Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Sticky Situation

As Halloween approaches I am reminded of an art project I conducted with my very first third grade class. It was the only first time that I had over half my class in tears. I taught in a small school and it was my responsibility to teach everything: reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic as well as art, music and PE!

I decided that we were going to make pumpkins for Halloween! Pumpkins of bright orange yarn with yellow eyes and green stems. Boys and girls, this will be a lot of fun! We will make these pumpkins and hang them up in the classroom for decorations. Then each of you will be able to take your pumpkin home for Halloween.

To make the pumpkins you use an inflated balloon and pieces of orange yarn. Dip the pieces of yarn in craft glue that dries clear. Pull a piece of yarn through your fingers to wipe off excess glue and then wrap it around the balloon. Continue doing this until you have a lacy orange ball. Add glued yarn features using other yarn colors, or use a pipe cleaner, as in this illustration, to create the stem. When the glue dries, pop the balloon and pull it out.

Back to that day, long ago, in my third grade classroom: 

We had waxed paper on the desks. Each group of students had a bowl with some watered down school glue and there were piles of yarn cut in about two foot lengths. I demonstrated how to wet the yarn in the glue, squeeze it out and wrap it around the balloon. The students began working. At first they were having a lot of fun. Then, Jimmy's elbow touched his pumpkin-in-progress. The glued yarn stuck to his elbow and came off the balloon. Then, Susie reached across to get a piece of yarn and the whole darn pile stuck to her hand. Mary's balloon fell in her lap with a gooey-gluey plop. Mark's pumpkin got stuck to his hand. Jen started crying because she didn't like gooey things. Jeremy's pumpkin rolled into the pile of yarn and sported a mop-top of lovely orange hair. Jimmy started crying because the yarn that had been stuck to his elbow was now stuck to his shirt. Christy's balloon popped. She bawled. Cameron and Dana's balloons rolled into each other and were mated... like dogs.... they were stuck together. Mark decided to run around the classroom bopping children on the head with the balloon that was stuck to his hand. That meant that some kids had some sticky patches of glue in their hair. My art project had gone to Hell. It was chaos. I had no control. I had kids running around. I had kids crying. I had a few industrious kids still trying to make their pumpkins! Finally, I got the kids attention screamed and got them all back into their seats. I took the garbage can from desk to desk and scraped the gooey-gluey projects into the trash. We washed up, as best we could. I gave each child a piece of paper and everyone got to draw and color a pumpkin. This was not a proud moment in my teaching career!

This weekend I was thinking about doing something crafty and wondered what glue might be best to use.

I found the perfect Internet site (what did I do without the world at my fingertips?!) to help me. It's called This to That and gives glue advice.

3-M also has a guide to their own products which may be helpful as well.

If you have some projects where you need to stick it to something.... you may want to try either one of these sites. (Or you can try making Halloween pumpkins out of yarn!)

Do you know of other helpful sites like this?


  1. Yes, I have a sole of a hiking boot that I need to fix. The nearest shoe repair shop must be in Bakersfield, some 50 miles away, so I thought I would try it myself. I will check out the sites, thank you so much.

  2. I'm evil. I would really have liked to have been a fly on the wall that day in your classroom.

  3. What a great, funny story this morning! Had me laughing out loud! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Such a funny story. I can visualize the classroom with all the romping &/or crying kiddos! Thanks for sharing!!


  5. Hilarious! I made some Easter Eggs one time the same way and I let them dry outside. Bugs were stuck to the glue when I went out later that day to check on the eggs.

    Cindy Bee

  6. I admit, I now want to try and make those pumpkins, though I'm worried it would end equally as stickily!


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