PLASTIC POM-POM

ART

From year 4 • Working time: 3 lessons • Partner work possible

TASK AND MOTIVATION

Most children learn how to make pom-poms in nursery: They persistently wrap cardboard rings with thread, which are then unbound and cut. As if by magic, a wool ball results. We see industrially produced pom-poms as braids, hat ends or a colour-stocked craft material. In textile teaching, pom-pom production is the main method of thread strengthening. The pom-poms can be made in any colour.

The trend of using huge paper pom-poms as room decoration is a new one. These lightweight, laid-back balls, at weddings, birthdays and garden festivals, hanging on trees, linen and ceiling hooks, provide an atmospheric setting. They are incorrectly referred to as pom-poms, because there are no similarities with the textile process, either in the production technology or in the material composition. Silk paper is arranged in several layers with accordion fold, attached in the middle, the ends can be in cut into shape. Then the individual layers of paper can be carefully pulled into a ball. The result is fascinating, the folding technique is easy, only a finger-tip feel is required to make the shape of a ball. Now we use plastic bags instead of tissue paper!

Since the possibilities of the creative design are diverse and a major field of activity is opening up in “three-dimensional design", it is obvious that a material should be used in primary school which resembles silk paper in lightness and colour, but which is very much tear-proof - therefore plastic bags were chosen.

Used shopping bags with advertising print accummulate in many households. Since this packaging material will no longer be supplied free of charge after July 2016 and inventories will therefore presumably fall quickly, recourse to garbage bags from the roll is inevitable. The range of "rustling bags" from the roll is large and widespread in terms of colour, size and material thickness, therefore the procurement of the cost-effective material is easy.

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LEARNING PRIORITIES

  • Collect appropriate plastic bags
  • Arrange layers and sizes
  • Make an accordion fold for multiple foil layers at the same time
  • Test shaping by the choice of the material composition and contouring
  • Learn how to use wire as a robust thread-like material for tying, connecting and stiffening
  • Create a figurative shape by combining different pom-poms.
  • Complement limbs and face features with collage elements
  • Alienation by unusual colour and body parts

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Material and resources

  • Various plastic bags: Waste bags, garbage bags, dog waste bags 
  • Flower wire, 0.65 mm diameter or brass wire from the roll, 0.3 - 0.5 mm diameter
  • Valuable substances: Crown caps, screw caps, plastic cutlery, aluminium confectionery ramekins, packaging material such as coffee capsules, vegetables nets 
  • Leftover goods: Craft, designer felt, photo card 
  • Handicraft materials according to preference: Bending plush, cotton wool balls, googley eyes, buttons, pearls, coloured finished pom-poms, 8 to 40 mm diameter

PLASTIC POM-POM
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Step-by-step plan

Preparations

PLASTIC POM-POM

STEP 1

Cut wire section of 30 cm length with the side cutter, put to one side.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 2

Select the foil material and prepare four bags as follows:

Cut off the bottom seam and remove the grip lugs, if present.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 3

Cut off any side welds and cut the foil hose to the side.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 4

Fold the foil in the middle and cut into the desired right angle.

Basic step-by-step plan

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 1

Stack the foil layers, in an alternating colour sequence, for example, on top of each other on the work surface so that rectangles of approximately equal width are formed. The short side determines the diameter of the later pom-poms, because the accordion folds are made parallel to the short side. The number of foil layers (usually 8) and folds determines the volume of the pom-pom later on. If different bag sizes are used, fold the layers according to the smallest bag fold or roughly cut to a dimension.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 2

By folding in the centre or by measuring, trace the centre of the short side with a small marker marking in the border area.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 3

On the outside of the short side, left and right, keep all layers down with thumb, index and middle finger. Now put the foil stack in a zigzag fold.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 4

Secure all folds on both short sides with a clothes peg.

Unlike with silk paper, it is easier to take the entire stack from the surface of the table, waving it back and forth like a flag, always holding the approximately 3 cm wide folding with the fingers.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 5

Cut the fold edges in the middle to approximately 5 mm depth. At this incision, tightly wrap the wire three times around the folds and then twist together several times.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 6

Remove the clothes pegs and cut the end of the folded strip pass through all layers into shape: round, pointed, frayed, divided. The shapes can be drawn with the marker. Repeat for the opposite side.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 7

Now, with your fingers, carefully separate each layer from the other and pull the foil layers into the desired shape.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 8

After this procedure, make another in the same colour and a different size.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 9

Join both balls: Twist the open wire ends together so that the head and the body are tightly connected.

For the introduction, the entire learning group may learn plastic pom-pom production on the basis of a uniform work step sequence. Each pupil receives the same material. This means that the cutting of folds and layers only has to be explained once If the children have understood the basic principle, they find it easier to work independently with materials they have chosen themselves.

Decorate figure

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 1

Cut hands and feet from cardboard, foam rubber, leather or thick felt.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 2

In the place of the joint, make a small incision or punch a hole.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 3

Decorate the feet, for example by sticking on sequins and decorative stones etc. with UHU Max Repair Extreme.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 4

If possible, insert the bending plush wire for the arm or leg pair in the wire windings and cut to a suitable length. Guide a plush wire in the holes or in the incision of the hand/foot and then wrap around the limb several times like a joint. Glueing the limbs at any position inside the body is less complicated with the UHU Glue Gun Low Melt 110°C

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 5

There are several ways of designing the mouth opening. For a folding mouth, cut a circle the size of a CD from cardboard. Paint the folded circle, stick and add stuck or cut teeth. With the adhesive gun, attach to the middle of the head fold.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 6

For the eyes, glue the desired materials in successive layers with the glue gun. To join very small parts, such as thin plastics and smooth metal surfaces, use UHU Max Repair Extreme.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 7

Glue the finished eye directly into the foil background. For this, a partner holds the pom-pom head on the wire so that the pom-pom owner has both hands free for glueing. Apply the adhesive to the place in the pom-pom folds and then press the eyes. If a great deal of pressure is necessary, protect the finger using surrounding foil layer. If the effect of a loose telescope eye is desired, insert a long plush wire into the flower wire connection. Pass the ends through the holes of a button or the punched holes of a closure then stick the crafted eye to this.

PLASTIC POM-POM

Step 8

The final figure can be hung on the wire or as an edge ornament on a shelf, a windowsill etc.. For edge ornaments, also glue the section of a cardboard roll under the body pom-pom.


Britta Bollenhagen

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©2017 UHU GmbH & Co. KG, Bühl (Baden) and Elke Fox. Photos Page 1 top left, page 7 bottom left and Editor: Elke Fox. Other photos: Britta Bollenhagen.