Pictures of the bunny creation process.

Tearing the envelope

Tear following outline

While Easter is a holy day, there are many secular or worldly customs which have become associated with it. Some of these include dyeing and decorating eggs, going on Easter egg hunts, and visiting with the Easter Bunny. The holiday also inspires people to decorate their homes with brightly colored decorations and flowers. Perhaps you're making decorations to celebrate Easter and the coming of spring. You can help save landfill space, natural resources, and the energy needed to make new materials by recycling to make a torn paper bunny.

This decoration is most like collage, an art form in which the artist selects, assembles and glues materials to a background. The bits and pieces of paper, fabric and other items used in collage have been recognized as fine art materials only in the past 80 years or so. You may remember an earlier activity in which we learned that Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque made collage an "accepted" art form by working paper, wood, cloth and even sand into their paintings.

You will need:

Click to enlarge the torn paper bunny

How to:

Making a collage is a perfect way to recycle materials. Collect scraps of white paper or watch your mailbox for envelopes such as the type in which junk mail and bills are sent. If you have a paper trimmer, ask an adult to cut the paper into the sizes listed below. You can use a pencil, ruler and scissors just as well, however. Measure and draw the shapes described, and then cut them out. To make the various parts of the paper bunny, you will need:

Section of envelopes for bunny parts

Starting with the square for the head, draw a large circle so that it touches the sides of the paper, as shown. For the body, draw a large oval or oblong shape on the rectangle, and repeat this step with the two smaller rectangles to make the feet. On the remaining rectangles, make a mark in the center at the top of each. From this mark, draw the ears, ending in the corner on either side.

After you've finished drawing, you're ready to make the shapes that you'll combine to make the bunny. Can you remember when you were very young and just learning how to use scissors? Cutting may have seemed awkward and hard to do. Once you learned how to use this new tool, however, you were able to make all kinds of things. Now put the scissors aside, because you're going to learn another art skill. Tearing paper!

Dechirage is the French term used in describing this way to make a collage. Sometimes artists tear paper instead of cutting it, because they like the ragged edge that results from this method of working with the material. Rather than cutting the shapes, try tearing them to get a softer look.

Bunny Head Close UpBefore you start, practice on a scrap of paper. Draw another circle on a square so that the circle touches all four sides of the paper. Now hold the paper in one hand, and with your favored hand, tear the paper by pulling it toward you. Try to stay on or near the line you drew, but don't be concerned if the shape you make is not perfect. Part of the charm of making the bunny this way is the ragged, fluffy edge that results.

After practicing, tear out all the shapes. When you're finished, gently erase any pencil marks that show. If you're unhappy with the size or shape of any part, just redraw it and try again. Now you're ready to assemble the bunny. Choose a wallpaper sample that has bright, spring like colors for your background. Glue the body on the paper. Attach the ears behind the head, and glue this shape to the body. Finally, glue the feet in place, and add the cotton for its tail.

Now it's up to you to make your bunny special. You can make it a different color or add spots here and there with crayons. Draw the rabbit's hindquarters and face. Don't forget the whiskers! Add interest to your picture by cutting blades of grass from scraps of construction paper. Cut Easter eggs from scraps of wallpaper or construction paper, and "hide" them in the grass. Glue everything in place and have a Happy Easter!

Tips and Tricks:

Collage is pronounced col-LAHGE and dechirage is pronounced day-she-RAHGE. Pronounce the letter "g" in each like the last syllable in "garage."

You can obtain a wallpaper sample book from an interior designer or a paint and decorating store. When new samples arrive, the merchant discards the old books. Have an adult remove all the paper with a utility knife, or leave the book intact, and remove the sheets as you need them.

If you don't have wallpaper, substitute a scrap of used gift wrap for the background. Besides recycling envelopes and scrap paper, consider making bunnies from used brown grocery bags. By recycling these papers in art projects, you can save money and help conserve natural resources.

Bunny illustration by Susan M. Brackney.

© 1997-2010 Marilyn J. Brackney Volume 6 No. 1 (updated 2018)
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