You can draw an object so that it looks three-dimensional, but the paper you work on is flat, having only the dimensions of length and width. If you run your hands over a sculpture, however, it is not flat. Sculpture adds depth to a work. This art form may be made from a variety of materials including wood, stone, clay, and plaster. While it is not permanent, you can even make a sculpture at the beach by building a figure or sand castle!
Mat board, a material used by artists to frame photographs,
drawings, and paintings, is available in beautiful colors and textures. When an
artist frames a piece of work, he or she often has scraps of mat board left
over which are too small to use in framing other pictures. This type of board
is made of many layers of paper glued together, and it is not recyclable. You
can help save landfill space, however, by making a sculpture out of the
Use scraps of mat board just as you find them, or have an adult cut the pieces into smaller shapes using a utility knife or paper cutter. Place the mat board so the 7" side is in front of you. Begin by gluing taller pieces on edge at the back of the 7" side of the mat board.
Gradually work your way to the front of the mat board, gluing smaller and shorter pieces as you proceed. This project takes more patience than glue! Hold each piece you are gluing on edge ten seconds or so to ensure that it will stay in place. To finish, glue a few interesting shapes to some of the larger pieces.
Tips and Tricks:
If you are not able to get mat board scraps from an artist, ask your local picture framer to save them for you. Tell the framer no size is too small for this project, and be sure to go to the shop regularly to pick up the mat board. Save larger pieces for other projects.
You can make this activity more interesting by adding scrap wire to the project. Telephone wire comes in many colors, and it can be wound around a pencil to make spirals. To secure the wire, make a hole in the base of your sculpture with a compass point. Poke the wire through and tape it to the bottom of the mat board.
When working with telephone wire, please take the following safety precautions:
- Wear disposable gloves
- Never put the material in your mouth.
- Don't leave the wire in direct sunlight.
© 1996-2010 Marilyn J. Brackney (updated 2018)
Volume 2 No. 2
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