playing card sculpture
K-12EducatorsThe Arts

Playing Card Sculptures – Idea File

Students analyze an abstract sculpture and then create their own out of playing cards.
Grades: 5-12

Teaching Concepts:

  • Shapes can create movement in sculpture.

Academic Content

  • Visual Arts: elements of art/creating art

Lesson Idea
Resource: The Red Feather by Alexander Calder.

Open: Show the image of the sculpture The Red Feather by Alexander Calder

Discuss: How is it that this sculpture seems to be animated even though all the pieces are perpendicular to the ground? What style is this artwork? Does the sculpture’s name fit it? What else might it be named?

Create: Give each student two playing cards. Have the students cut shapes from the cards. Shapes may be free-form or elemental shapes such as squares, rectangles, etc. or a combination of both. Cut slots in the shapes to fit them together to make a free-standing abstract sculpture. Each student should give his or her sculpture a name.

Discuss: How difficult was this to do? How do these sculptures “stand”? How do the designs on the backs and faces of the cards add interest to the sculptures?

Author: Nancy Carpenter