Tag: packaging tape

Visual Journal Page 57: Teaching Rewards

Visual-Journal-Page-57-Teaching-Rewards Visual-Journal-Page-57-Teaching-Rewards

It was the end of my second year teaching, things were beginning to wrap up, and the feeling of relief was beginning to show as I finished grades, projects, and started shutting down my classroom for the summer.

All in all my second year teaching was a fairly good year. I built wonderful relationships with my students, hosted a successful art show, took 50 kids on a field trip, developed new projects, and ran a fairly successful art club, all with the help of my wonderful co-worker Morgan. After a hilly first year teaching, I welcomed the feeling of accomplishment at the end of my second year.

While I was happy to have wrapped up an overall successful second year, I still had doubts creeping around my brain. I still had some classroom management ups and downs, I was still unsure this is where I wanted to stay teaching, and I knew next year if I didn’t find a new job I would be all alone. One of the art positions was officially cut just a few weeks prior, and I knew the next year would bring additional stress and a lack of collaboration as I continued to try to grow the art program on my own.

With questions about my future lurking in every corner, I welcomed a distraction when a letter suddenly appeared in my box one morning. It began with a “congratulations”, always a nice way to start a sentence. The words that followed made me pause, re-read a couple of times, and question the legitimacy of the letter. I had been named a “top ten teacher” of 2010-2011 by one of my students. A top ten teacher? Me? A lowly art teacher, with little to do with college applications, GPAs, or standardized test scores was a top ten teacher? I was in shock.

As it turns out, every year in Newton county the top ten students of every school in the county select one teacher they felt supported, influenced, and helped them reach the coveted position of being in the top ten. My wonderful, talented student, Abigail, had selected me as her top teacher. As a recipient of this both Abigail and I were recognized at a banquet, with a delicious spread of food, nice speeches, and plaques. From the moment I received the letter, until the banquet, and every time I enter “top ten teacher” on my resume, I truly feel accomplished.

With all of the doubts and questions I had about my future; constantly wondering if I would get the job I recently interviewed for, if Morgan could stay if I left, what  next year would look like going it alone, this was a welcome distraction. The recognition I received from my student and the county was enough to get me over the hump, to make it seem okay if I stayed another year at that school. The award made me feel accomplished, it was confirmation that I was dong something right, and I could do this on my own if need be.

Thank you Abigail for not only selecting me out of the many wonderful teachers you could have chosen, but for also giving me the confidence to continue on another year.


  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • Magazine images
  • Masking tape
  • Letter of recognition
  • Packaging tape
  • Water


For this visual journal page I knew I wanted to put the focus on the letter. I decided fairly quickly to do a tape transfer of the letter, to create a more interesting look than simply gluing the letter directly into my book. I did worry about ruining the letter and tape transfer, considering it was the only copy I had, but I decided to continue on anyways.

Before I started on the tape transfer I opted to create a more solid background. I found interesting colors and patterns in magazines, ripped them out, and began layering them on the right side of my book. After playing around with the background I realized it was still too busy for the thin, black text to show up on once I did my tape transfer. I needed a more neutral background under the text in order to read it. After considering my options I decided to use masking tape. I like the pattern it created when it was layered, and it had a nice, light brown color. I intermixed the magazine strips and masking tape until I was satisfied with the overall look.

Once my background was complete I began working on the tape transfer. I used packaging tape to carefully tape on top of the letter, rubbed the back to make sure the ink stuck to the tape, and rinsed it in water and rubbed the paper until nothing was left but the black ink of the text. Once the tape dried I carefully stuck it on top of the background to complete the page. To read more in depth instructions on how to create a tape transfer check out my how to here.


In your next visual journal page include a text tape transfer somewhere in your collage.

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Art Lessons: The Tape Person Project

This is a project I have done twice, and it was very successful on both occasions. I love it because it introduces the students to installation art, without taking over too much space at school, and the students love it because they get a life size replica of themselves. The only issue I have faced with this project is the amount of tape required. It takes a TON of packaging tape. I would estimate 10-15 rolls of packaging tape per sculpture. After checking prices at office stores, and even dollar stores, I decided to order from an online company. In the end I went with, boxforless.com, and got the tape for about $0.60 per roll. I hope you have the finances to do this project, because it really is a great project for Sculpture I or II.


  • Packaging tape
  • Scissors
  • Students
  • Fishing wire (to hang)
  • Paper clips, or something more fancy to hang with


1. I always start new projects with a PowerPoint of an artist exemplar, student examples (if I have them), the steps, and my expectations/grading. I like to give the students all of the information up front, that way there is no miscommunication, although with high school students there is always some form of miscommunication. After I present the project I also add the step-by-step instructions to my board. My theory is by presenting the information to them verbally and visually, through my PowerPoint and on the board where they can reference it during class, there should be zero missteps. You would think this would be fool proof… but get ready… many repeated questions will still await you.

  • For this particular project I decided to present three artist exemplars. The reason I chose to do this is because installation art can be used for a number of reasons. For this assignment I focused on making a person aware of their space, Richard Serra was the exemplar for this, making a person aware of a particular part of their surroundings, Andy Goldsworthy was the exemplar for this, and making a statement about the location, Claes Oldenberg was used for this. I typically have a slide with basic background on the artist, followed by images. Whenever I introduce a new artist I have my students fill out a worksheet I hand out at the beginning of the year. All it is, is two columns with “artist” written above the left column and “artist info” written above the right column. They fill in general points to help them remember the artist on the sheet, and I grade it at the end of the year.
  • I followed the artist exemplars with student examples. Since I had done this project once before, I had a few images to share. I cannot stress enough the importance of photographing student work. It helps tremendously when introducing projects.
  • After all of the examples I explain the assignment and my expectations. I explained to the students they could choose any area of the school to display their sculpture but it had to some how relate to the space. Like the artist exemplars they could either focus on making someone aware of their space by the presence of the sculpture, bringing attention to a specific architectural element or part of the space, or they could make a statement about the space. The students were divided into groups of two, but if they wanted to team up with another group and have their sculptures interact that was an option.

2. In order to create a tape person you must use your own body to construct it, which is why the students need to work in groups. I tell my students to first consider what position their tape person will be in, that way they can arrange their body in that position to make building it easier.

  • The students work on building their person section by section. They wrap the packaging tape sticky side up on a part of their body, for example their forearm, and then they wrap the tape sticky side down. I recommend wrapping two layers sticky side up, two layers sticky side down, in order for the tape person to be thick enough.
  • Once the body part is wrapped they CAREFULLY use scissors to cut the tape off. I have had only one incident where a student was jabbed a little too hard and had a minor cut on his arm. I told him to tell Mom it happened in PE, and all was good.
  • Once they have all of the pieces created they have to tape them back together. First they need to tape the cut line, and then they need to tape the pieces to each other. In this step they must consider the position of the body. Is the elbow bent, is the person crouching, sitting, or standing. They can slightly overlap the sections as they tape them back together, but they must be careful not to lose the correction proportions.
  • I have mannequin heads in my classroom, which we use to create the head. Find something that will work for a head, you do not want your students wrapping their heads in tape.
  • Because you have to wrap sensitive areas, I also recommend dividing the students up based on gender. I allowed my girls to use my storage closet if they felt uncomfortable wrapping certain areas in front of the class.

3. Once the tape people are constructed it’s time to hang. I have had a lot of help from facility employees in the past, but this year I has a little more on my own. If you are hanging in high places, just be careful! Most schools have the tiles that can be moved, with the metal support bars in between. I tie fishing wire to the sculpture, and then to a bent paperclip. I then bend the paperclip around the metal support bar, and put the tiles back in place. This may sound ghetto, but it works like a charm. The tape people are relatively light and as long as you have at least two hanging points you shouldn’t have an issue.

  • If any students want their tape person standing make sure the legs are thick enough to hold the weight, put it in an out of the way spot, and prop it against a wall. I haven’t had a lot of luck with the standing people staying standing. Typically a weak point will buckle, and they turn into sitting people.

Here are examples from my Fall 2012 Sculpture I class! I hope you enjoy!

I don’t know how it happened, but someone I ended up with two groups doing upside down Spidermen in two different areas. Typically I would encourage one group to do something else, but they were both so excited about it, I let it go. The purpose of both sculptures were to bring attention to the high ceilings in the areas. When you are walking in a building you are in day, after day, you begin to forget about all of the interesting architectural details. I thought both did a great job! This sculpture was suspended from the overhang above the entrance. I love how it makes you look up and pay attention to the high ceilings.

Even though I had two Spidermen, at least they were in different areas and had slightly different positions. This sculpture was suspended from the railing. I loved how the head looked from the floor below, all you could see was a round orb until you walked up the stairs. This one is hung in the Middle School building, and of course they ate it up!

This sculpture is one of my favorites from this group. It was well made and they added the wings for an extra detail. I currently work at a private Christian school. This is my first year here, and I came from a title one public school. HUGE difference. As a Christian school we have a chapel, and this piece is placed in the chapel. The students wanted to bring focus to the purpose of the space, to worship. They placed the angel in a position to make it seem as if it is flying towards the altar, and the angel emphasizes the idea of a holy place. This group was very thoughtful with the location.

This sculpture was the only sitting sculpture. It was placed in the library, in a chair that is one of a group of four. The librarians LOVED having it, they cracked up when they saw three students studying in the chairs with the tape person occupying the fourth. The purpose of this sculpture was to highlight the purpose of the space, to read and learn.

This sculpture was placed at the end of the hallway. It was meant to make the viewer aware of their space, if you sit on the bench you may become uncomfortable with a tape person’s hand almost touching your head. I believe this one would’ve been more successful if it had hung lower, however in a high school you must consider keeping things out of reach.

The students, administrators, and faculty all love this project. It’s a great way to display art in your school, and get a lot of chatter going about your program. I found out about this lesson through one of my former coworkers, who found out about it through her former coworker, sometimes the best lessons are the ones that are stolen from others! Good luck, I hope you give it a try, and if you do send me some pictures!

Visual Journal Page 8: No Ride Lasts Forever

Every year in my Introduction to Art class I do a collaborative project. Each students gets a piece of an image that they have to enlarge, re-draw, and each piece fits together to create the image. I never tell them what the image is, all they have is one piece with lines, shapes, patterns, and value to work from. I love the reveal day, where I stand in front of the class, slowly unfolding their creation, as I listen to their oohs and ahhs.

Their drawings never line up perfectly, the image is always slightly off, but when you step back it all comes together. Those slight nuances are what make it interesting, it’s what turns the original image into their work of art. I love this project and the sense of community it creates in the class. I was reminded of that feeling as I was sifting through my journal folder one afternoon and I came across this image. It was the first collaborative grid project I did, and it brought up memories of my first semester teaching.

I was reminded of how much I loved and hated my job. How I struggled to get through every day, connect to my “problem” students, prepare for every class, and fall asleep at night. Throughout that first year, especially the first semester, when I had my difficult days I often reminisced about college. I thought about how easy it was, how I was able to spend all my time hanging out with friends, attending football games, going to movies, or just hanging out at our house. I remembered how easy life was when my parents paid my bills, and all I had to worry about was where I would get extra spending money to go out to eat, buy new clothes, or hang out in downtown Athens. That first year teaching I ached for my college years.

The real world is difficult. My first month fully on my own I barely scraped by. By the last week of the month, I was eagerly awaiting my first real-life-grown-up-job paycheck, and I desperately needed it. I couldn’t go to the store to buy more food or put more gas in my car. I had a long commute, which ate up a lot of gas, which meant when I got home from work I couldn’t drive my car anywhere else to conserve gas. I was down to kraft mac-n-cheese, with no milk to make it with, a box of crackers, a few basic items here and there, which I lived off of for a week. I desperately missed my parent’s credit card that month. The next month was easier, as was the next, and slowly my finances, job, attitude, and life in general started to get better.

As I sat in my classroom the beginning of my second year, looking at this image of a carnival ride, thinking back on my first year teaching and college days, with all of these memories and snapshots flipping through my head, I realized that I was happy I was no longer in college. I missed being with my friends all the time, I missed Athens, but I didn’t miss homework, tests, and not making my own money. I love living in a house that is mine, married to a man that I love, and working a job that is emotionally trying yet rewarding. I love the sense of accomplishment at the end of every month when I get my paycheck, pay my bills, mortgage, insurance, go shopping, out to eat, and set aside the extra for my future plans. I truly love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I chose this image for the collaborative project because it fit into a carnival theme, it had interesting texture, and good lines. But, subconsciously I think I chose it because it reflected my life. You get on one of these rides, and while your riding sometimes it feels like you are on it for an eternity, you don’t know when it will end, yet when you get off you feel like it was over in the blink of an eye. While your on the ride your emotions surge from excitement to fear, relaxation to stress, heart fluttering, hair flying, and the tingling sensation left behind as the ride slows, but your body hasn’t quite caught up yet. Life can be over in the blink of an eye, in the worst times it can drag by, but all of the sudden you are years later, thinking back, feeling like it was yesterday.

In every stage of our lives we need to take a moment and remind ourselves of all the things that are happening. Take a breath, think about the day, the last week, or even what happened five minutes ago. The most important thing is to reminisce. We need to remind ourselves how we got to where we are, how good or bad things were up to this point, and where you will go from here. In the blink of an eye this moment will be over, the next moment is quickly approaching, and just as quickly sliding by.  Suddenly, we will find ourselves at the next stage of life, reminiscing on the one we just left. After all, no ride lasts forever, but the best ones will always be remembered.


  • Visual Journal
  • Scissors
  • Ribber cement
  • Packaging tape
  • Gesso
  • Book pages
  • Sharpie


I knew when I decided to make a page about this image that I wanted to keep it simple, and stick to neutral colors. I immediately decided to create a tape transfer of the carnival ride, and place it on the right corner. To create a tape transfer you take clear packaging tape, and place it on top of an image printed on a laser printer. You then flip the image over, and burnish the back with scissor handles. Once the tape is well stuck to the image you hold the paper underwater until it begins to separate from the tape. Move it to a counter or table, and rub a sponge or your fingers over the soggy paper to remove it from the tape. The end result is the ink stuck to tape, and all white areas are now transparent. For more details on how to create a tape transfer look here.

 I liked the semi-transparent effect I got when I created the transfer, I loved the words in the book pages showing through, and I decided to use ripped up book pages to emphasize the words I was planning on adding. I decided to write the words across both pages, and thought it would be interesting to create a space for the words to be written in. I wanted it to be subtle, so I painted a straight line with watered down gesso. Gesso is an acrylic medium that is used to create a surface you can paint on. It is also great for drawing on top of and toning down backgrounds. I wanted it to be semi-transparent so I added water to make it more hazy. I then outlined the painted line with ripped up book pages. In order to make the book pages blend into the background I used pages from my book, so the color of the ripped up pages would match the color of the background. To finish the image I wrote my words. I used pencil first, so I could make sure everything would fit perfectly, and then outlined them in sharpie.


Create a page that represents your outlook on life at this point in time. Feeling depressed, create a dark page. Excited about something coming up, create something with bright colors and movement. Choose an image to represent your emotion or create something more abstract. Use a tape transfer of words, a pattern, or an image somewhere in your page.