More Photos from Art Show 2014

Here are some more photos from Art Show 2014.  Thanks again to Devan, our art show chair (and party planning/layout genius) and all the AMAZING art show and art room volunteers who put this show together.

Sixth grade foil name art. Click here for lesson plan

Upper grade display

Foil name art (and those awesome decorations!) in the upper grade area.

Primary grade display

First grade clay self-portraits on table top. Click here for lesson. On skirt: marker and foam prints lesson plan at shine Brite Zamorano. Above on wall: baby oil and oil pastel herons. Click here for lesson.

Marker prints, clay faces and great blue herons in the K-3 area.

Marker prints, clay faces and great blue herons in the K-3 area.

Kindergarten Kandinsky CD Case Circles Mural

Click here for the lesson plan. The lesson went incredibly well. The mural was mounted on foam core using the 3M clear mounting tape.

Primary grade display

Kandinsky CD case circles mural

Shoe Art and Sport Trophies:

On the table skirt: fourth grade shoe art. Click here for lesson. This is a 100% successful lesson.

Fifth grade sport trophies. Click here for lesson.

Upper grade art display

Shoe art and sport trophies in the upper grade area.

Upper grade display

Calder wire hands

Want more pictures? Check out our first post from Art Show 2014. And check out Art Show 2013 and Art Show 2012! Click here for more on Devan’s space-saving displays.

Our volunteers are the best! Our school is blessed to have the help of parents year-round in the art room. We had some amazing, hard-working parents who hung this show in just three days.

It was our last show with Devan as chair. We will really miss her vision and energy. How fortunate we are to have had her help these past four shows.


What’s your best tip for a successful art show?





Winter Olympic Sculptures

ski racing olympic trophy

Thinking about a Winter Olympic art project? Why not make your own sport trophy for your favorite Olympic event? Our fifth graders created these sport trophies using floral wire, foil, and plaster wrap. Accessories were made from toothpicks and popsicle sticks. We used acrylic paint or metallic spray paint (everyone can ‘get a gold’ if you use gold spray paint!). Everything was attached to a wooden base. You’ll need reference photos as well.

Click here to see all my links to my favorite sculpture supplies.  You can also find the floral wire at Michael’s and my favorite pop-up pre-cut foil at Costco and Smart and Final.

olympic skating trophyClick here, here, and here to see more examples and the complete lesson plan.

winter olympic curling trophyI taught this project to adults as well – they were able to create the unpainted trophies in about an hour. At the elementary level, this took us 6-8 sessions at 40 minutes per class. Middle and high school students with NICE LONG CLASS PERIODS (envy envy envy) should be able to do this in a couple of weeks.

Our students look forward to this project for years. They treasure their trophies for years after. A lot of work, but worth it.


How to Make a Calder Mobile

I love Alexander Calder! I teach a Calder wire project each year, but I have never successfully made a Calder-inspired mobile. Until now!

I recently received this 1975 edition of Making Things: Book 2. The Handbook of Creative Discovery by Ann Wiseman. Inside this gloriously illustrated book I found these  instructions for making Calder mobiles:

Making Things Book 2 – Handbook of Creative Discovery by Ann Wiseman. ISBN-10: 0316948519


Easy to follow step by step illustrations for a variety of mobiles


I decided to test it out with items I had on hand in the art room.

Materials for first mobile:

  • 18-inch pre-cut Stem Wire (AKA floral wire) 20 gauge
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • pliers (note: I didn’t have any pliers so I just did this with my hands)


Materials for making a simple Calder-inspired mobile


Ms. Wiseman tells us mobiles are built from the bottom up. Aha!

Success! A 4-tier mobile!

Now for my second mobile. I made this mobile using Ann Wiseman’s illustrations and Peel & Stick Foam Sheets.

Calder-inspired mobile made with wire and self-adhesive craft foam.

To add interesting organic shapes, sandwich wires between matching pieces of self-adhesive craft foam.

If you choose to make these multiple tier wire mobiles, try it yourself first, be patient, and expect a lot trial and error. Balancing those wires is tricky and takes practice. I think these projects would be great for middle and high school students.

If you want to try this with a whole class of upper elementary students, I would keep it simple. Stick with one or two wires. Check out this project from Meet the Masters. I like how they have three degrees of difficulty and incorporate a stabile as a base.

Illustration from Meet the Masters website.


Here are some more ideas for Calder mobiles for kids:

If you love Calder, you might like my previous Calder posts:


Have you ever made a mobile with your students? 


Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Note: post updated 12/30/13

Wire Name Art

Give your name art lesson a twist – literally! Our fifth grade students had a ball sculpting their names in wire.


Pre-cut floral wire (AKA stem wire) and sculpture wire

Session one:

To practice, give each child a piece of paper, marker and an 18 inch piece of wire. Kids should write their first initial on the paper. They may print or use cursive. They they trace their written letter in wire.

100% of 10- and 11-year-old students could do this by the end of the first 40 minute session.

Session two:

Give each child a piece of paper, marker and a 6 ft. length of sculpture wire. They should write out their first name in marker this time. They may print or use cursive, then trace their name in wire.

Write out name on paper, trace with sculpture wire (teacher example).

Did you notice? I added a single pony bead to dot each lower case ‘i’ and ‘j’.

 There should be a lot of excess wire at the end of the wire name. Students should loop the excess wire back, and attach to the beginning of the name with a quick twist. Voila! Name art with hanger!

Approximately 85% of 10 and 11 year olds were able to make their names in wire. I would recommend struggling students create a larger, single initial.

Session three (optional):

Want to take it further? Offer pony beads, sequins, and super-fine wire (I use pre-cut 18 inch 26-gauge stem wire).

Students can string the hanger wire with pony beads. They can clip the excess wire with (kindergarten!!) scissors. They can thread a bead or sequin onto 26-gauge wire and tie a knot around it.

Some students created small sculptures to embellish their name art.

Robby suspended his name from his sculpture.


Milan made a tiny mouse.


Riley perched a peacock on her name art.

How nice these will look on the students’ walls at home!

This would be a nice tie in to an Alexander Calder project. Check out my other Calder wire projects: wire sculpture and wire portraits.


Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Amazon and Blick Art Materials. I have been using Blick’s 14 gauge sculpture wire for 9 years and I love it!

Calder Wire Sculpture Finale 2012

calder wire sculpture finale 2012

The 5th graders showed off their amazing wire sculptures at the art show last week.  We had about 70 – the biggest group to date. I want you to see some of the best examples, and how we displayed them.

Note: All our sculptures were made with 14 gauge Blick Armature and Sculpture WireClick here for project instructions.


Mariel (middle horse) and Natalie (dog) were able to sign their names in wire.

Connor was able to sign his name in wire.


Fish, pig and camel. Early finishers made name art.

How to Display Wire Sculpture:

Our silver-colored sculptures look best against a solid, dark background. We hung blue vinyl table covering (from a roll) across a wall. We attached twine in front of the covering, and hung the sculptures using paper clips (opened to form an ‘S’ hook).

Completed wire sculpture display.

Great job fifth graders!!!

Kudos to the parent volunteers who helped out in the art room every week. We really appreciate your efforts.

Thanks to our fabulous art show chair and her husband for designing and installing this display. That was a lot of hard work!

Wire sculpture is so much fun, and it’s not messy. Learn about Alexander Calder, the famous (and fun!) artist whose work inspired this lesson. Want to know how? Check out my previous Calder wire sculpture and Calder wire portrait posts complete with PowerPoints. *NEW* Read two Calder books online for free!

Good luck!

I am an affiliate of Blick Art Materials.  I have been using Blick 14-gauge sculpture wire  for nine years and love it!

Note: post updated on 11/23/13.

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