Thursday, August 27, 2015

Art for Kids: African Masks

This project turned out amazing considering I was kind of winging it. In the past, I've had students choose between two or three mask shapes, trace, and cut. This time, we spent quite a bit of time looking at pictures of masks from all different tribes and identifying their shapes and features. 

I also made the masks a lot bigger than I have in the past, using a full page of large tagboard (18 x 24) for each mask.

This is a 2-3 day project.

Supplies: tacky glue, tagboard, pencils & erasers, tempera paint, scissors, hole-punch, and all or a few of the following: feathers, popsicle sticks, yarn, raffia, corn husks, string, whatever!

1. First, I had students sketch out their idea for the mask. My only two requirements at this point were: one, the mask was symmetrical in design, and two, it included geometric shapes.

2. One-on-one, I went around the room and helped each student sketch their chosen shape onto a large folded piece of tagboard. I left them to cut it out (but asked that they save the scraps). 

3. Next, students "broke up the space" on their masks by creating symmetrical designs and geometric patterns using a pencil and a ruler. (Important: no noses, eyes, or mouths should be added or drawn on yet).

4. Students painted in the shapes between their pencil lines. My only rule: No black!

5. While these dried, I had students sketch out noses, eyes, a mouth, and ears on the left over scraps (some will not have enough, and need extra tagboard).

6. After I checked each student's facial pieces (quite a few were too small and had to be re-drawn), they were allowed to paint them.

7. While the facial features dried, I had students get their masks back out and (using a small brush) paint over all their pencil lines with black paint.

8. Students also outlined their facial features with black paint.

9. Finally, they cut out their facial features and we glued it all together!

10. Lastly (once the masks were completely dry), we added: feathers, yarn, popsicle sticks, corn husks, or raffia. My rule: every mask needed at least two of these "extra elements."

Yarn was added by hole punching the bottom and tying the yarn or raffia through the holes. Some chose to braid their yarn strings.

Feathers, popsicle sticks, and corn husks were glued on the back using tacky glue. Some students chose to add horns as well.

This was one of my more popular projects this summer, and overall, students were exceptionally pleased with the finished product. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Art for Kids: Sailboat Collage Painting

One of my favorite things about this project is that half of it is completely open-ended. Students get to cover large pieces of paper with paint in any way they want: brushes, sponges, blot-art, rollers, etc. Once dry, the pieces are ripped up to form the waves or cut up to create a sun, moon, clouds, etc.

Here's how we did it:

1. Students spend part of one crazy day making their collage paper (as mentioned above). Supplies: tempera paint and whatever tools you would like them to use: brushes, rollers, sponges, etc. I asked that they create at least one page blending only WARM colors and one page blending COOL colors.

2. The following day, students drew their sailboats with pencil on small squares of colored paper (each a different size, as part of this project is to teach PERSPECTIVE). I used this how to draw:
They did the first one with me step-by-step and the next two on their own. Next, they colored them in with pastels (Sharpies would have been even easier as some details were lost in the transition) and cut them out. 

3.  Students used the side of a crayon or pastel to color in their sky, but I think paint or construction paper would look fine too.

4. Next, students ripped and pasted their COOL colors down to make waves, while leaving space to slide their boats into the waves. Biggest boat - closest to the front; smallest - furthest way.

5. They cut out suns, clouds, and anything else they wanted in their sky and glued them on. I put out black pastels for adding birds and any last minute details (again, Sharpies would have been easier).


If you can, use paper that is the exact same size for painting and ripping up as the piece you are going to glue down on. That way, students can rip the pieces from side to side (not up and down) and get an exact fit.

If you want a straight horizon line, students will need to use the straight side (top or bottom) of the paper after their first rip, and glue it down to the middle of the page. (They can also use the other end as their last piece for an exact fit on the bottom edge.) Difference shown below:


Objectives: Teaches perspective, warm & cool colors, collage techniques, and blending colors.

This is a fun one!