Magazine article School Arts

Future Designers: Fun & Fantasy Furniture

Magazine article School Arts

Future Designers: Fun & Fantasy Furniture

Article excerpt

First grade students and recycled materials are a natural combination for inventive and creative problem solving. Knowing their creations can be played with gives students a special incentive and desire to produce inventive masterpieces.

In our art room, we have a storage area for recycled materials, such as paper tubes, plastic bottles and containers, and old fabric. When our collection began to exceed our space, we wondered how to use it in a creative project that would provide a meaningful experience. Inspired by the work of fanciful furniture designers, the idea of a tube chair emerged.

Form and Function

First, we had to make sure we had enough materials for eighty students. A memo went out to parents, and not long after, bundles arrived to supplement our supply. The effort produced enough tubes for tables and stools. Box cardboard, shirt cardboard and small decorative wood pieces were also collected.

Next, we discussed furniture design in a general way. I asked the students, "What is the function of a chair?", "What do furniture designers need to think about?", "How have different chair shapes evolved over the years?", "Is a chair like a piece of sculpture?". We also discussed ideas about how our paper tubes could be recycled into interesting designs.

Personality Pieces

After spending some time brainstorming, we devoted the remainder of the first art period to the construction of the chair. I distributed a precut 7[inches] (18 cm) cardboard square to each student, along with four toilet tissue tubes, two longer paper towel tubes and a fast-drying, water-based glue. In each corner of the square, a circle of glue was placed to accommodate the shorter tubes, which would become the legs for the chair. When all four tubes were in place, we allowed a brief time for drying. Students turned the base of the chair right side up and then added the two longer tubes to form the back of the chair. Using shirt cardboard, the students cut inventive shapes to glue onto the tubes to complete the back of the chair.

It was amazing to watch the chairs take on distinctive personalities. …

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