Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recycling the Old and Dry into Liquid Gold

I started looking at other art teachers' blogs about a year ago to help me get more project ideas and other nifty suggestions. One thing that I have run across most recently is a way to 'make paint' using old markers. Initially I thought it was a crock. However, its the end of the year and I'm sorting through materials to toss so I decided to put this theory to the test. Can one really make liquid watercolor paint out of old crusty dried out markers?

I did the following to find out: 
1. Rubber-banded 5 or 6 dried out water-based markers of a similar color together (I used Crayola and liqui-mark brands). I removed their marker tops and I'm saving those little goodies for another occasion.

2. Then I poured water into glass baby food jars below the screw top area.

3. Put the color tips of the markers into the water and just let it be.  If you look closely at the green jar you can just see the color gliding out of the markers and sinking to the bottom. It was fun to watch and I showed several of my students whose classes attended that day.
The longer it sits the better. I had a few jars that sat all school day (8 hours) and another set that sat all night long. Both turned out well. 2 to 4 hours isn't near enough time.

4. I removed the markers and sent them to live on a farm with other retired markers (aka: gave them a good heave-ho into the trash). I tested these on paper and found that they work quite well considering how it was made. In fact, I've already stained my hands a multitude of colors just testing out all my paints.

I'm quite excited to find a really green and cheap way to make liquid watercolors. They usually run atleast $40 for a set of 8 bottles. I already have 10 jars complete in my cabinet with intentions for more. I wish I had known about this sooner... all the markers I've wasted over the years. All the potential paint.

In summation, I answer the question above with a victorious Yes! you can make watercolor paint with old markers. And I'm all the happier for it!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lysol Like a Rock Star

In one of my classrooms the student tables have a white surface. Yes, a 'white' surface. Doesn't  that seem practical in an art room?  I don't know why, nor who thought it was a good idea. Keeping them clean is near impossible. Shaving cream is a good standard cleaner, but that can become a bit burdensome to use so regularly. I found a cleaner that is awesome!
This little beauty will take off nearly anything my kids throw/draw/dribble onto the table tops. This is a Lysol brand "Complete Clean" product. I'm not sure what's so special about it, but I'm pretty sure a little pixie dust is in the list of components.

I bought this in August and I'm still using it. I <3 you Lysol :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Adobe Pueblos!! A total fav!!

I have discovered a website that has become a real treasure in my classroom.
And this awesome lesson came from this site.
1. 12 x 18" construction paper (I used old ugly color paper)
2. Pencils and erasers
3. Chalk pastels in a variety of colors
4. Black oil pastels.

This is the first time I have used chalk pastels with my students (Whoa! Really???) and I was really hesitant for the sake of a dusty mess. I found this lesson is well worth it.

I started off introducing my students to the country of Mexico. We looked at a powerpoint I whipped up about the country in relation to the U.S. -- We discussed differences in climate and why northern Mexico's desert makes for an excellent place to build adobe houses.

Then we began drawing. First we folded the construction paper in half hamburger-style. We drew on one side and the other became a 'cover' to protect the drawing.
Students drew with pencil to create an Adobe building composition. Started at the bottom of our paper and worked our way up to the top ended with a hillside and a rising/setting sun. This is a good stopping point.

Next class students began coloring the pencil drawing with chalk pastels. Students smudged with fingers help that chalk press into the paper. The students weren't crazy about the art work being all smeary though. I told them to "go with it" and that we could clean it up in the end.

When compositions were complete, we outlined EVERYTHING with a black oil pastel. It gave all parts a really nice clean edge and students were much more content with their drawings.

I hung a ton of these up this year. So proud.


New Direction

I think my blog has lacked appeal to me as of late. Its just a bunch of moaning and complaining.
I've decided to head in a new direction and turn this into a blog I can be enthused about. I'm going to start blogging about art work. My own, my students, and personal experiences I've had in the evolution of my lessons.
I have encountered several other art teacher's blogs on the web and they are packed full of super ideas. I hope that blogging will help me organize my thoughts and perhaps be of assistance to anyone else who made need a shot of inspiration every now and then.
And it goes. :)