Printer Friendly

Bluebonnet fiber collages.

I use Tomie dePaola's books very often with lower elementary grades. He writes a variety of wonderful stories with wonderful illustrations that appeal to younger children. His stories are great starters for many art projects.

While looking for another story I stumbled upon The Legend of the Bluebonnet. The back cover had a lovely illustration of the bluebonnet flower I thought would translate easily to a kindergarten fiber collage. I was able to break it down into simple steps that took two sessions of 40-50 minutes each.


One of the secrets to success with any kindergarten project is careful preparation. So, first I prepared the fabric by holding 9" x 12" pieces of burlap and construction paper together, folding over about a half-inch on the top and stapling them together. This keeps the glue and paint from going through and keeps the edges from fraying too much.

The felt is cut into 0.5" x 3" strips and I pour glue into very small containers with craft sticks for every two children to share. I have wet wipes or wet paper towels ready for children to wipe their fingers after painting, and I pre-thread and knot the yarn.

The Legend of the Bluebonnet is a retelling of a Comanche tale that explains the abundance of the wild bluebonnet flower in the fields of Texas. A young orphan girl sacrifices her most valuable possession, her doll, which was the only remaining item from her family, to please the spirits so the drought will end. When she awakens, the fields where she scattered the ashes from her doll are covered with bluebonnet flowers. We discuss the story and look at the picture of the flower. It has a tall stem in the middle, long, thin leaves at the bottom, blue petals in groups of three on the sides and seeds at the top that come to a point, forming a triangular shape.

The first day, we use a running stitch for the stem down the middle of the burlap. Before we start, I demonstrate how to fringe the bottom of the burlap fabric and how to make the running stitch while students are sitting around me. Then, the children return to their seats and I give each child their fabric. As demonstrated, they then pull about three threads from the bottom edge for a nice fringe.

Next, I walk around the classroom passing out needles pre-threaded with 24 inches of green yarn (also knotted at the end). For each child, I demonstrate how to push the needle through the back at the top of the fabric and pull it through to the knot. This ensures the stem will be in the middle and will go high enough.

They are then to count five spaces (threads in the burlap) on the front and three on the back. This gives them well-spaced stitches that are not too big or too small. When they get to the bottom, I tell them to raise their hands and I will tie a knot, cut the yarn and collect the needles. That's all for the first day.

The second day, we review the story and I demonstrate the next steps. Any students who need to finish their stitching will do that first. When students get to their seats, they will use a green marker to draw small stems that radiate from the center stem. They should draw about three on each side.

Next, they place four green felt strips at the bottom, pointing out and up from the center stem. I demonstrate how to use the tacky glue with the craft stick to spread the glue, like when they butter their toast. They can glue one at a time and share the glue with their neighbor. They may choose three sequins from a container on their table to glue at the top of the stem.

When they are done, I ask them to put their heads down so I can see who is ready for printing. I demonstrate how to use my thumb to print the petals in groups of three at the end of each small stem. I show them how to press harder and lighter to make larger petals at the bottom and smaller petals at the top, creating a triangular shape. When they are done printing, they raise their hands so I can bring them a wet wipe or damp towel to wipe their thumbs and collect their pictures to bring to the drying rack.

When the project is dry I send it home, accompanied by information about the story for parents to read.

This is a lesson in which every child is successful with high-quality work. By carefully orchestrating every step and preparing the materials in advance, every class was an enjoyable experience for both the children and teacher.


Joan Sterling is an art teacher at Hickory Woods Elementary School in the Walled Lake (Mich.) Consolidated Schools, and is coauthor of "Art by the Book" published by Pieces of Learning (


Primary students will ...

* use stitching and applique techniques to create a fiber collage.

* use printing techniques to create a work of art.


* The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola. Putnam Juvenile, 1996.

* 9" x 12" burlap stapled to
construction paper

* Sequins

* Tacky glue and craft sticks

* Blue, turquoise and white tempera
swirled on trays (one per table)

* 24-inch lengths of green yarn
threaded onto extra-large tapestry
needles, knotted

* 0.5" x 3" strips of light and dark
green felt, four per student

* Blunt, bendable tapestry needles

* Damp paper towels or wet wipes

* Green markers
COPYRIGHT 2009 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:art lesson inspired by Tomie dePaola's book 'The Legend of the Bluebonnet'
Author:Sterling, Joan
Publication:Arts & Activities
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Previous Article:A walk in the woods.
Next Article:A future in fashion: designing wearable art.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters