As the sole art teacher at my elementary school, I see nearly 600 kids every week in and out of my art room. I have many of their names down when they are in their seat in my art room, but otherwise, I've got a long ways to go! Since I only have my 5th graders for this year, I wanted to get their names down ASAP! So we started out with a project that would let me see their names for 2 solid weeks!
I had them start by writing their names in bubble letters on thick white paper. I suggested making them about the size of the bottom of their palm to their first set of knuckles. I their names were short, they added their last initial or did a nickname instead. For kids that struggled with bubble letters, I had them lightly draw the letter in pencil, trace around the inside, and the outside, then erase the original letter. I reminded them to make sure the letters were thick enough to cut out.
After their bubbles were laid out, I gave them handouts with all kinds of examples of zentangle designs. I just googled zentangles and found plenty of sample patterns for handouts. Each bubble letters was to be filled with zentangles or some sort of design/pattern. They had the option of going over pencil with black marker, or they could use color. Most of them chose lots of bright colors. All of this took the whole first class period.
The second week I had them, we finished up coloring/designing, then cut out all the letters. They got to choose a small square of construction paper (about 4x4). I demonstrated for them several different ways of constructing their sculpture. I had the most success with making "tabs" with the letters by folding them under then gluing those tabs to the 4x4 construction paper. I reminded them that these would be viewed on the wall from a bird's eye view, so it was important to interlock and interweave letters when possible to create an interesting viewpoint. To fit and stabilize some larger letters, we created an arch and connected the letter with tabs on top and bottom.
I was so pleased with their designs and problem solving. Some kids went about the process a completely different way and got some awesome results!