Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cut Paper - White on White Relief

The children fill their papers with three-dimensional shapes repeated in patterns. Using white paper on white paper, the resulting shadows create stunning effects. For ages 9 to 13. Plan 2 sessions.

  • The strength of repetition in design
  • Exploring ways to make paper three-dimensional
  • Scoring to make a controlled fold in the paper
  • Working with pattern and light to create exciting visual effects
    scoring, pattern, three-dimensional, repetition

    • Medium- to heavy-weight white paperfor each child, plan one 9- x 12-inch paper for cutting out shapes and one 8-inch square paper for gluing on shapes
    • Scraps of white paper for exploring shapes and to practice scoring
    • Glue sticks
    • Scissors
    • Pointed tools for scoringt-pins, nails, or clean clay needle tools work well
    • Rulers
    • Cardboard or cutting boards to protect work surface while scoring
    • Envelopes for storing cut pieces
    First Session
    • Set out scissors, pointed tools for scoring, and rulers.
    • Set out cardboard and scraps of paper.
    • Set out the 9- x 12-inch papers for cutting shapes.
    How to Begin
    • Explain to the children that they will be repeating shapes that are three-dimensional, or viewable from all sides, over and over again in a planned pattern, or design, on their papers. As the light source is changed, the shapes and shadows will create new and interesting textural effects.
    • Demonstrate ways to make shapes three-dimensional. They can be cut into, folded, bent, or twisted. To curl the shape or any of its parts, run the paper firmly between the thumb and the edge of a scissor blade, or wrap the shape around a pencil, pressing firmly and pulling out the pencil.
    • Score the paper to make folds more controllable. Using a ruler as a guide, drag the edge of a pointed tool along the line where the paper is to be folded. Apply slight pressure, taking care not to cut through the paper. Crease the fold with the scored side out.
    • Cut two or three different shapes from the scrap paper. After deciding which shape would be most interesting and repeatable, explore ways to make it three-dimensional. Explain that sufficient repetition or repeating of shapes is important for the success of this project. After choosing their final three-dimensional shapes, have the children cut as many of them as time allows from the 9- x 12-inch paper. 
    Note: Store the children's cut pieces in individual envelopes labeled with their names.

    Second Period
    • Set out envelopes with cut shapes from previous session.
    • Set out scissors, pointed tools for scoring, and rulers.
    • Have glue sticks available, but set aside until cutting and planning is complete.
    • Set out the square-cut paper.
    How to Begin
    • In this session, the children will be planning their patterns and gluing their shapes to the square sheets of paper. Explain that the repetition and spacing of the shapes are important and extra shapes may be needed to sufficiently fill the papers.
    • Suggest some patterns that may be used.
      • When all the shapes are completed and the patterns have been planned, have the children glue their shapes onto the square papers. Remind them to apply the glue to the individual pieces rather than to the square papers and be careful to use only as much glue as necessary. Keep the papers flat until the glue dries.
        • Scoring is well worth the extra effort to make a controlled fold in the paper.
        • Since this project’s success depends on sufficient repetition, quite a few shapes will be needed. It’s best to keep the shapes from becoming too small or too complicated. Even the simplest shape takes on a complexity when repeated in a pattern.
        • Be especially alert to the problem of too much glue, which will take away from the overall effect of the paper relief.
        • Discuss the new shapes that resulted from the repetitions.  
        • Hold up the papers and, working with the light source, discuss which orientation makes the most interesting patterns.
        • Point out how the shadows from the light make their own shapes on the paper.
        • Look for examples where scoring made a difference in the folds of the paper.
        What the children might say...
        • My shape is too hard to cut out again.
        • How many more shapes do I need to cut?
        • Every time I fold my shape, it keeps popping open.
        • I scored too hard and cut my shape in half.
        • Can I glue on the shapes I've completed?
        • These look great when the sun shines in the window.
        What you might say...
        • If you find that your shape is very complicated to cut out, try making a simpler one, since you will need to cut lots of them.
        • The number of shapes needed will depend on its size and how you make it three-dimensional. You will need enough to fill your entire paper with pattern.
        • Scoring will help your folds stay where you want them.
        • You only need to apply very light pressure when scoring your shapes.
        • Don’t start gluing until you've completed all your shapes and planned your pattern.
        • It's interesting the see the patterns change as the light source changes.
        Click to view this lesson in a printer-friendly format.