I have been dying to make these kinds of recycled sculptures for a long time. Finally, I decided to do them with a group of awesome students, but I needed a sample first. So off I went. Gathered every scrap of craft nonsense that lingers around my house on a daily basis, looked through every junk drawer, visited a thrift store for small odds and ends, bought spray paint on sale, and raided friends’ (notice the plural!) recycling bins.
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What you need to make these:
- A large cardboard box
- Hot glue gun with plenty of hot glue sticks
- Small odds and ends that you were going to throw away anyway. I used buttons, poker chips, bottle caps, small plastic toys, cut up bits of cardboard, beads and so much more.
- Fun bits out of the recycle bin.
- Spray paint. I used white, blue, and sparkle.
- None of it would have been possible without an x-acto knife.
Getting started with the recycled sculptures
Draw an outline of the animal, or shape that you want. It can be so many things! Next year, I would like to do a seahorse and a dragonfly. This year, I did a carp, a butterfly and another kind of fish. Cut out two of your shapes out of cardboard.
Mistake number 1 was me gluing things willie nillie on the cutout. I had to discard my first attempt, and had to begin gluing around the edges, and in the weakest part of my carp.
Then, I slowly built up the stuff in layers. I used a lot of different things to create my carp.
Keep gluing! I relied on the cardboard bits to help me keep a pattern.
Glue stuff on until you are out of room. At this point, I began to worry if this project was too immature for middle school kids. However, the spray paint made all the difference.
Begin to spray paint. Here is my carp after the first layer.
Here he is after several layers of spray paint.
Finally, I used paint and a q-tip to add little detailed dots everywhere. Then, I glued a piece of string to the back, and glued the second cut out of my fish to the back, in order to strengthen the piece.
As you can see, there are many awesome sculptures made by students:
You might also like to see my adventures with clay.