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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002

Hours

  • Tue- Friday10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10am – 5pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

 

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Making Art Together

Make Your Own Stick Alphabet

It’s amazing how twenty-six little letters are all you need to make thousands of words in the English language! The current exhibition here at The Carle, The Art of Eric Carle: From A to Z, is making us think a lot about the alphabet. We decided to decorate the Art Studio with our own letters to display on the back wall...made of twigs!

Follow the directions below to make your own alphabet at home or for your classroom.

Materials you will need:

-A variety of branches and twigs in different lengths and thicknesses

-Pruning shears (We have these by Fiskars)

-Twine

-Hot glue gun

-Pencil or marker and sheets of copy paper

-Rubber bands and round objects like a jug or rolls of packing tape (for making round letters)

First, collect your branches and twigs from outside. We preferred fresh cut “green” branches that still had a lot of flexibility, but use what you have access to! Clean up your branches, removing leaves and extra shoots. Or, look at how you could use a funny curve or intersection to your advantage for a letter in your alphabet.

To make sure our alphabet letters were about the same size, we drew letter templates on copy paper and made sure they were all about 6-inches on their tallest point, and no wider than about 5-inches. If you desire an alphabet that is all different sizes, skip this step.

Next, use your template (or free-hand) your letters and cut the twigs to size using a good pair of shears. Scissors are not safe to use for this project since they are not intended for cutting wood.

With a hot glue gun, tack your letter together at each joint.

Then, tack a piece of twine in place with hot glue at the back of the letter. Wrap the twine around each joint of the letter and tack the end of the twine with hot glue again on the back to keep it in place.

For curved letters like “S,” “O,” “Q,” and “U” we wrapped flexible “green” twigs around various-sized round objects and wrapping them in place with rubber bands. 

A gallon jug of glue was the perfect size for “O”and “Q,” and small spools left over from packing tape were the perfect size for wrapping the “S” and “U.”  Leave the letters wrapped around the objects for as long as you can. We left ours for two weeks. The fresh twigs will dry in place during that time and stay bent in a curved position. If you don’t have access to “green” twigs, try soaking some older twigs in water to make them soft before wrapping them.

Thanks to Rebekah Buettner and Katie Welles for helping me construct the letters, hang them and document the process for this post.

Our idea was inspired by this beautiful mini twig and vine alphabet found here, via Pinterest (this website is written in Spanish).

For more letter ideas, check out this fun Typography and Alphabets board on Pinterest and be sure to visit The Art of Eric Carle: From A to Z here at The Carle through February 21, 2016.

 

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We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 

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by Diana MacKenzie

This entry was posted on Friday, October 30th, 2015 at 8:00 am and is filed under By Diana MacKenzie, Displays & Window Shades, Nature, Sculpture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



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Lisa Michael
Friday, April 4, 2018 - 4:54 pm

THis is sooooo very beautiful! I'm going to try to make a set for my preschool class while there are new green twigs and before school gets out!! Beautiful Earth Art and Literacy!! Thank you Diana!

Swapna
Sunday, August 8, 2016 - 10:15 am

Very creative! Looks like fun doing it too :)
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