DIY Name Plate Activity

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Updated on Sep 21, 2012

Show your child how to spell his name in a whole new way with this sculptural 3-D art project. He'll construct letters out of modeling compound, and then see how many ways he can add texture and patterns to this fun alphabet activity. Help him add vibrant paints or a sparkle of glitter for an extra special touch. Keep the learning running high by constructing middle and last names, too!

What You Need:

  • 8" x 10" or larger piece of cardboard
  • Soft modeling clay or compound
  • Scissors
  • Crayon
  • Tempera paints
  • Paint brush
  • Clay tools (no special tools are necessary, try Popsicle sticks, straws, or even plastic spoons)
  • Clear drying, non-toxic glue
  • Glitter (optional)

What You Do:

  1. Cut an 8" x 10" (or larger) rectangle shaped piece of cardboard. To up the eco-friendliness of this project, try reusing an old moving or packing box.
  2. Help your child write the letters of his name on the cardboard with a crayon. Point out the lines and curves that make up each letter. For example, the letter "A" has two longer diagonal lines that are connected with a short line across. Liven up the alphabet discussion by referring to curves on letters such as "B" or "P" as a big belly, or ask your child to make the letter shape with her hands and arms.
  3. Have her draw over each letter with glue. If this is difficult, simply place a small amount of glue into a cup and use a thin brush to gently paint over the lines. Make sure to only try one letter at a time to avoid letting the glue dry too quickly.
  4. Ask your child to mold the clay into the lines and curves of the letters one-by-one. Firmly press the clay onto the glue.
  5. Have him use simple clay tools, such as household and kitchen objects, to create patterns and textures. Avoid anything that may be too sharp or dangerous. Set aside to dry.
  6. If he wishes, he can paint over the entire relief, including the cardboard. He can try mixing colors to create a rainbow effect or go with a single favorite shade. He can also add glue and glitter around the letters.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.

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