Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Art Dice - Inspirational and Educational

I am lucky enough to be my youngest grandson's art teacher (I may have mentioned this one or two times before ☺) While researching project ideas for his lessons, I was inspired to create these art dice from the book "Tinkerlab - A Hands on Guide for Little Inventors" by Rachelle Doorley.   As she explains in the book "Art dice games are a creative way to jump-start drawing.  Every toss of the dice becomes an opportunity to explore and expand art vocabulary, drawing skills, color recognition, and shape identification."  Of course I don't see any reason they have to be just for kids, I think they can also be a way to practice or try something new in creating my own drawings as well - throwing one or all of them - could be a great way to try a limited palette or try a new style.

Or, you can make dice for any game you choose -  Some suggestions for other types are at the end of this post.

To make the dice you will need:

Creative Paperclay® modeling material
sanding block with coarse or medium grit sandpaper
file or emery board
craft knife

plan or pattern - the themes for these dice are:

  • Shapes- square, circle, oval, heart, rectangle & triangle)
  • Lines - vertical, diagonal, zigzag, wavy, spiral, and dots
  • Colors - blue, red, green, yellow, purple, orange

My dice are 1" square, so the instructions will be for those proportions.  If you want larger or smaller dice adjust accordingly.

Begin with a 1/8" thick, flat, dry sheet of clay (for my instructions on how to make a flat sheet click here)

Measure and mark the grids for your die or dice.  If desired, carve a design or indentation into each side.

Cut the squares apart.  Measure and mark cardboard - for each die you will need two 2" square pieces of cardboard with a one inch square cut out of the center

Using the sanding block, sand each side of each square towards the center at any angle greater than 45° (this goes pretty quickly with coarse grit sandpaper, so make sure you don't sand too much off the edge!)  Go as close to the edge of the square as you can though, without losing the edge.

Now test fit four of the squares into your cardboard square form as shown -

If they all fit, wet the connecting sides of each square and place in the form.  Add the second square of cardboard over the first.

Now re-wet an inside corner and apply a roll of clay

Press the clay firmly into the corners to join the pieces, and repeat with remaining corners.  Pull the second piece of cardboard up to the top of the clay square and set it aside to dry.

When the clay is dry, remove the cardboard forms, clean off any stray bits of clay and file the inside corners at an angle (if needed).

Now test fit the top and bottom squares.  You will most likely have to file the edges of these down a bit and increase the angle of the interior of the square to get them to fit within the cardboard forms again.  When you've finished adjusting the top and bottom pieces, make a mixture of clay and water to the consistency of thick paste.  Wet the top rim of the square and the edges of the piece you are adding.  Place a heavy layer of your paste mixture along the inside of the cube then place the top section on and press firmly.  Repeat with bottom piece, then place the entire cube back into the cardboard form to hold the cube together securely while it dries.

When all is dry, remove from the form and sand any rough spots or clean up as necessary.  Paint as desired.

To play with the dice, throw one or all three, then draw a picture using the elements shown on the dice.  It's up to you and the other people you are playing with as to how strict you want to be with the elements - just suggestions? or perhaps you want to play with a timer and each person HAS to use all three of the elements in his or her drawing.  

Blue, Triangle, Diagonal Lines, Go!

Some other suggestions for creative dice making:
  • Animal dice - each person would have to act like that animal, make a noise like them, or say a fact.
  • Story dice - make dice with different pictures pasted on them and the players have to make up a story about what comes up - or, paste pictures of family and friends on the die or dice and then their photo comes up they have to tell a story (about themselves, or, make something up)
  • Monster dice - one or two dice with the names of body parts - eyes, legs, antennae, teeth, etc. one with numbers, and one with colors.  Players make a picture of a monster with whatever they roll, for example, green monster with 6 eyes.
The possibilities are limitless!  The author of "Tinkerlab" suggests textures, emotions, movements, etc.

Thanks for joining me here again!  As always, play, experiment, and have fun!

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1 comment:

Michelle said...

Wow! The dice are wonderful. Such clever little things! Thanks for showing how it's done.

And I think it's pretty cool to be your grandsons teacher. 😀