Learn about the anatomy and life of the bumble bee by making a realistic sculpture of it. Despite the bumble bee's large, heavy body and small wings, it still manages to fly at speeds of up to 22 miles per hour, so it is appropriate to make a piece of bumble bee art that hangs from the ceiling. By using air-drying modelling clay, chenille stems and other craft materials, you can replicate the heaviness and hairiness of the bumble bee's body as well as its other features.
Mold a block of black air-drying modelling clay into a 1-inch-thick, three-dimensional teardrop shape; this is the head of the bumble bee. Make an oval out of the same clay that is 2 inches thick and 2 1/2 inches long, and another oval that is 4 inches long, 3 inches thick and comes to a point at one end. The smaller of these two ovals is the thorax and the larger is the abdomen.
Connect the three sections of the body with a coat hanger wire. Insert the wire into the head, followed by the thorax, and into the abdomen at the end. Make sure the ends of the body parts are snug against each other. Cut the coat hanger with bolt cutters, about 1 inch from the end of the bee's abdomen, and bend the end inward with a pair of pliers to keep it from slipping off.
Cut two black chenille stems in half with wire cutters to give you the four front legs of the bumble bee. Insert the ends of the first set of legs into the front of the thorax close to the head, and the other set on both sides of the middle of the thorax. Cut another black chenille stem in half, and then cut the half into quarters. Insert the tips in the to -front of the bumble bee's head for antennae.
Bend two black chenille stems into three parts -- one half of the stem is long, while the other half is bent into two quarters. Wrap each long end with another black chenille stem to make it thicker. Stick the tips of the longer ends into the thorax close to the abdomen; these are the longer, hairier back legs of the bumble bee.
Straighten a coat hanger wire except for the hook. Insert the hook into the top of the thorax and bend the end of the hook in toward the rest of the wire to make a loop (so you can hang the bumble bee when it's done). Wait 24 to 48 hours for the modelling clay to dry.
Glue two black round plastic beads to the sides of the head with a hot glue gun for the eyes. Cut two 5-inch-long, 2-inch-wide wings and two 2-inch-long, 1 1/2-inch-wide wings out of a clear, stiff plastic sheet. Look at a picture of the anatomy of a bumble bee to get the right shape for the wings. Glue the ends of the two sets of the wings to the sides of the thorax, with the larger wings in front and the smaller wings directly behind them.
Wrap the thorax with yellow chenille stems and glue them in place with a hot glue gun. Alternate wrapping and gluing black and yellow chenille stems around the abdomen to make stripes. Brush craft glue on the hairy back legs and sprinkle yellow glitter on them to represent pollen. Wait one hour for the glue to dry and hang your bumble bee from the ceiling.
Things you need
- Air-drying modelling clay
- Wire coat hangers
- Bolt cutters
- Chenille stems
- Wire cutters
- Plastic beads
- Stiff plastic sheets
- Hot glue gun