Thursday, June 16, 2022

Dog Sculpture - Paper Maché

Teacher Sample

I was eager to make a dog sculpture with my students, and was searching for something using paper maché and newspaper. I came across this dog sculpture tutorial and knew this would be challenging and engaging yet manageable to do with my 9-13 year old group. 

Day 1
For our body armatures, we used newspaper with cardboard and rolled up magazine paper for support and structure. For our legs, we scrunched newspaper together to create thick upper thighs and thinner legs. We taped these onto our body. This gave our dogs realistic looking thigh muscles. We added cardboard stacks to add height to the neck, and then made the head with a simple ball of newspaper. The snout was made with two pieces of curbed and rounded cardboard - one for upper jaw, one for lower jaw (slightly smaller than upper). These were taped onto the head, the head taped onto the cardboard neck. 
Ears were simple cardboard pieces cut in ear shapes and either taped up or down. Tales were rolled up magazine paper taped to the behind. 

Day 2
We made our own paper maché paste using simply water and flour. We dipped strips of paper into the paste, and layered piece by piece over our sculptures, overlapping each piece slightly and smoothing it out. This process made our dogs sculptures increasingly heavy, and we found that adding support structures to our dogs while working prevented the legs and tails from collapsing under the wet weight. We use plastic cups, plastic bottles and yogurt buckets to rest our dogs on while working. We also used these support elements during the drying process. This allowed us to prop up our dogs, their tail and legs for drying. 

Day 3
We drew eyes on paper with marker, then glued these to the back of glass cabochons. These are our eyes.  We used air drying clay to mold noses into the snout area, and to mold feet into the bottom of the legs. We stuck our eyes onto our heads using a clay backing, and added clay around the eyes to create an eye area with lids and brow. Wherever we used clay, we added additional strips of paper maché to secure the clay to the sculpture. See the above video for clarity on this.

Day 4
We painted our dogs using acrylic paint. Students were encouraged to use at least 3 colors of paint, mix their own browns, and to add a bit of definition around the eye area using a darker tone. When these were dry, we glazed our dogs with a coat of acrylic matt medium.

This was a sometimes tricky and lengthy process, but we learned so much and came away with wonderful dogs! 

DAY 1 & 2
cup for tail support

clay noses, paws and eye area

adding the nose and paws
nose and eyes in the works

drying on radiator for support
support during drying process

DAY 2 & 4

Toilet Paper Hamburger Sculpture

In my research for paper-based 3-D sculpture project, I was intrigued by the use of toilet paper and water for creating realistic food sculptures. There are many tutorials online for these, but I found this one to be a straight forward and thorough one: Toilet Paper Food Sculpture

For my students, ages 9-10, I knew this would be an engaging and different way to create 3-D art.

Students were each given a role of toilet paper, and they created multiple elements for a burger. We made patties, buns, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and cucumber slices, onion rings, cheese and bacon. The key here is to not use paper that is too soaked. This took some experimenting and was a trial and error process - like all great art, but the kids got it down pretty quickly.  For thicker pieces, we wrapped dry toilet paper in wet toilet paper - this bulks up our sculpture more efficiently, and quickens the drying process (preventing molding).

We set these aside to dry for a week, until our next class.

The following class, we painted our sculptures with watercolor. Prior to class, I explored painting them in acrylic, and found that, while it held everything together better and did not re-soak the toilet paper as much was watercolor, the results were not as realistic. Watercolor soaks into the paper (which can be tricky because it rewets out sculptures), but the results are more dynamic, creating more natural variations in value and tone. This results in a naturally more realistic sculpture. 

Students explored color mixing for just that right food color, and were encouraged to use 3 colors (or tones) per food piece. 
So, a burger would have brown, ochre, red and black, for example.
Lettuce might have two greens, yellow and blue. 
Bacon has red, brown and black.
Cheese has two yellows and orange, etc. 
Color was applied quickly, often with a dabbing motion, to precent the paper from soaking and pilling too much. 
We used white acrylic for the sesame seeds, and black permanent marker for the grill marks. 
They look great piled up into a burger, but look even better, showcasing all their beauty, displayed on a plate.

These were super fun and really wowed the kids.