Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Robot in Perspective - Fun with Tooling Foil!

 A couple of weeks ago, I posted a pic of this robot, on a white background (below), as part of a post HERE, along with a tutorial on using tooling foil to achieve relief.  The tutorial consists of a couple of videos.  I'm new to videos, so they are not fancy, but hopefully they are worth your time if you are new to this material, 36 gauge aluminum tooling foil.  (You can also get copper or brass tooling foil, but it is MUCH more expensive, so not so financially practical for classroom use.)
By the way, the small amount of added color was done with acrylic paint mixed with Mod Podge, after the black 'antiquing' was done with India ink and steel wool.

I knew I didn't want to simply glue him on the white board as shown above, but I was struggling to figure out what environment would be a good fit for him.  So I stuffed all his parts (head, antennas, neck, arms, shoulders, legs, and body - all together 11 pieces) in a baggie that evidently wasn't closed too well.  I brought the bag into my studio, where I promptly dropped it, spilling the pieces onto a canvas laying on the floor.  The canvas was painted with black gesso, and I had drawn lines on it with white chalk.  I saw the  robot pieces on the canvas, and an idea was born!!

I found a scrap piece of foam core, and I painted it with black gesso.  Then I used a ruler and a white colored pencil to draw a perspective room room.  I added a couple of accents of color, also with colored pencil.  And then I glued my robot into the room, using low temperature hot glue. 
I posted a pic of him on Facebook, and he's received a lot of love, and a lot of questions, so in case you are thinking about this as a possible project for your students, here's a few thoughts on how to make it work -
  • Your students should each have a baggie or envelope (with their name on it) to store their pieces. It's up to you how many pieces to make.  Arms and legs could be separated to be jointed at the knee or elbows.  Elbows, knees, hips, etc, could all be separate pieces like my shoulders are.  Make sure all pieces are cut with rounded corners to prevent cuts.
  • Because the pieces are small, keep the design of each piece simple.  
  • If you are using white colored pencil, like me, to do a perspective drawing on a black surface, make sure it is erasable in case of errors.  I liked the texture of the gessoed surface, but that might not be practical for young students.  
  • Of course the drawing doesn't need to be perspective.  That might be too challenging for some students.  How about a city?  A garden?  A mountain landscape? 
  • I glued with low temp hot glue.  Keep in mind that it low temp hot glue dries immediately, so if you are using this, the pieces have to be instantly placed once glue is applied.  With the small pieces, I suggest holding them with tweezers, quickly applying the glue, and placing them as desired.
  • I do NOT recommend high temp hot glue.  While it will also hold well, and you have place your pieces, you are gluing METAL, and it will get HOT!  Probably not a great idea for your students.
  • Other ideas for adhering, if you don't want to use hot glue: E6000 glue should work well, and some tacky glues might also hold.  Look for one that specifically says it will hold metal or other non-porous surfaces.  While I love Elmer's Glue-All, it is best for porous surfaces, like paper, wood, glue, or fabric.  It won't hold the metal foil permanently.  You can also use double stick tapes or other double-sided sticky products.

One last thought - the idea of using multiple small  pieces of tooling foil to create this robot sparked many other ideas.  For example, what about making windows and doors, and adhering them to a drawing of a house.  Or perhaps making tooling foil bugs, and adhering them to a drawing of flowers.  Or parts of a machine, or wheels of a vehicle, or leaves of a tree, or little boats to put on a drawing of a lake.  The material offers so many possibilities, so many ideas!  In the photo above, the the face features were made with a much lighter weight foil, not as effective, I think.  The students who made them were 3rd graders.  Please let me know if you have any questions!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wonderful Weaving with Warm and Cool Colors!

My DragonWing Arts students recently finished some colorful paper weavings.  I posted some pics on Instagram and received some questions and comments, so I thought I'd share the (simple) details here.  It was an easy and successful project!
The students each were given three sheets of 12x18" white paper. They divided two of the papers into stripes lengthwise, and painted one with warm colors, and the other with cool colors.  The paints were fluorescent tempera, and they used one brush for warm and another brush for cool, but did not wash the brush between colors, so that they got some subtle color blends in their stripes.  The third sheet of paper was filled with shapes - the kids chose to use hearts, stars, and 'amorphous blobs' (random organic shapes).  The shapes were painted with warm and/or cool as desired.  Then everything was outlined thickly with black paint. Finally, we used Sax Tempera Gloss Varnish to paint a coat of shiny sealer on the paintings.  It really enhanced the colors!
The students each were given a 19" square of black poster board.  They cut the stripes from one painted paper, cutting right down the middle of the black lines, and glued down the ends of the stripes, side-by-side on the poster board, to create their warp.
 Then they cut the stripes on the second paper, and used them as weft, to weave through the warp.

When the weaving was complete, all the ends were glued down, and the shapes were carefully cut from their third papers.
I had been given a bunch of 3D-O's, and we decided to use them to make the shapes 'float' above the weaving.  Note the 'happy face' arrangement of the stars in the piece below! 
 I know it's hard to see the 3-D element in these photos; it definitely looks more effective firsthand.  But honestly? I'd never used 3D-O's before and the kids and I found it annoyingly difficult to peel the end papers off to reveal the sticky parts.  Next time, I'd prefer to cut little squares of heavy cardboard and have the kids glue and stack them under their shapes to create desired depth, in place of using the 3D-O's. 
The original motivation for this project was a pic I saw on Pinterest, using warm and cool colors to weave in contrasting directions, in layers of weaving.  There were no instructions, and I used the image simply as a starting point to develop my own project for my students.  I thought the floating shapes would be a fun enhancement for the basic weaving, since we weren't working with multiple layers.  I also thought the contrast of using fluorescent paints and black lines made the final images more lively. 
I can imagine lots of ways to further enhance the project - patterns in white on the black backing, perhaps?  Or black and white patterned strips woven through diagonally?   It's fun to imagine all the possibilities!!