5th Grade Paper Sculpture

This lesson comes to you from my 5th graders and was an “artclasswithlmj” original as far as I know.  I took a little bit of everything the students learned in the year and combined it in a 3-Dimension structure that students really enjoyed.  This lesson incorperates color theory, line, 3-D construction, and spacial concepts such as positive and negative space.


Using an 8×8 square, students used a fat permanent marker to create a line design.  This line design could be anything but had to have some form of rhythm or pattern present in the layout.  This pushed students to stay away from scribbling.  After they’ve designed one side, they flip the paper over and trace the design (which seeps through thanks to the permanent marker) onto the backside.  This whole entire process tends to take one period.

The next step is adding the color.  We review color family and concentrate on picking two color families that balance each other (ex. warm/cool, primary/secondary, complimentary colors).  One side will be filled in using the first color family (ex. warm) and the other side will be colored in using the second color family (ex. cool).  I usually use some sort of crayon, pastel, or soft medium as to not soak through other sides.  This again, takes another period.  Push kids creativity.

Next, the most challenging step, is the cutting.  The goal is to cut only on the black line and attempting not to cut it into two pieces.  This can be limiting but if you tell them to pick a line and follow it until you meet a part where it would end, they usually grasp it.  If they cut into more than one piece, it’s not the end of the world – it just means keeping track of the pieces.

Finally, and the fun part, is putting the project onto a base paper (construction paper) and using glue to bend the cuts and form the piece together into a 3D, abstract form.  The students love examining their work to see the negative/positive space, getting surprised by the outcome, and discussing what it “could” be.  Some students even pushed the base by making it part of the sculpture.

I was pleasantly surprised by this project and the outcome.  It’s a perfect 3-4 day unit that encompasses so much and is truly 100% creative on the student’s part.  The only real boundary is the color theory part but it essentially allows the students to use all the colors because of course, there is more than one “blue” in every crayon box, so to speak.


One response to “5th Grade Paper Sculpture

  1. Pingback: 5th Grade Name Sculptures « artclasswithlmj·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s