Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Making of a Dragon

The Making of a Dragon

This is one of my all time favorite art projects ever.  This summer we found that we had a lot of cracked, sun baked plastic beach buckets of every shape and size. Instead of tossing them into the recycling bin...we repurposed them with style.  We took the largest and screwed the bottom of it to a board that we could mount to the wall later on.  Then we took a medium sized plain beach bucket and turned it upside down and shoved it into the first bucket rim to rim at a slight angle.  Then for the dragon's snout we duct taped a pointed castle form to the bottom end of the last bucket.  This gave us our basic dragon head shape.  Then we took some thick styrofoam packing  we had been saving and  cut and tore out  chuncks for the cheeks, eyelids, nostril bumps and head crest and used clear packing tape to attach them.  You could also use store bought styrofoam balls cut in half for the cheeks and into thirds or quarters for the eyelids.  Get creative and ball up some newspaper to help shape up your own dragon  or dinosaur head and tape it into place.
Here is a good side view of how the buckets fit together.
Once we had our basic form built, we covered the wooden wall mounting board with plastic so our paper mache wouldn't get all over it.  We tore our newspapers up..(don't use the shiny ad pages) into long strips.  We mixed up a simple paper mache paste out of elmers glue and water about half and half.  I usually use and even simpler paste but we wanted this to be really strong.  You can also use a homemade paste of just flour and water and it will work well.  Try one cup of flour to one and a half cups of water for a super easy  nontoxic and edible paste that is easily water washable. 

Once we had our basic form finished it was time to get sticky with the paper mache.

We needed several layers of the paper mache to make it sturdy enough to paint on so we recruited some of the neighborhood kids to help with the project.  Paper mache is either something you love or it feels totally gross...I'm not sure all the kids liked the ick factor here, but they stuck in there and got the job done.

Alexis and Donovan braving the goop and helping paper mache the dragons head.

Here is our finished dragon hanging in the classroom.

Cammy did a great job painting the dragon with acrylic paints all by herself.

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