Students enjoy a challenge, and making something three-dimensional out of a flat object is an interesting activity with fun results. These 3-D projects can be completed as a group in the school classroom with basic materials. Even better, the projects use paper bags to create three-dimensional projects, allowing students to recycle old bags and turn them into something fun.
Moses and His Hats
Before working with students, post images of the paper bag hats created by the Hawaiian artist Moses around the room as motivation. Ask students to bring in used paper bags from home to use for the 3-D project. Show students the examples of hats that Moses created and discuss how he used the idea of sculpture as motivation for his hat designs. His has were made of paper bags and folded and creased to keep their shape. Explain to students they will use a paper bag, scissors and glue to create their own hat in the style of Moses. Encourage the students to cut, fold and crease their hats into unique forms and shapes. When students are finished with their hats, take pictures of each student wearing their hat. Post pictures of students with their hats alongside images of Moses' hats in the classroom for others to see.
With the leftover paper bags, students can further explore the concept of three dimensions by creating a papier-mâché bowl. Before working with students, create the papier-mâché glue by mixing 1/2 cup flour and 2 cups cold water. Add the flour and water to 2 cups of boiling water. Heat the mixture until it boils and then remove it from heat. Add 3 tbsp. sugar and allow to completely cool. Have students tear the paper bags into thin strips no wider than 1 inch. Put the glue in plastic bowls for students to use. Provide students with a balloon and let them blow it up and tie the end. Use a permanent marker to make a line around the bottom third of the rounded edge of the balloon. This will be the top edge of the papier-mâché bowl. Take a strip of paper bag and run it through the papier-mâché glue, and wipe off the excess with your fingers. Press the strip onto the balloon. Continue pressing strips of paper bag into the glue and on the balloon until the bottom of the balloon is covered up to the line. Allow the papier-mâché bowls to completely dry, which may take a couple days. The balloons will shrink while the bowls are drying, making it easy to remove the papier-mâché bowls from the balloon.
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