Tuesday, November 15, 2011

51) Sculpture Letters

 The Bee is becoming more and more interested in letters, particularly what she calls "your letter" meaning the first letter of your name. She likes to ask people what their letters are and loves when they have the same letter as someone she knows! So to encourage the letter interest I thought it would be fun to make "your letter" sculptures for the Bee and Bean. I have made these before with 3-5th grade students and originally saw this project in the Dick Blick catalog a few years ago. The also have the project on their website with a helpful video. This is another one of those projects I love because most of the material I already had on hand. I started by taking an empty cereal box and opening it into a flat piece of cardboard. Then on the front of the box drew the letter I wanted, in this case an N. Next I cut out the N and traced it onto the back of the box. I then had two identical cardboard N's. To make the sculpture 3-dimensional I used small plastic dixie cups I had leftover from a party, you could also use plastic condiment cups. I layed the cups out on the N, alternating direction (up and down) to add some strength and stability. Once I had layed them out I glued them down with Elmers glue, and then glued other N on top to create a sandwich. Once the glue had dried, I was ready to wrap the sculpture. To wrap the sculpture I used brown paper packing tape, this is pretty inexpensive and can be found in most office supply stores or even sometimes at the post office. One roll goes a long way, so you probably don't need more then that. To use the tape you tear or cut off pieces and then dip a sponge in water, ringing it out to get the sponge damp. Then run the damp sponge along the sticky side of the tape to activate the glue. Wrap the tape around the form, being sure not to pull to tight, and smooth down with your fingers. The corners and edges can be a little tricky to wrap but if you think of it like wraping a present and fold down or cut off edges were needed it is pretty easy. Also know that you are probably going to put another layer on top so any bumps or lumps won't be as noticable. You want to wrap the entire letter, with 1-2 coats of brown paper tape and let dry.  Once the letter is dry the real fun begins, you could decorate the letter however you want, and there are so many possibilites. I wanted to make sure that I chose a decoration technique that the Bee could do, so I got out some green tissue paper, which she and I tour up into little pieces. For her this could have been all we did and she would have been happy. I then poured a little Elmers glue into a bowl and mixed it with a little water, just enough to make it spreadable with a paint brush. I showed the Bee how to paint the glue onto the surface, then put a piece of paper down and paint over top with the glue again. She picked this up very quickly and was off. The beauty was that she couldn't mess up. The more wrinkles and layers the better it looked. She worked for a long time and when she lost interest I finished the hard parts like the corners. After letting the glue dry I added a quick coat of Modge Podge just to keep it all together and give it a little sheen. The finished letters are going on display in the girls rooms.

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