Saturday, 26 November 2011

Art Project 4 - How to make a Christmas Mobile Decoration

a snowman mobile
You will Need:
1 x polystyrene large pizza base with a circular middle cut away, or a piece of really thick and heavy cardboard cut into a round (adult to cut using heavy duty scissors of craft knife), again cut out a circular middle. Minimum measurement from edge to edge approx 12" (33cm) across

Green or silver poster paint (optional)

A selection of green coloured scrap paper and bits of material, plus a few bits of red coloured papers and/or textile scraps such as felt, also a small piece of shiny paper/card, holographic for example, for the Snowman's hat.

Silver thread or curling ribbon

Sheet of white card 

Also PVA glue, glue stick, selection of felt tipped pens (including orange),scissors, single hole punch, stapler, pencil and compass (see below Figure 1)

Figure 1

There is a lot of cutting and sticking and some painting involved in this activity and
it cannot be finished in a hurry, as there may be two sides of the wreath to decorate, as well as two snowmen to make, using the white card, that will be stuck back to back to make one single snowman. Remember too, that this is a mobile and so should be hung when finished so that it can be viewed from all angles. Of course it is perfectly alright to hang and display the finished wreath against a wall, where one side will always be unseen, nevertheless, the idea is, that there is no back and front so to speak. It would, therefore, be best hanging in a window, or down from the ceiling where it will twist and turn, and the snowman too will slowly move and spin independently from the wreath itself. Therefore, everything you make will require a nicely decorated front and a nicely decorated back, a complete finish - so attention to detail is important. If young children are making, as was the case with the samples shown, I would recommend that the activity is best executed in stages, over a couple of days or so, to keep it fun.

If using a piece of circular cardboard NB the cardboard must be very thick, as flimsy, thinner card will curl and bend up when hanging in warm rooms, especially over radiators, first apply paint on one side and leave to dry, and then paint the other side and leave to dry. You can stick down leaves on both sides or opt to leave one side painted and plain. Alternatively, if you are using the polystyrene, then either leave the whole thing unpainted or paint the textured side only. Stick leaf shapes down on the smooth side (as I said do not paint this side).

Cut out lots of leaf shapes from the variety of green materials collected. Material used on the samples were mainly shades of different green coloured papers some shiny, some dark, some lime green, mostly taken from old scraps of craft papers and gift wrapping paper and old holographic gift bags, plus bits of bottle green felt and thin green card. The leaves do not have to be serrated like a real holly leaf, it works perfectly well to leave edges smooth.

Take the wreath shaped piece, polystyrene or card, painted or unpainted and begin to stick leaves on. Try not to leave many gaps and overlap as shown. Use PVA on polystyrene,or use either PVA or the glue stick if making from card.

 Add red berries cut from the red coloured scraps.
Once one side has been completed, repeat the same on the reverse or leave painted or unpainted as instructed.

The next step is to make the snowman. First make a snowman's body. Draw a circle that will measure, at least, a 3" (8cm) across, on white card and cut out. Then make two heads, by drawing two further circles that measures approx 2" (5.5cm) across and cut out. Place one smaller circle to form the head  on one side of the body, and then line up the other circle by matching up on the reverse. Fix in one go, either with a staple all the way through, or by applying glue both sides and holding fast for a short time until the 'heads' are secure.
Make the snowman's 'hats' out of shiny paper, any colour, not necessarily green or red. NB the sample at the top of this blog post shows a snowman's hat made from blue holographic card. Remember to make two identical shaped hats, in a bowler hat shaped style, use the snowman's head to measure and gauge good sizing. Stick one hat on with glue to front side as shown, then line up the second hat on to the reverse head, and, again with main colour facing forward, secure, with glue. Hold in place for a few moments as the 'hats' have a tendency to slip and slide, especially  if using the PVA. Once dry, use the felt tipped pens to give the snowman facial features and buttons. Repeat all of the same design on the reverse side so you have a double-sided snowman. The sample shows three black buttons, a mouth made from black dots in a smile, two round eyes and an orange nose.
Lastly punch a single hole in the centre of the snowman's hat and string up him up using a length of silver embroidery thread (or similar). Ensure the thread you cut is a piece long enough to hang the snowman as well as incorporate a hanging loop for the whole mobile. To do this hold the snowman in a central position within the wreath, attach the thread with a staple along the top end of the wreath so the snowman can swing freely (figure 2). You should be left with two lengths of thread at the top end that are long enough to tie together to make a loop. Use to hang the mobile. This loop can fit on a ceiling hook, window fitment or similar. Allow the mobile to turn and spin freely. Alternatively attach a piece of curling ribbon to hang.

figure 2
The instructions can be used but a different Christmastime theme could replace the Snowman i.e. a hanging Christmas tree, a Father Christmas, or perhaps a cute Penguin.

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