Paper Animal Sculptures

Graham's cheetah sculpture

Graham’s cheetah sculpture

Kindergarten students have been working on paper animal sculptures and their habitats.  We started by choosing a four legged animal.  (Well, one of them has flippers!)  We then folded a rectangle of oaktag in half to form the animal’s body.  Students learned that one of the things that makes a sculpture different from a drawing is that we can look at a sculpture from all sides: the top, the bottom, the front, the back, and both sides.  We were careful to color all sides of the paper so that no matter which way you look at it, the animal has color.

Then we folded two long strips of oaktag and glued them underneath the body to form the legs.  Between classes, I attached a “neck” for students to glue their heads on.  We drew and cut out heads and tails to complete our animals.

Grace's tabby cat sculpture

Grace’s tabby cat sculpture

Finally, we folded, cut, and taped a square of paper to form a habitat.  Students thought about what kind of place their animal would need to be happy.  Some needed a dense jungle, some needed a big pond, some needed tall mountains… Kindergarteners used pencil, Sharpie, and crayon to add details to their habitats so each animal has a comfortable home!


Completed Daffodils

Connor's 3D Daffodil

Connor’s 3D Daffodil

Mrs. Bruett’s 3rd graders finished constructing their 3D daffodils during their Integrated Arts time!  Students used tabs and folds to make the stigma and stamen “pop out” of the flowers.  Students also cut stems and leaves out of their painted paper.

Once the flower was assembled, 3rd graders chose a color for their background paper and glued it on.  Finally, students had the option to use colored pencil, collage, or oil pastel to add texture on the petals and leaves, or to add environmental details like stars or grass.

Charlie's 3D Daffodil

Charlie’s 3D Daffodil

This artwork took several classes to complete, and it involved many small, detailed steps.  Students showed great teamwork as they helped each other remember how to complete each part.  Everyone used their best effort and it shows in these amazing 3D daffodils!

3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd Grade 3D Daffodils

3rd grade students have been studying flowers during science in their classroom.  Mrs. Bruett’s class is using Integrated Arts time to work on creating 3D models of daffodils.  For the first class, students painted a paper plate to form the petals, a strip of paper that would become the corona, and a strip of paper that would become the stem and leaves.  We discussed how daffodils come in a variety of colors, and some have matching corona and petals, and some do not.  For the next class, we cut and glued the corona into a ring shape.  We used “fancy” scissors to cut the top of the corona into a ruffle.  We cut tabs onto the bottom to create a flat surface for gluing.  We then worked on dividing the plate into six segments to form the petals, and glued the corona into the center.  Most students stopped here, but a few had time to create the pistil, stigma, and stamen.  Next week we will cut out stems and leaves and finish assembling the flowers.

How to Make a Paper Spring

Completed paper spring

Completed paper spring

Kindergarteners at Gerry learned how to make paper springs.  I enjoy teaching this because it gives students an opportunity to practice several skills: applying an appropriate amount of glue, folding carefully and neatly, working with a pattern (very useful for weaving later), and my favorite, using imagination!  I thought it would be useful to make a “how to” so families can make springs at home if they’d like!  To start, you will need:

  • Two long, skinny strips of paper
  • Glue bottle or glue stick
  • Scissors (optional)

1. Put a small dot of glue at the end of one of the strips of paper.  Not a big blob — if it oozes out and gets the paper sticky, the spring might not work.

2. Attach the two strips to make an “L” shape.

Glue the two papers into an "L"

“L” shape

3. Fold the top of the “L” down.

Fold the top of the "L" down


4. Fold the side of the “L” across.

Fold the side of the "L" across


The folds create a pattern: down, across, up, across, down, across, up, across… sometimes it is easier for students to think of the pattern in terms of color, so you could say: fold red, fold blue, red, blue, red, blue…

Keep folding...

Keep folding…

There are a few things to keep in mind as you fold.  First, this is much easier if you keep the spring flat on a table instead of trying to fold it up in the air.  Another thing to remember is to fold neatly.  If the folds are crooked, the spring might not work as well, so try to fold the paper as far over as it can go, and keep it straight.  Keep folding until you run out of paper!

5. Put another small dot of glue under the last fold and pinch the spring shut.  Count to 10 and then carefully let it “un-spring.”  Voici !

Put a dot of glue under the flap

Put a dot of glue under the flap

The last fold on the spring might be a little too long; if it is, use scissors to carefully trim it.

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Pop-Up Monster Eye

Use your imagination to come up with a use for the spring.  Kindergarteners used them to make pop-up parts for their monster collages. Some glued on collage pieces, like a monster eye.  Others turned the spring itself into a part, like a monster nose that looked like an elephant trunk.  Multiple springs can also be glued together to make bracelets or necklaces.

Little Monsters!

Kindergarten Symmetrical Monster Collage

Kindergarten Symmetrical Monster Collage

Kindergarteners are reading William Steig’s book Rotten Island in art class.  William Steig wrote and illustrated many excellent children’s books, including Doctor De Soto, Amos and Boris, and Shrek.  Rotten Island is a book about rotten monsters and their rotten lives! The monsters on the island can swim, crawl, fly, slither, and even wheel around. Kindergarteners design their own monsters that all have a special property: they’re symmetrical!  First, students fold a piece of paper in half, then cut a wiggly line along the folded edge. When the paper is opened, sometimes it looks like it could be a monster body, and sometimes it doesn’t.  If it doesn’t look like a monster yet, students can fold it back up again and try cutting out more shapes.  When the body is finished, students think about monstrous details like horns, claws, scales, teeth, and eyes, and collage them on.  Some kindergarteners decided they wanted their monsters to be nice, and some wanted monsters that were scary and fierce. There was also a king monster, a monster with hair, a Valentine monster, and a set of monster triplets!