|Grades: 3-8 (Children as young as kindergarten can enjoy this with help
from an adult)
Time needed: 4-6 hours divided
Objectives: To introduce decorative possibilities of castoff elements to
create functional art.
- Scraps of wood panelling, wood bits, bottle caps, corks, beads, wire,plastic
- Hot glue gun, white glue
- Coping saw, jig saw (optional)
- Drill or dremel tool
- Various colours latex paint and brushes
This is a great project to celebrate a special occasion such as Mother's
or Father's Day. In this example, the children have portrayed their parents
as an anniversary gift.
The main body of the figure consists of 3 1/2" tongue in groove pine
paneling cut to about 2' lengths (free offcuts from a local woodworker).
The children are asked to make an outline of head and waist. Encourage
them to maintain the elongated character of the medium. An adult will
have to cut these out using a coping saw. OR you can eliminate any cutting
by simply gluing on a round piece to act as a face ignoring the angle
shape of the background.
The kids can cover this with "hair" made of yarn fringe, or curly kate
scrubber or buttons strung on wire and attached by drilling holes through
the wood). When they have their general body shape, they can now begin
to define body features and clothing using small bits of wood, old game
pieces, bottle caps, popsicle sticks, beads etc. (A great source for such
things is the dollar store where you will also find feathers, beads, plastic
bugs and frogs etc. Kids love this stuff!) These are glued with white
glue and where necessary clothes pegs or bulldog clamps can be used to
secure the pieces as the glue dries. Another valuable tool for sticking
odd shaped things or metal is a hot glue gun.
At the next session the class can begin painting. The best results are
achieved if the child first paints the entire figure in one colour. When
that dries, it acts as a background for any further painting or decoupage.
When decoration is complete, several cup hooks are screwed in the thickest
areas for the keys to hang on. A screw eye can be attached at the top
through the thickness of the wood for easy hanging. Blue tack at the bottom
underside helps it to hang vertically.
Encourage the child to begin with attaching arms and legs...either tongue
depressor or popsicle sticks are good as are threaded punched bottle caps
on a wire.
Remember things like threaded beads and taped together feathers are
easily "sewn" on after drilling a hole through the wood and has the added
fun of being articulated or dangly.
Suggest several layers of shapes to make a skirt for instance on top
of which is a belt and maybe a fringe of dangly beads along the bottom.
Corks or beads can be added to legs for feet.
Special features could be added to represent the recipient's vocation
or hobby. For example, one child added a fishing rod with fish on the
end for his angling dad.
Contributed by Pamela Allen, (B.F.A. Queens University)