Monday, December 5, 2011

Owls, Foil, Glue, and Shoe Polish

(original artwork by David, grade 5)
Art Club, Grades 1-6
This is one of my all-time favorite projects. The technique has been around for years, and I've loved using it several times with my students. This time around, our art is of owls and leaves.

We first planned our compositions, paying attention to all of the positive and negative spaces. We wanted to be sure they were all interesting. Here are some step-by-step instructions. Let me know if you need help!

1. Draw your picture on paper the size of your final cardboard. Just the big shapes, no details.

**I've noticed on Pinterest  some people think we used coloring book images. Not so- we used our own drawings for these. We had owl photos and real leaves to look at, and I reminded the artists to keep it simple, fill the page, and no details. You could use coloring books, but the kid's drawings are so wonderful, I would hate to miss out on them!!


2. Go over your simple drawing with Sharpie.
3. Turn your drawing over. On the back, use your pencil on it's side  to go over your lines.
4. Place your drawing right side up on cardboard and trace over your lines for a graphite transfer to the cardboard. (Or, if you want to speed this up, just draw directly on the cardboard. I like to teach the transfer skill, something they can use on future projects.)
5.Go over with Sharpie if needed to see lines clearly.




6. Use a thick, tacky glue to go over the lines and let dry.
(This image has the glue lines on it- they have dried clear.)


7. Use a glue stick to attach the foil. (Shiny or dull side showing-you decide.)
8. Wrap the foil over the front and to the back.
9. Press foil down around dry glue lines. Use a paper towel over your fingers as you rub to avoid tearing the foil.
10. Then use a cotton swab up against the glue outlines once the foil is pressed down, just to be sure the glue outlines show up really well.
11. Draw patterns in all of the spaces with a dull pencil. (Use a variety of types of line and scales of patterns.)

Once you've filled all of the spaces, rub over the whole thing with black shoe polish, wait a few seconds, and wipe off. (I use the kind that comes in a bottle with a sponge applicator lid.)






A couple of you have commented on the color- the results will be an aged silver metal look, something along the color lines of pewter. The golden effect in my photos is the result of reflected color from the walls and low light since I didn't use a flash. 


Yes. Lots of steps. A bit teacher intensive- I put the glue on at home. Times 150, that takes a bit of time! But the results are so wonderful!
I've used this in conjunction with illuminated manuscript in the past- so kids did a single letter with borders and lots of decorative patterns. And I think these would be perfect for Day of the Dead skulls...maybe some year I'll do that!

When I was hanging these up, parents, teachers, and kids all stopped to ask about them- I love being able to tell my Art Club artists how much people enjoy their art work! The most common word I heard was "WOW!!"

Make it a wonderful day!

169 comments:

  1. Wow it is! Oh my goodness they are beautiful! I want to come and sit in the class!

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  2. Very, very cool...you know, you could sell some of this stuff!!! xo, Nan

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  3. Did you use just any cardboard? What glue did you use, Elmers??

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  4. Bluaqua- We used Aleene's Tacky Glue. You can use regular Elmers, but it spreads more and leads to a flatter line. I've tried a glue gun, but that leaves a very raised line that can lead to torn foil. Over the years, I've used various types of cardboard, depending on what I had on hand. But be careful using a soft cardboard- the corrugated layer can show through a bit. And kids can poke holes in the foil if it pushes in too much.

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  5. On the fourth picture down what are rubbing into the canvas. This is realy cool art. Do you have any suggestions for turning this into something for a babies room. Thank you

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  6. What a cool project- will definitely try this one. I've always heard great things about Aleene's Tacky Glue- another reason to buy some!

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  7. Jo- one idea is to do the child's name or initial. Or, if there is a motif in a print used in bedding or other fabric in the room, you could incorporate that. Or any room theme- I'm thinking of my grandson who loves cars- cars would be cool! Or zoo animals, or woodland creatures, or the alphabet, or.... :D

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  8. Jo- I forgot to answer your other question. The photo you're talking about is when we used the side of our pencil to rub the pencil lead on the back of the drawing lines. We then put that on top of our cardboard, drawing over the lines. The graphite then transfers the drawing from the paper to the cardboard.

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  9. Its very interesting,,All the best :)
    I am a follower now, Come & join me, you will have FUN ~

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  10. This is so, SO neat! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  11. This is pretty cool! I'm a little confused, though, about how you transfer the picture onto the cardboard. Can you explain that a little more, please?

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  12. Hi Jean! Draw your picture. Turn it over, and with the side of your pencil led, go over all of your lines. Then place your drawing right side up on the cardboard, and go over your lines. As you do, the graphite will transfer your lines to the cardboard. Does that make sense?? Let me know if you have any more questions!:D

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  13. Great art! You are amazing! I cannot wait to try this with my daughter when she is old enough for this kind of project!

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  14. This reminds me of Mexican "repujado"- totally different technique, but really similar result!!!

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  15. Saw this on Pinterest. Thanks so much for posting the instructions. I have a Mixed Media class I'm teaching with 6-8th grade girls. They will flip for this!!!

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    1. Thanks Shirley- I'd LOVE to see the work you do in the class!!

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  16. I'm doing this in 2 weeks, a little simplified, with a montessori 1st-3rd class. We are studying art history as a framework for our art curriculum (in a 3 year arc) and it's time to do something roman. Coins: we're going to make these into 6 inch circles and they'll transfer a profile on one side and an image of their choice on the other. Good to hear you did the glue part. I was trying to figure out how to simplify the project and not have 30 bottles of glue spilling gunk everywhere. I'm tempted to not do the shoe polish because of their age and ability level...markers? tempera? Hmm.

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    1. with the coins, BE sure to write their name carefully in glue or somewhere attach it. Once they are painted or wrapped in foil, all photos look the same!

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    2. I'd love to see how they turned out!! Have you posted them anywhere? (Getting names on artwork is something I struggle with every year!!) :D

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    3. http://south-city-musings.blogspot.com/2012/05/roman-coins-lesson.html

      I wish I'd gotten more pix of them but I was busy, you know, doing art!!

      I had each of them put initials on the coin to start, and then they took them home the same day they inked them, so names were not that big of an issue for us (we're a small school currently residing in a church basement so we have no display room for any art or anything else until we move next year--so art goes right home!).

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  17. ack I just saw I should leave an email address:
    hickory.hardscrabble@gmail.com
    Any tips would be most most welcome!

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  18. Hi Bridgett! I think the sponge applicator shoe polish is really easy to use. You could have the kids rub it on with the sponge applicator, and then you could rub it off. (I wear thin rubber gloves when I work with shoe polish, but if the kids are just holding the bottle as they apply it, it's not messy for them. I think it makes enough difference that it's worth doing. I've used thinned acrylic paint, but it looks more chalky when it dries. The polish actually buffs up nicely. Hope that helps!

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  19. Thank you for clarifying this art is done by your students. They are astounding, and so is their creativity!
    My sister, Annette Everett (a professional sculptor on Pinterest) and I are excited to follow your instructions and create our own "glue art", tomorrow!
    You are an inspired artist and teacher. We thank you.

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  20. I'm doing this project now with 5/6th grade students! I really like the idea of using a dull pencil AFTER putting on the foil in order to get more details! Did you just tape down the foil on the back? Or is it cut to fit the cardboard?

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    1. Me Mar, I'd love to see what your students come up with! No, we didn't tape down the foil, though you could. We just wrapped it around to the back, so the foil formed to the cardboard and just stayed put on it's own. (We practiced making patterns in the foil on the back, just to get a feel for how hard to press, etc.)

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. Susan Robinson ShewanMarch 16, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    What a wonderful teacher you are!! Nice to see a focus on arts in the classroom. Wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Susan! But I teach AFTER school!! I'm fortunate to teach art as a PTSA sponsored, extra-curricular activity. But it makes me sad too- there is so little art in the regular curriculum, with no art specialists for elementary students in our district.

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  23. These look so amazing. I also found you on pinterest and am wondering 2 things: what was the age group you were working with? And if you didn't use corrugated cardboard, what kind did you use and where do you get cardboard that isnt corrugated? I would like to do this for a class of 28 4th graders and am wondering if it is appropriate. I do the art docent once a month but we can change the projects if we would like. This looks much more interesting and more beautiful final product than the lesson already planned.

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    1. Hi Lisa. Thanks for stopping by! I did these with grades 1 through 6. I think 4th grade will be great! A couple of hints: Have source pictures available. If you want to spend less time, just have the class draw directly on the cardboard, skipping the graphite transfer part. 4th graders can put the glue on themselves, but if you have another parent helper, they could help with the gluing too. You'll have to let the glue dry, so it will take you two sessions. I had the kids come to me and I put the shoe polish on, and they wiped it off. That way, you aren't buying a ton of shoe polish.
      You asked about the cardboard-the cardboard I use varies, depending on what I have access to! :D You could use scrap mat board or any sturdy, smooth board. If you can only find corrugated, that will work, but the texture may show and there is some risk of poking through the foil because the board is too soft. Hope all this helps! Oh, and I STRONGLY suggest you try it out at home first, so you have a feel for how it all works out BEFORE trying it with your students. Let me know how it goes! I've done this project many times, and we always LOVE how they turn out.

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  24. Hi, Where did you find gold foil? Amazing project!

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    1. Thanks! We used regular aluminum foil from the grocery store, not a special foil. If it looks gold, it's just from reflections of color in the surroundings. (I've seen other metal tooling projects that use heavier metal sheets, and those can be found in a variety of metallic finishes.)

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    2. Thanks! I'm going to try this with my 2nd graders. We're going to draw a simple blossom instead of owls (to go with spring time)! Wish me luck!

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  25. How do these "hold up"? Can I use in a small area of my kitchen? Thinking foil should be safe since it can be used in the oven. Thinking of doing this with grandkids. Thank you!!

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    1. Hi- I think they hold up well. But I've heard from many parents of my students that they've framed them, so glass really protects the foil. I have some samples I've had for years that I pull out and pass around when teaching kids and also when teaching workshops to adults, and so far, no problems even with them being handled. (I'd love to see what you do with your grands!!) :D

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  26. Sallgood,

    I have done this with oaktag for a Mexican repujado project with great success. I just wanted to mention to all of your readers, that I save every box that comes out of my kitchen, cut them up and use them in my artroom. Cereal boxes, cracker boxes etc. are the perfect weight cardboard for foil embossed art projects. Love, Love, Love your students owls and leaves!

    :)Pat

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  27. Many years ago I used this technique with copper. I highlighted certain areas with a translucent paint and then antiqued over it. Do you have any idea what kind of paint I might have used? Cooper is out of the question now but I think it would work the same with aluminum foil.

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    1. Rosemary, I've used thinned acrylic paint, so that may be what you used. The advantage to paint is the variety of colors. Or you may have used a product designed specifically for antiquing or adding a patina. I've seen these in paste and liquid form.
      But I prefer the look and ease of using shoe polish. The acrylic paint dries with a duller matte finish. I like the way you can lightly buff the shoe polish too. And with kids, the shoe polish is cheaper and easier to apply than a patina product. Thanks for stopping by! :D

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  28. I did this as a Mother's Day/Father's Day project for my parents, using all 9 grandchildren's hand prints. I would love to send you a picture! Do you have an email I can send it to?
    Donna L.

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    1. Hi Donna! I'd love to see a photo-the grand's hand prints is a GREAT idea!! email me at stephanieallgood@hotmail.com

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  29. Is it okay to pin this? I would love to do this with my grandkids this summer, but may forget the steps. thanks...it's awesome

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    1. Yes, you may pin a photo that links back to my blog. Please don't pin the text.
      I'd love to see what you make! :D

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  30. You said to use glue stick in the instructions. Do you apply it to the cardboard in the areas that didn't get the tacky glue to keep the aluminum foil down or were just using it to keep the foil attached to the back of the piece?

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    1. We used the glue on the front-in the spaces between the raised glue lines. I think it helps to keep the foil in place for fewer rips when adding the texture/patterns with the dull pencil. Hope that helps!

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  31. Love it, thank you so much for sharing. It seems like everyone has asked, and you have answered, any questions that I had. I look forward to putting this on our summer activity list, in preparation for doing art in my children's classrooms in the fall! It reminds me of the time I had done this as a child myself! I clearly remember my flat elmers glue lines, my pencil poking through my cardboard (we used cut up boxes) and tearing my tinfoil with my pencil eraser. Although I can't help but think my teacher was brilliant to introduce this to us 30 plus years ago. I look forward to using your inspired techniques and instruction. Tutorials like yours make the children at our school think that I am a true artist, and I love you for that!

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    1. Thank you Demaris. It is a fun technique, one that's been around for a long time! The fine tuning in my tutorial comes from experiencing all of the potential pitfalls describe...I hope this time around, you have great success! :D

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  32. I am doing an upcoming blog post about summer art projects for kids. I'd love to include your photo of the finished project, as I'll include your post as one of my projects. This is a very fun idea, and I know my girls will enjoy making one of their own. :)

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  33. Wow! Thank you for posting this! Simply beautiful! I'm doing one now and can't wait to do many with my boys for family! :)

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  34. Love this idea! Would this work better with heavy
    duty aluminum foil?

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    1. Hi. I've tried it with heavy duty foil, but I find that the thinner foil works better. It molds more easily to the glue, and it is easier for kids to draw in the textures with their pencils for better detail. I'd love to see your artwork if you use this tutorial! :D

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  35. These are fabulous! I want to do this activity at a summer camp, but I have 300 12-13 year olds. How long does the activity take? Mainly how long does the glue take to dry? Thanks!

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    1. Thanks! I'd break it up into two sessions- one day,draw and glue, and the next day, foil, detail, and shoe polish. The glue should dry for at least a few hours (depending on conditions) so the glue dries clear and firm. Hope you enjoy the process and results!

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  36. Neat! I did this when I was in elementary school, but we used steel wool over the image instead of shoe polish.

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  37. wonderful, thanks for sharing this!

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  38. If I were to make a larger sized board, how do you think it would work to piece the foil.

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    1. I think you could do it- I would incorporate the seams into my design. Just be sure the edges are glued down when you glue stick. The shoe polish will catch on the foil edges, so the lines will show. Let me know if you come up with something!

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  39. I love the look of this, and just tried it out, but the shoe polish wiped right off and it looks like regular foil again. Can you specify what you did with the shoe polish to get the result

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    1. You can try letting the shoe polish dry a bit longer before rubbing off. We rubbed gently so as to not disturb the polish caught in our embossed textures. If you want more of an antiqued look, leave the shoe polish in areas without rubbing off.

      You might also try using the back side of the foil if you want less shine. I let the kids choose the look they liked-shiny or dull side up.

      Let me know if you get a result you like!!

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  40. This is so easy and so pretty!!! Trial went very well. We are making this as a 'Thank you' gift for our teachers. My 5 year old was well impressed, how her little drawing turned in to an amazing artwork. Thank you for great tutorial!

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  41. Hi! Any chance you would consider doing a video tutorial on this? It seems easy enough, but I'd love to 'see' it before I try it! Either way, thanks for a great craft idea. :)

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    1. A video is a great idea, but I'm pretty tech-challenged! :D

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  42. hello,
    this is really cool, we just finished one. but when we rubbed off the shoe polish it all came off. is that supposed to happen? it looks like regular tin foil? how do you get that gold color?
    thanks,

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    1. Try leaving the shoe polish on a bit longer before gently rubbing it.

      Did you use the shiny side of the foil? You might prefer the results using the dull side better.

      It won't look gold using regular kitchen foil. The effect in my pics may just be the lighting- I didn't use a flash, so the photos may be more warmer in tone. Let me know if you are able to get results you are happy with! :D

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  43. I did this project with my 8-year-old cousin and it turned out really well! I didn't use a puffy glue, so we had to do two layers before we could do the foil, but it turned out really well and I think this is something we'll try again when she's a bit older. Great idea and beautiful results...I bet your kids love this project!

    -Faye-

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    1. I'm glad you had a good time! Two layers of glue is a good solution when using regular glue. I'd love to see your artwork! :D

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  44. I was so happy to find your site! My daughter did this project almost twenty years ago and I had it framed and it still hangs on my wall. I plan to use this project for VBS, but we couldn't remember all the steps. Thanks to you, now I have them and feel confident the kids will enjoy this and have something that may last a life time.

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    1. I know from many parents that this is artwork that gets framed! I'm glad to have helped out, and I'd love to see your daughter's art and what your VBS kids make too!

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  45. I am going back to teaching after a two year leave of absence and my classroom theme is going to be owls. This would be a perfect project for my students for a holiday gift. Thanks for sharing it.

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  46. I normally do wood working projects, but came across this on Pinterest and thought I would give it a try. I don't have shoe polish but was wondering if you think a wood stain would give it the same effect?

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    1. I think wood stain might work- you could try a small sample piece and see what you think. Let me know how it goes! :)

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  47. This is awesome! I teach at the high school level but I have going to use this technique to make sketchbook covers in one of my classes!. Great idea and instructions! Thanks

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  48. I love this!!! Forget the kids, I did this for myself. It makes very cool Halloween art.

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  49. I love this!!! I'm making Halloween art and it's so cool!

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  50. Amazing!.. And I do remember doing projects like this when I was in school, with a thicker foil of some kind, but very much the same idea. I believe the teacher made us bring our own shoe polish, if I remember right... But then I also remember using India Ink? hmmmm... Well, thanks for the memories, however vague they may be!! (0; Honestly, I may try my hand at this again myself, in my own art journal! Looks like fun, some night while watching t.v.! ~tina

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    1. Thanks! I've tried ink and paint, but the shoe polish works the best!
      I love the feel of drawing the patterns into the foil-very rewarding. :D

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  51. Thanks so much for posting and patiently answering all questions, which helped me as well. I, too, plan to teach this lesson to over 300 students gr.1-8 to whom I teach art,as a retired art teacher!

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  52. This is such a wonderful project, I can't wait to try it out! I posted this on Pinterest and changed the comment about it being a coloring page. I love to draw and love original art! Thank you!

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  53. Lots of praise, and well deserved! Thank you for the amazing art project. We'll be using this idea very soon for my two home school sons :)

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    1. Thanks so much to you and to everyone who has taken the time to comment. I know my students are so proud of their work!

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  54. Super ! I have done it with a hen before. I will try this one for Fall/ halloween
    I will posted on my Facebook.com/ studioarte.page around October if you will like to see them
    Gracias !

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  55. My 7 year old son just finished this art project today. He did a cardinal one. It turned out amazing. Thank you so much for this awesome idea. I would love to send you some pics through email if you like.

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    1. That would be great! stephanieallgood@hotmail.com

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  56. What a fantastic project we really enjoyed it and look forward to doing it again... here's a link to my blog where I posted our pics (they look so much better in person!) Thanks http://appleseedandacorn.blogspot.com/2012/09/awesome-art.html

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    1. So cute! I'm happy to see that you enjoyed this project!

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  57. came upon this and was very impressed, especially when i seen the owls. I have a new found love for owls and so wanted to try this. seemed pretty simple but mine didnt quite look like the ones you posted. Instead of using only the shoe polish, i decided to add some color to my owl(with acrylic paints) came out not bad. thank you for sharing!!!

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    1. Another way to add color is to use sharpie colored makers on the foil. I'll post a sample of one I did using the same glue, pencil, and foil technique. Instead of shoe polishing the whole thing, I used markers to accentuate the patterns with color. (I'd love to see your results!) :D

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    2. Please do add your pic for us to see. Sounds interesting.

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  58. I went looking for some crafts to do with the before school group at our daycare and came upon this activity. I was really taken with so we did it! Just finished it up this week with gluing the boards on black cardstock. I only have the kids for about 30 minutes every morning so I broke it down into many steps! They were put on display for a few days and everyone is raving about how cool they look! I am super pleased with how easy it was and the kids were so excited to move onto each step. We started with drawing, then we did the glue and we let it fry for 2 days, the we put on the foil, then we put in the designs, then we did the shoe polish. Wanted to tell you also, that instead of pencils, we used our styluses from the Nintendo Ds games! And the shoe polish I used was just a cheap dollar store wax one. Turned out great! Thanks!

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  59. Just finished this up with my before school group of grade 1-6 kids. I only have them for a half hour each morning so we broke it down into a lot of steps over many days. We used styluses instead of pencils and dollar store wax shoe polish and they turned out great! They were put on display for a few days and everyone is raving about how cool they look. I have adult co-workers who want to do it! Thanks for a great idea and simple instructions!

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  60. Thanks for the great tutorial and directions. I didn't have shoe polish so I used craft paint instead. I also made them into magnets.

    http://pinkstripeysocks.blogspot.com/2012/10/crapty-friday-faux-metal-magnets-made.html

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  61. somehow i stumbled upon the owl foil picture..... first, i am soo a fan of owls, second, i am a lifelong artist and this captured my interest and i immediately thought"gorgeous idea with many possibilities".... THEN, i discovered a 5th grader had done the owl = AWESOME!!! & you are the teacher....OMG would have loved to have you as my art teacher... i (at 43) attribute my art teachers as some of the most influential people in my life.... you have done a splendid job and im sure the kids you teach will carry some part of your passion on in their adult lives!!! kudos to you!
    Lesley Sylvia RI

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    1. Lesley, you are so kind! I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many awesome kids. :D

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  62. Any preference for the foil?

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    1. I use the regular foil made by Reynolds Wrap. It's available at the grocery store, though I use enough of it that I buy it at Costco.

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  63. I'd like to make this as a gift for my sorority sisters with the owls, but is there anyway to put this on something other than cardboard, such as a piece of wood?

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    1. Hmmm- that's an interesting idea! I don't see why you couldn't do it on wood. But the back might need to be covered in some way- the foil wrapped around the back isn't the most finished look!
      One idea would be to make it as described, but instead of mounting it on poster board, mount it on painted wood. That would take care of creating a framed look, and covering the back so it looks neat.
      Many of my students have told me their parents have framed this piece. So even on cardboard, it can become a treasured artwork. You could keep the cost down by picking the frame first, and then make sure the art will fit it nicely.
      I'd love to hear how you work this out, and I'd love to see the results! :D

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  64. So cool! Definetly going to give this one a try!

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  65. I need a video haha!!

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  66. i'm with laura and lesley - these look so beautiful and elegant that i want to make some for myself for my home!! excellent idea!! i found you on pinterest and i also changed the caption saying it was from a coloring book. your kids are super talented, i never would have guessed those were made by 8 year olds!! i'm thinking of making some of these as christmas gifts!!

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  67. I tried this using a tin can of shoe polish (Kiwi). The kind you spit into and then rub on with a soft cloth. Not pleased with the results. Should I try a bottle of shoe polish instead of the tin? The Kiwi left kind of a smeary look in the plain areas.

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    1. I'm sorry your polish didn't work out. The liquid polish is much like using ink, only easier! I'd definitely try the liquid polish for best results.

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  68. This is really cool! Thank you for this idea...I want to make one for my sister, she loves owls!

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  69. could you share what you used as examples of art for the kids to inspire them and get them going? Thanks so much!!

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    1. I've loaned them to another teacher. But I can tell you we used photographs of owls from nature calendars and owl illustrations I gathered from cards, books, and the internet. The trick is to remind the kids to keep to the big shapes and not to add detail when they draw. The details are added once the foil is covering the simple glue shapes. Hope that helps!

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  70. I really love this art project. I am doing this with my second graders. I had to omit the first few steps. We traced a printed page with the glue and will cover it with foil. They are super excited about the outcome! I am too!

    Jennifer Froman
    South Elementary
    Lamesa, Texas

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  71. Es un trabajo realmente maravilloso, felicitaciones

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  72. Very neat!! My 1st grader LOVES artsy projects. This would make a wonderful Christms gift...something coming from the heart!! This is on our project list. Thank you so much for posting. Enail: connie_in_tejas@yahoo.com

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  73. this is a lovely idea, i've seen it several times now on pinterest but it was great to find the original source. We made our thank you cards using this idea, I'm referencing you in my post on it. Thanks

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  74. Out of curiosity, do you think 6 is too young for this project? My youngest child is 6 and my oldest is 10. I would like to do this next week (they are on Christmas break) and then take it into their teachers. My child's K teacher has owls as a theme, so I thought she would really like it!

    email tpaisley@freedomcomputer.dyndns.org

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    1. I've done this with six year old first graders. I applied the glue for them, but they could handle all the other steps with supervision. Fine motor skills are developing in the six year old, and there is a wide range! So I would test out the technique in a small project to see what you think. Let me know how it goes!

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  75. This is beautiful and thank you very much for all the how to's that have been provided along the way! Do you think foam board, such as from the dollar tree, could be used instead of the cardboard to avoid the texture issue? With much appreciation for your creative teaching skill. :-)

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    1. Foam core would work, though I like finding smooth cardboard to recycle instead. :D Thanks for stopping by!

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  76. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful project. I need to present this to our homeschool class and was wondering about the foil. Is that gold foil? One picture looks like gold, one like silver. Where do I purchase this at least cost? Thanks for replying! mahbooks@hotmail.com

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    1. The foil is just regular weight aluminum foil, the kind you buy at the grocery store. I buy the three pack at Costco. I'd love to see what your homeschoolers make! :D

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  77. I think this is a wonderful project and have now done it myself a couple of times and am planning on getting my kids involved. Sadly, they no longer have art at their elementary. I have been trying to make up for it with projects at home and even incorporating kitchen science experiments. Thanks to you and this amazingly creative project I will be scouring your blog for more fun things to try! I try everything I possibly can at least once and would love to know if there are any particular supplies you would recommend trying out. Also, I think I want to try this project with an underwater theme; I think fish would be fun and a great way to utilize the detailing technique you used. Thanks for a great post with easy to follow instructions and photos :)

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  78. Thanks so much for this great tutorial - I am going to do this with my children x x

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  79. I tried it but my glue seemed to "flatten" a bit while drying. What sort of glue did you use? Thanks for the great ideas!

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    1. I used Eileen's Tacky Glue. It's bit thicker that regular all-purpose glue so it stays put better. All glues will flatten a bit though.
      You could go over your dried glue lines you have with another layer of glue- I've done that on areas that needed more height. (I've also used a hot glue gun, but the challenge there is the glue is too raised-kids have a problem then with the foil tearing.) I'd love to see your artwork! :D

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  80. I work with 7th through 9th graders. This would be well received by them. Thank you! Love all the creativity you have to share!

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  81. Nossa ficou lindo o seu trabalho. Parabéns!
    sweetbulunga.blogspot.pt

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  82. Great job! I'm interested in this kind of look on a journal cover. do you think the foil will hold on the cover of a book that's constantly opened/closed, etc. Maybe if i used a spray glue or modge podge to secure the foil to the book cover? i would probably have to cover it with some sort of acrylic thing, right? any advice would be AWESOME.

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    1. I'm not sure that it would hold up just as the cover. I think I might try this as a piece inserted in a frame. So the cover could be matte board with a window cut in it. Attach the foiled work so it shows through the window. The matte framing would protect the foil a bit from tearing. If you used a piece of transparency paper over it, that might work too. Let me know if you try it out- I'd love to see your project!

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  83. I recently discovered your post on pinterest - what a fabulous idea. I tried it in class the other day with simple self portraits: http://learningoutloudlol.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/self-portrait-foil-art.html

    Thanks for the idea and inspiration!

    Le@rningOutLoud

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  84. Do you attach the foil to the cardboard or the original sheet of paper?

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    1. The foil is glued over the image that you've outlined with glue on the cardboard, not the paper. :D

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  85. Really cool! I want to do this with my grandkids. I'm going to pin it directly from your site instead of repinning the pin that says you did it with coloring book pictures.

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  86. Your project is very inspiring! I think I'll be doing our last name in a frame that I made, alongside our children's handprints. Will post when done : )

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  87. I was successful making a similar version of this project this morning! You gave me inspiration : ) I modified a bit - the foil left air gaps, so I decided to use the end of a paintbrush, and allowed the foil to rip a bit to add interest and dimension. I used a mixture of modge podge and black and brown paint combined, to make sure the foil would stay in place. I put it into a frame that I made out of old cabinet wood. Please check out a photo I just uploaded to Pinterest: michelle platt

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  88. I just completed your project with a small group of primary students, ranging from 6-8. We did it over the course of two sessions. THEY TURNED OUT SO AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!

    I usually do a sample before hand to test all the art I do but I didn't have time and so I was gleefully excited after applying the shoe polish and seeing the final result! WOW.

    I first talked to the kids about the concept of patterns and had them make eight of their own quickly on a tabloid sheet of paper I had printed with blank squares (about 2"x2") Then, because we were doing this as part of a Medieval unit I has the kids draw crowns. As recommended, I did the glue part. Tacky glue for sure, over regular Elmer's to get those raised lines. And it took a good 24 hours for the glue to dry completely.

    Then I had the kids do the glue stick. I helped place and wrap the foil, dull side up, and then had then go to town on burnishing with fingers and Q-tips and then embellishing with patterns in between the raised lines. I used regular black polish, the kind with the sponge applicator tip. Again, wow, they ended up looking like beautiful aged pewter. I applied the polish pretty liberally and let it dry for about five minutes. Then gently rubbed off and puddly areas.

    Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for a great idea! We truly loved doing it and the kids were proud of their handiwork...like true guild apprentices they learned about some great new processes and materials! THANK YOU!

    Would you mind if we post an article about the project on our blog? (http://fourandtwenty.typepad.com/blog/) We would of course credit you and link back to this post. Please let me know when you can!

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    1. I'm so happy to hear the project worked out so well! I'd be honored to have you link back to my blog, and I'm excited to see your kid's artwork. :D

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  89. cardboard, glue, and foil...simple enoigh for a kids project, but fun for adults too! http://artbymichaelmitchell.blogspot.com/2013/05/foil-board-artwork.html

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    1. Wow!!! thank's, i will try it soon for sure!! you have a great artistic sens!!

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    2. realy nice!!! i will try it soon,thank's to share with us!!

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  91. I am really struggling to keep the foil from tearing around intricate areas. I have been using a pointy shaped q-tip to help smooth. I feel like bubble shapes are my most difficult areas to cover. Any tips you may have would be lovely. Thanks!

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    1. I'm sorry you're having some challenges! The best advice I can give is to use a softer q-tip and less pressure. Once you have it generally attached, you can also use a very dull (rounded) pencil to gently press the foil up against the raised glue. And remember that the black shoe polish will darken any small tears or holes, so nobody will notice the tears...it will just be more "antiqued". :D

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    2. Hi, just came across this process. I have been using Foil Tape which you find in Hardware department and it is glued on one side so you just remove the backside and press down and if you make a hole when outlining, just put a little piece of foil tape over it.

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  92. These are beautiful! My husband loves owls so I'm thinking about having my kids make these for Christmas!

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  93. Thank you so much for posting this! I love it. I am doing this with my after school inner-city teens. Our budget is next to nothing so I am using foam board that we can glue to a hard surface.

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    1. Gianna, thanks! I think this technique produces very professional looking results using readily available materials. It's the most popular post (by far!) on my blog, and it's also one of the most popular projects with my students. And it's one that parents love too!

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  94. This is wonderful, but it is by no means original. My daughter did one of these in elementary school, and she is now 25 years old.

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    1. It's an idea that's been around for a long time- do you have an original source you could share? I'll bet your daughter enjoyed making it as much as my students did. :D

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  95. Thought I'd share - I found a completely different way of doing this that eliminates dry time as well as the teacher's need to do part of the project for the student. Cheap, too :-) I bought those 8x12 sticky backed foam sheets and had the kids peel off the back so they had a sticky surface to work with. The students then "drew" with yarn (instead of the glue) by placing it where they want. I suppose they could draw their design on first with a marker, but my class had fun manipulating the yarn as a medium. Then the aluminum foil goes on top and just sticks to the foam. After smoothing out the aluminum, we did the rest just like the original method. The foam underneath holds the pencil impressions nicely, too. Wish I could include a photo so you could see the identical results I got with this simple method. Thanks for the inspiration - I've never been so excited about aluminum foil!!! :-)

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    1. That sounds fantastic!!! I'll look for the foam sheets and give it a try!!!Thanks so much for sharing you idea!

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  96. This is also a great project to do in conjunction with an Art History lesson. My students and I do this for their Roman Art Unit and we make them into Roman coins. They write their names in Latin and their birth year in Roman numerals and then get to choose one or two symbols that would represent them to the "empire." They kids loved them and were so excited to explain their designs to everyone!

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  97. I like the above thought and I am glad to be the part of it.Thanks for sharing it!!
    Kiwi Shoe Polish Black

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  98. Beautiful! I found this post on Pinterest months ago and saved for future use. I am a Resident Assistant in college and I've decided to make about 50 of these as nametags for my residents' doors. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  99. Awesome art. I'm always looking for new ideas to teach my students, and this is one I will definitely use. Thank you for a clear tutorial.

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  100. Thank you so much for posting this amazing project! I am doing a sample board now as I consider this for my son's upper el Montessori class auction contribution. I am considering an owl theme, as they are so whimsical and very popular therefore marketable! .

    One hint I would like to pass on is that MIchael's often throws out their signage which is on a very heavy card stock. Also, huge sheets of foam core. I have been grabbing it just for class projects, so I would probably use the card stock for this project and have our 4-6th graders draw directly onto it. If you don't mind reaching into a dumpster it's a great way to get clean-free art supplies!! Very exciting, thank you!

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  101. I wanted to post a follow up and show you the completed project I did with my son's class. I had to devise a way to divide up the work of 26 students, so I came up with this pattern. I cut the pattern out of wood with my jigsaw, painted both sides black then glued the squares on using liquid nails (which worked beautifully). It was QUITE a lot of work but the result was so worthwhile. The kids had so much fun and enjoyed the messy shoe polish, lol.

    Anyway, here is one of the pieces we created :http://www.pinterest.com/pin/10414642862581716/. I will post the second on my Pinterest soon!

    Thank you SOOO much for your project, fingers crossed the pieces bring a ton of money for our school this evening!

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    1. Thanks Kitty! But I'm having trouble tracking down your pin. Maybe you could send it to me via pinterest?

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    2. Will do! I must add that the two pieces we did went for over $600!!!

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    3. I think I sent it to your pinterest account, let me know if you get it :). Here is the link again, I just copied it from my previous post and pasted it into my browser and it seems to work, minus the first colon which may have been the problem.
      http://www.pinterest.com/pin/10414642862581716/
      Maybe that will work for you. Thanks again!

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  102. These pictures are lovely!. Very professional looking.

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  103. No dull pencil? Use a stylus...nice an smooth

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  104. Could you use thin string instead of glue? Might be easier for the children to apply themselves?

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    1. You could use string- I've seen others who have used yarn, but you still have to glue it in place. :D

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