Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Art Night Make-and-Take Butterflies and Bugs

I love all things animated and today I'm giving thanks to Anne Farrell over at Use Your Colored Pencils for posting her animated birds.  They use that jumping jack-style, folk art, mechanism to animate them and were the inspiration for the art activity I offered for our school's Art Night last week.
I modified her plan a bit by making a switch from birds to bugs.  I also used cardboard for bug body instead of tag board, a pop stick handle, and kid designed pre-painted papers for the wings (from my art closet stash).

I intended to mechanize the bugs on the spot, but the table was SWAMPED with kids, siblings, and moms and dads, who all wanted in on the glittery fun.  Instead of workable wings, the kids used brass fasteners or glue to attach their wings, and went merrily off into the night with their new "bug puppet" being none the wiser.

I offered the same project to my after school artists and with this much smaller group, found there was enough time to make the bugs and attach the mechanism in one session.  I was a HUGE hit.

Here's what I did.

Before You Begin.
Pre-cut a pile of cardboard blanks (about 21/2" X 6")--cut these ACROSS the grain of the cardboard.
Round the top and bottom of the cardboards and snip out two wedges on each side to form the body. (Save these wedges to make a cute nose for your bug)
Punch holes for wings.

Make a few cereal box templates for wing shapes.

Cut painted papers to fit wing template.

Cut long size pipe cleaners into thirds.

Lets Go!
Give each child a cardboard body.  Give wiggle eyes, beads, paper scraps, pop stick and markers first, then glitter, yarn, paper scraps, sequins etc. next.  Kids should glue stick to back and work on front while the handle is setting up.

Offer bits of wire and beads.  Wires can be stuck into the cardboard corrugations for antenna and straight through the cardboard body for legs.  When the body is finished set aside.

Offer a selection of pre-painted papers and a template to trace and cut the wings.  (Folded so they can cut two at a time).  Wings look great with sequins and paper scrap designs!

Punch the holes in the wings and attach with brass fasteners.
A needle and embroidery thread is helpful if mechanizing your bug.  Thread it through each wing just below the hole and tie.  Make sure to leave a little slack.

Tie a heavier pull cord to the thread with an overhand knot and adjust until both wings lift.  Slide the knot on the string to center it.

Tie a bead to the end of the cord.  And enjoy the love.

I'll be adapting this project further during the summer by offering glow-in-the-dark paint to create fire flies and glow bugs.    

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