Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...Crafting!

I awoke this morning with a start!  I am an Art teacher 3 days a week and it suddenly hit me that I have only 3 weeks MAX to start to finish Christmas projects with each of my classes (K-8th grade).  I know how much the kids like working of any sort, so I pulled out my Creative PaperClay to experiment.  The project is super easy and the results eye catching.  Let's get started.

1 package Creative PaperClay
rolling pin or acrylic roller (or pasta machine set to thickest setting)
mesh baggie
bamboo skewer
star cutter set (shown: Ateco)
wooden spool beads (Indus Trading Co.)
small clay pot
Optional:  paint, glitter, glue

1) Remove clay from package.  Flatten with chosen tool (rolling pin, acrylic roller, or pasta machine).  Place flattened clay on work surface.
2)  Use cutters to cut 2 of each size except for the smallest...cut only 1 of that size.  Use a finger to smooth the edges of each star.
3)  Lay mesh baggie over each star and press.
Mesh will leave behind an interesting texture.
4)  Lightly stack the stars beginning with the largest and finishing with the next to smallest.
Press the end of bamboo skewer into the center to create a hole in each layer.  Remove skewer and unstack stars to dry.  Place smallest star on the pointed end of the skewer to dry.
NOTE:  Stars can dry overnight or (for those of you who know me well) placed into a 275 degree oven for about 30 minutes.
5)  Once dry (or cooled), glue the small star to pointed end of bamboo skewer.  Then add stars 2 at a time, sliding a wooden spool in between sizes.  Continue until all of the stars have been placed on skewer.  Add one last wooden spool.
6)  Press any remaining clay from the package into the clay pot.
Turn clay pot upsidedown.  Press skewer with tree through hole in top.

OPTIONAL TOUCH #1:  Paint tree and spools as desired.  Pot can be decorated with paint, permenant marker, or ribbon trim.

OPTIONAL TOUCH #2:  Drill small holes at the tips of each star and hang small ornaments (must be lightweight).  Display your tree on top of a mirror in the center of a table...GOR-GE-OUS!

For my students I think that I will adapt the tutorial to use smaller staggered stars and string on pipe cleaners instead of the bamboo skewer.  It will help the clay to go a bit farther in my classroom (up to 36 students per class) and leave me counter space for other projects :-)