Monday, March 18, 2013

In the Artroom: An Easy Fundraiser

Greetings, ya'll! I'm here to share with you a fingerprintin' fundraiser that brought in the big bucks for our school. This project was a trifecta of perfect: cute, money-making and, most important of all, it didn't interrupt my art classes in the least. I can't recommend this enough if you are in need of funds and, really, who isn't?
Finger-printin' good. I love these little astronauts.

An art teacher buddy of mine had the idea of doing this at her school earlier this school year. Together we visited a local ceramics shop in our town which sells pieces like these in the price range of $8 to $12. When she told me what a big success she'd had, I knew we had to give it a go at my school.

Now this fundraising venture would not have been at all possible without the help of my art room parents. These moms (and a coupla dads!) are seemingly on call whenever I need help with a big project: hanging our school-wide art show, washing all the t-shirts for tie-dying, helping students create a masterpiece out of clay -- when I need them, they are always there.
How did I get so lucky, you might ask? Especially when, as the lone art teacher, I'm prone to just goin' it alone. Well, it all started at one of our monthly meetings between our teachers, administrators and PTO. I remember it like it was yesterday (cue harp music and foggy fade out)...I made this radical suggestion that we tie-dye our school's normally white fun run t-shirts (yet another fundraiser). When the PTO prez piped up and said she'd be glad to help, she did way more than that. She researched and ordered the supplies, arranged for at least two to four parents to be in the room and help the kids when needed. Not only that but they rinsed, unbanded, washed and dried all 400 shirts! I know, they're awesome.

So when the idea of a fundraiser came up earlier this year, I decided to copy my art teacher buddy and purchase with school funds a ceramic piece for each class at our school (around 25). Our PTO prez sent out an email blast to the parents asking for just a couple of volunteers. Because this was to be a simple finger printing project, not too many parents were going to be needed.
My job was to come up with 25 different ideas for the platters, cookie jars and popcorn bowls. If the teachers had a classroom theme, then I went with that as the idea for their piece. However, some did not. So I scoured pinterest for fingerprinting ideas and came up with what you see here. Please feel free to steal these ideas as they're stolen goods anyway.
Here are the supplies we used for this fundraiser: 
  • Pre-fired ceramic pieces (aka bisqueware). You'll want to find an inexpensive resource for this. I was fortunate to have a place just a block from my school.
  • Mayco's Stroke and Coat Glaze. 
  • Clear glaze
  • Fingers. Lots of teeny tiny fingers.

Now the beauty of this project was that it didn't interrupt my lessons in the least. I simply cleared a table for the moms and went about my lesson. As the kids were working, they'd call each over to add their finger print and that was it. All of the detail work that you see, including that amazing zebra pattern painting, was done by these marvelous moms.
Okay, now you might be thinking: wait a minute, the kids had no hand in the painting part? Nope. Nada. Zero. Zip. Dislike that if you wanna, but this was a crunch time fundraiser. Besides, the kids were in the middle of their own painting, weaving and/or collaging projects.
After the students printed their fingers, the parents went about the detail work. Often times, they would draw out their ideas in pencil and paint over that in glaze. The pencil lines fire off in the kiln. Once the details were painted, two to three coats of clear glaze were applied to the pieces.
Sadly, adding the clear coat last caused a little bit of smearing of the colorful glaze. After noticing this, one mom suggested applying the clear glaze first and then go about the finger printing and detail work. So smart. Did I mention they also know how to load and unload my kiln? I know, I'm spoiled rotten.

So just how much did we raise? Well, like I said, each piece cost between $8-12. The glaze used was about $60. That added together is roughly $300. The pieces were placed at a silent auction with the highest bid of the night being $70. In total we raised close to $1000 with our profit being about $700. Not to shabby. Most definitely a fundraiser we plan to do again.


  1. Very cool idea there, my favourites are the frogs! I'm thinking of doing something along these lines at my birthday tea party (which no-one knows I'm having yet!!) but due to the lack of a kiln I'm using sharpies and an oven, nice! I love that you get the kids involved in everything, even if it was just a finger print here and there they will still feel like they have achieved something :) Go you and your wonderful parent helpers (I'm imagining them wearing elf hats, dont question just make them do it!!)

    Jerra xx

    1. Anonymous1/29/2014

      Did the oven work out okay? Do you use acrylic paints with the sharpies? What about the glaze, what did you use? I would like to try this also.


    2. I am in love with Mayco's Stroke and Coat Glazes. They are the best thing ever. That's what we used here. then we coated the plates with a low fire clear glaze and fired at cone 06. I hope that helps!

  2. This is a fabulous idea and all the dishes look so wonderful. I will keep this idea tucked away for sure. Your parent helpers do sound great.

    1. Yeah, they're pretty rad and I'm pretty spoiled ;)


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