I just LOVE Valentine’s Day! There are endless projects I can devise that take their inspiration from the heart shape. This year, because we were learning about sculptures and 3-D design anyway, I came up with this really fun project that also incorporates weaving skills! This project is suitable or even the youngest students, giving them great fine-motor practice! You can do this project in stages or all at once as time allows. The results are super colorful and fun, and my kiddos were really proud of the work they had put into their designs.
The hardest part of the whole deal is just rounding up the supplies, but I’ve provided you with links below to help with that!
Here’s how you can make this Project Artwork at home:
- DIY wood photo block -they come in packs of 12, so gather siblings or friends for this project!
- plastic needlepoint canvas -this size is 12 X 18 inches, which is enough for two sculptures
- optional: Twisteez Wire – I LOVE this product–colorful wire, super easy to bend, AND you can cut it with regular scissors!
- pipe cleaners
- assorted beads
- acrylic paint and paintbrushes ( I like a medium size and a small one for details)
Cover your work table with newspaper or old party tablecloth.
Fill a cup of water and set out some paper towels.
Put a dime-sized amount of chosen paint colors on a paper plate.
Cut Plastic Mesh into TWO, 4″ X 12″ pieces.
Step 1: Paint Wooden Photo Holder
This is a great time to discuss and show the Three D’s of sculpture: Height, Width, and Depth.
Draw a square on a separate paper and cut it out. Show your child the difference between a SQUARE and a CUBE. Hold up your cut square to the block and show how a cube is made up of SIX separate squares.
Do not remove the wire holder. If it accidentally comes out, you can push it back in. Paint the top of the cube around the wire holder and all four sides, but leave the bottom unpainted.
No rules for this! Paint your block however you like! Younger children will want to slap the paint on happily without any interference from you at all. If your child is a bit older, you may guide them in the concept of LAYERING their paint. After the paint is dry on one side, show them how they can add patterns or designs in a contrasting color with their small brush.
Once the block is painted, set it aside to dry and move on to Step 2.
Step 2: “Soften” the Edges of Your Plastic Mesh
Using scissors, cut along the edges of each LONG side of BOTH pieces of plastic mesh. You aren’t trying to remove a large portion of the mesh; you are simply trying to make the edge not so perfectly straight. You are taking it from a very straight-edged, geometric rectangle to a more organic, rounded form.
You will do this to BOTH pieces of your plastic mesh and then move on to Step 3.
Step 3: Weave
Using your pipe cleaners and Twisteez wires in your choice of colors, weave in and out in various places on your plastic mesh.
Wire ends can simply be folded or tucked in to “lock” each piece in place. Again, there are no rules; experiment with zig-zag patterns, or straight “stitches. Leave your wires loose and loopy or pull them tight. Add beads along the way for accents.
I found that the weaving added at the EDGES of the mesh showed up the best in our finished designs.
FYI, those cute little curly-cues at the bottom of the heart will get added later when you assemble the whole thing:)
Step 3: Assemble
Once your cube is painted and you have added weaving elements to both pieces of mesh you are ready to put the whole sculpture together!
Take one or two of the long pieces of Twisteez and cut in half. You will need a few shorter pieces of wire to hold things in place.
I find it helpful to go ahead and bend these pieces of wire into a hairpin shape.
You will take both pieces of woven mesh and insert the short end of each into the cube’s wire picture holder. Leave the other two ends of the mesh loose. It will resemble the letter “m”–or my kids thought it looked like a bird in flight!
Bring the two loose ends together at the top of the cube and the bottom of the wire picture holder. Thread your hairpin wires through both pieces and twist to secure.
I like to leave the ends of the hairpin wires long and wind them up to make decorative curly-cues.
And that’s it! you may find you need to add some extra pieces of wire here and there to secure any places where the mesh isn’t holding together the way you would like. Or you can add extra wires as further decorative accents at this point like these students did:
Here are some more heart sculptures for your inspiration!
For other Sculpture ideas check out the Sculpture section of my site!