Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Adirondack Alcohol Inks

When I found this image in Pinterest, I had to try it out. I a little discourage when I found out that a small, three bottle package of Alcohol Inks are $9.99! Ugg. I kept it in the back of my mind and continued as normal until I found this pin on how to make your own alcohol inks. Amazing! Perfect! Exactly what I wanted to do at a tiny fraction of the cost! I went out the next day and bought Rit Dyes and Rubbing Alcohol galore at Wal Mart. I'm fairly certain the clerk thought I was nuts to be buying three economy sized bottles of Rubbing Alcohol, but she was nice enough not to say anything. I rushed to work the next day, completely excited to try out all I'd learned.

Total disappointment.

I could not get the dye to completely dissolve into the alcohol, leaving the tiles gritty, transparent, and downright ugly.


I gave in last night. I went to Michael's and bought the good stuff (thank goodness for that teacher discount!). I am so glad I did! Here's my tinkering this morning. . .

 The needed supplies: Alcohol Inks in various color and blending solution. I was going to use the cotton swabs, but didn't actually use them. They could be used instead of a paint brush to spread the blending solution though.

 First, spread the blending solution on the tile. This will disperse the ink and lighten it so the color is visible instead of being so condensed that it looks almost black regardless of the color.

 The inks come with a pointed tip so it's easy to drip just one drop at a time.

 Loving it! I'm thinking of putting a board of these up over the windows in my classroom. It would be spectacular (and the kids wouldn't be able to reach them!).

They do need to be sealed. I read to make sure that it is a water based sealer, such as Mod Podge because anything solvent based will cause the inks to rub off.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Truth Hurts

I got this from Phyl, over at There's a Dragon in My Art Room. It really coincides with what my cohort has been talking about in our monthly meetings. We've been looking at the Finland model of education, which is number one in the world and only tests their students ONCE their entire school career. Something to think about.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Sorry to be neglecting you all, blogfriends. I have many reason why I haven't been posting~although I'm still searching all of your blogs.
1. I got a new classroom! I'm super excited about it, and loving it~but arranging it and organizing it took up ALL of my inservice time before school started and I still have not caught up with all the work that needs to be done. Now instead of having a room in the middle of the school with no windows (it used to be the stage area when the school was a high school), I have a beautiful room with windows all along on side. Although it's a little smaller, the natural light more than makes up for it.
2. Half of my department retired last year and I have been helping out my new colleagues so they will get a great start on their new careers with our district.
3. I had a baby! Our little boy, Jerry Richard, was born June 24th, so he is three months old now. I pump before lunch, leaving me with only about a half hour to clean up after one class, eat, and get stuff out for my three afternoon classes.

Jerry with his big sisters, Gracie and Brianna

4. Quite frankly, I haven't done anything interesting yet. We're working on lessons that have already been posted about and aren't really all that amazing. We're just getting the basics covered and learning the new routine for the new classroom.

I'm hoping to get caught up soon so that I can start posting again. I did the crayon melt project with my CID students that is all over Pinterest, and I'll post pictures of my new classroom too.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Recycled Gargoyles~Guest Post!

Wow, another guest post, what fun! This one is written by Elaine Hirsch, who works with Lindsey from my last guest post. Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education and history to medicine and videogames. This makes it difficult to choose just one life path, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead. Currently, she is a writer for an online PhD programs website.She has written about how to create gargoyle from cardboard cup holders. We're hoping to add some photos of the process, so check back for that!
Gargoyles from Coffee Trays

Teachers often drink a lot of coffee in order to keep up with students, and often one will go out and get a bunch of coffee for their coworkers, often bringing them back with a carry-out tray. Don't throw these out- collecting coffee trays is the first step towards a fun and educational gargoyle project. Not only does this give students an opportunity to see how entertaining recycling can be, but they will learn how easy and beneficial it is, as well as learn a bit about classical architecture.

Before you get started, a great way to get students excited during their brief gargoyle history lesson is to give them a crash course on the importance of gargoyles in Europe and to show them pictures of several different gargoyles around the world. Gargoyles date back to ancient times. The name comes from the Latin word, gurgulio, meaning to swallow or throat. Kids will recognize the other modern word derived from this root, gurgling! Gargoyles were originally used as rainspouts on buildings, to shunt rainwater off the roof and away from the foundation. They often depicted a frightening face, supposedly to ward off evil spirits. Today, they are more often used as decorative elements on buildings and tombstones, or as Halloween decorations.



Cardboard (5x5 in squares)

Lots of Carry Out Coffee Trays

Egg cartons

Masking tape

Paper pulp



Brown and Gray paint

Paint brushes


1. Make some paper pulp! First, soak shredded newspaper in water and stir. Then strain it, and add 1 cup of white glue to strained paper. It's best to do this shortly before class if you can so that it doesn't dry out beforehand.

2. Cut most of your coffee trays in half- these are to be the eyes. Make sure to leave enough trays to cut into quarters for mouths. Say if you have 20 students, save 10 trays for eyes, and 5 for mouths. Egg crates can be cut any way and used for horns.

3. The flat cardboard is to be used as the base of the gargoyle. Kids will write their names on the back.


1. Take the half piece and bend it in the middle so that it curves out. The curve will be the nose, the indents the eyes. Tape it down to the cardboard with lots of masking tape, but don't tape the bottom down yet.

2. Take the quarter piece and turn it so that the round corner (not the cut corner) makes the chin. Stick it slightly underneath the top half, and tape liberally.

3. Now make sure you tape all the holes on the gargoyle, so that the pulp won't leak through. This would be a good stage to tape on the egg carton horns if you want.

4. If you have time, take each kid's gargoyle and off the extra cardboard around the face.

5. Now kids can sculpt with the paper pulp! They can put it all over the face to create whatever expression or detail they want. Students can squeeze the water out of the pulp before they add it to the face to make it less mushy.

9. Use a liberal amount of glue on the face and then sprinkle sand on it. Let it dry for a day or two, then use brown and gray paint to finish the stony appearance. The result will be a very realistic and textured just as a stone would be. They should also be encouraged to look at recycled items in a new light and feel motivated to continue to create.

When students get creative recycling everyday objects, they can soon see caterpillars and boats and bird feeders out of milk cartons and pizzaboxes. The possible projects are endless. This could also be a good time to teach them about what items are recyclable and which aren't. It's fun and worth the effort!