Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ice Cream Paper Mache' Sculptures

Time flies when your life completely flips upside old lap top died with the switch to windows 10 and I left an elementary position this past summer to move up to a middle school teaching position in the same school system. I have taught 6th - 8th grade students since August.
My view so far is that the kids are the same from kindergarten through 8th grade, only the heights change and the vocabulary expands a bit.

This week my students viewed the works of Claes Oldenburg. He was our inspiration for pizza sculptures and ice cream sculptures. 

My favorite image to refer to was this one:

I first did a google search for "Ice cream paper mache' " on the web and it gave me several great inspiration points to work from. From that I was able to play around at home with a few simple items that could create the right shape.  I used these same materials with my 8th grade students. (Although I did this with 8th grade, I could also see this as something 3rd - 5th graders could easily accomplish as well. Maybe even younger if your students are very capable and you have the storage space)

Step 1:  Materials

 I grabbed Sta-Flo liquid starch, newspaper, kitchen size paper cups, masking tape, and paper towels (I like the Sam's Store brand... they aren't too far off from Bounty).

Step 2:  I constructed spheres (or scoops as I referred to in class) from the newspaper by balling it. I then wrapped it with a few pieces of masking tape to hold shape. I informed students they could create as many scoops as they desired as long as it would balance. Students were also given "2" paper cups to give extra strength to what would be the cone. Scoops were taped to the paper cups. ****Don't forget to write your name on the bottom of the cup!!!

Step 3: Paper Mache'
From here, the paper towel is torn into small pieces. I recommend dipping your fingers into starch and wiping it onto the paper towel before wrapping around your armature. The paper towel is so absorbent that it will use a LOT of starch (more than you need) and the drying time will take MUCH longer. The first layer didn't stick as well as I would like, but continuous layers did come out very well.

Why did I use paper towel instead of news paper?  -- That helps me skip a step of using gesso. I don't have the finances for gesso either. A sturdy paper towel works great in a pinch for time and materials. The texture of the paper towel is rather awesome as well.

Step 4: Dry dry dry!  My students covered their armatures on a Tuesday, but many were still soaking wet on Wednesday so we left them to dry another day.  I think partially the problem was the rainy weather and the fact so many of them soaked those paper towels in the starch.

Step 5:  Paint.   I used craft acrylic paints from Hobby Lobby for this particular project. It dried fast and allowed for multi-color layering. However, I'm sure tempera would stick fine. On the day we waited for the sculptures to dry I asked students to sketch out a plan for their scoop flavors so that helped us on painting day. My students had 1 forty-five minute class to complete painting.

A few very detail oriented students did have a little bit to touch up the next day, so a few paint brushes were out at the tables for the completion day.

Step 6: Collage 
On our last day of this project I gave students a tray full of found object materials. Papers, foam, beads, yarn scraps, bits of wire, plastic, cotton, etc.  I love to recycle tid-bits of junk left over from other projects for these types of details. Students were assigned the task of creating toppings for their ice cream for a finishing touch. They could cut, bend, and manipulate materials in whatever manner they felt would best create their toppings.

We used glue-all for the adhesive of our materials. I don't think school glue would hold well over time with these sculptures. Right now I'm prepping these works for display in a local ice cream shop. So excited to share these with our community!

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