Tuesday, July 05, 2011

StoryArt on crafTuesday - Elmer the patchwork elephant

Earlier this spring I participated in a fun ATC swap for kids and my girls just loved it.

While blog hopping for this event I stumbled upon this great treasure of a book, which I immediately snagged at Amazon.com and have decided to turn into a summer series to share on my blog (and to play with my kiddos).

I'm passionate about a few things:  Art.  Art with kids.  And teaching.  So the idea of doing art AND educating the kiddos, making those little brains grow, just makes me happy.

Enter Story Art.

On crafTuesday for the next few months, I'm going to be doing craft projects with my girls (and any friends I can wrangle) based on illustrations in a children's book.  We are going to mimic the process used to create famous illustrations, and get some summer reading time in while we are at it.  S

For this first "Art class", we decided to go with a classic in our household, Elmer.

Elmer (Elmer Books)

We love these books.  They are well written, entertaining, and Elmer has many storybook adventures, so it gives something for the girls to look forward to when we head to the library for a new story to bring home.

In Elmer's world, except for relatives, all the elephants are the typical gray except for him, so one day he covers himself in berries to match everyone else, which makes him blend in with everyone else.  His sparkling personality is hidden amongst the crowd and everyone misses him.  When his identity is revealed it becomes a big joke, and the elephants  decide to have a special parade each year where he "dresses up" like typical elephants, and they dress up like Elmer.

That's the premise for this art project.

I printed out elephants for the girls to trim out, and then we grabbed poster paint (I learned from my lesson with our last project..... one of my fingernails was red from that acrylic paint for a week!), and some household items to create fun effects while we painted our elephants in different patterns and colors for our own parade (on butcher paper).

Supplies consisted of:
poster paint
plastic fork
unsharpened pencils
dish sponges
foam brush
pastry blender
toilet paper rolls
decorative roller

I just wanted to use household type products that might create a fun effect with paint.

Then it was just a matter of decorating the elephants.

To make it easier I put one color per object, fearing that all Elmers would be brown if they got to take their supply to a different color.  This worked out well.

(I got those nifty Aprons at the Dollar Tree).

Payton really liked the project and her favorite supplies were the fork, the pencil, and the dish sponge.

Morgan liked doing her own thing with the foam brush, but also liked the toilet paper roll (I liked the toilet paper roll too).

We had our furboy Cooper watching the action so had to get a photo of him too.  :)
Then it was a matter of lining the Elmers in a row for a parade on paper.

For some reason, at one point in her presentation of the parade Payton broke out into chicken dance.  I don't know why.  But it's my job to document it all.  ;)

I was going to use google eyes but couldn't find the huge bag I got at Michael's, so used two circle punches with white and black cardstock.  That worked well.

We read the book first, and then focused on the artwork before starting our project.  That night, I read another book or two about Elmer, so that we could continue thinking about him and look at the art in a different story.  

My girls just loved it so I will be doing this again!  I'm already excited about the possibilities of this type of project in a future classroom someday.  I'd love to see a whole classroom wall lined with Elmer's in a parade.

I'll be back with another StoryArt project next week.  Have a great Tuesday!  Davinie

P.S.  Download a .pdf to make your own Elmer here.


  1. What a fun fun idea! Love it! I'll have to check the library for those books when I am there tomorrow. :-)

  2. Thank you Davinie, can't wait for the whole series to unfold, and can't wait to do this at home with my kids! Thanks!

  3. Mary (Happy Now)11:12 PM

    Wow. I started following your blog for P12 last year (on which, sadly, I am four months behind for this year), but I've gotten so much from it!! My kids LOVED the painted firecrackers/rockets from last week... and I KNOW they will love this too! Thanks so much -- and keep these great ideas coming!! :)

  4. You have such amazing ideas! You really are a wonderful mum :) We are in school holidays too at the moment (obviously winter holidays) and Ashleigh is going nuts already and it's only been a week! We are definitely making some Elmer's tomorrow :)

  5. This is a great project! I will have to check for those books next time we are at the library.

    I smiled really big when I saw "It's my job to document it all" lol