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Paper Sculpture for Kids

Activity: Make paper Sculpture

For this article I'm pleased to introduce my niece and nephew, Gracie and Leo, ages almost-8 and 5. Gracie and Leo have discovered paper sculpture, and go through reams of paper and miles of scotch tape in pursuit of artistic excellence. Sculptures they've created from paper include a giant ravioli, a dog exerciser, and the Great Wall of China.

"Sometimes it's hard," says Gracie. "you have to push a the paper down against the tape to get it to stick." In a fit of pre-dinner creativity she had just made herself a quick pair of shoes by molding the paper around her feet and taping it in place. This technique of molding and taping works for many creations, like the mug pictured here. In her "Wreath," construction paper leaves are layered around a ring of toilet-paper tubes. You can see more creations at www.biglearning.org/papersculpture .

"The most important thing about it is they feel no limitations," says their mother. "They imagine it and then they build it, and if it comes out looking like something else that's OK too." She says secondary benefits include a growing engineering vocabulary - how to make solid things, stuffed things, and how to make things stand up. They're also learning about materials - Popsicle sticks are stronger than pipe cleaners (though not flexible) but not as strong as rolled-up paper.

Artistically, she thinks they're "barking up the same tree" as Claus Oldenburg, famous for large sculptures of conventional objects. To read about him and see photos of some of his sculptures, try this article at from Hand Carved Magazine at http://hcmagazine.com/magazine.cfm/content/articles/0,3,0000212,00.html .




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