My goal for this blog is to help Starmount students discover their creativity, and to help them to be successful in projects they need to complete outside of school. Since I can’t go home with everyone, this is the next best thing. If you’re having problems with a project, feel free to drop me an email. Just know that if it’s a weekend, I may not respond to you right away! No promises, but it's worth a try!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NCAEA Presentations

Had a blast at the NC art educators conference this past weekend! I learned some things, caught up with old friends, made some new friends, led a workshop AND a presentation- good times. My presentation was on how to make recycled bottle flowers- here's my powerpoint for that one. Friday, Penny and I presented on our Art of Collaboration grant from last year- here's the powerpoint for that one. Thanks to everyone who joined us for the fun at both events!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Papier Mache Madness!!!

 Papier-mache Madness!!!
This method is ideal for many 3D models, because it uses lots of things you probably have already. It can be messy, so you will need to do some things to set up ahead of time and clean up after. It is a really flexible way to construct a wide variety of models, which is why I love it. The possibilities go far beyond your grade school balloon-and-newspaper piƱata.

Time estimate: 2-3 hours (maybe longer, depending on how big your project is)- divided into separate sessions to allow for drying

                  - newspaper
- white paper/ gray sketch paper
- colored paper or paint and brushes
- masking tape
- cereal/cracker boxes or other thin cardboard
- something to write with
- scissors
- plastic bags
- plastic bowl (or plastic ice cream container)
- a plastic table cloth (to protect your work area)

A. Construct your armature, whether it’s sculpted out of taped plastic bags, taped newspaper (for free-form shapes) or cardboard boxes. Watch my videos to see the steps for how to make a cardboard armature! It really depends on what you’re trying to make as to which technique will work best.

Material/ method
Where are the instructions?
Free form/ curving
Plastic bags or newspaper
Link to art blog
Flat forms (cube, pyramid, etc)
Cardboard armature
Video (link to Youtube)
Cylinder form
Newspaper on a bottle
Link to art blog

Or click the links to see other techniques I found on a couple of marvelous art blogs…

B. Pick a recipe and mix your paste.
2 Papier-Mache Recipes: There are numerous ways to make papier-mache paste. I’m only going to explain two that I’ve had success with. I once tried a flour and water recipe as a child, which ended up a disaster- this was in the days before the internet, so I didn’t know there was a third ingredient- something to kill the fungus that was likely to develop in the paste! Floods of tears later, I ended up having to throw away my papier-mache bear which ended up looking more like a science experiment, covered in blue and green mold. Boo! No flour and water recipe for you- learn from my mistakes!
#1- Glue+Water recipe
How long does it take to make? 5-10 minutes at most
Advantages: You can mix small amounts and not have tons leftover. You might already have what you need to make it. It doesn’t have to set up before you use it.
Disadvantages: It’s more expensive, and if you’re mixing and remixing as you run out, it can get annoying quick! I much prefer method two…
- glue
- water
- bowl
- spoon/ popsicle stick/ your hands- something to mix with

Directions: Mix about 1:1- 1 part water to 1 part glue. (So if you have ½ a cup water, match it with ½ a cup of glue. And clean out your measuring cup real good before you use it to cook with!) You’re just trying to make a slightly thinned out version of glue- it should be thicker than water or milk, but thinner than

#2- Elmer’s Art Paste recipe- sold in a little blue and orange box, as a powder. Can be found at AC Moore, Michael’s or online at! 

How long does it take to make? Start this a day or two ahead of time, if you can. Mix up the paste, allow it to set, and you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy and fun it is to use.
Advantages: Can’t recommend this product highly enough! LOVE it! It’s all I use in class. It lasts forever once you mix it up, never spoils, and feels gloppy and wonderful on your hands. Also, it looks like boogers. No smell, easy to clean up, inexpensive. If you can plan ahead and get some of this, DO!
Product Details
Disadvantages: You have to plan ahead to get the right product and let it set overnight to become the right texture.
- Elmer’s “art paste”
- gallon milk jug, rinsed out
- lid to fit the jug
- water
- funnel (can be made by rolling paper into a cone, if needed)
- bowl to put paste in, eventually

Here’s my trick for mixing…
  1. Shake all of the powdered art paste to one end of the bag. Now, snip one corner off of the bag of art paste- just a small hole.
  2. Pour powder into milk jug- use a funnel, if you’re a slob like me!
  3. Fill jug about 2/3 full with water
  4. Put the lid on the jug- make sure it’s real secure! You might also like to do this next step outside, just to be safe.
  5. Shake the jug vigorously for about 3 minutes
  6. Set aside, go do something else for 10 minutes
  7. Shake the jug again for 2 more minutes
  8. If possible, allow it to set overnight. Otherwise, the paste will come out a little watery. It still works fine, but it doesn’t have the nice jello-type texture I love about this product.
  9. Pour into a bowl a little at a time and use up before pouring more.

C. Now, once you’ve finished your armature, and have the paste mixed…

  1. Cover your table in a plastic table cloth (like the kind available at the Dollar Store- these are reusable, if you’re careful, and prevent your project from sticking to them if you let them dry on them overnight!)
  2. Tear newspaper into long skinny strips, about 2 inches wide and 6 inches long it great. Smaller for more details, larger for bigger areas without curves.
  3. Dip your strip into the paste and squeegee off the excess. It should be transparent and feel like a wet noodle, but not drippy.
  4. Smooth onto your armature.
  5. Continue until the entire model is covered.
  6. 2-3 layers is best. I usually start all my strips headed in one direction, and then do the next layer crossing over it so I can see what’s been covered already.
  7. I usually use a plain-paper layer as the final layer- then you don’t have to cover over newsprint!
  8. Paint as desired, or papier mache over the final layer with colored paper. You can also draw on top of this with sharpie, spray paint it, whatever! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Paper Sandwich!

Paper Sandwich
3D Modeling technique- best for models of bones, or other single- item models (not so good for a whole skeleton, unless you're real creative!) This one uses lots of things you probably have at home, or can get for cheap. It's also very flexible, because there are lots of "ORs" in the directions! Pick your favorite materials (personally, I like coloring more than painting- less mess to clean up!) but it's up to you. 
Time estimate: about 1 hour (the time will fly once you get started, trust me!)

                 - paper (could be newspaper, printer paper, grocery bags, or even

                ---> stapler  and staples OR
 ---> glue (elmers, hot glue, or tacky glue) and clothespins 

 - something for stuffing- old plastic bags, newspaper, other soft recyclable
 - scissors

 ---> things to draw with- markers/ colored pencil OR
 ---> paint and paint brushes  


 1. DRAW your shape on one paper- make sure it’s bigger than you think it needs to be. Exaggerate! 

  2. STACK- Put another piece of paper under the first


 3. CUT- Holding the two pieces of paper together, cut out the shape (this will give you two that match) OR Cut out one, then trace it onto the second sheet of paper and cut out

4. COLOR in/ paint one or both of the images- make sure they still match up before you draw on them! 

5. STICK them together- either by gluing in between and then clipping, or stapling around the edges. Leave a 3-4 inch hole to insert stuffing into. 

<----- (staples around the edge)  

 6. STUFF with whatever your stuffing material is.

<---(plastic bag sticking out)

7. CLOSE the hole with staples or glue and clips

WARNING: Be very careful with hot glue! It’s called HOT for a reason! (They’re not kidding! It HURTS! Take it from one who hot glues herself on a regular basis :)  

P.S. Wow Mrs. Raines- great job showing us how to do this project. I really like how you labeled the models, and then couldn't flip the pictures right side up! <Sigh> Maybe someday, I'll learn how to fix this. Let this be a lesson in "Even teachers make mistakes, and sometimes don't know how to fix them" :)


Many projects can be made using things that you have at home, or can get at school. You’re welcome to come and “shop” in Mrs. Raines’ room anytime- I have many recyclables and some things purchased on sale that I’m willing to share. Bring your Starbucks! (Or at least ask nicely!  If you’re asking for a favor, for heaven’s sake- say PLEASE and THANK YOU!!!)

Some things can start saving now (for Mrs. Raines, or for yourself)
* cereal/ cracker boxes
* plastic bags
* plastic bottle caps
* paper bags
* newspapers.
* yogurt cups- great for holding paint/ glue