Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994
Submitted by: Kristin Anson
School: International School of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Grade Level: Grades 2/3
Objectives: Children will learn about...
Reusing plastics to create art.
Creating balanced designs
Making artwork together in small groups
In their classrooms, students studied about saving the environment and the destructive effect that plastics have on the earth. In class, I showed them some great examples of bottle cap art online. We talked about the three R's-- Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
Below: Examples of recycling art work. Click on the images for full size.
1. First, we collected bottles... we had a contest in the elementary school to see who would bring in the most. The winner brought in over 500!
2. I had large organic shapes cut out of thin plywood -- this was important to do in the beginning so the children could see the shape of the final product and plan accordingly.
3. The first day, the students were divided into groups of 5 or 6 at a large table. The plywood sat in the middle of the table with box of empty bottles. We discussed basic elements of design and I demonstrated a few different designs in the middle. I then let the students work together to create their own designs-- every time a group came up with one they liked, I took a photo of it. We did this for 45 minutes and each group came up with 2 or 3 ideas.
4. I prepared a bulletin board with all the photographs of the designs labeled (A1, A2, B1, B2, etc) for the next class-- each class got to choose two. They then re-made the design on the plywood with the correct bottles and each bottle was labeled on the lid so that we knew which design it went with. Each class then had a box of bottles and cut "bottle bottoms" with a photo of the design on the front and each bottle labeled with Sharpie marker.
5. The next step was painting both the bottles and the plywood-- some of the groups chose all of the colors and others I chose for them. This was a great opportunity to talk about complementary colors and what makes a design "pop." We painted over the course of 3 classes (45 minutes each). When they were dry, I had the groups re-make the design with the painted bottles to see how it changed from the original and to take another photo. I allowed the kids a chance to paint over with a new color if they didn't like the results-- as long as the group agreed.
6. The last step was the glue-- I bought adhesive latex glue and dumped it on the plywood- -the students used large brushes to spread it and they had a blast! The bottles were carefully stuck in the glue (they just followed the pictures). Lots of groups then decided to add bottlecaps for extra flair.
7. The results were amazing and the students were so proud -- the plastic bottle art is now hanging outside near the playground.
Secrets of Rusty Things: Transforming Found Objects into Art - Secrets of Rusty Things takes readers behind the scenes to show them each step in the assemblage art process. It covers everything from gathering found-object materials to putting them together in a way that tells a meaningful story. Authored by artist, Michael de Meng.
Wary Meyers' Tossed & Found: Unconventional Design from Cast-offs - In this witty book, the authors apply their approach to seating (a chair made from pool noodles), lighting (a lamp from discarded pastry bags), storage (an umbrella stand from industrial steel pipe), tables (a wall-mounted table from a rusty basketball hoop), and all manner of decorative objects (Astroturf pillows, a pickle-jar terrarium).
Found Object Art II - So much junk and so many different ways to turn it into real works of art. 83 featured artists with their short bios and statements interesting and often charged with environmental passion. Photographs are clear and good sized.
See Ms. Anson's newsletter article about her project below (Click on the image for full size):