Saturday Art Workshops — 9.29.18

Explorations in the 4th Dimension: Animations With Colleen

This week was Colleen’s turn to teach and she had a great lesson called, “Explorations in the 4th Dimension” which meant she did animations on iPads with the kids. We started off the opening ceremony with the weekly prompt of “what did you do that was creative this week?” and the students chatted with us about how they auditioned for a play, finished a book and did some baking, thus establishing a routine for each time, which helps set expectations and gets them involved right away.



After showing them some animation videos such as by PES, she demonstrated the simple features of the Stop Motion app. and the kids dove right in making an animation with their shoes, adding characters as an extra option. I felt like this activity was successful because the students seemed very engaged in making their movies and two kids collaborated together, which was very energizing for them. I think in a larger classroom (we have three kids in our Saturday art section), it would be good if kids could have the choice to collaborate or not, organically, which is what Colleen did that worked well.

I think if I were doing this lesson, I would have them come up with characters and a story beforehand so they knew how it fits together with a story arc. Also, I would have different 3-D materials that they can use to decorate their shoes into characters. These kids used duct tape on their shoes, which seemed to work well, and they could have used fabric and sticks, yarn or cardboard as well.

A student's work in progress

A student’s work in progress

Pacing seems to be something to keep considering because one student finished before the others so she made a rabbit character and did an animation of that hopping along. Making extra characters or a second film is a great way to keep kids engaged.

Two kids collaborate

Two kids collaborate

Play was an important element of this activity, and was especially apparent between the two girls working together. They bounced ideas off of each other like atoms. It was interesting to see make-believe at work between kids, which is an essential part of using imagination at for 4th & 5th graders. Overall, the kids were very excited to be making their open ended films and improvising as they went along, so that is why I think this was a successful lesson.


Off the Wall Books

Kids can easily make these simple, yet clever, folded book projects.

The first is a portfolio that has secret pockets to hide things in.  This one is about 3 x 6 inches folded up and 8.5 x 11 inches open,  but you can make them any size. There is a cover page and inside paper, folded about 9 times, total.

Folded Secret Portfolio

Secret Folded Portfolio

Inside peek

Inside peek with hidden pockets!



Drawings can be hidden inside the flaps.

Drawings can be hidden inside the flaps.

Kids can do drawings inside the pockets to reveal hidden artwork and then fold up the base if they don’t want people to see it!




These would be fun for around 2nd or 3rd grade for smaller artwork, scraps of images to save or a place to doodle.






Folded City

Folded City

This folded city was made out of one piece of construction paper with the cuts down the middle of the page about 3/4 of the way to the edge then folded back so it has a little support in back to prop it up.  This can be done with all kind of shapes. It could be interesting in tandem with a science activity about symmetry.

Examples came from this book.

Examples came from this book.

Saturday Art Workshops — 9.22.18

Batik Pennants & Banners with Toothpaste Lotion!

Batik with Toothpaste Lotion

Applying the fabric with toothpaste lotion

For the first Saturday Art Workshop that Colleen and I were co-teaching, we introduced a toothpaste-lotion batik lesson revolving around creating personal symbols of identity on a banner or pennant. Overall, I think our lesson went very well and the kids started working on the first part of drawing and using the lotion mixture on fabric after showing them the presentation on batik and a few artists working in traditional and contemporary styles. We could have been better with the routines of the class, since we came up with an opening and closing ceremony, like the Olympics, which we hope to carry out next time but the minutes passed too quickly.

A student's preliminary drawing to go under the fabric

A student’s preliminary drawing to go under the fabric

We spent the first ten minutes getting to know the kids and asking them questions about their interests and hobbies, not only as part of the relationship building aspect of classroom management, as suggested in Michael Linsin’s Classroom Management for Art, Music, and PE Teachers, but so they can feel welcomed by each other and find some common ground for their community. Since we talked to them so much and they were chatty, it was a stream of consciousness conversation and so we kept them on track with the activities by making suggestions and asking questions about the next step, as a kind of formative assessment.

Since we had a small class size, it was easy to have them go at their own pace. One was faster than the others and moved on to our extra activities. I think in a large class, it’s important to explain all of the options at the beginning of class so people know what they can move on to if they finish early and for enrichment. It seems like it would be hard for the teacher to tell each person what to do next if they were busy helping others.

After the lotion mixture is applied

After the lotion mixture is applied, it takes a few days to dry well









One important moment for me was when one of the girls was shaking up her batik lotion and doing a dance, which gave me the idea that we could have played music during that time to liven things up, especially on a groggy Saturday morning. It made me realize that the kids can give you clues about how to improve the lesson or ways to branch out with it, by bringing their own style to what was unfolding.

Toothpaste Batik

Toothpaste Batik

The other aspect that I think we need to work on a bit is clean up time. Having a workshop outside of a school context makes it a touch harder to get them to clean up. They also get so excited that they don’t want to stop. Next time we can remind them to clean up 10 then 5 minutes before they need to so they’re expecting it.


My example

My example strung with finger knitted string and a found stick

Another example of mine

Another example of mine on paper (with salt to the left and white crayon to the right)

Marbling and Paste Paper Fun

Marbling and paste papers are interesting and beautiful ways to experiment with color and pattern on paper for bookmaking, postcards and textures for drawings or paintings. These are processes hundreds of years old that were used in decorating end pages in books.

Cornstarch paste Papers1

Cornstarch paste paper recipes give a matte finish to your papers.  I found it to be thicker than the rice formula. It spreads easily and you can use tools like combs, sticks and string to make patterns. You use it directly on the paper.

On origami paper

Cornstarch Paste Recipe:

1/4 c. cornstarch
1 + 3/4 c. water

  • mix cornstarch with water on med. heat
  • stir until it resembles thick custard
  • remove from heat and add 1/2 c. water
  • mix once then cool
methyl cellulose Papers (i.e. elmer’s paste powder)
Use it like painting directly on paper

Use it like painting–directly on paper

Gives a nice texture for drawing on

Gives a nice texture for drawing

Rice Paste Recipe:

(NOTE: Methyl cellulose mixes (store-bought) or cornstarch recipes are less reactive to people with gluten allergies, as this recipe has wheat.)

4 T rice flour
3 T wheat flour
3 c. water
1/2 tsp. glycerin
1 T dish washing detergent

  • over medium heat, thicken paste
  • cool in fridge (it’s good when it resembles pudding)
  • mix 2 T acrylic paint with 1 c. paste
Prang Ambrite pastel Papers

Prang Ambrite pastels shaved into water make a nice diffusion. I used dish detergent on a brush to disperse the color. It made it separate, but gives a splattered effect and a hole.

SuminagaShi Papers

Suminagashi is a Japanese form of paper marbling and is a very old process originating in China over 2000 years and refined by Japanese Shinto priests in the 12th century. Inks or paint are floated on the surface of the water, alternating one brush loaded with pigment and the other with dish soap as a dispersant.2 Paper is then laid over the surface of the water, gently pressing down and then pulling it up and off.

Turkish Marbling Papers

Turkish marbling is made by placing colors like Jacquard paints on the surface of a water and carrageenan mixture, then pulling a print of it with a paper sized with a mordant like alum. The colors are the brightest of the processes we experimented with.  This process started in the 15th century in Persia and Turkey.3

On fabric

On fabric



Shaving Cream Papers


These were made by applying shaving cream on a plate, putting food coloring on top and then pulling a print. You can mix them around with various tools like skewering sticks and combs.

1 Wooding, C. (2018). Paste paper recipe. My paper arts. Retrieved from

2 History of Suminagashi and Marbling. (2018). Suminagashi: The ancient art of Japanese marbling. Retrieved from

3 History of Suminagashi and Marbling. (2018). Suminagashi: The ancient art of Japanese marbling. Retrieved from