Time Frame: 3 hours over the course of three days in a summer camp setting
Grade Levels: 2nd-4th
Materials: dome lids, plastic shopping bags, balloon ribbon, pony beads, liquid condensed watercolors, tempera glitter mixing medium, glue, fishing line, clear tape, 1-hole punch, scissors

This is another project that uses mostly reusable trash. I got the idea from the Dick Blick Art Materials lesson plan: Recycled Jellies

The actual lesson plan calls for the purchase of  A LOT of expensive materials. Since I was teaching this at a summer art camp for our district with a budget of $100 for the week, I had to improvise a good bit. It turned out to be awesome anyway! :) 

My husband and I ate a lot of ice cream to collect enough dome lids from Sonic for this project. Since I didn't know who the students would be for the camp, I couldn't ask them before hand to save lids. However, if I were doing this project with my regular classes, I'd ask students and parents to help.
It was important to me to actually use trash because I wanted to teach that art can be made from all sorts of reusable materials. That was actually the premise of the camp. It was called 2nd Time Design. However, if that isn't something you want to focus on in your classroom, you could ask Sonic or other places to donate them. BUT, if you are doing the project, why not teach about conservation too?!?

Start by mixing the liquid condensed watercolors with the tempera medium. I usually buy both of those products from Sax Arts and Crafts. (Sometimes this type of watercolor is called concentrated liquid watercolor.) It doesn't take very much watercolor, but it does take quite a bit of medium. Meanwhile, have the students cut strips out of the plastic bags. These will become the arms of the jellyfish. They need about 7 or 8 strips. It is hard to cut a plastic bag into perfect strips, especially for a young student. So, tell the students not to worry about that. The more uneven and wavy the strips are, the better it will look. It gives the project charm. And, they can always go back and trim later.

Depending on the age of the students, either you or them will need to punch 7 or 8 holes around the bottom of the dome lid with the 1-hole punch, and two at the top on opposite sides.

The students will need to paint both sides of the plastic strips, and the inside and outside of the dome lid. It dries pretty fast, so this can be done in one sitting. Make sure they glue the strips in between the holes that have been punched. Explain that they don't want to cover the holes, because they will have to thread ribbon thru them later. They can trim as needed to make this work.

Next, the students glued the plastic strips to the underside of the dome lid. Plain school glue will work. I told them to hold it in place and count to 100 before they glued the next one.

After the plastic strips had dried, I pulled 4-5 students at a time to a small group table to tie the balloon ribbon and pony beads. This worked for me because I had so many different ages of students attending the camp. If you are teaching older students of the same grade level, it would probably be fine to do it whole group. 

This is a little tricky though. Thread the pony bead (I used white) onto the balloon ribbon (white again) first. Tie a knot with the ribbon so that it knots on the bead. Make sure that this knot/bead is about 1/4 of the way from the top of the ribbon. Thread the top part of the ribbon into the hole on the dome lid. Pull until the bead stops at the plastic. Then tie two knots around the bottom of the lid with the top and bottom part of the ribbon. You can curl the ribbon with scissors if you want it to have more wave.

The fishing line and tape will make a hanger for the jellyfish. I did this part for the students for the same reason that I taught the ribbon threading in a small group. Again, though, I think it would be fine to do it with a whole group of older students of the same grade level.

Thread the fishing line across the top and thru both holes. You can tie it in a small knot, but the knot will probably not hold. If that is the case, wrap the knot with tape. I didn't have clear tape, so I used duct tape, but I recommend clear for obvious reasons. The fishing line will be in a circle. In this picture, I am holding the top part of the fishing line (you can't see it) and it circles around to the tape.

I really love what this student did with the colors. She took longer than anyone else to finish, but she did an exceptional job!

This would be a great project for integrating science into the art classroom or art into the science classroom. You can teach about the anatomy or lifecycle of a jellyfish.

If you have any questions, leave a comment.
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room