Modern Sculpting with Tin Foil

by , posted on April 16th, 2013 in Art School

modern sculpture art lesson using tin foil

We’ve briefly explored sculpting in the past when we tried our hand at wire sculpting, but today we are going to learn about modern sculptures and what makes them “modern.”

At the turn of the 1900s is when the modern sculpture movement came on the scene. Before this time, artists would create sculptures using traditional methods using plaster and clay molds. A group of artists began to assemble sculptures using materials such as metal or ceramic. Through the years, abstract sculptures began to appear. A sculpture could be many things to the person looking at it, is it an animal, a person, a shape?

Here are a few examples of how sculptures have changed over the last 100 years or so.

The Burghers of Calais by Rodin[source]

Cubi IV by Smith[source]

double oval by Moore[source]

We are going to create our own modern sculptures today using a simple supply of tin foil. I intended to do this lesson with just one of my kids, but quickly they all congregated and wanted to participate and in a few minutes this was the scene in my kitchen.

sculpture making with tin foil

Different kids had different techniques. Some wanted their foil to have more texture so they crumpled it up and then smoothed it out.


Others made long flat pieces and then used scissors to get the right length.


Balls were rolled and squished. Using the method of collage, pieces were assembled together to create a new image. And pretty soon, a figure emerged.


In no time, the figure had a piece added and this sculpture became a soldier with a parachute.

making modern sculptures with tin foil

Other sculptures were figures sitting on simple shapes to represent chairs, reading books and magazines. The sculptures soon multiplied.


Shapes were formed for abstract pieces as well.


And the best part is you can use these sculptures during play. Before you know it your sculpture is putting another sculpture to sleep in their sculpted crib.


Happy sculpting everyone! I love lessons where there are endless amounts of ways to create and make. May your little artist assemble a masterpiece with their tin foil.

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One Response to “Modern Sculpting with Tin Foil”

  1. Art School | Finger Knitting (Video) Says:

    April 1st, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    [...] the course of our Art School series, we’ve explored many different forms of art—from sculptures to wearable art, still life to masks, and collages to mosaics. Today we are going to add to this [...]

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