Our theme this month takes us to Asia! We could stay with this theme for months given the vast amount of inspiration from the many countries and cultures of this continent. We visited Thailand, India, Japan, and China on our tour. One of the favorites from this month was our open hand tray. Our inspiration came from the beautiful henna designs in India. Here’s how we did this really fun project:
Air dry clay (we like Crayola!)
Scoring tools: straws, dowels, plastic knives, awls
Acrylic Paint (Blick)
Small/medium paint brushes
Roll out a racquetball/lacrosse ball size slab of air dry clay 1/4″ thick for each student, place between sheets of cling wrap or in zipper bags.
Show students images of henna designs. Discuss the meaning of Mehndi ceremonies in Indian culture.
Each student receives a slab of clay and a plastic knife. Students trace their hand onto the clay with fingers touching. Use the plastic knife to gently cut out the hand. Use scoring tools to make designs and patterns, emphasizing floral patterns, leaves, etc. Line a paper bowl (or any cereal-sized bowl) with cling wrap and gently press hands into the base of the bowl to round the shape of the hand. Do not disturb the designs of the hands while pressing into the bowl. Allow to dry undisturbed for 2-4 days (depending on climate).
At the next class, return hands to students with a small palette of acrylic paint with small brushes. We chose colors based on what we had a lot of in the closet ;)! Ask the students to paint the entire hand, no white spots. Acrylic paint is absorbed quickly into the clay so it shouldn’t take long to dry. We intentionally limit the amount of paint the kids have access to for 2 reasons: we don’t like to waste and if you give them only what they need, they are more likely to use it appropriately. Let’s face it, we all have those students who will apply globs and globs of paint. If you are intentional with your teaching and materials distribution, they will be intentional with their painting! Once the paint is dry, liberally apply Modpodge with a foam brush or old paint brush. We have old brushes that we use just for glue application! Have fun!