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Lampeter Elementary School Students Create Upcycled Waterfall

First and second grade artists painted and decorated 88 strings, each with 60-80 empty toilet paper rolls, to create an upcycled waterfall.

Students string painted toilet paper tubes; the finished waterfall art spills down from the high ceiling in the Lampeter Elem

Students work on the waterfall in art class, the finished product, Catherine Steigerwald and Mrs. Stauffer stand under the waterfall. 

Second grader Catherine Steigerwald was thinking about swimming in her grandmother’s pool when her art teacher asked the class for ideas for creating an art installation from empty toilet paper rolls. Thinking about the refreshing pool, Kate suggested a waterfall. Her idea proved a hit among first and second graders, and art teacher Jody Stauffer got to work making it a reality. 

Parents sent toilet paper rolls to school from September to January, and soon the art room was filled with a mountain of materials. Every class spent two art periods painting each roll a solid blue before Mrs. Stauffer strung them together to create the pieces of the waterfall. She ended up with 88 strings, each containing 60-80 toilet paper rolls. The finished strings went to students in the school age child care program (SACC) who adorned them with interesting details.

“SACC students added white and different shades of blue to make it look more like a Van Gogh sky,” said Mrs. Stauffer.

Mr. Baylor, Lampeter Elementary’s lead custodian, hung the waterfall from the ceiling in the cafeteria, so students can gaze up at their creation while eating lunch. In addition to being an all-school collaborative project, the waterfall is a lesson in reusing products that would otherwise be considered trash.