Pinterest! DIY clay cutting wire tool

Pinterest saves the day! My ancient clay cutting wire tool broke in the middle of 5th grade clay today.


Fortunately, I had pinned some great DIY clay tool photos from The Teaching Palette.


I made my wire cutter on the fly from Two binder clips and 26 gauge floral
wire (left over from wire sculpture).

Thanks Teaching Palette for a great blog post. And thanks to Pinterest for a quick way to retrieve it.

Clay texture tools a la Pinterest

I finally made a project from a Pinterest pin!

I made the button stamps, originally from the Martha Stewart website. Here is the pin:






I used buttons on corks. I used hot glue and the held up just fine with the 2nd grade’s free play clay today.

I also made stamps from cork and some small white fired clay decorations. They made a nice texture as well. Thanks Pinterest!

Art Room Blogs from Around The World

Would you like to tour art rooms from around the world? Here are some I have discovered – all from art rooms far away from North America.

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • China
  • India
  • Italy/UK
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Scotland
  • Spain
  • Switzerland

Australia (English): Use Your Coloured Pencils. Elementary school.

Belgium: two art rooms

China: two art rooms

  • The Carrot Revolution (English). International school based in Shanghai. High school.
  • ARTabroad (English). International school. Elementary students.

India (English): Art at Woodstock. International school based in Mussoorie. Middle and high school, with separate blog for AP art.

Italy/UK: Arteascuola. Blog by Italian middle school art teacher now living in the UK. Recent posts in English, older posts in Italian.

Saudi Arabia (English): Princess Artypants. International school based in Saudi Arabia. Elementary school.

Scotland (English): Mrs Crosbie. Elementary school.

Spain: two art rooms

  • Artistes A Les Corts (Catalan – Google Translate button on page). Elementary school in Barcelona.
  • Fem Manuales (Catalan – Google Translate button on page). Elementary school in Barcelona.

Switzerland (German): Kunst im Schulhaus Rosenau. Middle school. All posts in German and English.

These blogs are also on my blogroll under ‘art rooms from around the world’.

Do you know of other blogs from art rooms outside of North America? I would love to update this list and repost!!!! Please leave a comment or shoot me at email at

Netflix for Art Teachers

Not sure if everybody knows this……..Netflix has a lot of art movies available for instant streaming.  Here is a sample queue:

Netflix queue full of art movies ready to stream.


Andy Goldsworthy - Rivers and Tides


At this moment, Netflix costs $8/month to stream – less than the cost of a single adult movie ticket. It streams to my laptop, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Wii, etc….(everything except the computer my classroom).

Which reminds me…..many of these movies in their entirety will NOT be suitable for the elementary art room. Please watch first before watching with your students. Appropriate clips from these movies may be available on YouTube.

Netflix has even more art movies available on DVD, although there is a separate price for that subscription.

Do you have a favorite art documentary? TV series? Please leave a comment.

Kindergarten Fish Mobiles

I have admired the fabulous yarn-wrapped cardboard fish mobiles shown on a couple of elementary art blogs. I wanted to do the project with kindergarten as part of a whole-school ocean-themed art installation to be hung later this spring….

Kindergarteners created yarn-wrapped cardboard fish. Allow two 40-minute classes.


  • Thin cardboard approx 8″x10″
  • black marker
  • scissors
  • crayons or markers
  • yarn cut in 6 foot lengths, one per student
  • large paper clips (for hanging)
  • hole punch (for hanging)
  • optional: bottlecaps and tacky glue/glue dots for eyes

Part one:

We started with thin cardboard rectangles about 8″x10″. We did a dot-to-dot directed draw of a simple fish shape.

Kinders started with a dot-to-dot directed draw. Don’t make base of tail too narrow or fish may rip.

Then the students cut out the fish shape. Because we used thin cardboard, 95% were able to cut the fish without help.

Now kinders add four dots to the top edge of the fish, and four dots to the bottom. A few kids made their dots too close together….so I’d say 90% did this task independently.

The kids use scissors to cut slits along the edges of the fish, stopping at the dots. 100% were able to do this task independently.

Now color both sides of the fish. We used regular crayons (I wish I had construction paper crayons to brighten the dull gray cardboard…next year!).

Part two:

Students finished coloring both sides of their fish. Each received a six-foot length of yarn (cut by me, lest you think I didn’t have ANY prep on this project…..) and wrapped the yarn around and around and up and down across their fish.

Wrapping the yarn was tricky for some students. I found out kids were more successful with the yarn wrap when I modeled it in front of the room (as opposed to on my document camera). I’d say about 70% could do this independently on their first attempt.

Optional: glue on eyes.

To hang the fish: use a hole punch to make one hole near the top edge and one at the bottom edge.  Open a large paper clip to form a ‘S’ hook.

Open paper clip connects fish for mobile.

Connect your chain. I was able to make a hanging chain of five fish.

Inspiration for this projects comes from this post on the Fem Manuals blog and this post on the Deep Space Sparkle blog.

I believe that a lot of my lesson plans (at all grade levels) could be tweaked to increase student independence.

What do you think of ‘kinderpendence’? 

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