags. I collected dozens and made my own texture boards. My students created fish and sea turtles but you could change up the subject to include almost anything. The original idea came from a Usborne Art Book.  City at Night is a one of my favorite art lessons. The project was created by Gail at That Artist Woman. I did this lesson with my sixth grade students and...

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Make your own Snowglobe

Make your own Snowglobe

By on Dec 10, 2010 | 20 comments

I’m not usually a fan of crafts but this little number had me at the first shake. For my daughter’s annual Winterfest, we set up a table and allowed children to make their own snowglobes. I bought some jars online to get just the right ones. If you have mason jars at home, they’re fine, but the patterns on the bottle make it hard to see the insides. Large baby food bottles are the best, but there hasn’t been a baby in this house for ten years. So…I ordered the jars at 50 cents a pop. You’ll need some little figurines or decorations to put inside the globe. I dug through a bunch of bins to find bags of discarded christmas ornaments at my local thrift store. Our thrift store business in Santa Barbara is booming so I found great stuff. I tried to take as many photos as I could, but some of the best pictures are of my daughter making her snowglobe after the tornado of kids had passed through. Definite thumbs-up for this project! Here are the basic instructions for making a snowglobe: Scratch inside of jar lid with sandpaper. This makes the clay and glue stick better. To make sure your figurines stick to the lid really well, I hot glue the clay onto the lid. Most clay will stick well on it’s own, but a little glue doesn’t hurt. Select items to place on top of clay. I like to hot-glue the items to the clay and press down so it sticks well. Fill up jar with distilled water leaving about 1/8″ at the top (you might have to experiment here). Add a few drops (about 1/2 tsp) of glycerine (found in any drugstore near the first aid supplies. About $3 a jar) and 1/2 tsp of glitter. Screw lid to jar and glue the edges shut. This provides a good waterproof seal.Decorate the outside with stickers, ribbons, markers, etc. Shake and...

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