Inspired by the Small Things
While prepping supplies in the Art Studio, there are often a lot of small pieces that are left behind. Small scraps of paper become large piles as we cut and hole punch materials for our Every Day Art Projects. And the more time we spend looking at them, even the smallest scrap becomes inspiration for art-making. This blog post will share some of the scraps we have been saving, and how they can be used for art-making.
In one of our recent projects, we hole-punched thousands of paper strips for guests to use in constructing mobiles. This meant there were a lot of left-over holes just waiting to be used for projects!
We added the hole punches into our recycled paper collection using a plastic bag and a repurposed plastic candy container. The benefit to collecting small pieces of paper, is that a lot of material can be contained within a small spot!
When shaping cardboard for a recent painting project, we discovered that there were very interesting cardboard off-cuts left behind.
We stored them in a small cardboard box and added to the collection as we cut more.
We also save the small, scrappy pieces left over from collage projects. While some folks might recycle them, we find that the shapes and vibrant colors are still inspiring to make with despite their small size. We store these papers in plastic bags by scrap size.
After collecting the materials, we then wait to find a use for them.
We have used them in school programs for participants as a warm-up exercise. We provide each student with a small cup of scrap papers and hole punches, and invite them to create a scrap creature without changing the shape of materials. We set a timer for 5 minutes and with that limitation, very quickly every scrap becomes a possibility. As the scraps are arranged together, beaks, antennae, and legs emerge from creatures both real and imagined.
The scraps can also be used to create whole collage pictures, where again each of the pieces comes alive with meaning.
The small scraps can also serve as drawing prompts! Much like the scrap creature game, it can be a fun game to decide what each piece of paper or cardboard will become with just a ballpoint pen or drawing tool.
We hope that this post inspires you to consider using the small scraps that you make during an art project! If you’re looking for picture books inspiration for your artmaking, check out Christian Robinson’s use of hole punches and small cut papers in Another and When’s My Birthday?