Creative Clay Solving

Creative problem solving is an important skill that is not only useful in the art room but in every area in life. For this project, students were given a ball of clay and were told they could create anything they wanted, ANYTHING…as long as it could hold a pencil. The process of creating without defined guidelines is challenging and requires a great deal of planning, problem solving, and designing. Here is how the pencil problem was solved by 5th & 6th graders…





Pre-K & Kindergarten Batik

Batik is a style of painting which involves pouring hot wax on cloth (creating a resist), then painting. This process of batik is very popular in Japan and Indonesia. For those parents reading this, don’t panic, while we did use wax it was in the much safer crayon form!

Using 100% cotton fabric, I cut it into long rectangle then glued one end to extra long wooden sticks. The wooden stick provides a handle to hold so students are not carrying wet fabric around the room with paint colored hands (it is also a great place to put their name). In class, we watched a video of a batik artist who used hot wax and discussed designs.

Each student drew on their cloth using a white construction paper crayon (these crayons work the best because they are a little waxier than normal crayons). It was difficult for students to see their design, but it was amazing to watch their faces when the paint was applied, revealing their drawing! We kept the design simple, primarily focuses on shapes and line.

Once their designs were complete they moved from table to table painting with 6 different colors of liquid watercolor. If you try this had home, make sure the paint is not too thick (thick paint will hide their work).

The results were beautiful…



STEAM & Sustainability: Plant Based Dyes

Did you know that the fashion industry is the second leading cause of pollution globally, after oil? Producing fabric, specifically cotton, requires a massive amount of water. The chemical dyes used to change the color of natural cotton is often dumped in our waterways effecting the entire ecosystem. In our art we looked at the devastating impact azo dyes have on the environment and brainstormed what we can do to limit consumption by recycling clothing. We are extremely fortunate to have an amazing art room volunteer, Mr. Rich, who so kindly donated a garbage bag full of old 100% cotton shirts. We began this project by cutting the shirts in long rectangles…

Click here to watch the TedX Talk: The Lifecycle of the T-Shirt


Once the shirts were cut into a different shape we explored natural dyes and experimented with red cabbage and turmeric. Both red cabbage and turmeric are excellent natural dyes and can give new life to any old t-shirt, dress or skirt (non-synthetic fiber)! Students also learned about the Japanese art of Shibori by binding and folding their fabric to create patterns. Once the natural dyeing process was complete students used the fabric to make travel pillows!