My colleague Allan and I (there are 2 art teachers in our building) planned where the mural would go: in the media center. We had our wonderful custodians measure the area so we could get our supplies. We bought 1/4 inch luan plywood for the mural to cut down on the weight. Since luan flexes a bit, we bought some 1x3 pine for bracing the back. The space for the mural was over 12 feet long, so we had to buy two sheets of the plywood. (Finished mural is 12' 6" wide by about 3' 8" tall.) Luckily, my husband is handy, so we had him do all of the cutting and bracing. He cut two pieces for us to start, I brought it in so we could get started.
After students gessoed the plywood pieces, Allan and I enlarged and drew some flowers from student drawings onto the plywood. We made the top edge follow the design for some visual interest. Then I brought the panels home again to have my hubby cut the top and brace the back with the 1x3 pine.
When the two panels came back to school, one went to each art room. Then the students painted the flowers onto the plywood with acrylic paint. After that, the students started gluing the caps on, starting at the centers of the flowers. We used acrylic gel medium for the caps and Tacky Glue for the gems. (All the adhesives at Home Depot said they caused cancer- we just could not use that stuff with elementary kiddos.) Also, our generous PTA purchased the supplies for this project, we are very fortunate to have their support.
We decided to leave the few inches in the middle of the mural without bottle caps until it was installed. Allan and I decided to finish that part when it was up to cover up the line where the two panels meet in the middle. That's us up on the lift finishing up the middle and reattaching some caps that fell off. Yeah, I was petrified!
Students and staff were excited to see the mural UP at the beginning of the new school year. We made sure to hang this up high above everyone's reach so all the bottle caps would stay in place.
Many thanks to @ArtwithMrE, I got lots of tips about how to do this kind of mural on his fab blog!
If you have any questions, feel free to Tweet me at @atragg
(This blog is also posted on the Drawp for School Blog)