When Pigs Fly Creativity Happens!

Photograph of Georgia by Christy Berry

I was inspired by Phyl’s idea of using flying pigs.  I thought I would try it with my seventh grade students. We are using the idea of the phrase, “When pigs fly.” I am using this idea because pigs are flying in art room and we can create anything! Right now my seventh grade students are up to their elbows in glue and papier-mâché. We are having a blast creating our pigs.

 For this lesson you need the following things:

  • Balloons (several just in case some deflate over night or pop)
  • Glue and water (get a consistency of sticky but still like a liquid
  • Masking Tape (careful when placing this on the balloon, it might pop when you take it off)
  • Egg cartons (you need five sections: 4 for the feet, and one for the nose)
  • Wings and ears can be made out of flimsy cardboard or the other half of the egg carton
  • Acrylic paint or house paint (base coat)
  • Tempera or acrylic paint (details)
  • Brushes (house paint brushes and regular artist brushes)
  • Wire (telephone is colorful) for the tail and hanging
  • Paper clips (for the hanging method)
  • Extras: yarn, beads, barrettes, anything extra
  • Copy paper (artist statement cut down to 6” x 6”)
  • Pencils (#2)

Watch the video  I made with Animoto on how to make the flying pigs.

Making the pigs is a lot of fun and messy. To help students I cut the paper towels and newspapers into strips for them using a paper cutter. I do this to keep my scissors clean.

Once the students have finished picking their artist and painting their pigs, students are to write about their pig. Have students write an artist statement that includes a title, the artist name, and how/why their pig is modeled after an artist. Also explain the phrase, “When pigs fly.”See example below

By Mrs. Berry

My pig is modeled after the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. The pig has large flowers similar to the style that Georgia O’Keeffe uses in her paintings of flowers. I used flowers for the eyes and leaves for the nostrils. Due to the papier-mâché texture the flowers have a feel for the painting style of Vincent Van Gogh. I know this because of the way in which I added paint in layers. After I painted and named my pig I chose girl type extras. I added hair with a braid and a broken barrette. I chose the blue and purple wire for the tail because it matched the colors on the pig. Now when people say, “When Pigs Fly!,” I can point to my pig and tell them that anything is possible in the art room.

Being on a string shoe budget of half of a shoe string I was able to have students create this project due to other’s donations. Let me break down the cost:

  • Glue 0$ (At the end of the year teachers give me their old glue bottles that don’t work. I take a plier to get the top off and pour the glue into a large glue container and add water.)
  • Egg cartons 0$ (Parents donate them.)
  • Cardboard 0$ (Lunch ladies give me the cardboard from in-between the food.)
  • Wire 0$ (Parent donated telephone wire.)
  • House paint 0$ (Old/used paint donated from Home Depot –Way to go!)
  • Paper clips 0$ (Donated from other teachers.)
  • Brushes 0$ (Not new to the room, a tool that I already have, PTP purchased several a couple years ago.)
  • Newspaper 0$ (Donated from parents and a volunteer to the building.)
  • Brown Paper towels 0$ (Start in the bathroom as large rolls, then they are taken out when they are too small. They go to the lunchroom for the staff, when they are too small the left over roll comes to the art room.)
  • Balloons 0$ (Donated by other nice staff in the building.)
  • Extras 0$ (Donated by parents, they extras vary every year.)
  • Tape 10 $ (Ok, so I broke down and spent my own money so they could tape it together.)
  • Tempera Paint 0$ (Another teacher donated some paint. I am also using paint that was left over from last year)
  • Copy Paper 0$(Donated from a parent.)
  • Pencils 0$(Donated from other teachers: usually when there are no more erases on the ends)
  • Containers for the glue 0$(Donated by staff and parents.)

Total cost: 10$
Enjoy making flying pigs. They are a lot of fun to create but very messy!

Mrs. Berry


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. phyl
    Apr 22, 2011 @ 23:17:10

    Thanks for the linking. My pigs were not made like yours, but yours are cute too! If you read much of my blogging about papier-mache, you’ll discover WHY it is that I do NOT papier-mache over balloons. Bad karma!!

    Our feet and snouts were parts of toilet paper rolls, and wings and ears were made from cereal box cardboard. Our tails were pipe cleaners.

    Just a note about papier-mache – I teach the kids how to tear the paper. I show them that a newspaper will tear nicely in one direction but not the other. We don’t ever ever cut. I think you’ll find the torn edges will blend in more smoothy that cut edges, leaving you a much more seamless surface. Hope I’m not being too picky here; just want to be helpful. I’ve done a lot of papier-mache over the years.


    • berryart
      Apr 23, 2011 @ 11:14:41

      Thanks for the tips! I will try those next year. This is the first year I have ever done paper-mache this way with younger students. Last time it was with flower and water when I taught at an alternative high school. We made life size Papua New Guinea Duk-Duk masks out of a newspaper armature. The room was very stinky so I switched to glue this time.
      -Mrs. Berry


  2. Carol Madou
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 00:54:25

    I found your website because of your link for flying pigs. I enjoyed watching your video, and detailed instructions for making the pigs with glue & paper. Very creative!
    I just launched my new children’s book titled When Pigs Can Fly! I could envision having some of those flying pigs hanging in my sales booth at a craft show!
    My book is a chapter book for ages 6-12. Please check out my website: cmadouauthor.weebly.com. Please sign my guestbook or leave a comment, would love to hear from you.


    • berryart
      Apr 23, 2011 @ 11:32:51

      I just ordered your book; I look forward to receiving it. My vice-principal asked me the other day if there was a book out there with flying pigs. I had not even looked for one yet. So this is perfect!

      Christy Berry


  3. phyl
    Apr 23, 2011 @ 18:15:57

    FYI, here’s where I posted about the entire process I used:

    and this post was probably the one you saw with finished piggies: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2011/03/anything-is-possible-in-art-room-pigs.html

    The glue/water mix you use is stronger than our Art Paste but also much messier. Wallpaper paste (wheat paste) will also work well, but can’t be stored like my Art Paste or your glue/water mix. It gets moldy or smelly.

    Did you post about those masks? I would love to see them – I bet they were awesome!!


    • berryart
      Apr 23, 2011 @ 21:28:19

      I will try those ideas next year. The masks were about 8 years ago, long before I was blogging or had a digital camera. I did have groups for the project because it was so big. I told the students the mask needed to be as big as their smallest member. Afterwards, we painted them. They turned out really neat. But alas, no pictures. That year we also made several different masks from around the world.
      -Mrs. Berry


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