How To Build A Snowman

In after school art this December we made these adorable snowmen sculptures. Several of you have asked for a "How To"...so here goes!

Keep in mind that I teach elementary art. So pictured are sculptures from students age 5-11. Each did very well but this is because I had everything pre-constructed and only allowed the kids to do so much on the sculptures each session. I will try and break down what we did each day.

-small and large Styrofoam balls- you need to buy the solid ones, not the ones that are holey. I have found them at Michael's where all the floral foam is located. They come in bags of 6 for the large and 12 for the small
-wooden dowels - these come in a bag at Hobby Lobby or Michael's in the wood craft section
-wooden plaques- again wood section of Hobby Lobby or Michael's
-wooden spools (the hat)- wood section in a baggie of several
-assorted buttons, ribbon or wool for embellishments
-DAS paper clay- this is by the FIMO clay usually. It comes in a large block so if you are just making a few buy the FIMO clay in orange even. You are making the carrot nose out of this stuff. I love the DAS because it's easy to manipulate and I am teaching 50 kids so the block goes a long way. FIMO by nature needs to be run through a pasta machine to make it pliable.
-black sequins
-black, white and orange paint
-paint for the base in assorted colors- I use the craft acrylic paints
-clear glitter
-hot glue gun
-steak knife
-drill and bit to fit dowels you bought
-Tacky glue
-spray adhesive

STEP 1: Putting the bodies together
The adult will need to put the under bodies together prior to adding the details. It's very self-explanatory when looking at the above photo.  Drill holes in the plaque then add the dowels (I cut each dowel in half. You decide how long you want the legs to be).  Using the steak knife cut a portion of the Styrofoam off on both pieces so you have a flat place to attach the 2 balls. Plus it makes it look more like a snowman. Hot glue the pieces together. Drill holes in the larger ball and place on the dowels. You may need to add hot glue to holes so it won't fall off.

STEP 2: Painting the base, Bodies and Making Noses
Next I had the kids paint the entire body with white paint. Even though the Styrofoam is white the paint covers the slight texture of the ball. Also on a side note, when I teach smaller classes with this type of sculpture we cover the entire sculpture with a very thin layer of the DAS clay. It would have been hair pulling with 25 kids at once, so we just painted them. Then paint the bases with lots of color and patterns. Using a tiny piece of DAS clay roll out a nose. You see their noses on their bases? When the DAS clay dried I attached the noses with hot glue.

STEP 3:  Adding the details
The next class we used Tacky glue to attach the eyes and buttons. The kids used tooth picks to make the mouths and painted their carrot noses orange. They also painted the hats black and I attached those with hot glue.

STEP 4: GLITTER!!! and Scarves
The last step is to make him sparkle! Using spray adhesive I went outside and sprayed the entire body portion of the snowman. Inside I had a giant bucket set up and the clear glitter.  Then the kids sprinkled their snowmen with glitter. The spray glue makes the glitter stick just right. And is way less a pain than painting with Elmer's glue. The kids then chose a ribbon and tied on for a scarf.
I of course got so excited to send them home I forgot to take photos! These are the 2 that weren't here the day we finished so I snapped their photo. You could go crazy with embellishments. Several kids were upset we didn't add arms. You could easily drill holes and add stick arms. I plan to do that to mine and add a banner in his arms. And maybe a bird. Anyhoo....these are easy and fun. It would take you one day if you baked the carrot noses in the toaster. Enjoy adn have a Merry Christmas!!


Art Feeds

Recently the above sweatshirt appeared on someone I follow on instagram's body with a link saying please support this group of creative thinkers. Of course I was intrigued and visited the site. And since that visit, really haven't been the same in my thinking about art education and its importance to the lives of ALL CHILDREN. Here is what appears when you click on the ABOUT US link:

Art Feeds believes all children are artists. We exist to feed creative development and facilitate emotional expression in children through art and community. To do this, we provide free therapeutic art and creative education programs within schools & children’s organizations by mobilizing teams of community members to bring all forms of art into classrooms.

The fact that she saw a need and then acted on the need amazes me. Talk about flying....she is an example of how we should follow our hearts and dreams in big ways because big things can happen. Meg began teaching one child. One child. And now she has Art Feeds organizations in several states feeding more children. You have to visit their site here. Take time to read every page. And donate. Because the life of just one child is certainly worth a month's worth of Starbuck's coffee. Right?


Paint Something E-course

Don't forget to add my e-course to your Christmas wish list!! Here's the link to the site:
Paint Something: an e-course.  $99 for 4 weeks of blog posts and great videos showing you the techniques I use in my work. The past 2 times it has been offered we've had a fabulous time painting together from the comforts of home! I love e-courses for the simple fact that they are self-paced. We do use flickr to share our work and gain feedback. Together we create a community of artsy friends across the globe. It's pretty awesome to see how each person grows throughout the course. So please consider joining us in January for a little painting. If it's on your resolution list to get creative, this will be the prefect motivator. Join in on the fun today!


State of Being

I've got so much to say and talk about but honestly, right this second, words are escaping me. It's early Friday morning. Yes. And I'm flat out beyond tired. And in speaking with many of my teacher friends....so are they. In fact, we all opened up this week about our lack of desire to do ANYTHING after school these days. I thought I was weird, and a complete anti-social poop head for my complete and utter inability to socialize on any level after the hours of 4PM. But turns out I am not alone. Pretty much every teacher and office staff person I've spoken to wants nothing to do with anyone after school. Like don't touch or speak to me. None of us have time or energy for friends, talking on the phone or other social engagements. We are exhausted. I wake up and look in the mirror and hardly recognize myself. I don't mean to be such a  negative nelly.....but telling the truth here is what I do. So those of you who know me and wonder why I have fallen off the earth.....THIS IS WHY. It's not personal. It's not you. It's the 450 kids I teach. It's the constantly asking kids to stop, be quiet, don't say that, don't touch them, WHY ARE you doing THAT?, what did you just say, let's clean up the 100th water spill, let's make a snowman covered in glitter, paint on my clothes again, you need me to do what, stop talking so I can give instruction, daily routine that I wake up and repeat 5 days a week. That might be killing me slowly. Like poison in my coffee.

I love my faculty here. They are my lifeline to sanity. The fact that we are all so honest with one another about the state of our mental being is refreshing in a whack way. 10 days plus the one I am currently in and then we get to recharge. We ALL need the break. Parents....please....please....please...I beg of you.....pray for your child's teacher. Pray for the kids in their classes. Pray for the entire school. Because literally it is the only thread holding us together right now. Prayer. I have so much more to say about the state of education right now. But need to move on. And get to school. To teach 450 beautiful children the joy of art making. I do love my job. But wonder how we as educators can continue to thrive in the current environment in which we are allowed to teach. The state may need to invest in therapists for each school. Just for teachers that is. Or massage therapists. That'd be nice too. Ha.ha. ha. No really.
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