See those right there? See 'em? What do they look like to you? Popcorn? White cheese puffs?
Well they are all natural. They are made of cornstarch, but I wouldn't put one near my mouth. These splendid little objects are the new bio-degradable packing p-nuts found in all sorts of packages. I have been collecting them for about two years and finally reached a large enough quantity that we are ready to do some sculpture. (Teachers have donated the majority from many science packages shipped to the school)
I start off students with a paper base. We use a circle, however you can likely use any shape you want.
I used this specific size because I didn't want them to work too small.
Cut them out and don't forget to write your name on the back!
Now how do you make sculptures? We moisten each p-nut on a damp sponge. The material melts a wee bit and becomes sticky.
Then press the sticky end onto the base. Repeat this process and begin to stack p-nuts on top of each other. They can be stacked horizontally, vertically, and even diagonally.
I let students use about 20 of these p-nuts and build however they would like to. Some sculptures are tall, short, round, curly, etc. Each one is unique. I also have them choose their 20 before I show them how to stick them together so they don't later lose count.
After their construction, I encourage them to use vibrant color markers to eliminate as much white as possible.
I've seen materials like this in catalogs, but they can cost A LOT. I was able to get all these free by simply asking people to keep an eye out for those particular packing materials.
I love these because you can make all sorts of connections: recycling, architecture, abstraction, etc. So many options. Clean up is minimal, assembly is easy for any age level, and if someone tries to toss one it isn't going very far.
This project takes about 1 forty minute class and can be loads of fun for that rather wild end of the year.