3 Dimensional Arts

Material on this page is copyright (c) 2016 Dan Harper
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I/ Fabric Arts

A. Weaving on a simple loom

Instructions for simple weaving project elsewhere on this website.


B. Macrame

Simple macrame projects for kids.


II/ Wire

A. Wire sculpture

The master of wire sculpture is Alexander Calder.

Here’s a Web page on making Calder-inspired art with gr. 5.

When doing wire sculpture with kids, you’ll want wire that’s easy to bend and form into shapes. Thinner wire is easier to bend, but also gets damaged easily. The material the wire’s made of also makes a difference. Steel wire is HARD to bend; you can use it with teens and adults, but children will get frustrated. Copper wire is super easy to bend, but expensive. Brass wire is easy to bend and a little less expensive than copper wire, but still expensive. I recommend armature wire, typically made from aluminum — it’s easy to bend, satisfying to work with, and less expensive than copper or brass wire.


B. Mobiles

An excellent webpage on the principles of making mobiles.

A mobile project elsewhere on this website (as shown in the photo below).


III/ Musical Instruments

A. Pan pipes

Building and playing instructions elsewhere on this website.


IV/ Pottery

Info on pottery elsewhere on this website.

Rolling out self-hardening clay for coil-built pots
Building up a coil
Smoothing out the coils

V/ Dioramas and Models

Dioramas and models may involve the use of puppets or figurines, either as a puppet show or dramatic play within the diorama or panorama.

A. Straight-sided Box Diorama

  • Village in Ancient Near East
  • Etc.

B. Models

  • Model of Thoreau’s cabin and grounds
  • Model of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem
  • Etc.

In one small Sunday school class, we spent three weeks on a cardboard model of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond. First, we read a children’s book with illustrations of Thoreau’s cabin. Next, I brought in a cardboard scale model of the cabin (assembled with hot melt glue), with a removable roof. The children made a bed, table, and chairs out of cardstock for the cabin. They drew and cut out animals who lived around the cabin. All these elements were then glued in or on the cardboard model. The group size was 4-6 children, and it would have been difficult to include many more in this project.

For another Sunday school class, I made a cardboard model of the ancient temple at Jerusalem, using a plan I found online. We decorated that model, with reference to online resources, then used it to imagine some of the stories where Jesus was in the Temple. We made paper figurines to act out some of the stories.

C. Cardboard City

Cardboard City, photo by Linda Henigin

Cardboard City was a project in a three-week ecology camp for gr. 1-5. The children used boxes and containers which they decorated as buildings. The buildings were placed on a large sheet of paper on which the children drew roads, sidewalks, etc. The teachers used this project to talk about what kinds of things we might want in an ecological city — in the photo above, you can see a library, an “ecostore,” and more. The children enjoyed working on this during down times, and the project engaged them for most of the three week camp. Linda Henigin was the lead teacher in this project, with help from Tobi Nielsen, Amelia Shaw, Abby Porter, Carol Steinfeld, and Emma Grant-Bier.

D. Pretend Paper People