If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my posts about doing a decoupage project with second and third graders at a local elementary school. This school does a fundraiser every fall where they auction off artwork made by the students to raise funds for arts education in the classrooms. (It’s a sad state of affairs that schools are forced to fundraise like this to keep arts in the classroom, but that’s a soapbox for another day.) This school has four second and four third grade classrooms – each with about 25 students. So logically, I decided to do a side table and a chair with each class. Therefore we decoupaged 16 pieces of furniture with about 200 students. Sound fun?
It was a blast!
Now I know this isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. In fact, I had many parent volunteers tell me I was a “brave” (aka – crazy) person for taking this on. Yes, it was exhausting at times. Yes, I will be picking Mod Podge off of me and my belongings for years. But the pieces came out great. And, with the exception of one little boy who told me he’d really rather be doing math (hey, decoupage isn’t for everyone), I think the students really had a good time.
Here are some pics of the experience…
We started by choosing a theme. Each class chose something different (depending on the materials I had available.) . Some of the themes were: ocean life, maps, flowers, space, cats, trains, wild animals, etc.. Then the students got to work gathering images for all the parts of the furniture (legs, arms, back, seat, table top, etc.). Then they got to work decoupaging! We used Mod Podge gloss medium (about 3 gallons worth when it was all said and done!).
You’ll notice that there were many AMAZING parent volunteers that helped make this happen! (THANK YOU!!) The students were instructed to cover the whole surface – leaving none of the furniture showing through. This was a spacial puzzle for some in the sequencing needed to make their imagery show without needing to cover over it later to fill in the gaps around it. Students were also encouraged to find words that could be incorporated into the pieces.
The end results turned out fantastic! Yes, some parent volunteers and I helped finish covering all the little gaps, but really the students did the lion’s share of the work. Check out the finished pieces:
I’m super proud of the kiddos and their hard work on this project. Thanks to the principal and teachers at Westside Elementary too for all the support of Arts in Education!