Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Trees -- Paper with Accordion Fold

I wanted to do a craft project with 6-year-olds that would be winter-themed, fun, and not very complicated . . .

So in thinking about this, I envisioned some paper evergreen trees, all joined together like they are part of a forest.  The idea of a paper doll chain type project started to form . . .  and this is the result . . .

To make it look snowy, I used spatter paint, with a toothbrush, brushing it over a plastic needlepoint canvas --

The tempera paint I used needed to be watered down to make it fairly thin, so it would spatter through the holes more easily.  However, I did find that the holes tended to clog up with paint, and when there were a lot of clogs it worked really well to just blow the paint out (bending down close to the plastic mesh and blowing fairly hard).

Using the plastic needlepoint canvas was much less messy than if I had just flicked the paint off the toothbrush, as it directed the spatters to go directly below the canvas.  So I was excited to see how well this method worked :)

Now back to making the trees . . .

The first step is to cut a long strip of paper; I tried out some different sizes, that's how I got some of the different trees in the photo above.  Those ones were cut using strips of regular size paper (colored typing paper, construction paper), in different widths.  I also experimented by cutting some really big ones, using strips from large size construction paper.

As you can see, after the folding, cutting, and painting was completed, these large trees stood up more successfully when the center one was folded out, as in the picture above . . .

When making a group of paper trees, the way to fold the paper is just like when cutting a paper doll chain, or making a paper fan -- it is an accordion fold. Look closely at the top photo of small trees, to see how this looks; you have to be sure to start cutting on an outside edge, not on a folded edge.  

When doing this project with kids, I made a pencil mark for where their first fold should be, and they took it from there . . . they did the folding, then I drew a pencil line in the shape of a zig-zaggy evergreen, along one end piece, and they did the cutting.  It was kind of hard to cut through many layers of construction paper, so sometimes help was needed.

This did turn out to be a really fun project-- there is an exciting "surprise" when you undo the folded and cut paper and see how there is now a whole set of trees!  And adding spatter paint was another hugely fun activity . . .

Maybe you'd like to make a winter trees paper forest of your own; if so, try using this accordion fold technique!

What other accordion fold crafts have you tried?  How did they turn out?

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