Thursday, April 12, 2012

Plaster of paris finger puppets - grade 4/5

Back in March, I went to Iceland for Spring Break (my unfinished blog can be found here.) I had a chance to spend an afternoon at Vesturbaejarskoli, an elementary school in downtown Reykjavik. The teacher I visited with introduced me to the school's art teacher, who showed me some amazing projects. She showed me some finger puppets using plaster bandages (I had never even heard of these - she gave me a roll to take home so that I could find them in a craft store!) I took a picture of her project (below) and used her instructions to create my own finger puppets with a grade 4/5 class.
Here is my Canadian attempt at plaster finger puppets!

During the first class, students wrapped each others fingers using pre-cut plaster bandages (purchased at a craft store, very easy to find!) I meant to coat their fingers with hand cream first, but even though I forgot, the bandages came off very easily. We let them dry around 5 minutes on the fingers, then slid them off to harden.

For the rest of the period, students worked on their planning sheet. They had to plan how they would paint/draw their finger puppet - 2 different ideas, so they had a choice the next time they came. 

 When students came back 2 weeks later, the finger forms were rock hard, the plans were ready to go, and the students had nothing to do but paint! I asked them to sketch out their drawing on their finger mold using pencil crayons, which made it so much easier when they started painting. There really isn't much more to it - once they were done painting, their puppets were ready to go!

If you look at the finger mold above, you can see the plan sketched out.

Love the way these turned out! Thanks again to the teacher in Iceland who showed this one to me!


  1. Oh my gosh, you've never used plaster bandage before!? It's a favorite of mine - we make rather elaborate finger puppets - - and my 6th graders built some amazing "people in motion" sculptures last year. Here's a link to pics from both of those projects to give you some ideas:

    Years ago I used to make MASKS with this stuff, directly on faces (first with a layer of vaseline for protection and easy removal). It's awesome fun!

    1. Thanks so much for the inspiration!! I had definitely never even heard of this stuff before, but then again, this is actually my first year doing art (and even then, I'm only an art teacher 1 hour a day!) I am still so fascinated and impressed with all of the different mediums out there!

    2. Also those people in motion are just fantastic. I am definitely going to have to do those.

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  3. Aly, those people in motion were made by an exceptionally talented group of 6th graders, and took a REALLY long time. But to make the bodies was easy. So if they were all, say, spray painted one color (gold perhaps? to look like trophies?) and didn't have all the 'extras' - the coral, the hairdos, the embellishment above and beyond what I expected - then they would be done more quickly, since the material is so easy to work with.

    Do you have any art training at all, or are you just really brave? This must be a real challenge for you!

    1. I actually was thinking of using your technique for people in motion but doing animals. Could be neat right?

      Luckily I spend most of my day with mu regular grade six class, which means I have tons of chances to integrate art throughout our day. It makes it easy to do tougher projects (check out today's post!)

      No art training but I'm a huge crafter and I'm pretty creative. I'm loving doing the art, and I'm so thankful for the online art community- id be so lost without you all!


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