Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Painting Recycled Books

For this project,we used recycled hardbound books instead of canvas.  I started collecting discarded books from my library in the fall, and had enough for all students by March.
Because I wanted the students to have the choice of standing or hanging the finished books on a wall, we started by drilling 2 holes in the back cover and using wire for a hook.

Then a single hole needed to be drilled through the entire book to secure the cover and pages with string, so it wouldn't flop open while hanging on a wall.

Since the books had various covers, we first painted the covers white.  Note, the older red books bled into the white paint, so their primed background was pink.  The kids got very worried, but found out later that acrylic will cover colors underneath, and they painted over the pink the next day with their subject or design.
After painting the books, students chose 3 colors of embroidery thread and used a needle to put the thread through the holes, one color at a time.  Then threads were tied and the book was done.

(Side Note *HELP* - what kind of brushes do your students use with acrylic paints?  Ours are horrible, and I'd like to purchase new ones.  Any ideas on which ones I should get would be GREATLY appreciated.)


Phyl said...

I've used a lot of different brushes over my years teaching, but nowadays I'm really hooked on these: Royal Brush Big Kids Choice brushes. (You can get them at places like School Specialty, or Nasco, etc) They have a clear colored acrylic handle, and you can get them in flats, rounds, filberts, mixed sets, etc. I use a variety, but especially like the flats and filberts. The big thing is taking care of them properly, which I teach the kids from an early age. I'm going to post sometime soon about my brush cleaning system, because I think it really helps especially w/acrylics.

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Moss said...

Hi, great project! We use a lot of acrylic paint. If painting a large area, foam brushes work best, and wash up well for future use (if not allowed to dry). For lines and such, nylon brushes work best. They don't have to be artist's quality, but not the colored ones with short black bristles. We tend to treat acrylics a bit like watercolor. I thin it just a little so that it doesn't dry out as quickly, but still has good coverage, and the kids always have a glass of water nearby to clean their brushes. Hope this helps. Have a lovely day!

Jennifer Leban said...

This is a really good idea for recycling old books without going through the time-consuming aspects of doing a complete altered books project. I like it a lot!

I buy long-handled stiff synthetic brushes from Blick, I like their brand in the "scholastic" quality. I find the thing that makes the brushes last is the cleaning. I invest in tubs of Generals Brush Soap and teach the kids to clean the brush, then use soap, then rinse again. I keep one tub at each sink.

I'm very vigilant about cleanup in general before students are allowed to leave the classroom. I've been known to double-check the brushes on my arms to make sure they're clean!