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foilsculptureThis thread is for sharing various ways to make and teach with sculpture in the Art Workshop.  Please add your suggestions.

Some suggestions originally posted by Neil MacQueen:

  • Sculpture allows for the expression of emotions and concepts through your hands and heart, touch and feel.
  • Sculpturing can fit any part of the lesson, open, dig, reflect, prayer.
  • Sculpture requires perception, reflection, and movement/mainpulation (multiple intelligences!).
  • Completed sculptures are objects for discussion.
  • Re-posable sculptures allow a student to change with the story.
  • Sculpture as a medium "self-adjusts" to the age of the hands and imagination manipulating it.
  • Sculpture on display invites others to contemplate the artist's intentions and creates discussion.
  • Large sculpture displays can allow participants to join in the scene (see example below)
  • Sculpture helps non-verbally inclined students to express themselves.
  • Sculpture can be a group project encouraging sharing and cooperation.
  • Sculpturing time gives the teacher the opportunity to teach/help/reflect with individual students during the process, rather at the end.
  • Sculpture is a movable display.
  • Sculpture can go home.

1. Wire Sculptures

Use heavy vinyl coated wire to make shapes, characters, symbols. Bend to reflect emotion, meaning, posture, attitude. There are several lessons in the Exchange which use wire sculpture, including one of the first posted in the Prodigal Son Art Workshop forum. See it's notes and pictures about how to wrap a basic wire forum to add bulk/musculature in a way that makes the characters more expressive.

Here's one way to create a simple wire body. Once created, you can twist more wire onto the body to create bulk. Check this video on YouTube for more "how to."


Amazon has inexpensive bundles of colorful 20 gauge "craft" wire.

2. Aluminum Foil Sculptures

Aluminum foil is inexpensive and very pliable. Folded over many times on itself many times, or scrunched together, it can hold many forms and support weight. Use to create people, settings, symbols. It catches the light as well and can easily hold objects, be glued, stapled, strung, and drawn on. Purchase in a commercial roll to save money.

See the post below with more Aluminum Foil ideas and photos.
See the Ruth lesson that has several "foil" ideas as well.
The Writing Team's Ten Commandments Art Workshop also uses wire + foil sculpture.


3. Posable PVC Pipe People

Purchase a large quantity of 1" pvc pipe and a variety of fittings to form a re-usable "sculpture pipe kit" to design characters, settings, symbols. Pipe sculptures can be dressed with costumes, decorated, positioned to express ideas, emotions, actions, attitudes. Sculptures can be posed throughout the retelling of the story express essential scenes, verses, and concepts. Props and other decorations can be added to sculpture or display.

Lesson example: Call of the Disciples Display of PVC People from all walks of life running ashore to greet Jesus. Create a stand with big shoes fastened to it for children to be called into the sculpture. (Your kit can expand with use.

Lesson example: Psalm 8, "when I look to the stars, I wonder..." Create a sculpture looking up. Hang foil stars above.

Lesson example: Sculpture of the woman who touched Jesus cloak bent down touching a cloak hovering over a pair of sandals ...which invites participants to stand in Christ's sandals and ask, "Who is reaching out to us?"


Your suggestions welcome.


Images (8)
  • Art 2008 Prodigal Son Wire Scuplture 2
  • mceclip0
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  • foilsculpture
  • Tablets-Heart-Sculpture
  • wire-sculpture-twisting
  • wirepeople
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

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  • Alternative PVC PIPE PEOPLE displays.
  • PVC Pipe Puppets

Instead of 'fitting' pvc pipe together with pvc joints, drill a hole in the end of your pipes and use a strong ribbon to "wire" the pipes together. This will create a "pvc person" something like a skeleton which is POSABLE.  Use ribbon because it will help you pin it to the wall in the next step.

Students fasten their pipe people in poses on a wall using pushpins through the ribbons connecting the pipes.  In this way, you can create a large posable and RE-USABLE SCULPTURE WALL that displays a scripture verse in action.  Students can make several of these quite quickly.

Photograph the student's face, print, and attach as the head to the posed sculpture.pipecharacter

Here's one made for a much larger display (and is the frame of a puppet worn by the student), but it show the idea of how the pipes are loosely connected with ribbon.


Images (1)
  • pipecharacter
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Photos and Notes on Sculpting with Aluminum Foil

from the Writing Team's Ten Commandment's Art Lesson


  • Cut and bend your wire base using pliers. You can wrap the base in foil to hide the wire and make it lay flatter.
  • Folding your thin sheets of foil several times will help make them tear-resistant as you wrap and bend them. You can also lay two flat layers of foil together and "scrunch" them onto and around the wire.
  • Scrunch additional sheets of foil to fill-out the body, legs, arms, and head, then press and crush the foil at various locations to make the figure look anatomically "correct." 
  • Create the legs and body first, then fold a long piece to form the arms and fasten it just below the "head" by either tieing a half-knot with the arm-foil or using a second sheet of foil to scrunch around the length of the arm-foil to fasten it to the body.
  • Apply small personalizing details last to make the sculpture look like you. This can include foil shaped like your hair, or a skirt, a heart, or props.
  • The smaller the piece, the harder it will be to make it stick to the sculpture, so instead of trying to attach a small hairpiece, it's easier to add a loose layer of foil around the entire head and scrunch the top of the foil to make it look like hair. The same is true for the hands. It's easier to shape the ends of the arms into hands than it is to try and add small hand-pieces to the arms.

Supporting Members: See the Writing Team's Ten Commandments Art Lesson for a complete "Foil Sculpture" tutorial.


Images (4)
  • Base-wrap
  • Foil-figure-details
  • Tip-Folding
  • Foil-folding
Last edited by CreativeCarol

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