This week, our Smock Rock students at TLB Music are creating Carmen-inspired paper fans and handmade castanets while listening to music from Bizet’s opera Carmen (The Habanera) and Flamenco music!

Student Materials:
2 small rectangular pieces of cardboards (1.75 x 5” each)
4 bottle caps, glue, glue stick, scissors
small items for decorating top of castanets (I used small paper circles)
2 pages of Carmen sheet music (with folding lines printed on the back)
Get Carmen sheet music here (pages 30-31) | download lined paper template here
glitter glue sticks (we use these washable glitter glue sticks by Elmer’s)
paint brushes, tape for making fan’s handle

Teacher Materials: -stapler

Teacher Prep: -cut cardboard into 1.75 x 5” pieces
-print sheet music with folding lines printed on back

Project Intro:
Today, our art project is inspired by Carmen! What is Carmen? Carmen is an opera by French composer Bizet and Carmen is also the name of the lead character in the opera. Opera is a kind of theatre where the story is told through music and song. Elements of opera that help tell the story: stage and scenery, costumes, opera singers and a musical ensemble. Today, we’re going to create Carmen-inspired costume accessories: a paper fan and castanets! The story of Carmen takes place in Spain so, while we craft, we’ll listen to beautiful Spanish Flamenco music in addition to our music from Carmen. Ask students: what do we do with a fan? How do we use? What are castanets? Show classroom pair of castanets and demonstrate how to use. Show craft sample and discuss how we can create castanets out of cardboard, bottle caps and glue!

Castanet & Fan Materials

Pass out 2 pieces of cardboard, 4 bottle caps, glue and gluesticks.
Step 1 (fold & decorate castanets): Fold cardboard pieces in half, then unfold to decorate. Use small pieces of paper or paper cutouts to decorate the top of each castanet.
*Keep in mind, our castanets will be drying decorated side down so be careful not to use too much glue.

Folding & Decorating Castanets

Now we’re going to glue bottle caps to the inside of our castanets so when we close them, they make a clicking sound.
Step 2 (glue bottle caps to castanets): First, put a line of glue around the inner rim of each bottle cap and press onto your cardboard, holding in the correct position for a few moments. This is the tricky part! We careful not to let the bottle caps slide. Once they’re stuck in place, line the outer edge of each bottle cap with more glue to seal. You could also put a couple small decorations on the inside of your castanets!
(I used a heart on each side!) Set aside to dry, bottle cap side up.

Gluing Bottle Caps on Castanets


Pass out sheet music and glue sticks. Tell students: this is the music from Carmen! What do your students see on the paper? (Notes, symbols, words) Let’s turn our sheet music into a fan! First we need to attach 2 pieces of music.
Step 3 (glue sheet music piece together): Use a gluestick to glue 2 sheets of music together along the short end.

Gluing Sheet Music Together

Now, let’s make the folds in our fan. Turn sheet music over and, using the lines as a guide, accordion fold from one end to the other. Slowly explain how to make accordion folds in paper and ask adults to help children!
Step 4 (accordion fold along lines on back): Accordion fold from one end to the other.

Making Accordion Folds in Sheet Music

Our fan needs a handle!
Step 5 (staple & make a tape handle): Pinch together one side of your paper and ask an adult to help you staple together. Next, wrap tape around the stapled end to create a handle!  We used duct tape, but any tape will work!

Creating a Fan Handle

Our last step is to decorate the top edge of our fan! Let’s use sparkling glitter glue! Ask adults to help children squeeze just a little bit of glitter glue onto a plate. (the glitter glue comes out quickly so it’s better to use a paintbrush to distribute)
Step 6 (decorate top edge of fan): Paint with your glitter glue at the top edge of your fan! *Use a light coating so fan isn’t weighed down.

Decorating the Fan

Finished Castanets & Sheet Music!

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