Art Smart: Duct Tape Ducks

Art Smart: Duct Tape Ducks

By Annie Ballin

Last summer I developed an Artist in Residence program for the amazing kids at the Grantham Village School in Grantham, N.H. A theme of birds sparked a plethora of creative ideas. Not only did the projects have to be age appropriate and cost effective, but they had to be fun for the kids!

Duct tape ducks proved to be just that. I shared my lineup of ideas with Betty Larrabee, the fabulous GVS art teacher who graciously shared her talents and classroom with me for this project. Knowing her students best, she deemed the fourth graders to be the lucky ducks. Don’t be discouraged; any age can do this. It’s the tearing of the tape that can be tricky and sticky, so little ones will need help with this part. I recommend tearing lots of little pieces and tacking a corner of each on the edges of the table, creating a “tape line up” to work from.

  • Paper bags (for this project we used brown paper sandwich bags)
  • Newspaper or other stuffing materials
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors
  • Black or other dark sharpie marker
  • Duct tape (use any colors you like!)
  • Optional – google eyes and hot glue or tacky glue
  • Stuff the paper bag with crinkled newspaper or other stuffing, and squish it into an egg shape.
  • Tape the bag to keep the shape. Make sure one part of the bag sits flat so your duck will stand up.
  • Tear small (about 2- to 3-inch strips) of duct tape and cover the bag. (We used one color for the body.)
  • Using a 1- or 2-inch strip of duct tape, fold two corners in to meet in the center to make a point, just as if you were folding a paper airplane.
  • Attach the sticky side to the body with the point down.
  • Starting at the bottom of the duck and working up, complete one row. On the next row stagger the “feathers” and work your way up until you have the desired look you want.
  • Save a couple feathers to cover the top of the wings.
  • Make the beak and wings by tearing a large strip of duct tape and fold it onto itself, leaving about an inch of the sticky part exposed. This will be the part that attaches to the duck body.
  • Make two pieces for the beak and two for the wings.
  • Do the same for the feet, then trim them to look like webbed feet by cutting a wavy “w” on the folded end
  • Using a sharpie add two little nostrils on the beak.
  • Attach google eyes with hot glue or tacky glue. Alternately, use a sharpie to draw your eyes.

As with all art projects, feel free to embellish and alter my instructions — make them as unique and creative as you are! No matter what you do, it will be perfect or, shall we say, just ducky!

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