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from Stockton, CA
Occasion:Classroom or daycare
I work in an after school program that ranges from first through sixth grade and to my surprise this craft attracted and entertained both fifth/sixth grade boys & girls. Younger ones did the project as well just needed some extra help. Turned out to be an incredibly bright and beautiful project. Hang up in front of the light and it looks amazing.
If there is any confusion from the description or photo this is NOT a layered or "sandwiched" craft project. And what I mean by this is that there is ONLY one foam fishbowl frame per acetate fishbowl sheet. I, along with a few of my coworkers (those who actually purchased the craft) had assumed that you would have the acetate sheet sandwiched in between two foam frames to give the overall craft project more strength and to aid in securing the blue ribbon for hanging. The other thought was that if the project didn't come with two foam frames then perhaps the project would include two acetate sheets to help sandwich the tissue paper squares. Either way, had anticipated more materials than received.
The quality is good, not great but good. Some of the foam fish were smudged and had discolorations but considering foam pieces are layered on top nothing of major concern. Some of the foam fishbowl frames were smudged as well yet considering the only printing on the fishbowls are three horizontal black lines these can be easily reproduced with the use of a sharpie. Every single prepackaged bag of craft pieces had every component necessary to complete the project. And additional foam fins and tissue squares were even included.
By far the most difficult part of this craft is in layering and gluing the frame on top of the acetate sheet. Foam can slightly stretch or at least become distorted in packaging so I had a few foam frames that needed to be manipulated by hand to mesh with the acetate sheets. Not a huge deal just some patience and dexterity of the hands is necessary. I used a glue stick for my sample project. I put some glue on the frame and then placed the frame on top of the acetate sheet adding glue and pressing down section by section. Would not recommend this. By the time I walked my hands around to the last curve of the fishbowl the frame was not lined up with the acetate sheet and I had to remove the whole thing which left a gluey mess. So instead I flipped the foam frame over onto the back side and manually lined up the acetate sheet directly on top of it leaving an evenly spaced edge all around under which to place the glue. Here's where I should add, it's difficult lining up the foam frames with the acetate sheets because the sheets are cut MUCH MUCH smaller than the frames. To avoid chaos and frustration I opted to use a glue gun and secured all the frames and sheets ahead of time for the students. I also hot glued all of the ribbons onto the backs of the fishbowls for hanging. I would suggest doing the same.
Separate the tissue paper squares. The squares are included in each individual prepackaged set of craft materials for individual use and some are bound together like you would see the pages of a notepad where you have to tear the sheets off. Well I discovered some students were having trouble gluing down their tissue paper squares because they left the squares attached in little block-like thicknesses so the glue couldn't seep through all the layers to secure them to the acetate sheet. I separated the squares ahead of time as best I could but some bound squares slipped through.
This is a project that requires gluing (in addition to prep work) so an adequate amount of drying time is required. I would make this a two day project because it's ideal that the tissue paper squares dry overnight. Or seeing as how I had students who didn't want to wait to take their craft project home I had them glue down the tissue paper squares first and while drying had them put together the fish and then I sent both home on paper plates or in baggies so that once completely dry they could simply glue the fish and bubbles on at home.
keep in mind
A glue stick AND the glaze is required for this project. The glaze is used first to glue down the tissue paper squares. Then another layer of glaze is used to go over the squares to help set and give it a nice sheen. Then the foam fish pieces are put together but they won't hold by simply using the glaze so glue stick/white glue/foam glue/glue dots will need to be used. Then the fish/bubbles are added to the front of the acetate sheet (the side w/o the squares) which again won't hold by simply using the glaze. Speaking of glaze, this project requires you to make a "glaze," white glue thinned with water so be sure to consider your location. If you're in a home not such a big deal. But in a school setting, say the library or a classroom, access to water is not as readily available. If in a classroom each student will probably have to have his/her own glue container and tissue paper squares (due to individual desks) so there could be students up and down and all over the place and it could get a little messy. I did the project in the cafeteria using the long tables so everyone could share the materials. Also I brought in a couple water bottles since kitchen's off limits after school and therefore no access to water.
*The printed black dots on the foam fish are mouths NOT eyes. Many of the students were confused by this and so they turned the fish the other direction and wondered why they couldn't match up the foam fins *The foam fins don't match up perfectly so be sure to trim *the white circles are bubbles and NOT eyes, except for the joined white circles w/ black specks in them *Two shades of blue are shown in the photo but in ONE of our craft kits there were three though maybe it was a mistake because there were very few tissue squares of that shade of blue. *2 bottles of white glue were included with each of the craft kits purchased from Oriental Trading
Pros: Child's Favorite, activity for older children, great rainy day schedule activity, appropriate for after school program, brilliant colors, awesome stained-glass look, can be used for 2-day craft project
Cons: Assembly, quality, great deal of prep work required, 24 hr drying period, more than one type of glue required, foam fins don't match w/ shape of fish
Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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