Torn Paper Mache with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes: .............................................. ...........................................................
Appreciate that lines define our environment
Introduce the concept of positive and negative space
Understand that Art includes a variety of form using different media
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
Understand that all space in a piece of art has to be considered
25 pencils
25 erasers
25 6" x 9" cardboard sheets
newspaper to cover work areas
recycled paper scraps
paper mache solution
Vocabulary: Positive and Negative Space, Media, Texture, Line
I cut the background cardboard for this project from empty photocopy paper boxes. I love using recycled products and it's even better when they are free.

To start, students need to be sure their name is on the back of the cardboard. Next, cover the cardboard sheets with bond paper and the paper mache glue solution. It doesn't really matter how big the paper pieces are. The paper needs to go over the edge and on to the back of the cardboard. But, don't cover over the name! It is very important that the edges be smooth. If the edges are rough when they are wet, they will be rough when they are dry. When the cardboard has been covered, set it outside to dry.

Helpful hint: When the cardboard dries, it's going to curve -- especially if they are saturated with paper mache. It's better if the amount of paper mache is less rather than more. The projects should not drip.

Another Helpful hint: After the cardboard dries, mist them with a little water and then press them flat with old encyclopedias. In these days of the Internet, what else can you use them for? Place one board on an encyclopedia and put another book on top of the board. Continue to sandwich the boards about ten books high.

I like to have the students plan two sketches. Then, they can decide which design they will create with torn paper. Since they will be doing their art with torn paper scraps, it is important not to have too much detail. It would not be possible to do with torn paper. Designs have to be fairly simple.

In the second lesson, students draw their design onto the surface of the cardboard with a pencil. Then, use recycled paper scraps to cover the background. Once again, the paper needs to go around the edges. To do that, they need larger pieces of paper. These should later be covered with smaller pieces no bigger than the student's thumbnail. The smaller the paper, the more detail the student will be able to add and the better the final results. Do not dry these outside in the sun. The paper will fade.

Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.