Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Scrappy Creatures Step-By-Step Lesson...

This is Pedro... I made him at the Virginia Art Educators Conference 2017. The class was taught by Sarah Matthews the VAEA 2017 Art Educator of the year.  Sarah tells me she learned it from a friend who learned it at a NC art teachers conference.... so I am not sure of the original artist but OMG I love this! I have little Scrappy Creatures all over the house now. It was the greatest session I have ever attended at any conference ever. I am addicted to making these little creatures now. Every time I see a wire hanger I can't help myself...I just start bending. At the bottom I have posted a link to Sarah's instructions. Since I do this lesson with smaller kiddos I do it just a little different but if you want the grown-up version please see Sarah's page.

I am on the left and Sarah Matthews is on the right. Pedro is in the middle!

Step 1.
A light weight wire hanger.

Step 2.
Straighten out the hook of the hanger.

Step 3.
Now straighten out the entire hanger.

Step 4.
Bend the hanger back just below hook.

Step 5.
 Bend the hanger down again.

Step 6.
Bend the hanger back up.

 Step 7.
Now bend the last fold back slightly.

Step 8.
Flatten out a plastic grocery bag and twist it up.

A lot of grocery bags...

NO NO NO even MORE...

Like this many...

This is my Advanced Art Club getting ready to start the Scrappy Creature Project.
We collected what seemed like every plastic grocery bag on the planet...

This is an amazing project to help clean up the environment. I can not tell you how may plastic grocery bags we find back in the woods behind our house in Virginia just hanging on the tree branches and all the ones that washed up on the beach at our vacation spot in Florida.

People...please get the reusable bags for your shopping needs.

Step 9.
Tape one end of the bag onto the tail (the straightened hook of the hanger) and start
wrapping the bag around the hanger.

 When you get to the end of that bag use masking tape to tape it in place and add a new bag.

Step 10.
 When you start wrapping the leg, wrap them as one leg and not each individual wire.

Step 11.
 After the back legs were wrapped start wrapping around the creatures back.

It will really help to have the masking tape cut into little pieces before you start the project. It
is hard to wrap and reach for tape at the same time. Having the tape cut in advance helps.

 Step 12:
 Ball up some bags and stuff them into the areas your creature needs more volume.

 Step 13:
 Start wrapping the front legs, make sure you wrap each leg individually.

Step 14. 
The last plastic wrap step is to wrap the creature's head and make sure to look over everything
to see if the shape is how you want it. If not add just add more bags in places you want to build up some more. We used more masking tape to hold everything in place.

 Step 15.

Use soft gauge armature wire to add ears to our creatures.
Just bend it like you want it and tape it in place.

Step 16.
 Wrap the ears with plastic bags.

Note for teacher:

This is as far as we made it in two 45 minute classes.

Step 17.
Cut material into 2 inch (or so) by 2 feet (or so) strips.

Step 18. 
 Start at the tail. Tape the end of the material on with Scotch clear tape here instead of masking tape. You can use masking paper if you want but it might show in some places.

Continure wrapping the creature. When you get to the end of a band tape on another one. 

Step 19.
Leave extra material overhanging the feet, ears, tail and arms. You can tuck that in later or glue gun it into place. 

 Keep wrapping until the entire creature is covered.

Step 20. 
Use some kind of twine, yarn or string to bind your creature and hold the material into place.

Start at the tail, tie the string into place. Start wrapping the string around the creature as tight as you can. When you come to the end tie the string in place and add some more string if needed.

If you have an open end that is too small to close using the string...

Just hot glue gun it.

If is space it to big to tie over or glue shut simple cut out a small piece of material, tuck it into the open space and tie over it or hot glue it in place.
You can also use tacky glue if you do not like using a hot glue gun.

This is what it will look like if it is tied down or hot glue gun it shut.

Finish tying off the entire creature with your string.

Go back an pull off all the Scotch tape you can.

 Last Step...
This is when you give your creature its personality by adding buttons, ribbon, yarn and 
ephemera. Get that glue gun ready!

I collect lots of material...
Just save it all!

I ask the staff and parents for donations. I have a Facebook page for my art room
and I post my needs on there. Having a FB page has been a great way to communicate with my 
parents and community. I have asked for buttons, cereal boxes, hangers, bags, Sharpies,
glue sticks, paper towels and my amazing parents deliver! 

I have also ordered large bags of random material and ribbon on eBay.

 I added some felt on his head for hair and a ribbon on his tail.

Then some number brads for eyes. 
Meet Ratoni... We do not name our Scrappy Creatures or give them a personality until the end.
It is important to let the creature tell you what it wants to be. Do not try and force it
to be something it's not.

My current Scrappy Creature in the works...

This is Pedro. In the adult version of this project we use string instead of masking tape. I tried it with the kids but it was to hard for them to hold it all together. The masking tape was much easier for them.

 Photos for Sarah's awesome conference session.
Sarah has an amazing supply of STUFF !

Some finished teacher Scrappy Creatures.

Click HERE for a link to Sarah's lesson for Trashy Scrappy Creatures


  1. I love these crazy creatures! Gonna try this! Thanks for putting this together!

  2. Thank you for sharing your ART ideas in such a lovely way!! Very impressive!