Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cut Paper - Stand-up Clowns

The children use construction paper and glue to create whimsical clowns. For ages 6 to 9. Plan 2 to 3 sessions.

  • Cutting with scissors
  • Using glue
  • Working with three-dimensional form
three-dimensional, circular

  • Sulphite construction paper (See note below.)
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Slightly dampened sponges for wiping sticky fingers
  • Odds and ends for decorating clowns, such as yarn, sequins, stickers, foil paper, pompoms, feathers, and scraps of fabric
  • Liquid craft glue
  • Photographs of clowns
  • A scrap paper bin with a collection of leftover paper from past projects (optional)
Note:  It is important to use sturdy paper so that the clowns will stand upright. These clowns were made with Tru-Ray Sulphite Construction Paper.

Old programs from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus performances are good sources for pictures of real-life clowns.

First Session
  • Cut the construction paper into 6- by 9-inch pieces. Plan one piece for the lower half of each clown plus a few extra. Display the rest of the paper in the middle of the tables for sharing.
  • Set out glue sticks, scissors, and odds and ends for decorating.
  • Set out a scrap paper bin (optional). 
How to Begin
  • In this session, the children will be using paper and glue to make three-dimensional, or free-standing, clowns.
  • First demonstrate the proper use of scissors when cutting paper. The thumb goes in the small hole and two or three fingers go in the larger hole. With the blade of the scissors opened wide, place the paper deep into the opening, taking advantage of the whole blade when cutting. To cut a circular, or round shape, use one hand to slowly close the scissors while using the other hand to gradually turn the paper. Continue opening and closing the scissors while gradually turning the paper until a circular cut is completed.
  • Show the children the examples of clowns, emphasizing details like their baggy pants and oversized shoes. To make the lower part of the clowns, fold a 6- by 9-inch piece of construction paper in half (6 by 4 ½ inches). Working from the folded side, cut out the shape of clown pants including the shoes, keeping the folded side intact. The open edge of the folded paper should form the bottoms of the shoes. Stand the pants up with two shoes in the front and two in the backthe folded top will be the clown’s waist.
  • Explain to the children that they will be sharing the colored paper on their tables to cut out the upper torsos of the clowns, including shirts, arms, hands, etc. Each child should start by choosing one color of paper. When finished cutting from it, return the paper to the middle of the table for someone else to use, and then choose another color. Reassure the children that if a color is used up, you have more to replace it. (A scrap paper bin is fun to search through for special and unusual colors.)
  • Have the children attach the additional pieces with the glue sticks. Remind them that they should apply the glue to the smaller piece of paper and press it onto the larger piece. Slightly dampened sponges on each table can be used to wipe sticky fingers.
Second/Third Sessions
  • Set out the clowns from the previous session.
  • Set out scissors, glue sticks, construction paper, and optional scrap paper bin.
  • Set out odds and ends for decorating and liquid craft glue.
How to Begin
  • In this session, the children will continue to build on their clowns.
  • Looking at the pictures of clowns, discuss distinguishing items such as bow ties, round red noses, silly hair, and often, funny hats.
  • Explain that small dabs of liquid craft glue may be needed to attach some items like yarn, pompoms, and hats.
  • Have the children complete building and decorating their clowns.

  • Use only slightly dampened sponges for wiping hands while working. Too much water will leave marks on the construction paper.
  • Keep extra paper available because some children have trouble cutting the lower part of the clowns while keeping the folded side intact, ending up with two separate images.
  • Clowns that are under eight inches tall will stand easier.
  • The hula hoop pictured in the first photo is held in place by small pieces of wire taped to the bottom and then threaded through the clown’s pants and taped again. Wire was also braided into yarn to create the flyaway effect of the clown's hair.
  • Balloons can be made to stand in the air with pieces of floral wire.
  • As pictured below, an insert made of lightweight cardboard glued to the inside of the pants legs will keep the clowns standing upright even in humid weather.

  • Discuss what makes the clowns three-dimensional.
  • Have the children talk about the unique characteristics that they added to their clowns.
  • Review the cutting and gluing processes.
What the children might say...
  • I’m having trouble getting my scissors to cut the paper.
  • Everything is sticking to my fingers.
  • My clown is wobbly and won’t stand up.
  • My clown fell over after I added a big hat.
What you might say…
  • When using your scissors, be sure you have your thumb in the small hole and your fingers in the larger hole.
  • If your fingers are sticky, use the sponge on your table to wipe off the glue.
  • If your clown is wobbly, we need to trim the feet so that they are even and flat on the bottom.
  • Additions will change your clown's balance, often causing it to fall over. We can get it to stand again by adjusting the feet.
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