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From Recycling to MAGIC … the Creation of our Marionette Structures!

Posted by on February 28, 2017

The artist’s world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep.

~Paul Strand

We have JUST finished the STRUCTURAL part of our multi-disciplinary inquiry! We have already learned SO much, through art, science, social studies, reading, writing, math, collaborating, compromising AND paying it forward, and NOW we’re ready to bring our structures HOME! It’s hard to believe that we’ve accomplished SO much in SUCH a short period of time! We CAN’T wait to research more information about the traditional clothing from India, Peru, Tunisia or Ukraine, with our FAMILIES … and to make our clothing together at home!

Oh my GOODNESS … there is just SO much ROLLING and CRUMPLING and TAPING!

What follows are our reflections on BUILDING the structural bodies of our marionettes, using recyclables, and STRENGTHENING our structures with papier mache. We’ve discovered SO much about building with a variety of materials! We hope you enjoy:

And MEASURING … who KNEW that building these structures was going to be THIS much work!

“We started our marionettes and I was away a day because I was sick so my partner showed me. My highlight was making the body and the arm links. Also, my lowlight was making the head. The hardest part was making the marionette! I had to do layers to make it strong.” ~Daniel

“We started papier maching a few days ago. At first the glue felt really slimy and I did not like the glue. I thought papier maching was pretty fun after all. A highlight was that I liked the glue and I got used to it. A lowlight was that when I papier mached over the mouth I could not do it well so when I papier mached over the mouth I could not really see the mouth. The most hardest part was to do the papier mache over the mouth because I wanted to see the mouth but the papier mache was covering it. The easiest part was taping because I like to do it and I like to rip the tape. The part I am most proud of is the body except for the head. I was most proud of the body because the tape and three coats of papier mache are just perfect! The thing that I would do differently next time is maybe the head.” ~Tareq

Building these structures took SO much team work, cooperation and paying it forward!

“My highlight was building the head, eyebrows, eyelids, nose, cheekbones and mouth because, well, I liked how we papier mache it. It was fun! I don’t know how but it was crazy fun for me! This is why papier maching was fun for me: because of the crunching and rolling and ripping! My lowlight was having to touch the icky paste. In my opinion the paste felt like goo! This is why touching the paste was my lowlight. Because it is mushy or squishy and I don’t like mushy or squishy! The hardest part was rolling the paper towel tubes because rolling hard paper towel tubes is not easy. Trust me. The easiest part was making the eyelids because it was pretty easy making the bottom of the eyelids and then overlapping it with the top eyelid. What I’m most proud of is dipping my fingers in the mushy, squishy paste because I told you earlier how I hate mushy and squishy stuff, but I did it anyways! I’m so proud of myself! What I would do differently next time is smoothing it better because I don’t think that I was paying a lot of attention to smoothing the tape or papier mache. If someone is going to do a marionette and they wanted my advise then I’ll say this: you’re going to need a partner that you work well with. You’re going to need to smooth. There is going to be a huge mess!” ~Evelyn S

We make it LOOK easy because we’ve worked SO beautifully with our building partners … but … TRUST us … this was CHALLENGING!

“My highlight was getting the paper towel wet because I like how it felt. My lowlight was milking the paper because my paper kept ripping. The hardest part was making sure that my marionette eyelids were crossed. The easiest part was papier maching the tube because all you had to do is get a piece of paper wet with glue and put it on. The part I am most proud about is the whole marionette because I thought it was going to be so hard but my marionette turned out magnificent. My advice is do it because it’s very messy and awesome!” ~Colter

“My favourite part was everything because it was all so fun! My least favourite part was the cheekbones because I could not get the shape that I wanted. The hardest part was the cheekbones. The easiest part was the eyebrows. I am proud of the head because I like the shape.” ~Alinah

“Hi! I’m here to talk to you about papier mache structures! One of my highlights was when we got to make our marionette heads and when we also scrunched our heads. It was super, super, super fun!!! My second favourite highlight is when we did the chin because I got to make my chin so pointy and it was so fun. Now, let’s talk about my lowlight. One of them was when the flimsy masking tape wouldn’t stay put on my marionette structure. I guess that is my only lowlight because I had a wonderful time. The hardest part was the eyebrows because I got so confused. The easiest part was the taping because you just move you hands. I am most proud of my head. What I would do differently next time is my nose.” ~Arash

WHAT? Just LOOK at this mess … and we just cleaned ANOTHER one up!!!

“We are making marionettes in my class. My highlight is the head because it was easy to tape. My lowlight is the arm links and the shoulder links … taping them … because I tried to stick it but it was too strong. The hardest part is the nose because it was so hard to roll up and bend. The papier maching felt gross, slimy, smooshy and gooey! I’m most proud of the face because I think it looks SO good. How to make the paste is with flour, water and salt. Try it at home because it’s so fun. I loved it so much. The best part is … everything! Yes, everything!” ~Alex

“Hello! Today we are going to be talking about what it was like to papier mache! It was INCREDIBLE to do this experiment!!! It felt really ooey and gooey, like mud kind of! Why we papier mached it was because so we can STRENGTHEN it, to make it more STRONG, (so it wasn’t all flappy because if we didn’t papier mache it, it would’ve fallen apart!) We had to have these buckets that had the paste in it. Then, once we dipped it in, we had to milk it so our marionettes wouldn’t get all green and moldy. Luckily mine isn’t. My highlight was papier maching because it was all goopy and slimy but also cool! My lowlight was smoothing it out because the goop sticks to your hands and it takes longer to wash off! The hardest part was milking it because I got SO frustrated when it folded up! The easiest part was putting the paper on because I mean, it’s just basically putting it on! The part I am most proud of was my lips because it was surprisingly easy! The part I would do differently next time is smoothing it out a little more.” ~Vivian

It’s HARD to believe that THIS strong masterpiece was once a flimsy bunch of paper towel tubing and newspaper!

“So, I think so far building the marionettes was pretty fun because I’ll tell you my highlights and lowlights. My first highlight was building the arm links because it was a bit challenging to keep it curved when it was cut. This is my lowlight: when we made the heads because it was very, very hard since we had to crumple newspaper up and make a flat side and make a crumpled side twice. Here is another highlight: when we built the nostrils because it was pretty cool. It was a ball of newspaper that you stuck in the nose. The hardest part was building the eyebrows because it took me TEN tries and I still couldn’t do it so I asked for Mrs. Renton and that’s how I made the eyebrows. But, I actually didn’t make that – Mrs. Renton did! The easiest part was putting on the popsicle sticks because all you have to do it is grab a piece of tape and put a popsicle stick on!” ~Eric

“We are making marionettes! And, so far, we have made the structure and the head, the eyebrows and the nose. My favourite part of this marionette is rolling the big roll of newspaper. That was fun and I also liked doing the HEAD even thought it was HARD! My lowlight is how the eyebrows turned out because I think that my marionette looks surprised! The hardest part of the project is making all the facial features, including the head. The easiest part was taping. I am most proud of my head. If I get another chance to do this again I will probably make my marionette taller!” ~Katherine

Are you READY? THIS is where it gets MESSY!!!

“The most easiest part of the papier maching is the head and the tube. I am proud of the eyes and also the hands. I am not proud of the mouth. I might do my marionette different with the mouth. It was kind of fun to papier mache my marionette.” ~Beyazit

“Yes! We’re making our marionettes! I’m so excited! My favourite part was taping because the more tape I put on it looked more stronger! And, it was! My lowlight was rolling because I always made it too fat. The hardest part was … well … there was a lot … but the hardest part was probably scrunching up the head because you don’t want it too big or too small. I am most proud of my taping because there isn’t a lot of bumps. Something I would do differently next time is make the nose bigger. I love making marionettes!” ~Evelyn L

“It was so awesome! It was like I was a super hero making an automaton, but out of paper! The papier mache was VERY smooshy and when I was papier maching, my ear had an itch! I could not touch it because I had paste all over my hands. The paste made my skin dry.” ~Rowen

“We are working on a science project building our marionettes. We will use them for a play and it will take months to get it done. The first step is to make the arm links. The second is the shoulder blades. We have a long way to go, like papier mache. We did the head and the nose and also the eyebrows. The neck was the hardest. That was the lowlight that I had. I had a great time.” ~Nic

Yup … it’s OOEY and GOOEY … and STICKY and AWESOME!

“Don not FLICK anyone because it does TASTE bad … very bad! It could get in you eyes or nose! What did we do on our marionettes? We did eyes, eyelids, lips, (mouth), eyebrows, noses and everything else which was fantastic! We had to do three layers because the paper towel tube and the newspaper was not strong. Probably because it had been reused a lot of times. Now my marionette is super strong because I put so many layers of papier mache on it so it is way stronger.” ~Maya

“I had a great time building marionette structures. My favourite highlight was when we made the features on the head because that is when it actually started to look more like a person and the marionette started to look almost complete. It even looked like some of the features, like the eyebrows and nose, were real. I don’t even think that there was a part I didn’t like about it, but I did have some parts that I thought were challenging like rolling the paper towel tubes for the body, shoulder links and arm links. I also thought that rolling the newspaper really tight was a bit of a challenge because rolling something that thin so tight and small is challenging to me. The absolute hardest part for me was the nostrils because it took me a while until I was happy with the nostrils and the size of the newspaper ball. The easiest part was working with my partner; we were both polite and got along easily. I am most proud of the way my marionette looks now and how well I got along with my partner.A thing that I would do differently next time is change the shape of my head and make it a little smaller because I saw a lot of my classmates do it and I want to know how it would turn out on my marionette! I also think it is interesting. A wonder i have is why did we scrunch up the newspaper for the head and didn’t cut it? I also have a fact. Once these marionettes are at least 25 years old they will actually be artifacts of true masterpieces and works of art with hard work and soul put into them!” ~Payton

We worked AMAZINGLY through this ooey, gooey process!

“When we started papier mache I started to work on the bottom to the top. The paste felt REALLY ooey and gooey in the bucket. The paste is made out of flour, water and salt. The hard part was trying to make the cheekbones even but it didn’t work out for me. My marionette got strong by first taping it then papier maching its first layer, then second, then third.” ~Zari

“My favourite part was doing the mouth because I made my marionette look SO happy! My least favourite part was papier maching the body because it was very LONG and uncomfortable. The hardest part was the … well … nothing! The easiest part was … everything because all you needed to do was dip paper towel in the glue. The part I am most proud of is the mouth because he looks so HAPPY!” ~Reid

“The hardest part was making the little pieces of tape stick. The easiest part was putting the nose on. I’m most proud of my face shape. Something I would do differently is make bigger cheekbones. We had to strengthen the structure and smooth it. The paste that we used was ooey, gooey, icky, sticky, gross, slimy, smooshy, thick and runny! We had to mild and drag the mache over the bowl because if the mache is too wet it will mold! My favourite part was papier macheing over the nose. It felt cool to go all around the bumps. My lowlight was when I first put my hand in the bowl and after a few minutes my skin started to crinkle! But, I got used to it! The hardest part was to put the eyelids on. The easiest part was putting the mache over the lips.” ~Leah

WHAT? We have to do THREE layers? This is going to take us until NEXT year!!!

“My highlight was that we got to papier mache our marionettes and make it. My lowlight was that the papier mache was so gooey, icky, sticky and gross! YUCK! The hardest part was, I’m pretty sure EVERYTHING! Because the papier maching part was very hard! There were no easy parts because ALL the parts were VERY hard and even the papier maching was hard because we had to do three layers of papier mache! The part I’, most proud of is all the work I did because I worked very hard to make it. What I would do differently next time is to change my hands and my neck and my body because the body has some wrinkles on there and my neck is so small and also my hands. I put thick pieces of papier mache on some of my parts. I hope that my brother will be done his marionette soon because I really want to play with my marionette and my brothers!” ~Sky

“Oh Hi! I’m making a marionette. Here let me tell you what a marionette is. It’s like a puppet but it’s even better because we get to make them ourselves! My highlight was making the face because making the oval shape was a little hard. And, my lowlight, well … I don’t really have one because I loved every second of it and I think it looks great so far! The hardest part of this was making the oval shape and if you go back you will see that I said one of my highlights was doing this! The easiest part was rolling the eyebrows and the nose because I’m really good at rolling! I’m most proud of my head because I liked the shape that I made! But, I was really proud of everything. I would make the back oval bigger next time!” ~Connie

HEY! Now THAT’S an improvement … these eyes and lips really make it come to LIFE!

“Hello! I’m going to talk about my marionette! Okay, let’s get started! My highlight was taping everything because I like taping stuff together. My lowlight was putting the nostrils in because I wasn’t making the right size. The hardest part was making the head because I couldn’t get the flat and round front. (The teacher, Mrs. Renton, did it for me!) The easiest part was arm links because it was easy to roll it and tape it. I was most proud of my nose because I thought it would be ugly. What I would have done differently next time: I would have made my head higher because I barely have a neck. I forgot to tell you that I’m not finished my marionette.” ~Colby

“I really, really loved building the structures of our marionettes because building our marionettes is SO fun! My highlight was doing the hands. My lowlight was doing the arm links. The hardest part was the neck! The part I am most proud of is the face because it is pretty!” ~Brooklyn

Now for the eyelids and one LAST layer … our marionettes have become STRONG structures!

“My highlight is rolling the arms and the shoulder links but it was still a little hard. But, I handled it well. My favourite part was the nose because it looks funny but strong. My lowlight is trying to roll the newspaper and trying to get it so skinny … that was hard. The hardest part was the head.” ~Emily

“We finished doing our papier mache. It was really gooey and we used brown paper towel. Well, that’s over with! We did our lips a few days ago. It was a little hard to do the front of the head. It took us three days to do the papier maching. Papier mache is made with flour, water, salt and then you cook it. I think then you can use newspaper or I know you can use brown paper towel. It is better if you have brown paper towel because white paper towel wouldn’t look as good. This is how you use the paper towel to do the papier maching for marionettes and other things. I have never used newspaper. It has to be ripped into a certain size because  if it’s too big it will wrinkle. I think it is two inch squares. It can’t be too wet or it will mold.” ~Will

Enjoy our slideshows of building AND strengthening:

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This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All art requires courage.

~Anne Tucker

20 Responses to From Recycling to MAGIC … the Creation of our Marionette Structures!

  1. Renee

    Love the Marionette’s. Payton and are enjoying creating clothing and look to have her Marionette look like she is from the country of India. This is such a great project for the students. I look forward to seeing all the finished projects.

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Renee!

      Thank you for this awesome comment! We love the marionettes as well! We BET you’re enjoying making the clothing for your daughter’s marionette!

      Keep checking back! Have a lovely day!

      The BPS Bloggers 🙂

  2. Mary

    Hi Grade 3 Bloggers. I like all the team work happening in the making of your marionettes.
    I hope I get to see the finished products.
    Grandma Mary

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Grandma Mary!

      Thank you for this lovely comment! Yes, there has been a LOT of team work in this classroom! We sure hope that Mrs. Renton does a post with our finished products because we would LOVE for you to see them! (She will … but … she says she DEFINITELY won’t do it ALONE!!!) 😉 We bet when you see our marionettes you’ll be amazed! As they’ve been coming in, we’ve been amazed ourselves!

      Keep checking back! Have an awesome day!

      The BPS Bloggers (and your adorable grandson!!!) 😉

  3. Maxine

    So cool! Thanks for sharing! The marionettes are such a great project!

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Maxine!

      Thank you for this great comment! We know that our marionettes are such a great project because it took a lot of effort and they look very good! Our marionettes look so good that it looks like we have a global village in our classroom!

      Keep checking back! Have an awesome day!

      The BPS Bloggers 🙂

  4. Alinah

    Hi class!
    i love learning about our 4 countries, its for fun. making our marionetters was really cool and now we get to dress them.

    • Laurie Renton

      Hello Alinah!

      Thank you for the AMAZING comment! We love learning about our four countries as well! So far some of our marionettes and here! They are looking SO good!

      Keep checking back! Have a wonderful day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers 🙂

  5. Susanne

    Hi! I am so excited with him our marionettes turned out. I wish we could do this project again because it was so much fun. I am so excited to see how our marionettes will look when they are dressed. Maybe they will look real! I have to go to bed so I will see you later. Bye! Katherine

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Katherine!

      Thank you for this lovely comment! We can’t wait to see all the marionettes too! We really liked your marionette! We also would like to do this project again too … wouldn’t it be neat if EACH of us had a marionette from EACH of the countries … maybe even a boy AND a girl from each country!!! That means we’d have to be in grade three for EIGHT years … unless we made TWO a year … then we’d be in grade three for FOUR years!!! We’re glad that you thought that this project was fun!

      Keep checking back! Have a wonderful day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers 🙂

  6. Alinah

    hi class
    i am so excited to see how our marionettes are going turn out. they are gonna look so cool

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Alinah!

      Thanks for leaving this fabulous comment! We are so excited that the marionettes are going to turn out great! We are really excited to see your marionette when it comes back to school.

      Keep checking back! Have an awesome day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers 🙂

  7. Reid :):):):):):):P

    hello class (other BPS bloggers) and Mrs. Renton! I just went shopping for my marionettes clothing. I might design him tomorrow/Sunday.March 5th! seeya Monday!;) ~ Reid

    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Reid!

      Thank you for this COOL comment! Your marionette looks fantastic! So … shopping must have been GREAT! We LOVE the way that you used glue to put your traditional clothing together!

      Keep checking back! Have an awesome day!

      The OTHER BPS Bloggers 🙂

  8. Zari

    Hello class Im sad that I’m sick today I’m sorry I couldn’t be there……But I can still communicate by leaving a comment. I hope nothing fun is happening ……….. If fun is happing TELL ME WHAT IT WAS…Please. Well I’ve got to say bye I need to go and play my game.


  9. Ross Mannell

    Hello Grade 3,

    I found your work on marionettes fascinating, especially since it makes use of recyclables. At one stage in my teaching career I was a craft teacher for a short time and have had similar fun with classes.

    As Daniel pointed out, you need to use layers to make papier-mâché strong . The glue can feel slimy as Tareq shared but I liked working with it, although the clean up after a lesson can be messy. Did you know papier-mâché means “chewed paper”? The sticky mess can look a little like that.

    I enjoyed reading of…
    Evelyn S’s bravery in handling the “mushy-squishy stuff”
    Colter’s advice to try it because “it’s very messy and awesome”
    Alinah’s struggles with the eyebrows
    Arash’s difficulties overcoming flimsy masking tape
    Alex’s formula for making the paste
    Vivian’s detailed account of her experiences
    Eric’s willingness to ask for help when needed
    Katherine’s marionette’s “surprised’ eyebrows
    Beyazit’s pride in the marionette’s eyes and hands
    Evelyn L’s efforts in getting the marionette’s head just right
    Rowen’s super hero effort “making an automaton” out of paper
    Nic’s details of the steps taken in building a marionette
    Maya’s warning not to flick anyone with the paste because it tastes bad
    Payton’s detail and happiness working with a partner
    Zari’s work on building layers
    Reid’s marionette’s happy mouth
    Leah’s description of the paste as “ooey, gooey, icky, sticky, gross, slimy, smooshy, thick and runny!”
    Sky’s thoughts of having marionette fun with others
    Connie’s joy with every second of the marionette making
    Colby’s thoughts about how to improve a marionette so the neck isn’t too short
    Brooklyn’s pride in creating a pretty marionette face
    Emily’s creation of a strong but funny nose
    Will’s great account of what was involved

    … and mostly, I enjoyed the slideshow sharing your experiences with the world.

    I’ll share a quote from the famous artist, Pablo Picasso…
    “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”

    Keep your love of art and craft with you as you grow. Such love can make your world and the world of others richer.

  10. Sick Rowen :(


    ops cap locks.
    Right now I’m sick at home so I wanted to say hi.

    I can see that you guys were on the docs on Monday. I wish I could have been on my computer at that time so I could be with you guys.

    See you soon. – Rowen

  11. Alexia

    HI BPS Bloggers!

    My name is Alexia and I am in grade 4 now so… i thought i’d stop by to see what is going on! I see you guys are doing papier-macheing! Looks messy! Good team work. Well i’ll check back later!

    See you soon!- Alexia 🙂

  12. Vivian

    Hi class!!

    I love all your guys marionettes that came into school already and I hope the ones that are still at home, turn out GREAT!! Mine is doing good, I just need to glue on the hair but I don’t know how to use a glue gun! Mine is gonna come in REALLY REALLY soon! I promise! Maybe even next next week when we have school!

    Have a great day!! (Of Spring Break!)

    Vivian <3

  13. Leah

    This project was amazing. They look great. I wonder when we are going to make our iMovies. Bye. From Leah

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