Magazine article Arts & Activities

Working with Paper-Made Projects

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Working with Paper-Made Projects

Article excerpt

Paper is a staple material used by art educators of all age levels, and with it comes a multitude of ideas for projects, planning and exploration. Depending on the grade levels you teach, there are plenty of ways to use your imagination when creating paper-based projects and collage.

When purchasing paper for your class projects, you have many size options, the most common being 9" x 12" or 12" x 18". Many art teachers trim down their paper for project sizes or templates, which creates extra paper trimmings. These trimmings are the best to use for collage paper projects. When I was teaching from a cart, I saved box lids from the copy machine paper and created bins for each color of scrap paper. In using this method, I was able to use every last bit of paper down to the last scrap.

1 PAPER STORAGE: If you save multiple colors of paper for projects, brainstorm a way to store them. You can create boxes for each color (or color combinations), stacked shelves, or bins. When I traveled, I created a separate cart to hold all the different colored scrap boxes. Now that I'm in a classroom, I used book holders for my paper scraps that fit nicely into a shelf.

2 COLLAGE: Project ideas are infinite, and in knowing your students, you can develop a project that sparks their interests while teaching important concepts. One type of paper project is a collage. A collage is an artwork made by attaching various materials, such as photographs, paper or fabric onto a backing. You can create a collage in a landscape, still life, portrait, abstract art, or various images unified together.

One of the concepts I love to teach with collage projects is perspective, enhancing foreground, middle ground, and background details. One example I teach is a pumpkin patch with third grade. In using colored paper and scraps, students learn how to place background details first before adding the middle ground and foreground details.

3 PAINTED PAPER: Another way to encourage creativity with collage projects is by making painted paper. One method is using gel printing plates, where students can create monoprints of texture and pattern on paper to use for collage projects. Gel plates create a monoprint by rolling paint (either tempera or acrylic) onto the plate and removing paint to create an image prior to placing paper on top for the print. Once you pull the paper off the plate, you have a print you can use for collage projects! You can also use other methods to paint paper, such as marbling, or stamping.

4 MOSAICS: You can create a project that encourages pattern, repetition and patience by making a paper mosaic. A mosaic is a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small colored pieces, which could be stone, tile, glass or, in this case, paper! …

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