Monday, December 13, 2010

Paper Pulp Ornaments

I don't know about you, but every year, my scrap paper box gets really full, too full in fact, and eventually I resort to throwing some away so that it doesn't overflow. Last year I came up with a great lesson that uses up lots of the scraps, keeping me from throwing it away. I had my kindergarteners create paper pulp ornaments.

We took the paper and separated it by color, and then ripped the paper into little pieces. Next, we soaked the paper in water overnight, and then ran it through a blender. Once it was pulped, we used cookie cutters as molds to create the ornaments. with the cookie cutters laying on a towel, the students piled the pulp into the middle, forming whatever patterns or designs they wanted. Next, we used sponges to press the pulp together and soak up as much water as we could. After poking a hole in the ornament, we put the still-wet pulp on the heater to dry overnight. You can add peppermint oil to to the pulp before the students use it if you would like. This helps in two ways. The first is obvious, it makes the ornament smell good, the second benefit of this is that it helps retard molding of the wet paper pulp if you need to store if for more than a few days.

I'm totally cheating!!!!

So, I have a confession to make... I love to create bulletin boards, but I hate cutting out letters for my boards, and refuse to spend money to buy punch out letters that I may use once. My school has an Ellison machine which punches out letters, but it is in another part of the building, and is sometimes a pain to get to, and we only have 2 font options to choose from, and they are each 4 inches big. Once in a while I can talk my friend Ted into cutting out letters for me, but not all of the time. So what did I do? I used some fundraiser money to buy a Cricut machine on clearance at Walmart. What is a Cricut machine? It is a handy machine that was created for scrapbooking.
With the purchase of a variety of cartridges you can cut out thousands of shapes and letters. Now the cartridges can be pretty expensive, but if you look for clearance sales or on ebay, you can get them pretty cheap.
I use the Cricut for bulletin boards and other signs that are needed around school. I can change the size of whatever I am cutting out from 1/4 of an inch to 5 1/2 inches. I have the smallest Cricut, but with the largest one, you can make pieces up to 23 1/2 inches. Here are some of the things I have created with the Cricut for the art show and bulletin board outside of my room. I used the snowflakes to make the border for the bulleting board.

Snow Day!

So we had a snow day here in Nashville. See? Snow.

So what did I do on this fabulous gift of a snow day? I spent it at school preparing for the first grade music program/art show that is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday). I know, I'm horrible, and should be flogged for wasting a snow day, but I didn't want to lose a whole day of work time. I had a lot of work to do for this art show. Anyways, my first graders created chalk pastel snowmen, using glue to outline the snowmen and chalk to color them in. I sprayed the chalk pictures with 3 coats of hairspray, but for some reason it was still coming off on my hands, so I resorted to the last thing I would ever recommend for a child's art project...lamination. I never, ever laminate children's artwork, as you can really mess up the art, and with the amount of artwork that I deal with, I would go through thousands of dollars worth of lamination. But since this was chalk, and I didn't want their artwork damaged, I relented and spent an hour laminating their snowmen, and another hour cutting them out. After that, I hung them up in the hallway. What do you think?

Now for the kicker... I spent all day getting ready for the art show and guess what happened? They canceled school again tomorrow (Tuesday) so the music program/art show is canceled until further notice. Serves me right for wasting a snow day!