I love torn paper art because it is simple to do and the end product can be so beautiful… which makes it a perfect medium for someone with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Also, quite frankly, there are days when the caregiver or recreation leader just can’t deal with paint! My friend was looking at my blog and commented that my projects require a few too many supplies for the layperson who isn’t so “artsy”, so I am trying my hardest to keep her comment in mind. For this project you just need paper and a large glue stick.
The Canadian artist, Ted Harrison (1926-2015), is a great choice for someone with Alzheimer’s /dementia too. His wonderful, inspiring images of Yukon landscapes and Yukon life are characterized by vibrant colors and simple, understandable images. (see above)
LARGE GLUE STICK: Use a glue stick rather than liquid glue to avoid wrinkles and bumps. Some participants may need help in applying the glue.
1. Cut out round circles (“suns”) in orange.
2.Tear 12″ x 12″colored paper in strips and mountain shaped pieces.
I purchased a pad of “Brights”, 12 x 12 scrapbook paper for the torn paper pieces. I bought it on sale at AC Moore for about $10.00 but the full price is $19.99 for 58 pages. I didn’t find it on their website but it’s available on Amazon for $25.99 (free shipping with Prime).
NOTE: The paper in this pad has a slight linen texture and when it it is torn, a white edge appears that adds additional interest.
Start with gluing down the circular “sun” and then add a few pieces to your sky. It’s pretty self explanatory. Build your masterpiece by gluing on a few torn paper pieces and then a few more, etc.
Remember, with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, it is confusing to have too many choices. Also, a glue stick is not always easy to use but it does produce a nice flat (not wavy or bumpy) finished product. You may need to apply the glue on each piece and hand it the participant to place on the white paper and then have the participant smooth it down. This project can take 30 minutes to 60 minutes.
For someone in the later stages, it may be enjoyable just to fiddle with the pieces of torn paper and move them around on the page or put the pieces in plastic baggies. It all depends on the stage and ability of the artist.