Looking for new ART ideas for Earth Day?  These are three of our favorites that focus on REDUCING, REUSING, and RECYCLING materials in a new way!

A better Pile of Scraps

Let's start with an easy way to make your scrap pile more appealing.  

This is not something that needs to be kept up on daily.  Just collect those tangle scrap paper in a box and then next time you've got some downtime, trim them into squares and rectangles and add back into your art area.  It's a little thing, but take a look below.  In our experience, the paper in the box on the right side will be used by young artists while the one on the left stays untouched!
We use a papercutter to make quick work of this project!  


Take that same scrap box above (before you nicely trimmed them), and let's make some BRAND NEW pieces of artful paper.  

Here are the supplies that we used:
Scrap paper 
Toilet paper
A blender
A deckle (we use adjustable window screens)
Small plastic tubs from the dollar store
Large plastic tub -- large enough that you can submerge your window screen to the bottom
Felt -- cut to the same size as the screen
LOTS of Water
LOTS and LOTS of towels

STEP ONE: Have your artists tear the scraps into small pieces.  
This is an ART activity.  The types and colors of paper that the kids choose will determine the color of the finished piece.  Mixing a whole bunch of different colors together will most likely result is a brown-nish colored paper.

Place your paper pieces into one of the smaller bins 
STEP TWO: Time to add the toilet paper!  Which is sure to make the kids giggle. 

The toilet paper, breaks down and helps bind the pulp together.  We tore the toilet paper into small bits too.

Tearing is a great fine-motor activity to build those finger muscles!

Once the toilet paper was in, we added water to the small tubs.  The kids played with it, swished the paper bits around and let them soften up for a minute or two.
STEP THREE: Blend the paper and water mixture into a smooth pulp!  The ratio of paper and water isn't important; just make sure that it is able to blend well.
STEP FOUR: Poured the pulp into the big plastic tub and then added enough water to be able to submerge the screen completely.

STEP FIVE: Submerged the screen to the bottom, and swished the water around to evenly disperse the pulp throughout the tub. 

Then, very slowly, lift the screen up to the surface.  

If you do it right, you end up with a thin layer of wet papery pulp that is evenly spread out over the surface of the screen.  

If you don't do it just try again.
STEP SIX: Dry the pulp on the screen.  Let the screen drip over the tub for about 30 seconds or so and then carefully moved it to a nearby towel on the floor.  

Place a piece of felt on top of the pulp VERY CAREFULLY.  Then place another dry towel on top of the felt.  This is our press to get all the water out.  The kids pressed down on the top towel to squeeze out all the water.
When the towels got really wet, we switched then for dry towels to make sure we absorbed all the moisture we could.

The more water you can press out of the pulp, the easier the next step.
STEP SEVEN:  Remove the new paper.  This is the trickiest step.  The good thing is if you mess up trying to take it off the screen, you can just submerge the whole thing back into the water and start again at Step 4!

Uncover the screen/pulp and flipped it upside-down.  (The pulp should stick to the screen if you squeezed all the water out.)  With the felt underneath and the screen upside-down, use your fingers to gently push and loosen the pulp around the perimeter of the screen.

Gravity should do most of the work.  Allow the wet, fragile paper to "fall" onto the felt. 
Then what? Depending on the thickness of the paper, it will take a day or two to dry fully. You can let it dry on the felt.  Once dry, you can just enjoy it for the art that it is OR you can use it for another project.

Here are some ideas for your handmade paper:
1. Paint on it (watercolor would be really pretty)
2. Cut shapes from it and use them to embellish cards or scrapbook pages
3. Use as gift tags
4. Make ornaments, garland, or buntings
5. Cut into strips and use as napkin rings for a special dinner
6. Make a collage
7. Wrap a small present
8. Trace your childs hand and cut it out 
9. Cut into strips and use it for paperweaving

WEIRD collageS

Another Earth Day project -- Use your pile of magazines, junk mail, and paper scraps to make a surrealism collage.  Surrealism a 20th-century avant-garde movement that is known for it's irrational juxtaposition of images.
3 Earth Day Art Ideas - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle [ORANGE EASEL School of Art -]
La Perstencia de la Memoria, by Salvador Dali
3 Earth Day Art Ideas - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle [ORANGE EASEL School of Art -]
The False Mirror, by Rene Magritte
Use the images from other sources to come up with your own weird picture!  When we teach this in the studio, we usually have the artists do all the cutting FIRST.  After they have a nice pile of funny images, we find a background image to use and then begin adding the pieces. 

Here's a collage from one of our classes:
Local to KC?  Join us on May 2nd at our Open Art session to try your hand at Surrealism Collages!


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