BUGS ON A BUDGET
PAPIER MACHE FUN FOR STUDENTS
We made bargain bugs, and you can, too: inexpensive insect-sculptures using papier-mâché. Did I mention this was done with high-schoolers? I know, I know, often papier- mâché is reserved for the lower grades. But even older students really get into it, creating not only incredible insects but also cool crustaceans, super spiders, and more.
- Reference books on insects
- Newspapers and string
- Masking tape
- Wire and pliers or wirecutters
- Wallpaper paste and containers
- Brown paper
- Acrylic paint (or tempera)
- Paint brushes
- Buttons, toothpicks, and other extras
- Glue gun and glue
|This project is easy but soooo cool!|
BEGINNING THE PROJECT
I loaded up on picture-books of creepy-crawlies, although a computer search could have yielded plenty of images as well. For my demo, I began with several bundles of balled-up newspaper tied with string, insisting that armatures involve more than one body segment. In other words, I would not accept simple snakes and such.
Next, I joined two or three bundles together with masking tape. (Careful here--some kids will use waaay more tape than necessary!) Then I poked coat hanger wire through the body to create several pairs of legs. The kids could add wire pincers and antennae too. I anchored the wire appendages to the body with a little tape, so they'd stay put.
|Make your own creepy-crawlies with this art activity.|
When the kids had built their armatures, they applied torn newspaper strips dipped in wallpaper paste. I suggested three layers and reminded them that I expected good craftsmanship. Evaluation would be partially based on sturdiness and a smooth appearance. A final coat of smallish brown paper pieces was allowed to dry thoroughly before we proceeded.
We painted the creatures with acrylics, although tempera would do. If you use the latter, try mixing it with white glue for a nicer, less-matte finish. When the paint was dry, we added enhancements such as eyes, whiskers, or "feelers." (A golf tee makes a great stinger!) We used a glue gun to attach such extras as eyes, filmy wings, and more.
|Crustaceans are cool, too!|
Try creating fantasy or composite creatures if you prefer. Think about hanging the sculptures from the ceiling with fishing line to display them.