Thursday, May 14, 2015

Super-delicious papier-mache ice cream cones!!!

My three sweet DragonWing Arts students, two 4th graders and a 3rd grader, have just completed their totally awesome papier-mache ice cream cones!  I fell in love with this project when I did it with my 4th graders while I was still teaching, because it was the fastest papier-mache project ever, and it made absolutely everybody happy.  Click HERE to see a post of all those completed 4th grade cones, and HERE and HERE to see them in progress.

So here's the process:  First, you need a cone shape, obviously.  Last time, we used paper cones, that had been donated to me, for the cone shape.  They were an awkward to hold size.  I considered using flowerpots for a flat-bottom cone, but since everyone prefers sugar cones, I decided that's what these had to be.  So we cut semi-circles out of cereal box cardboard, and curled them up into a cone shape. I hot glued them together, and the kids taped them for extra reinforcement.

We stuffed the cones full of newspaper.  Then, we started making ice cream scoops, by balling up newspaper, wrapping the ball with a  smooth piece of newspaper, and then taping the ball with a couple of 'belts' of tape, with extra tape to smooth any loose paper.
  Each scoop was hot glued onto the cone or scoop below it.  Then it was strapped up and over with a couple of long pieces of tape, crossing like an X on top of the scoop.  Another piece of tape belted between the scoops, or between the scoop and the cone.  Each additional scoop was added the same way. 
 I told the kids they could put on as many scoops as they wanted, and that I had a former student who had made seven scoops!  But they wanted their cones to look like ones they'd really eat, and didn't want to go extreme.  The two girls chose to put three scoops on their cones, and the boy wanted just two scoops.  My demo cone also has three scoops.
We hot glued and taped Styrofoam balls on top for cherries.  Even though you don't usually get a cherry on your ice cream cone, we just thought they looked cute!
Art Paste was our papier-mache goo; my students and I call it dragon drool.  We did the papier-mache using brown Kraft paper for the cone, and white newsprint paper for the ice cream scoops. 
 Rather than dipping the torn paper in the dishes of 'dragon drool', I have the students dip their fingertips, and then rub the goo between their palms.  Then, all they need to do is touch a piece of paper to pick it up, rub it between their palms to saturate it (vocab word!).  It should look translucent (another great vocab word!).  The saturated paper is then smoothed onto the project.  We regularly massaged the projects to make them smooth. 
Unpainted, they already look good enough to eat!  My silly students decided to flap their arms to dry the goo on their hands.  They liked the way it felt!  Cutie-pies!!
 In our next class session, the kids got to paint the ice cream.  The kids told me what flavors they wanted, and I mixed colors for them with acrylics.  They were fascinated with how we made the colors for chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, and so on, especially when they discovered that there was no bottle of brown paint.  It was a good color lesson, talking about how complementary colors, or a mix of all three primaries, will make browns and grays, and how to figure out what to add when it looks wrong.  For example, if the brown has a greenish cast, and we know that green is made with blue and yellow, then to neutralize the green you need to add more red, the complement of green.  I loved that kids understood this, and when I was mixing a color, they were able to tell me what to add.  "It's too purple-y, Mrs. Brown; that means you should add more yellow!". 
 Anyhow, the rule was to start painting with the bottom scoop, and then the one above it, and so on.  Put too much paint on your brush (on purpose!!) and let it drip (also on purpose!!)  Below, the flavors include double chocolate with peanut butter and vanilla with chocolate chunks; mint chocolate chip, peach with peach chunks and chocolate chips, and strawberry with various chips; and cookie dough, chocolate brownie, and I think vanilla with caramel and peanut butter perhaps??
 Above, the cones with fresh paint, cones unpainted.  The kids loved the drips and had  trouble believing they'd dry that way.  But they did!  Finally, below, we drew some lines on the cones, and coated everything with Mod Podge to make the ice cream look wet and melty.
 And everyone was happy! 

23 comments:

  1. Fantastic Phyl! The Mod Podge makes them look extra delicious! I need to break free from my paper mache avoidance and try this!

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    1. Mary, don't let paper-mâché scare you. If you use my method of fingertips in the goo as I outlined in the post, rather than dipping the strips and scissoring off the excess goo as most people do, you won't have drippy oozing messes, they will have a smoother surface, and cleanup will be easy. I'm writing up a workshop proposal for Chicago NAEA, but I'm also always happy to answer questions since paper-mâché is such a favorite of mine.

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  2. So lovely!! My mouth literally started watering reading your description of the ice cream. Love the creative flavors. I've never tried using plain newsprint for paper mache and as I was packing up boxes for summer cleaning crew yesterday I came upon a huge pile of it -- old and discolored -- perfect for this project. Thanks for the idea. Maybe you should plan an art conference proposal for a teaching a session on paper mache after all -- you have a LOT of good tips for teachers who might shy away from mess:))

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    1. Thanks Christie. I am definitely proposing the workshop. I personally love putting a coat of gesso on paper-mâché for extra strength and for the smooth white painting surface, but when you are short of time or materials, the newsprint works great because it is absorbent like newspaper and provides a nice paintable surface.

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  3. Maybe next year I'll be brave and try this! I might have to ask you some questions as you are the paiper mache queen!

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    1. Abby, I love the moniker! (Maybe I'll build myself a paper-mâché crown?). ;)
      Anyhow, I'm always happy to answer questions about paper-mâché, since it is so much fun to use.

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  4. I want to do these next year!!! Do you let them hot glue or you? The high temp or low temp hot glue? AWESOME!!!!

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    1. I did the hot gluing for these 3 kids, because I don't have an easily accessible outlet and convenient setup for the glue gun. But when I did it in my classroom, with my 4th graders, I had two glue gun stations set up, I gave them glue gun rules (such as no fooling around, never put your hand under a glue gun where it will drip, and so on, and I let them do the gluing if they wanted. But I glued for anyone who didn't want to, and in the 4th grade I'd say it was a 50/50 split. It goes fast, because it's just one squirt of glue, stick on the scoop, and then back to their seat to tape it.

      And I NEVER let elementary kids touch a high temp glue gun. Too scary. It's low temp, which works better for this anyhow since it dries in seconds.

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  5. Every time I see an art project I want to try with my Art Camp, it is yours! Thanks for sharing! I am also a stickler for detail and love how finished the students pieces are.

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    1. Thank you! The nice thing about this project is, it is so quick and easy compared to some other paper-mâché projects! So great for an art camp, for sure!

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  6. Guessing is great, how many hours does this project take all together? This is a great project for Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day on July 1st!

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    1. We built the structures in one session, did all the papier-mâché in the next, and then painted them and finally coated them with Mod Podge in two subsequent sessions. These were 45 minute sessions including directions and cleanup. So that's three hours total. If you have all materials ready and are structured in your approach, it can be done! A few slower-working kids might need some extra time.

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  7. I am currently making these with my middle school special ed kids. They are loving it! Didnt think to modge podge them after but I will try it. The students want to eat their work, its so awesome. Thanks again for the detailed approach. Was always afraid to make sculptures with my students but now Im not. Best, M

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    1. So glad to hear! It's really so easy; my background was not with sculpture but over the years I've figured it out and love it, and found there's nothing the kids like better!

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  8. Hi Phyl, love this idea! I am a very year art teacher looking for all the help I can get. My question is, what was your process of drying the cones between steps?
    -Kaylie Boehm

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    1. Not sure what you mean - we just leave them to dry out! If they are drying laying down on a hard surface, I try to turn them over every so often. I used to have a classroom with a a cabinet that had wire shelving that let air circulate. Once the ice cream is painted, it's best to let them dry vertically so they don't get stuck. You can balance them in empty containers, or, I've had hunks of styrofoam with holes in them. I stuck the cones in the hole so that they stood up to dry.

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  9. How do you or the kids display them??

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    1. We used cubes of styrofoam,with a hole in them to insert the end of the cone. We draped the foam with pieces of "SmartFab" fabric before putting in the cone,

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. would love to visit with you about your transiti from teaching into retirement.
    Eleanor

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    1. Feel free to email me at plbrown3@yahoo.com. I'm always happy to talk..

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  12. I saw you at the NAEA Convention in Chicago last year & you were awesome! I'm finally getting ready to start having my students make the ice cream cones, but I remember you talking about stuffing plastic bags. Would that be for this project or others?
    Thanks!

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    1. Nope, you don't need bags! The plastic bags were used as armatures for animals and such (pigs, cats, monsters, etc); there's lots of those projects elsewhere on the blog if you search the papier-mâché tag. All you need for the ice cream is to make some cones from lightweight tagboard or similar, and balls of newspaper for the ice cream. Or, I've seen people use cheap flowerpots for flat-bottomed cones, again with newspaper scoops.

      Will I see you next year in Seattle perhaps?

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