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Level: Highschool
Grades: Gr. 9 and up | Age: 14 and up | Written by: Aldona Kaczmarczyk-Kolucka [Aldona is an art educator, art historian and artist from Poland.]

This drama lesson encourages children to be creative as they design costumes using recycled materials. In this case, the theme is water.


Students will:

What You Need:
What You Do:

  1. Give a short introduction/presentation of theatre costumes (this could be a separate lesson prepared as theatre history lectures using the names of famous costume designers like Bakst, Poiret, Iribe …etc).
  2. Divide students into groups of 4 to 10.
  3. Assign each group a different material (we have 4 resources: egg carton, brown paper, toilet paper rolls, garden foil).
  4. Introduce the theme.
  5. (Note from Aldona: For my students, we used the theme "water, water, water")

  6. Students are then asked to imagine, invent and sketch some costume designs.
  7. They are required to remember that they are using only one kind of material. In designing their costume, students have to consider the technical possibilities: how to join the materials together; how to prepare a functional pattern; how to make it expressive, original and beautiful.
  8. Then the groups will create their costumes.
  9. The groups are then asked to find music and to choreograph a simple performance to go along with their costume. Each group is asked to work together to discuss, find and present the best solution. They should also do a couple of dress rehearsals before the main presentation.
  10. Time intended for art work depends on your group and the time available.
  11. (Note from Aldona: We worked on a 5-day cycle from the introduction to the final show)

More Information:

What does a costume designer do?
Costume designers create the look of each character by designing clothes and accessories the actors will wear in performance...

Recommended Books/Products:

Glue & Go Costumes for Kids : Super-Duper Designs with Everyday Materials
With readily available supplies and basic tools such as scissors and a glue gun, you can create unique, oversize, eye-catching costumes.

Dazzling Disguises and Clever Costumes
A bright, eye-catching, oversized book filled with full-color photographs and useful information. A wide variety of masks, head gear, and costumes are presented, with explanations for making and combining accessories.

Eyewitness: Costume
A fascinating historical overview of clothing.

Costume Design 101 : The Business and Art of Creating Costumes for Film and Television
This book provides a real life, in depth look at big league studio costume departments with an eye toward explaining what's involved, including costume design theories, department operations and management, from supervision to set labor, fittings, locations and more.

Hollywood Costume Designer
Learn from a pro - Mary Jane Fort has picked the appropriate gear to include and has written the step-by-step book that comes with this kit.

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