Let’s Get Started


Sculptures can be made from many different materials. Cardboard is an excellent material that is available as a recycled material as it can be found in many homes. Giving students the opportunity to work 3-dimensionally allows them to experience a different type of the art making process and having students construct buildings allows them to use their imagination as well as personal memory to construct art.


The teacher needs to have a variety of cardboard shapes and pieces available for the class to use. If students are asked to collect pieces from their homes for a week or two prior to the project then the task of collecting pieces will not be solely left to the teacher. Aside from the cardboard materials the teacher should have a few decorating materials available for the students to use.


Note:  The example image of Robin Collyer’s sculpture Tower will be on display for the class to show the concept of three-dimensional sculpture.

  1. The class will discuss the sculpture and the teacher can ask what the image reminds them of. If prompting is necessary the teacher can ask questions such as: What do they think the image looks like? A tower as the name would suggest? A rocket? A castle? Do they think it looks realistic or like something from a fairytale? Can they imagine who or what would live in the structure?
  2. Following the short discussion, students will be told that they are going to create their own sculpture. For the sake of the assignment, ask students to stick to creating a building.
  3. After the initial discussion period, students will also given pieces of cardboard. If they have brought pieces from home they can use their own pieces. Students will also have access to the cardboard pieces that the teacher has supplied.
  4. A few instructions will  given to the students once they all have their selected pieces at their desks. The students will be instructed that they will start with one piece of cardboard (a box or large tube shape works best) as their main structure and details can be added on to this supporting structure. Pieces can be attached with tape initially, and then secured with glue for extra strength.
  5. Once students have selected their main structure encourage them to use their imagination in creating the rest of their building. The building does not have to be “realistic” but can be anything they want.
  6. Students will be told to make sure that the pieces they attach are secured with tape so as to prevent problems later on. Once all pieces are added and secured down with tape, students will take glue and add it to the joins of the pieces for added strength.
  7. After students have finished building their structures they are now ready to paint and decorate their buildings.
  8. Students will be given their paint tray with their spectrum of colours (which varies depending on resources) when they are ready. Be sure to not use too much black as it over powers most colours very easily. Once students have their paint are ready to begin painting.
  9. The finished buildings need to be put aside to dry for the night, as the glue and paint will need a few hours.
  10. The next day, students will take time to have an “open house” where the classroom is set up so that all students have their sculptures at their desks. The students will walk around their classroom and look at each others work as if they were in a gallery setting.

Tips and Tricks

Shoe boxes work great for the initial structure. An additional material that can be used for the main structure is a coffee can. They are solid enough to have other pieces attached on, and strong enough to support a lot of weight.