Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grade 4: Giacometti Wire and Plaster Sculptures

Today at Toll Gate and starting tomorrow at Bear Tavern we are finally using the tuna cans we brought in as the base for a figurative sculpture using wire and plaster.
Sculpture rocks. It's another way of allowing kids to express themselves and utilize materials that spark a different interest.
If you would like to make a sculpture like this at home:

1. Take a round can (tuna fish, cat food, etc) and hammer 2 holes into the base. I used a thick nail and a hammer to make the holes as I couldn't find my awl.
2. Make the legs from 2 seperate pieces of wire by foldong them in half and twisting to make stronger.
3. Secure the legs to the inside of the can by feeding the wire through the holes and securing with tape.
4. Twist the legs together to make the torso and the extra wires makes the arms
5. Small piece of looped wire for the head. Wrap the ends to the torso and secure with tape.
Put figure into a favorite or interesting pose!
6. Wrap Plaster gauze dipped in water around the wires. The kids started at the bottom and began to work their way up so that the sculpture isn't top heavy.

We will finish these in week 2 and cover with a metallic paint the week after.

We talked about Swiss Sculptor Alberto Giacometti and his Surreal sculptures that depict a mood. 'Man Walking' sold for over $100 million dollars not too long ago. The bronze sculpture is skinny and quite tall.


  1. These are really cool!! I want to try this with my class. What kind of wire do I use?

  2. I used Twisteez wire doubled for strength. You can use other types of wire but be sure the students will be able to twist and bend comfortably. Have fun!

  3. I received a comment that I was unable to post from someone a couple days ago that read:

    "Does each sculpture need a roll of plaster gauze?"

    The answer is "No". Each sculpture does not need a roll. I purchase the plaster gauze in bulk and then cut it up in small pieces for the kids to work with. Hope this helps!

  4. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I taught a lesson on Gustav Vigeland and this was the perfect way to engage the kids in a hands-on activity. I've shared your post with my readers.

  5. What kind of metallic paint do you use (acryclic or tempera?) I love this project!

  6. I have used both kinds! The acrylic always holds and shows up opaque but for the tempera, try whichever brand out first on a dry sample

  7. I'm wondering where you get the plaster gauze?

  8. Could not understand how to add the head . Do I twist the wire for the torso and then extend them on both sides for the hands? And the head wire is separate or is it one wire that you are working with . Confused