Today we made our paper mache polar animals

Today we worked on our polar paper mache animals. I usually ask for parent help on this day, BUT I forgot to ask, so I was on my own....... but we did it! Hurray!

So..... Last week I posted pictures of 16 Arctic tundra animals on my Promethean. The children picked the animal that they would like to learn about and I attached their choice to a simple report that they did at home with their parents or older sibling. In the meantime, I took their choices and created a shape for them from newspaper and masking tape. I think of this project as a "Paint your own pottery" type of science/social studies lesson. This is a science lesson; not an art lesson. Unfortunately, there IS a ton of teacher prep with this project, but well worth it..... Besides creating the shapes, I cut non-bleeding tissue paper into small squares that are the colors of each polar animal. I insert them into a Zip lock bag with each student's name written on the outside.
The children tear plain, white paper towel into small pieces. Then they cover their entire shape with paper towel dipped into art paste. I tell them to make sure that they smooth their shape as they put it on as well as keep the paper towel very wet.
When their animal is completely covered with paper towel, they then use their tissue paper squares to cover their animal. I LOVE doing paper mache like this because you can get everything done in one setting! You do not have to wait for the shape to dry and then paint it. You put the color on with the tissue paper! The important thing to remember is that you do NOT dip the tissue paper into the art paste; rather you lay the tissue paper squares upon the paper towel and smooth with your wet hands. If you put the tissue paper into the art paste, it will most likely disintegrate. It is also very important to use non-bleeding tissue paper. We order our non-bleeding tissue paper from Dick Blick.

Here are some photos of a few of the almost finished pieces.
When they are dry, the children will attach details such as feathers, fur, and buttons for eyes with tacky glue.



I know this sounds like a complicated project and well, it is.... but we also make paper mache apples in the fall which are NOT complicated! All we do is roll newspaper into balls and cover completely with masking tape. We use the same procedure as above: 1. Cover your whole shape with plain, white paper towel squares. Dip each square into the art paste. 2. Cover the shape with non-bleeding colored tissue paper. Let dry and you have an apple!
Here is a picture of one of our fall apples created the same way as our polar animals. It really is worth the effort and the kids LOVE their finished project!

Tomorrow, we will have no special projects! It will be nice to get back into a schedule again....