Lesson Plan: Harry Potter Paper Witch Project
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Any Arnold Grummer's Classroom Papermaking Kit
Recycled office paper (avoid newspaper except for colorful advertising circulars)
Construction paper or fabric dye for color*
Assorted small containers and bowls for shaping paper: cottage cheese & yogurt containers, mixing bowls, drinking glasses, etc.
Heavy wire (coat hanger will work)
Usual supplies for papermaking: blender, storage containers (for vats), sponges, couching supplies (couch sheets, press 'n' dry cloths), etc/
Shape a pulled and pressed sheet of handmade paper around a container to create a vessel of sorts: a bowl, a cone, or any other interesting shape. Then have students think about what they might like their finished sculpture to look like. This will help them decide what vessels/containers to choose to create the necessary components for their finished piece.
TO MAKE THE SHAPES:
1. Tear the recycled paper into small pieces and soak in water, preferably over night. In blender, combine soaked paper with plenty of water, adding bits of construction paper (or fabric dye) for color.
2. Add pulp to bin filled with water to make slurry and pull sheets of paper, changing colors as desired. Couch onto sheets of felt and press to remove excess water.
Note: If you make a lot of paper it’s really worth having a press. There are some nice ready-made presses available, or you can create a simple press with two sheets of sturdy plywood, a couple of towels or pieces of wool blanket and something heavy to place on top.
Pressing the sheets is important because it will give them added strength when you form them around the containers you have chosen.
3. Gently remove a pressed sheet from the felt and shape it around a container, pressing out air bubbles and smoothing the surface, or purposefully creating pleats and folds. The wet paper is quite moldable and fun to work with. It just takes a light touch.
An alternative method is to simply press prepared pulp into a container to form the shape desired. It’s my opinion that the pulled and pressed sheets are a little easier to work with and the fibers tend to be more interlocked, creating strength in the finished piece.
Leave the paper on the container and set aside to dry thoroughly. This will take overnight or longer, depending how thick your paper is. It helps to set it in front of a fan.
To create the Witch sculpture you will need the following pieces:
3 bowl shapes: skirt
1 smaller shaped torso: pressed wet paper over an inverted plastic drinking cup
1 cone shaped hat: shape wet, pressed paper around a small Styrofoam cone. Curl back the edges (while wet) to form the brim
1 face: press wet, colored pulp firmly into a doll face mold
1 wand: use your fingers to shape wet, pressed paper into a long, rectangular shape
1 or 2 dry flat sheets: for the cape, arms, beads, hat brim, etc.
First create a rough form with heavy wire. This will give you a sturdy support to which you can attach your paper shapes. This might not be necessary for smaller sculptures, or if the paper shapes are very thick and sturdy already. The form for the witch is simply a circular base with the wire rising straight up from the base. Picture an upside down lasso. This witch’s wire base is about 24” in circumference (roughly 7” in diameter), and 20” in height.
Next, start threading the various paper bowls and shapes over straight wire using hot glue to secure them in place. The bottom bowl of her skirt covers the round wire base. Thread the three tiers of her skirt first. Then thread her torso on the wire and glue in place.
Use dry sheets of paper to shape her cape and arms. Simply roll and fold them into the desired shapes and glue them in place with hot glue. In this example there is no wire in her arms. Glue her little, magic wand to one of her sleeves.
Glue her face to the wire and to the top of her torso. Her hair can be made with raffia or thin strips of paper. You can either glue the hair to the sides and back of her face, or glue it to the inside of her pointed hat.
Glue her hat to the top of her face. The wire should go up into the hat, so you can glue it to the wire too. The hatband is actually a paper bracelet made by folding wet, pressed paper over a piece of wire that was formed into a cuff bracelet shape. The wire inside gives the bracelet strength and stability.
There are really SO many things that can be made from hand made paper! You can also make the hatband using a strip of paper.
Glue paper beads to make her necklace.
At this point, evaluate your sculpture and fine-tune it by adding details, like the pleated ‘apron’ piece on the front of the skirt, the Moravian star, or the beads glued to the edge of the top tier of her skirt. There are so many possibilities. Just have fun!
Set up a show to display the wonderful creations. It might be interesting to have the students decide on a theme before they make their sculptures, so the display could be a tableau representing a favorite book. This could connect the artistic use of paper to the practical use.
Arnold Grummer's Items Used In Lesson Plan: Harry Potter Paper Witch