Jeweled Bugs

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We began this lesson by perusing a variety of scientific illustrations of insects, observing the realistic elements such as the presence of a head, thorax, and abdomen and  a total of six segmented legs. My kids then folded a piece of copy paper and drew HALF a bug, (centered along the fold,) then traced the other half at a light table or window to complete the symmetrical design.


Students transferred their paper drawings to aluminum tooling foil, embossing the details to create dimension on the metal. Steps on the transfer process are shown here:


NOTE: You absolutely need a soft work surface when embossing the metal. I use old printing press blankets, which are very dense wool felt, but you can also use a stack of folded newspapers or magazines.

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Each student also embossed a simple background pattern to emphasize their bug. To really emphasize the bug, draw the background design on the opposite side!!! Color was then added to the insects symmetrically with Sharpie pens. Students were encouraged to use different blending and layering techniques to enhance the color effect. (We learned and practiced these techniques on a piece of scrap metal, first!)

Here are some examples of the practice strips:

I also created THIS VIDEO TUTORIAL to demonstrate each of the Sharpie-on-Metal techniques!

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Students adding color to their bugs!

As a final embellishment, Students had the option of adding some flat-sided gems to complete the jeweled appearance. Creating a simple mat and mounting their finished bug counted towards their final project grade. Presentation and craftsmanship matter!


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