Thursday, June 16, 2022

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.