Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We've Been Working on These FOREVER

This is a lesson I literally started the students' first day of art class.  I got the idea from Nikki (she and I student taught with the same teacher several years apart, and she presented this sketchbook lesson at a conference.  She does hers with 7th and 8th graders).  Nikki got the technique from our mutual friend Beth, who teaches high school art.  I made a few changes: namely, Nikki used store-bought printed duct tape and pre-printed scrapbook paper, while I had students design paper to cover and used the wet-n-stick tape by Pacon.  The tape really helps in my never-ending quest for more organization.

/This is one class of sketchbooks.  The tape on the binding
corresponds with the color hanging over their tables.
The basics are this: you send out a call for family-sized cereal boxes (be prepared, because you'll get a lot).  I cut mine to 12 x 19/20, depending on the size of the box.  Because I gave students 12 x 18 paper, and the cereal boxes are the book covers, it has to fold to at least 12 x 9, but I like a bit of extra.

Each student gets one cereal box and the color of tape that corresponds to the color of their table.  Their responsibility was to fold the box and then wet and stick their tape.  This had to be done and allowed to dry before the next step.

I don't have a brown table, and there's only one class where
anyone sits at the black table, so I've got plenty of those colors
leftover for another project.

Wetting tape.  When students got enough water on it the glue really
activated making their binding area much stronger.

Here is another area where Nikki and I differed.  She had students measure, mark and cut the slots for their binding.  I had students measure and mark, and then took them in groups and drilled them.  While all that was going on, students were Zentangle-ing on 12 x 18 white paper with pencils/extra-fine black Sharpies.  Next they got groups of paper: 3 groups of 4 pieces 12 x 18 white and 2 stacks of 12 x 18 manilla.We use the manilla paper for ideas and thumbnail sketches and the white paper for notes, and "serious" drawings.  These were folded and marked (matching the drilled holes).  Then I gave them some stiff cording to bind their books.  I demo'd this several times and then they helped each other.

You can see the diamond cuts for the binding here, but not
the stitching.  Trust me when I say it's an easy in/out, and all students
were successful with this step.
We added our Zentangle page to one side (over the cereal box) for a cover, being sure to keep our tape showing:

No one actually finished their Zentangle, which was fine,
because they can add to it during any "down time" or
"what-do-I-do-now-that-I'm-finished" time.
After all our super-fun-and-not-at-all-stressful faux Gelli printing sessions we had papers to choose from to be the other cover.

There is only one photo of the actual "finished" sketchbooks
due to being locked out of my classroom with my four year old
one Sunday over winter break.  Fun times.
As with all new projects, there are a few things I'll tweak in future years, but I love that they're totally student made, and we've been using and creating them all school year!


  1. I've been working at my school for the past 5 years and have a TON of these colored rolls of paper. I had no idea what they were until you just posted it! Lol, now I'm going to have to do a book making project to get rid of some of it!

  2. Great! Do let me know how it goes!


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