Friday, February 11, 2011
Pigs in progress - ready to fly!
My 5th graders are making flying pigs w/papier-mache. For those of you nervous about papier-mache, I'll admit I may do things a little differently, which makes it VERY EASY.
As I've told you before, the bodies are plastic bread bags stuffed with crumpled newspaper. This way, the papier-mache dries a LOT faster than when using an armature of wadded up newspaper, so it makes storage easier.
The kids learned how to cut the end of toilet paper rolls to make tabs to attach, and how to slit the cardboard ears (made from pieces of cereal boxes) to make them curve. The legs and snout were stuffed and taped over, and the whole project got a coat of papier-mache.
When dry, I hot glued a twist of wire for a hook on the top of each pig. (They need to fly, so I wanted it to be easy to hang them!) I passed out pictures of all sorts of wings: angel wings, butterfly wings, bat wings, etc. The kids cut their own wing patterns out of paper and then made the wings from cereal boxes, whatever size they desired. They had the option to reinforce the wings with wire for a curved shape.
Currently the kids are doing another coat or two of papier-mache. Next we will add a coat of gesso for strength, paint with acrylics, and glue add-ons such as foam or felt shapes, feathers, wiggle-eyes, sunglasses, halos, tutus, etc, depending on the personality of the pig.
A few words about my papier-mache process:
We use "Art Paste" which is a powder that comes in a box and mixes to make 4 quarts of goo. The kids call it "dog drool". Is it the strongest papier-mache out there? No. But it has wonderful advantages over wallpaper paste, wheat paste, flour and water, or even watered white glue. First of all, it can be mixed and stored FOREVER without spoiling, unlike wallpaper paste, wheat paste, or flour paste. Second of all, it is totally washable, and finally, instead of drying itchy on your skin, it makes your hands feel SOFT. And you don't need to worry about wheat allergies.
Here's the biggest difference in my process from what many of you do, and the biggest mess-saver. We do NOT dip our strips of newspaper into the goo, and do the typical "scissor off" of excess goo with our fingers. Kids tend to leave too much goo on when dipping the strips, and you end up with oozy, gooey mess that takes a long time to dry, and drips all over the place. What we do is scoop some goo on our fingers and rub it on our palms. Then we touch a finger to a strip to pick it up, and rub it between our palms to saturate the strip. Once some strips are placed on the armature, the kids are encouraged to put a little extra goo on their palms and give their projects a "massage" to smooth down any loose corners.
I know many of you papier-mache over balloons. I haven't done this in years, since the time we made hot air balloons (there's a big balloon festival here every September). Did you know that temperature changes may make balloons pop? I was in my classroom late one afternoon, and suddenly it sounded like gunfire as balloons started popping one after another! I had to run around blowing up fresh balloons into about 20 drooping globs of wet newspaper. What a mess!! Never again.
It looks like the kids are being guarded by an ill-tempered dragon! Poor wingless Lucy....
By the way - I must be a little crazy, as this is my 3rd post of the night. I've got a cold, and sitting on the couch with my laptop is my therapy tonight. Anyhow, don't forget to scroll down and see what else I posted earlier this evening.