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Brown Paper Characters

This project produces large 3D models that make a great classroom or school library displays.

Grades 4-8
Subjects Any
Time Frame One or two planning/instructional sessions, several sessions for painting and stuffing.
Materials A roll of brown kraft paper, paint in different colors, newspaper for stuffing.

Decide on the desired size for the finished product and cut a length of brown paper twice that size. Fold it in the middle. The front and back will be painted and then stapled together and stuffed with newspaper to create a large, 3D model.

In pencil, sketch in an outline of the person or figure the students want to represent on the front and back of the brown paper. When the outline is finished, paint in the outline plus any details. When the front is dry, paint the back as well.

After the back is dry, cut the figure to the desired shape and staple around three sides, leaving one of the long sides open. Carefully stuff wadded up newspaper inside, making sure the stuffing is equally distributed. Staple up the remaining side and display.

This project works well for a variety of topics such as:

  • study of ancient Egypt (Egyptian characters)
  • native studies (totem poles)
  • novel studies (characters from the novel)
  • medieval studies (characters in period dress)

Or students can make likenesses of themselves by tracing their body and following the same format for stapling and stuffing. Paint a face and hair, and dress in the student's actual clothing. This is a great project for parent interview time. When the parents enter the classroom, there appears to be someone sitting at each desk! Parents can take their brown paper son or daughter home after the interview.

Printed with permission from Firefly Books Ltd.

Great Teacher Projects K-8 by Laura Mayne

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